Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah I

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Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi (20 August 1671 – 1 June 1748) also known as Chin Qilich Kamaruddin Khan, Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah and Nizam I, was the 1st Nizam of Hyderabad. A trusted nobleman and General of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1677–1707 AD), he served as the Mughal governor of Deccan (1713–1715 AD) and (1720–1722 AD), Mughal Grand vizier (1721–1724 AD) and the founder of the Asaf Jahi dynasty (1724 AD) of which he was the Nizam I (1724–1748 AD).[1][2][3][4]

Asaf Jah I
Chin Fateh Khan, Chin Qilich Khan, Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah, Khan-i-Dauran Bahadur, Khan-i-Khana, Fateh Jung, Firuz Jang, Ghazi-ud-din Bahadur, Amir-ul-Umara, Bakhshi-ul-Mumalik
Asaf Jah I.jpg
1st Nizam of Hyderabad
Reign31 July 1724 – 1 June 1748
PredecessorPosition Established
SuccessorNasir Jang Mir Ahmad
Born20 August 1671
Agra, Mughal India
Died1 June 1748 (age 76)
BuriedKhuldabad (near Aurangabad), Hyderabad State, Mughal India
(now in Maharashtra, India)
Noble familyAsaf Jahi Dynasty
Spouse(s)Umda Begum, Saidunnisa Begum
Firuz Jung
Nasir Jung
Salabat Jung
Asaf Jah II
Basalat Jung
Humayun Jah
7 daughters
FatherNawab Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung I Siddiqi Bayafandi Bahadur (Farzand-i-Arjumand)Ghazi Uddin Siddiqi.
MotherWazir un-nisa Begum
Military career
AllegianceAlam of the Mughal Empire.svg Mughal Empire
Service/branchNizam of Hyderabad
RankSowar, Faujdar, Grand Vizier, Subadar, Nizam
Battles/warsMughal-Maratha Wars
Nader Shah's invasion of the Mughal Empire
Battle of Karnal


Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan (also known as Nizam) was the son of Safia Khanum and Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung I, who were married in 1670. Nizams's mother Safia Khanum was the daughter of Sa’dullah Khan who was Grand vizier (1645-1656) of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, during his tenure construction of Taj Mahal was completed.[5][6] While through his father he is a descendant of Abu Bakr the first caliph of Islam, his ancestry is traced from Shihab al-Din 'Umar al-Suhrawardi (1145–1234). His great-grandfather Alam Sheikh was a Sufi saint of Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan) he was titled as Azam ul Ulama by Imam Quli Khan (1611–1642) of Khanate of Bukhara. His grandfather Kilich Khan hailed from Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan.[7] In 1654, Khan came to India for the first time while on his way to the Hajj (Islamic pilgrimage) during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. After completing the pilgrimage, he migrated to India and joined erstwhile Mughal prince Aurangzeb's army in Deccan in 1657.[8] Khan fought in the Battle of Samugarh which ended with the defeat of Aurangzeb's brother Dara Shikoh.[9] Besides being a commander in Aurangzeb's army, he also served as governor of Zafarabad (present-day Bidar).[10] Khan's eldest son and Nizam-ul-Mulk's father was Feroze Jung.[11] Jung migrated to India in 1669, and got employed in Aurangzeb's army, raised a General and later as governor of Gujarat.[12][13]

Early lifeEdit

Nizam-ul-Mulk was born on 11 August 1671. He was named Qamaruddin Khan by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.[14][15] There exists no record of his birthplace. However, Yousuf Hussain Khan opines that Nizam-ul-Mulk was born in Agra.[15]

At the age of six, Nizam-ul-Mulk was awarded with a mansab. During his youth, he Nizam-ul-Mulk used to accompany his father to military expeditions. After distinguishing himself during an expedition with his father to Pune, Nizam-ul-Mulk received a rank of 400 zat and 100 horses in 1684.[15] In 1688, he took part in the siege of Adoni fort under the leadership of his father. Aurangzeb increased his rank to 2,000 zat and 500 horses for his performance in the siege. Two years later, he was awarded with the title Chin Qilich Khan. The emperor also presented him a she-elephant. In 1693, the Marathas sieged the Panhala Fort. In response, Nizam-ul-Mulk fought and defeated the Marathas at Karad. 30 Marathas were taken as prisoners.[16]

In 1698, Aurangzeb sent Nizam-ul-Mulk to put down a revolt at Nagori, near Bijapur. The emperor was satisfied with his expedition and subsequently sent him to Kotha to restore order. Following his success, he was raised to a rank of 3,000 zat and 500 horses. In 1699 Aurangzeb promoted him to 3,500 zat and 3,000 horses. Nizam-ul-Mulk successfully sieged the Panhala Fort which was occupied by the Marathas. He closed all the roads as a result of which no supply could reach the inhabitants.[16] The fort fell to his forces on 9 June 1700. Satisfied with his services, Aurangzeb made him the faujdar (garrison commander) of Bijapur and increased his rank by 400 horses.[17] Nizam-ul-Mulk became the subahdar (governor) of Bijapur in 1702 and was awarded with a steed. In the same year, he was also given the faujdari of Azamnagar and Belgaum. In 1704, he became the faujdar of Nusratabad and Mudgal.[17]

In 1705, Nizam-ul-Mulk accompanied Aurangzeb in the siege of Wakinkhera. Nizam-ul-Mulk led an assault in the hillock of Lal Tikri.[18] He attacked the Marathas who were attempting to provide supplies to the besieged inhabitants. The Marathas were ultimately defeated. Nizam-ul-Mulk was raised to a rank of 5,000 zat and 5,000 horses for his performance in the siege. He was also awarded with a jewelled sabre and an elephant.[19]

Life after AurangzebEdit

After Aurangzeb's death he was appointed Governor of Oudh. After Bahadur Shah's (Muazzam Shah i Alam Bahadur Shah the 1st) death he opted for a private life in Delhi. His sabbatical was cut short when in 1712 the sixth of Aurangzeb's successors, Farrukhsiyar son of Azim-ush-Shan convinced him to take up the post of Viceroy of the Deccan with the title of Nizam ul-Mulk (Regulator of the Realm) Fateh Jung.

His enemies accuse Nizam ul-Mulk of building his own power-base independently of the Mughals in Delhi, while continuing to give obeisance to the throne and even remitting money to the centre. He was then called upon by Farrukhsiyar to help fight off the Sayyid Brothers. Farrukhsiyar lost his strife against the Saadaat i Baarha Sayyid Brothers and was killed.

Grand Vizier of the Great MogulEdit

Later Nizam ul-Mulk was rewarded for defeating the Sayyid Brothers with the post of Vizier in the court of Muhammad Shah, the 18-year-old successor.

But all did not work as planned. Nizam ul-Mulk's attempts to reform the corrupt Mughal administration with its cliques of concubines and eunuchs created many enemies. According to his biographer, Yusuf Husain, he grew to hate the "harlots and jesters" who were the Emperor's constant companions and greeted all great nobles of the realm with lewd gestures and offensive epithets. Nizam ul-Mulk's desire to restore the etiquette of the Court and the discipline of the State to the standard of Shah Jahan's time earned him few friends. The courtiers poisoned the mind of the Emperor against him.

Nizam was made Grand vizier of the Mughal Empire in 1721, but alarmed at his growing power, emperor Muhammad Shah transferred him from the court of Delhi to Awadh in 1723. Nizam rebelled against the order, resigned as the Grand vizier and marched towards the Deccan. The emperor sent an army against him in the command of Mubariz Khan-(the then governor of Hyderabad subah), which the Nizam defeated at the Battle of Sakhar-kheda. In response, the Mughal emperor was forced to recognize him as the viceroy of the Deccan.[20]

Viceroy of the DeccanEdit

Asaf Jah I, Viceroy of the Deccan

In 1724, Nizam ul-Mulk resigned his post in disgust and set off for the Deccan to resume the Vice-royalty, only to find Mubariz Khan, who had been appointed governor by Emperor Farrukhsiyar nine years earlier, refusing to vacate the post.

Mubariz Khan had successfully restored law and order in the Deccan but he was also disloyal to the Mughal throne making only token payments and dividing plum administrative posts among his sons, his uncle and his favourite slave eunuchs. Unimpressed by the up-start occupying what he considered to be his rightful place, Nizam ul-Mulk gathered his forces at Shakarkheda in Berar for a showdown with Mubariz Khan's army known as Battle of Shakar Kheda. The encounter was short but decisive. Wrapped in his bloodsoaked shawl, Mubariz Khan drove his war elephant out of the battle until he died from his wounds. His severed head was then sent to Delhi as proof of Nizam ul-Mulk's determination to annihilate anyone who stood in his way.

Now came from the Emperor an elephant, jewels and the title of Asaf Jah, with directions to settle the country, repress the turbulent, punish the rebels and cherish the people. Asaf Jah, or the one equal to Asaf, the Grand Vizier in the court of King Solomon, was the highest title that could be awarded to a subject of the Mughal Empire. There were no lavish ceremonies to mark the establishment of the Asaf Jahi dynasty in 1724. The inauguration of the first Nizam took place behind closed doors in a private ceremony attended by the new ruler's closest advisors. Nizam ul-Mulk never formally declared his independence and insisted that his rule was entirely based on the trust reposed in him by the Mughal Emperor.[citation needed]

As the Viceroy of the Deccan, the Nizam was the head of the executive and judicial departments and the source of all civil and military authority of the Mughal empire in the Deccan. All officials were appointed by him directly or in his name. Later, assisted by a Diwan the Nizam drafted his own laws, raised his own armies, flew his own flag and formed his own government.

Acknowledging Muhammad Shah's farman, Nizam ul-mulk had good reason to be grateful. Alongside his own personal wealth came the spoils of war and status, he was also entitled to the lion's share of gold unearthed in his dominions, the finest diamonds and gems from Golconda mines and the income from his vast personal estates.

He then divided his newly acquired kingdom into three parts. One third became his own private estate known as the Sarf-i-Khas, one third was allotted for the expenses of the government and was known as the Diwans territory, and the remainder was distributed to Muslim nobles (Jagirdar, Zamindars, Deshmukh), who in return paid nazars (gifts) to the Nizam for the privilege of collecting revenue from the villages under their suzerainty. The most important of these were the Paigah estates. The Paigah's doubled up as generals, making it easy to raise an army should the Nizams Dominions come under attack. They were the equivalent to the Barmakids for the Abbasid Caliphate. Only second to the Nizams family, they were very important in the running of the government and even today their legacy lingers on with ruined palaces and tombs dotted around the once very feudal city of Hyderabad. On the sanads (scrolls) granting them their lands, inscribed in Persian were the words "as long as the Sun and the Moon are in rotation". The owners of the estates were mostly absentee landlords who cared little for the condition of the lands under their control. Jagirs were usually split into numerous pieces in order to prevent the most powerful of the nobles from entertaining any thought of carving out an empire for themselves. The system, which continued relatively unchanged until 1950, ensured a steady source of income for the state treasury and the Nizam himself.

Usage of War elephantsEdit

A Mahout and its rider in service of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah.

During a campaign against the Maratha in the year 1730, Nizam-ul-Mulk had no less than 1026 War elephants, 225 of which were armoured.[21]

War against the MarathasEdit

"The earth dried up, the clouds without dew, Alas! for the poor handful of grass."But marathas never fight directly in the battlefield and always run around and fight from behind the mountains."

Warid, written proverb describing Asaf Jah I and Samsam-ud-Daula's campaign against the Marathas in 1734[22]

In 1725, the Marathas clashed with the Nizam, who refused to pay Chauth and Sardeshmukhi to the Marathas. The war began in August 1727 and ended in March 1728. Nizam was defeated at Battle of Palkhed near Nashik by Bajirao I, the son of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath Bhatt.[23]

Nader ShahEdit

In 1738, from beyond the Hindu kush, Nader Shah started advancing towards Delhi through Afghanistan and the Punjab.

Nizam ul-Mulk sent his troops to Karnal, where Mughal Emperor Muhammed Shah's forces had gathered to turn back the Persian army. But the combined forces were cannon fodder for the Persian cavalry and its superior weaponry and tactics. Nader Shah defeated the combined armies of Muhammed Shah and Nizam.

Nader Shah entered Delhi and stationed his troops there. Some locals of Delhi had a quarrel and attacked his soldiers. At this, Nader Shah flew into a rage, drew out his sword from the scabbard and ordered the city to be looted and ransacked. Muhammad Shah was unable to prevent Delhi from being destroyed.

When Nader Shah ordered the massacre in Delhi, neither the helpless Mughal Emperor Muhammed Shah nor any of his Ministers had the courage to speak to Nader Shah and negotiate for a truce.

Only Asaf Jah came forward and risked his life for by going to Nader Shah and asking him to end the bloodbath of the city[citation needed]. Legend has it that Asaf Jah said to Nader Shah

"You have taken the lives of thousands of people of the city, if you still wish to continue the bloodshed, then bring those dead back to life and then kill them again, for there are none left to be killed."

These words had a tremendous impact on Nader Shah – he immediately put his sword inside its scabbard, ended the massacre and returned to Persia.[citation needed]

Later lifeEdit

The Nizam was well suited to rule his own territory. The administration was under control.

In March 1742, the British who were based in Fort St George in Madras sent a modest hamper to Nizam ul-mulk in recognition of his leadership of the most important of the Mughal successor states. Its contents included a gold throne, gold and silver threaded silk from Europe, two pairs of large painted looking glasses, and equipage for coffee cups, 163.75 yards of green and 73.5 yards of crimson velvet, brocades, Persian carpets, a gold ceremonial cloth, two Arab horses, half a dozen ornate rose-water bottles and 39.75 chests of rose water – enough to keep the Nizam and his entire darbar fragrant for the rest of his reign. In return, the Nizam sent one horse, a piece of jewelry and a note warning the British that they had no right to mint their own currency, to which they complied.

It was after Nizam ul-mulk's death that his son and grandson sought help from the British and French in order to win the throne. Just days before he died in 1748, Asaf Jah dictated his last will and testament. The 17 clause document was a blueprint for governance and personal conduct that ranged from advice on how to keep the troops happy and well fed to an apology for neglecting his wife. He then reminded his successors to remain subservient to the Mughal Emperor who had granted them their office and rank. He warned against declaring war unnecessarily, but if forced to do so to seek the help of elders and saints and follow the sayings and practices of the Prophet. Finally, he insisted to his sons that "you must not lend your ears to tittle-tattle of the backbiters and slanderers, nor suffer the riff-raff to approach your presence."[4]


By the Reign of the seventh Nizam, his dominion were similar in size to Belgium, but it was a far cry from when the first Nizam had ruled over a territory the size of France.

Nizam-ul-Mulk is remembered as laying the foundation for what would become one of the most important Muslim states outside the Middle East by the first half of the twentieth century. Hyderabad state survived right through the period of British rule up to the time of Indian independence 1947, and was indeed the largest – the state covered an extensive 95,337 sq. miles, an area larger than Mysore or Gwalior and the size of Nepal and Kashmir put together[24] (although it was the size of France when the first Nizam held reign) – and one of the most prosperous, among the princely states of the British Raj. The titles of "Nizam Ul Mulk" and "Asaf Jah" that were bestowed on him by the Mughal Emperors, carried his legacy as his descendants ruled under the title of " Nizam of Hyderabad" and the dynasty itself came to be known as the Asaf Jahi Dynasty.

In early 1710, while being as Subedar of Awadh, he was very much disturbed with the Mughal Emperors court politics and crafty cliques present inside the court, that he resigned from Subedari of Awadh and left to live a life of Fakir.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Asaf Jah was married to Sayed-UnNissa Begum, who belonged to a Sayed family from Gulbargah-with this marriage he had four children, two daughters and two sons; Ghazi-Uddin and Nasir Jung. From other wives he had four more sons; Salabat Jung, Nizam Ali Khan-(later Nizam II), Basalat Jung, and Mogal Ali Khan.[26]


Due to continuous engagement in restoring internal conflicts and resolving increasing treats of neighboring Marathas, he was engaged in extensive tour of his domain and in this process as soon as in May 1748 he arrived in Burhanpur, he caught cold and flu that deteriorated his health. Realizing death upon him, the Nizam dictated his last testament (wasiyyatnama), spanning 17 clauses in the presence of his available family members and close confidants. He died on 1 June 1748 aged 77 at Burhanpur, and was buried at mazaar of Shaikh Burhan ud-din Gharib Chisti, Khuldabad, near Aurangabad, the place where Nizams mentor Aurangazeb is also buried.[4]


  • 1685 : Khan
  • 1691 : Khan Bahadur
  • 1697 : Chin Qilich Khan (by Emperor Aurangazeb[27])
  • 9 December 1707 : Khan-i-Dauran Bahadur
  • 1712 : Ghazi ud-din Khan Bahadur and Firuz Jang
  • 12 January 1713 : Khan-i-Khanan, Nizam ul-Mulk and Fateh Jang (by Emperor Farrukhsiyar[27])
  • 12 July 1737 : Asaf Jah (by Emperor Muhammad Shah[27])
  • 26 February 1739 : Amir ul-Umara and Bakshi ul-Mamalik (Paymaster-General)
  • Final : Chin Fateh Khan, Chin Qilich Khan, Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah, Khan-i-Dauran Bahadur, Khan-i-Khana, Fateh Jung, Firuz Jang, Ghazi-ud-din Bahadur, Amir-ul-Umara, Bakhshi-ul-Mumalik[citation needed]

In popular cultureEdit


Military promotionsEdit

  • Commander of 400-foot and 100 horse, 1684 (roughly equivalent to a modern battalion commander or lieutenant-colonel)
  • 400-foot and 500 horse, 1691
  • 400-foot and 900 horse, 1698
  • 3,000-foot and 500 horse, 1698 (roughly equivalent to a modern regimental commander or colonel)
  • 3,500-foot and 3,000 horse, 1698 (roughly equivalent to a modern brigade commander or brigadier)
  • 4,000-foot and 3,000 horse, 1699,
  • 4,000-foot and 3,600 horse, 1700
  • 4,000-foot and 4,000 horse, 1702 (roughly equivalent to a modern division commander or major-general)
  • 5,000-foot and 5,000 horse, 1705
  • 6,000-foot and 6,000 horse, 9 December 1707
  • 7,000-foot and 7,000 horse, 27 January 1708
  • 8,000-foot and 8,000 horse, 12 January 1713
  • 9,000-foot and 9,000 horse, 8 February 1722[citation needed]
Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah I
Preceded by
Nizam of Hyderabad
1720 – 1 June 1748
Succeeded by
Nasir Jang Mir Ahmad


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  2. ^ Jaswant Lal Mehta (2005). Advanced study in the history of modern India 1707–1813. Sterling. p. 143. ISBN 9781932705546.
  3. ^ Rai, Raghunath. History. FK Publications. ISBN 9788187139690.
  4. ^ a b c Faruqui, Munis D. (2009). "At Empire's End: The Nizam, Hyderabad and Eighteenth-Century India". Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 43 (1): 5–6. doi:10.1017/S0026749X07003290. JSTOR 20488070.
  5. ^ Faruqui, Munis D. (2013). "At Empire's End: The Nizam, Hyderabad and Eighteenth-century India". In Richard M. Eaton; Munis D. Faruqui; David Gilmartin; Sunil Kumar (eds.). Expanding Frontiers in South Asian and World History: Essays in Honour of John F. Richards. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–38. ISBN 978-1-107-03428-0.
  6. ^ Sharma, Gauri (2006). Prime Ministers Under the Mughals 1526-1707. Kanishka, New Delhi. ISBN 8173918236.
  7. ^ Khan 1936, p. 1.
  8. ^ Khan 1936, p. 2.
  9. ^ Khan 1936, p. 4.
  10. ^ Khan 1936, p. 8.
  11. ^ Khan 1936, p. 11.
  12. ^ Khan 1936, p. 12.
  13. ^ Faruqui 2013, p. 3-4.
  14. ^ Khan 1936, p. 41.
  15. ^ a b c Khan 1936, p. 42.
  16. ^ a b Khan 1936, p. 44.
  17. ^ a b Khan 1936, p. 45.
  18. ^ Khan 1936, p. 46.
  19. ^ Khan 1936, p. 47.
  20. ^ Kate, P. V. (1987). Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724–1948. Mittal. pp. 11–13. ISBN 978-81-7099-017-8.
  21. ^ Oxford Progressive English by Rachel Redford
  22. ^ Full text of "Later Mughals;"
  23. ^ Bernard Law Montgomery Montgomery of Alamein (Viscount) (2000). A Concise History of Warfare. Wordsworth Editions Limited. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-84022-223-4.
  24. ^ "Hyderabad Online : The Nizam Dynasty". Archived from the original on 16 April 2007.
  25. ^ Khan 1936, p. 51.
  26. ^ "Nizams". Maharashtra State Gazetteers. 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  27. ^ a b c "Hyderabad on the Net : The Nizams". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012.

Further readingEdit