Nizam of Hyderabad

The Nizams were the 18th-through-20th-century rulers of Hyderabad. Nizam of Hyderabad (Niẓām ul-Mulk, also known as Asaf Jah) was the title of the monarch of the Hyderabad State (as of 2019 divided between the state of Telangana, Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Karnataka and the Marathwada region of Maharashtra). Nizam, shortened from Nizam-ul-Mulk, meaning Administrator of the Realm, was the title inherited by Asaf Jah I. He was the viceroy of the Great Mughal in the Deccan, the premier courtier in Mughal India in 1724, and the founding "Nizam of Hyderabad".

The Asaf Jahi dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi (Asaf Jah I), who served as a viceroy of the Deccan under the Mughal Empire from 1713 to 1721. He intermittently governed the region after Emperor Aurangzeb's death in 1707. In 1724 Mughal control weakened, and Asaf Jah became virtually independent of the Mughal Empire; Hyderabad would then become a tributary of the Maratha Empire, losing a series of battles through the 18th century.[1][2][3]

When the British achieved paramountcy over India, they allowed the Nizams to continue to rule their princely states as client kings. The Nizams retained internal power over Hyderabad State until 17 September 1948, when Hyderabad was integrated into the new Indian Union.[4] The Asaf Jah dynasty had only seven rulers; however there was a period of 13 unstable years after the rule of the first Nizam when three of his sons (Nasir Jung, Muzafar Jung and Salabath Jung) ruled. They were never officially recognised[by whom?] as rulers. The seventh and last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, fell from power when India annexed Hyderabad in 1948 which is known as operation polo or police action[5]

By the time of its annexation, Hyderabad was the largest and most prosperous one among all the princely states. It covered 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of fairly homogeneous territory and had a population of roughly 16.34 million people (as per the 1941 census), of which a majority (85%) was Hindu. Hyderabad State had its own army, airline, telecommunication system, railway network, postal system, currency and radio broadcasting service. [6][7][8] Hindus were also given highest of the government posts; like 2-time Prime Minister of Hyderabad - Maharaja Sir Kishen Pershad, Maharaja Chandu Lal and Raja Sham Raj I. Raja Sham Raj II, a member of H. E. H Nizam's Executive Council. The position of Kotwal was also given to a Hindu, Raja Bahadur Venkatarama Reddy.[9]

The name Nizam comes from Urdu نظام /nɪˈzɑːm/, which itself is derived from Arabic language niẓām which means "order" or "arrangement".[10] Nizām-ul-mulk was a title first used in Urdu around 1600 to mean Administrator of the Realm. The word is derived from the Arabic language, as in Abu Ali Hasan ibn Ali Tusi (11 April 1018 – 14 October 1092), better known by his honorific title of Nizam al-Mulk (Arabic: نظام‌ الملک, "Order of the Realm").

According to Sir Roper Lethbridge in The Golden Book of India (1893), the Nizams are lineally descended from the First Caliph Abu Bakr, the successor of the Prophet Muhammed.[11] The family of Nizams in India is descended from Abid Khan, a Turkoman from Samarkand, whose lineage is traced to Sufi Shihab-ud-Din Suhrawardi (1154–91) of Central Asia. In the early 1650s, on his way to hajj, Abid Khan stopped in Deccan, where the young prince Aurangzeb, then Governor of Deccan, cultivated him. Abid Khan returned to the service of Aurangzeb to fight in the succession wars of 1657–58. After Aurangzeb's enthronement, Abid Khan was richly rewarded and became Aurangzeb's favourite nobleman. His son Ghazi Uddin Khan received in marriage, Safiya Khanum, the daughter of the former imperial prime minister Sa‘dullah Khan. Mir Qamaruddin Khan, the founder of the line of Nizams, was born of the couple, thus descending from two prominent families of the Mughal court.[12]

Ghazi Uddin Khan rose to become a General of the Emperor Aurangzeb and played a vital role in conquering Bijapur and Golconda Sultanates of Southern India in 1686.[13] He also played a key role in thwarting the rebellion by Prince Akbar and alleged rebellion by Prince Mu`azzam.[14]

Map of India in 1760. The southern area in green was ruled by the Nizam.

After Aurangzeb's death and during the war of succession, Qamaruddin and his father remained neutral thus escaping the risk of being on the losing side; they remained marginal players in the Mughal court during the reigns of Bahadur Shah I (1707–12) and Jahandar Shah (1712–13). Their successor Farrukhsiyar (1713–19) appointed Qamaruddin the governor of Deccan in 1713, awarding him the title Nizam-ul-Mulk. However, the governorship was taken away two years later and Qamaruddin withdrew to his estate in Moradabad. Under the next emperor, Muhammad Shah (1719–48), Qamaruddin accepted the governorship of Deccan for the second time in 1721. The next year, following the death of his uncle Muhammad Amin Khan who had been a power-broker in the Mughal Court, Qamaruddin returned to the Delhi and was made the wazir (prime minister). According to historian Faruqui, his tenure as prime minister was undermined by his opponents and a rebellion in Deccan was engineered against him. In 1724, the Nizam returned to Deccan to reclaim his base, in the process making a transition to a semi-independent ruler.[15]

In 1724, Asif Jah I defeated Mubariz Khan to establish autonomy over the Deccan Suba, named the region Hyderabad Deccan, and started what came to be known as the Asaf Jahi dynasty. Subsequent rulers retained the title Nizam ul-Mulk and were referred to as Asif Jahi Nizams, or Nizams of Hyderabad.[16][17] Nizam I never formally declared independence from the Mughals; he still flew the Mughal flag, and was never crowned. In Friday prayers, the sermon would be conducted in the name of Aurangzeb, and this tradition would continue until the end of Hyderabad State in 1948. The death of Asif Jah I in 1748 resulted in a period of political unrest as his sons, backed by opportunistic neighbouring states and colonial foreign forces, contended for the throne. The accession of Asif Jah II, who reigned from 1762 to 1803, ended the instability. In 1768 he signed the treaty of Machilipatnam, surrendering the coastal region to the East India Company in return for a fixed annual rent.[18]

Following the decline of the Mughal power, the region of Deccan saw the rise of the Maratha Empire. The titullar Nizams themselves fought during the Mughal-Maratha Wars since the 1720s, which resulted in the Nizam paying a regular tax (Chauth) to the Marathas. The major battles fought between the Marathas and the Nizam include Palkhed, Bhopal, Rakshasbhuvan, and Kharda, in all of which the Nizam lost.[19][20] Following the conquest of Deccan by Bajirao I and the imposition of chauth by him, the Nizam remained a tributary of the Marathas for all intent and purposes.[21]

In 1805, after the British victory in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, the Nizam of Hyderabad came under the protection of the British East India Company.[citation needed]

In 1903 the Berar region of the state was separated and merged into the Central Provinces of British India, to form the Central Provinces and Berar.

The last Nizam of Hyderabad state, Mir Osman Ali Khan crowned in 1911, had been the richest man in the world in his time.[22] The Nizams developed the railway, introduced electricity, and developed roads, airways, irrigation and reservoirs; in fact, all major public buildings in Hyderabad City were built during his reign under the British Raj. He pushed education, science, and establishment of Osmania University.

In 1947, at the time of the partition of India, Britain offered the 565 princely states in the sub-continent the options of acceding to either India or Pakistan, or remaining independent.

After the Independence of India in 1947, the Nizam of Hyderabad chose to join neither India nor Pakistan. He later declared Hyderabad an independent state as the third dominion, but the Government of India refused to accept this. After attempts by India to persuade the Nizam to accede to India failed, and due to large scale atrocities committed by Razakars (who wanted the Nizam to accede Hyderabad to Pakistan) on the Hindu populace,[23] the Indian government finally launched a military operation named Operation Polo. When the Indian Army invaded Hyderabad on 13 September 1948 and defeated his untrained forces. The Nizam capitulated on 17 September 1948; that same afternoon he broadcast the news over the State radio network. The Nizam was forced to accept accession to the new Republic of India. His abdication on 17 September 1948 was the end of the dynasty's ambitions. Still he became the Rajpramukh, post independence based on public vote.[24]

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, died on Friday 24 February 1967. All the Nizams are buried in royal graves at the Makkah Masjid near Charminar in Hyderabad excepting the last, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who wished to be buried beside his mother, in the graveyard of Judi Mosque facing King Kothi Palace.[25][26]

During the period of the Nizams' rule, Hyderabad became wealthy - thanks to the Golconda mines which were the 'only sources of diamonds in the world market at that time (apart from South African mines) making the 7th Nizam the richest person in the world. Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII and his family including Salar Jung I were taught by Nawab Sarwar Ul Mulk and Agha Mirza Baig Bahadur, who was his political advisor,[27] and the senior-most salute state among the Indian princely states. It was spread over 223,000 km2 (86,000 sq mi) in the Deccan, ruled by the Asaf Jahi dynasty. The Nizams were conferred with the title of His Exalted Highness, and "Faithful Ally of the British Government" by the imperial-colonial British government for their collaborating role in the wars against Tipu Sultan of Mysore, the First War of Indian Independence of 1857–1858,[28] becoming the only Indian prince to be given both these titles.[29]

One example of the wealth of the Nizams are the Jewels of the Nizams, an international tourist attraction once displayed in Salar Jung Museum, but now locked in an Reserve Bank of India vault in Delhi.[30] In 1948 Hyderabad state had an estimated population of 17 million (1.7 crore), and it generated an estimated annual revenue of £90,029,000.[28]

The state had its own currency known as the Hyderabadi rupee, until 1951.[31] The pace at which the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan amassed wealth made him one of the world's richest men in 1937, also known for his miserliness.[29] He was estimated to be worth 660 crores (roughly US$2 billion by the then exchange rates).[32] According to the Forbes All-Time Wealthiest List of 2008, Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan is the fifth richest man in recorded history per the figures, with an estimated worth of US$210.8 billion adjusted by Forbes as per the growth of the US GDP since that period and the present exchange rate of the US dollar against the Indian rupee.[31]

The Nizams set up numerous institutions in the name of the dynasty including hospitals, schools, colleges, and universities that imparted education in Urdu.[31] Inspired by the Indian Civil Service, the Nizams established their own local Hyderabad Civil Service.

The Nizams commissioned engineering projects such as large reservoirs like Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar. Survey work on the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam was also initiated during this time, although the actual work was actually completed under the aegis of the Government of India in 1969.[33][34]

They also gave Hyderabad its own Railway Network -the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway[35] which helped in setting up various industries.

Other landmarks include the Telangana High Court, City College, Public Gardens, (formerly Bagh-e-Aaam) Jubilee Hall, Asafia Library, The Assembly building, Niloufer Hospital, the Osmania Arts College and the Osmania Medical College.[36]

In 1932, there was a need for money for the publication of Mahabharata in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute located in Pune. A formal request was made to the 7th Nizam - (Mir Osman Ali Khan) who granted Rs. 1000 per year for a period of 11 years.[37]

He also gave Rs 50,000 for construction of the guest house which stands today as "Nizams guest house"[38][39]

The Nizams donated Rs. 82,825 to the Yadagirigutta temple at Bhongir, Rs. 29,999 to Sita Ramachandraswamy temple, Bhadrachalam[40]

The 7th Nizam also donated Rs. 8,000 to Tirupati Balaji Temple as yearly grants.[41]

A donation of Rs. 50,000 towards the re-construction of Sitarambagh temple located in the old city of Hyderabad was also made.[42]

The Asaf Jahis were prolific builders. Their palaces are listed below:

The Nizam was reported to have fathered 34 children: 18 sons and 16 daughters.[43][44][45][46] The Asaf Jahi dynasty followed the Order of Precedence of male primogeniture regardless of the mother's marital status or rank.

His eldest son was Azam Jah (21 February 1907 – 9 October 1970),was the Prince of Berar.

Whereas, his second son Moazzam Jah, married Princess Niloufer, a princess of the Ottoman empire.[47]

The Nizams' daughters had been married traditionally to young men of the Paigah family. This family belonged to the Sunni sect.

italics – Considered pretenders by most historians; refrained from exercising traditional authority during their reigns.[citation needed]

Places and things named after the Nizam include Nizamabad, a city and district in the state of Telangana; Jamia Nizamia, a university; the Nizam College; the Nizam's Museum; the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway; the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences; the Jewels of the Nizams; the Nizam Diamond; the Nizam Sagar, HMAS Nizam, Nizamia observatory; the Nizam Club; the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace; the Nizam's Contingent; the Nizam Gate; the Nizam Palace; Government Nizamia General Hospital; and H.E.H. the Nizam's Charitable Trust.