Hyderabad State[8] was a princely state under the British Raj in the south-central Deccan region of India with its capital at the city of Hyderabad. It is now divided into the state of Telangana, the Kalyana-Karnataka region of Karnataka, and the Marathwada region of Maharashtra in present-day India.

State of Hyderabad
Flag of Hyderabad State
Flag (1947–1948)
Motto: Al Azmat Allah
("Greatness belongs to God")
Ya Osman
("Oh Osman")
Hyderabad (dark green) and Berar Province, not a part of Hyderabad State but also the Nizam's Dominion between 1853 and 1903 (light green)
Hyderabad (dark green) and Berar Province, not a part of Hyderabad State but also the Nizam's Dominion between 1853 and 1903 (light green)
StatusIndependent/Mughal Successor State (1724–1798)
Semi-independent under British Protection (1798–1858)
Princely state of India (1858–1947)
Unrecognised Independent State (1947–1948)
CapitalAurangabad (1724–1763)
Hyderabad (1763–1948)
Official languagesPersian (Court and revenue 1724–1886) and Urdu (Dynastic)[1]
Urdu (For Court and revenue from 1886–1948)
Common languagesTelugu (48.2%)
Marathi (26.4%)
Kannada (12.3%)
Urdu (10.3%)[2][3]
Hinduism (81%)
Islam (13% and State Religion)[4]
Christianity and others (6%) (spread among Anglo-Indian population expanding to Secunderabad and Hyderabad) [5]
GovernmentAbsolute Monarchy
Nizam/Prince (1858–1947) 
• 1720–1748
Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah I (first)
• 1911–56
Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII (last, also was Rajpramukh from 1950)
Prime Minister 
• 1724–1730
Iwaz Khan (first)
• 1947–1948
Mir Laiq Ali (Last)
Historical era.
• Established
18 September 1948
1 November 1956
1941[7]214,187 km2 (82,698 sq mi)
• 1941[7]
CurrencyHyderabadi rupee
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mughal Empire
• Viceroy of the Deccan
Hyderabad State (1948–1956)
Today part ofIndia

The state was ruled from 1724 to 1857 by the Nizam, who was initially a viceroy of the Mughal empire in the Deccan. Hyderabad gradually became the first princely state to come under British paramountcy signing a subsidiary alliance agreement. During the British rule in 1901, the state had an average revenue of Rs. 417,000,000, making it the wealthiest princely state in India.[9] The native inhabitants of Hyderabad State, regardless of ethnic origin, are called "Mulki" (countryman), a term still used today.[10][11]

The dynasty declared itself an independent monarchy during the final years of the British Raj. After the Partition of India, Hyderabad signed a standstill agreement with the new dominion of India, continuing all previous arrangements except for the stationing of Indian troops in the state. Hyderabad's location in the middle of the Indian Union, as well as its diverse cultural heritage, led to India's annexation of the state in 1948.[12] Subsequently, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the 7th Nizam, signed an instrument of accession, joining India.[13]

Painting of First Nizam ul Mulk
On 22 February 1937, a cover story by Time called Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII the wealthiest man in the world

History edit

Early history edit

Hyderabad State was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan who was the governor of Deccan under the Mughals from 1713 to 1721. In 1724, he resumed rule from the Mughal provincial capital of Aurangabad, under the title of Asaf Jah (granted by Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah). His other title, Nizam ul-Mulk (Order of the Realm), became the title of his position "Nizam of Hyderabad". By the end of his rule, the Nizam had become independent from the Mughals, and had founded the Asaf Jahi dynasty.[14][15]

Following the decline of the Mughal power, the region of Deccan saw the rise of the Maratha Empire. The Nizam himself saw many invasions by the Marathas in the 1720s, which resulted in the Nizam paying a regular Chauth (tax) to the Marathas. The major battles fought between the Marathas and the Nizam include Palkhed, Rakshasbhuvan, and Kharda.[16][17] Following the conquest of Deccan by Bajirao I and the imposition of Chauth by him, Nizam remained a tributary of the Marathas for all intent and purposes.[18]

In 1763, the Nizam shifted the capital to the city of Hyderabad.[15] From 1778, a British resident and soldiers were installed in his dominions. In 1795, the Nizam lost some of his territories to the Marathas. The territorial gains of the Nizam from Mysore as an ally of the British were ceded to the British to meet the cost of maintaining the British soldiers.[14]

British suzerainty edit

In 1798, Nizam ʿĀlī Khan (Asaf Jah II) was forced to enter into an agreement that put Hyderabad under British protection. He was the first Indian prince to sign such an agreement. (Consequently, the ruler of Hyderabad rated a 23-gun salute during the period of British India.)[citation needed] The Crown retained the right to intervene in case of misrule.[14]

Hyderabad under Asaf Jah II was a British ally in the second and third Maratha Wars (1803–05, 1817–19), Anglo-Mysore wars, and would remain loyal to the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (1857–58).[14][19]

His son, Asaf Jah III Mir Akbar Ali Khan (known as Sikandar Jah) ruled from 1803 to 1829. During his rule, a British cantonment was built in Hyderabad and the area was named in his honour, Secunderabad.[20] The British Residency at Koti was also built during his reign by the then British Resident James Achilles Kirkpatrick.[21]

Sikander Jah was succeeded by Asaf Jah IV, who ruled from 1829 to 1857 and was succeeded by his son Asaf Jah V.[22]

Asaf Jah V edit

Asaf Jah V's reign from 1857 to 1869 was marked by reforms by his Prime Minister Salar Jung I. Before this time, there was no regular or systematic form of administration, and the duties were in the hands of the Diwan (Prime Minister), and corruption was thus widespread.[23]

In 1867, the State was divided into five divisions and seventeen districts, and subedars (governors) were appointed for the five Divisions and talukdars and tehsildars for the districts. The judicial, public works, medical, educational, municipal, and police departments were re-organized.[24] In 1868, sadr-i-mahrams (Assistant Ministers) were appointed for the Judicial, Revenue, Police, and Miscellaneous Departments. [25]

Asaf Jah VI edit

Asaf Jah VI Mir Mahbub Ali Khan became the Nizam at the age of three years. His regents were Salar Jung I and Shams-ul-Umra III and later on Asman Jah and Viqar-ul-Umra. He assumed full rule at the age of 17 and ruled until he died in 1911.[26][27][28] His reign saw the official language of Hyderabad State shift from Persian to Urdu, a change implemented in the 1880s during the short tenure of Prime Minister Salar Jung II.[29]

The Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway was established during his reign to connect Hyderabad State to the rest of British India. It was headquartered at Secunderabad Railway Station.[30][31] The railway marked the beginning of industry in Hyderabad, and factories were built in Hyderabad city.[26][32]

During his rule, the Great Musi Flood of 1908 struck the city of Hyderabad, which killed an estimated 50,000 people. The Nizam opened all his palaces for public asylum.[33][34][35]

He also abolished Sati where women used to jump into their husband's burning pyre, by issuing a royal firman.[36]

Asaf Jah VII edit

The last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan ruled the state from 1911 until 1948. He was given the title "Faithful Ally of the British Empire".[14]

The Nizam also established Hyderabad State Bank. Hyderabad was the only independent state in Indian subcontinent that had its currency, the Hyderabadi rupee.[37] The Begumpet Airport was established in the 1930s with formation of Hyderabad Aero Club by the Nizam. Initially, it was used as a domestic and international airport for Nizam's Deccan Airways, the earliest airline in British India. The terminal building was created in 1937.[38]

To prevent another great flood, the Nizam also constructed two lakes, namely the Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar. The Osmania General Hospital, Jubilee Hall, State Library (then known as Asifia Kutubkhana) and Public Gardens (then known as Bagh e Aam) were constructed during this period.[39][40]

After Indian Independence (1947–1948) edit

In 1947 India gained independence and Pakistan came into existence. The British left the local rulers of the princely states the choice of whether to join one or the other or to remain independent. On 11 June 1947, the Nizam issued a declaration to the effect that he had decided not to participate in the Constituent Assembly of either Pakistan or India.

However, the Nizams were Muslim ruling over a predominantly Hindu population.[14] India insisted that the great majority of residents wanted to join India.[41]

The Nizam was in a weak position as his army numbered only 24,000 men, of whom only some 6,000 were fully trained and equipped.[42]

On 21 August 1948, the Secretary-General of the Hyderabad Department of External Affairs requested the President of the United Nations Security Council, under Article 35(2) of the United Nations Charter, to consider the "grave dispute, which, unless settled by international law and justice, is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security".[43][non-primary source needed]

On 4 September the Prime Minister of Hyderabad Mir Laiq Ali announced to the Hyderabad Assembly that a delegation was about to leave for Lake Success, headed by Moin Nawaz Jung.[44] The Nizam also appealed, without success, to the British Labour Government and to the King for assistance, to fulfil their obligations and promises to Hyderabad by "immediate intervention". Hyderabad only had the support of Winston Churchill and the British Conservatives.[45]

(From left to right): Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nizam VII and army chief Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri after Hyderabad's accession to India
Hyderabad state in 1956 (in yellowish-green). After the reorganisation in 1956, Regions of the state west of Red and Blue lines merged with Bombay and Mysore states respectively and the rest of the state (Telangana) was merged with Andhra State to form the state of Andhra Pradesh.

At 4 a.m. on 13 September 1948, India's Hyderabad Campaign, code-named "Operation Polo" by the Indian Army, began. Indian troops invaded Hyderabad from all points of the compass. On 13 September 1948, the Secretary-General of the Hyderabad Department of External Affairs in a cablegram informed the United Nations Security Council that Hyderabad was being invaded by Indian forces and that hostilities had broken out. The Security Council took notice of it on 16 September in Paris. The representative of Hyderabad called for immediate action by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The Hyderabad representative responded to India's excuse for the intervention by pointing out that the Stand-still Agreement between the two countries had expressly provided that nothing in it should give India the right to send in troops to assist in the maintenance of internal order.[46][non-primary source needed]

At 5 p.m. on 17 September, the Nizam's army surrendered. The Government of Hyderabad resigned, and military governors and chief ministers were appointed by the Nizam at India's direction.[47][48]

On 26 January 1950,[49][50] India formally incorporated the state of Hyderabad into the Union of India and ended the rule of the Nizams.[51]

Hyderabad State (1948–1956) edit

After the incorporation of Hyderabad State into India, M. K. Vellodi was appointed as Chief Minister of the state and Mir Osman Ali Khan became the Rajpramukh on 26 January 1950. He was a Senior Civil servant in the Government of India. He administered the state with the help of bureaucrats from Madras state and Bombay state.[52]

In the 1952 Legislative Assembly election, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao was elected Chief Minister of Hyderabad State. During this time there were violent agitations by some Telanganites to send back bureaucrats from Madras state, and to strictly implement 'Mulki-rules' (local jobs for locals only), which was part of Hyderabad state law since 1919.[53]

Dissolution edit

In 1956 during the reorganisation of the Indian States based along linguistic lines, the state of Hyderabad was split up among Andhra Pradesh and Bombay state (later Maharashtra) and Karnataka.[54]

On 2 June 2014, the state of Telangana was formed splitting from the rest of Andhra Pradesh state and formed the 29th state of India, with Hyderabad as its capital.

Government and politics edit

Government edit

Hyderabad State 1901 with Districts
Hyderabad State in 1909 with Divisions and New Districts

Wilfred Cantwell Smith states that Hyderabad was an area where the political and social structure from medieval Muslim rule had been preserved more or less intact into modern times.[55] The last Nizam was reputed to be the wealthiest man in the world.[56] He was supported by an aristocracy of 1,100 feudal lords who owned a further 30% of the state's land, with some 4 million tenant farmers. The state also owned 50% or more of the capital in all the major enterprises, allowing the Nizam to earn further profits and control their affairs.[57]

Next in the social structure were the administrative and official classes, comprising about 1,500 officials. A number of them were recruited from outside the state. The lower-level government employees were also predominantly Muslim. Effectively, the Muslims of Hyderabad represented an 'upper caste' of the social structure.[58][a]

All power was vested in the Nizam. He ruled with the help of an Executive Council or Cabinet, established in 1893, whose members he was free to appoint and dismiss. The government of the Nizam recruited heavily from the North Indian Hindu Kayastha caste for administrative posts.[59] There was also an Assembly, whose role was mostly advisory. More than half of its members were appointed by the Nizam and the rest were elected from a carefully limited franchise. There were representatives of Hindus, Parsis, Christians and Depressed Classes in the Assembly. Their influence was however limited due to their small numbers.[60][61]

The state government also had a large number of outsiders (called non-mulkhis) – 46,800 of them in 1933, including all the members of the Nizam's Executive Council. Hindus and Muslims united in protesting against the practice which robbed the locals of government employment. The movement, however, fizzled out after the Hindu members raised the issue of 'responsible government', which was of no interest to the Muslim members and led to their resignation.[62]

Various properties and wealth owned by the Nizam as part of Hyderabad State are now succeeded by his descendants, including his grandsons Prince Mukarram Jah, Prince Mufakkam Jah & Prince Shahmat Jah and his great-grandson Himayat Ali Mirza among others.[63][64] Himayat Ali Mirza, great-grandson of the Nizam, remarked that his stake in the English state sums up to 36% of the total amount.[63] For claiming the total share of £35 million, Nizam's great-grandson, Himayat Ali Mirza, reached the London High Court.[65]

Political movements edit

Up to 1920, there was no political organisation of any kind in Hyderabad. In that year, following British pressure, the Nizam issued a firman appointing a special officer to investigate constitutional reforms. It was welcomed enthusiastically by a section of the populace, who formed the Hyderabad State Reforms Association. However, the Nizam and the Special Officer ignored all their demands for consultation. Meanwhile, the Nizam banned the Khilafat movement in the State as well as all political meetings and the entry of "political outsiders". Nevertheless, some political activity did take place and witnessed cooperation between Hindus and Muslims. The abolition of the Sultanate in Turkey and Gandhi's suspension of the Non-co-operation movement in British India ended this period of cooperation.[61]

An organisation called Andhra Jana Sangham (later renamed Andhra Mahasabha) was formed in November 1921 and focused on educating the masses of Telangana in political awareness. With leading members such as Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao and M. Narsing Rao, its activities included urging merchants to resist offering freebies to government officials and encouraging labourers to resist the system of begar (free labour requested at the behest of state). Alarmed by its activities, the Nizam passed a powerful gagging order in 1929, requiring all public meetings to obtain prior permission. But the organisation persisted by mobilising on social issues such as the protection of ryots, women's rights, abolition of the devadasi system and purdah, uplifting of Dalits etc. It turned to politics again in 1937, passing a resolution calling for responsible government. Soon afterwards, it split along the moderate–extremist lines. The Andhra Mahasabha's move towards politics also inspired similar movements in Marathwada and Karnataka in 1937, giving rise to the Maharashtra Parishad and Karnataka Parishad respectively.[61]

Military edit

Hyderabad's first ruler, Asaf Jah I (r. 1724–1748) was a talented commander and assembled a powerful army that allowed Hyderabad to become one of the preeminent states in southern India.[66] After his death, the military was crippled by the succession wars of his sons. It was restored under Asaf Jah II (r. 1762–1803) who modernized the army.[67] Notable units during his reign included British-trained battalions,[68] the French-trained Corps Français de Raymond which was led by Michel Joachim Marie Raymond and fought under the French Tricolour, and the Victorious Battalion, an elite infantry unit entirely composed of women.[69]

Culture edit

Symbols edit

Coat of arms edit

The coat of arms features the full titles of the Nizam at the bottom, and a dastar[citation needed]

Flag edit

Under the leadership of Asaf Jah V the state changed its traditional heraldic flag.

The Asafia flag of Hyderabad. The script along the top reads Al Azmatulillah meaning "All greatness is for God". The bottom script reads Ya Uthman which translates to "Oh Osman". The writing in the middle reads "Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah"

Stamps edit

1937 Hyderabad State stamp featuring the Osmania General Hospital.

The stamps of the Hyderabad State featured the Golconda Fort, Ajanta Caves, and the Charminar.[71]

Anthem edit

The National Anthem of Nizam's Dominion, better known as "O Osman", was the national anthem of the Hyderabad State until its annexation by India. It was composed by John Frederick during the time of 7th Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan and the lyrics are as follows.

May the creator bless the kingdom till eternity,
And O! Osman, keep you sound and healthy.
And make you live with dignity for a hundred years,
By the grace of God you are the pride of rulers.
May the Almighty keep your rule illustrious,
May God grant long life like khizr to your children.
And maintain the continuity of your noble descent,
May the proverbial Hatim’s charity pale before yours.
May your sense of justice surpass even that of Khusro,
and May your wellwishers glow like full-blown flowers.
And your enemies acknowledge your superior prowess,
O! Osman, make your tavern an abode of joy and ecstasy.

Other symbols edit

State symbols of Hyderabad
State language Urdu
State animal Blackbuck  
State bird Indian roller  
State tree Neem tree  
State flower Blue Water lily  

Demographics edit

Mulki edit

Mulkis or Mulkhis, are the native inhabitants of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, regardless of ethnic differences.[10] The term was popularly used during the 1952 Mulkhi Agitation (Telangana), which saw protests demanding job reservations for Mulki people, and demanding non-Mulkis to leave.[72]

Languages in Hyderabad State[73]

  Telugu (48.2%)
  Marathi (26.4%)
  Kannada (12.3%)
  Urdu (10.3%)
  Others (2.8%)

As per the 1941 Hyderabad State Census, 2,187,005 people spoke Urdu, 7,529,229 people spoke Telugu, 3,947,089 people spoke Marathi, 1,724,180 people spoke Kanarese (Kannada) as native languages.[74] The Hyderabadi Muslim population, including the ruling Asaf Jahi dynasty numbered around 2,097,475 people, while Hindus numbered around 9,171,318 people.[75]

Architecture edit

The architecture of Hyderabad State is very cosmopolitan, and heavily influenced by European and Islamic styles. The Nizam's palaces and several public buildings were built in a distinctive style. The earliest surviving buildings are purely European, examples being the neoclassical British Residency (1798) and Falaknuma Palace (1893). In the early 20th century, the Osmania General Hospital[76] City College, High Court, and Kacheguda Railway station were designed in the Indo-Saracenic style by Vincent Esch. The Moazzam Jahi Market was also built in a similar style.[77]

Industries edit

Sirpur Paper Mills (SPM)
A locomotive at the Secunderabad Station (circa 1928)

Various major industries emerged in various parts of the State of Hyderabad before its incorporation into the Union of India, especially during the first half of the twentieth century. Hyderabad city had a separate power plant for electricity. However, the Nizams focused on industrial development in the region of Sanathnagar, housing several industries there with transportation facilities by both road and rail.[78]

Industries in pre-Independence Hyderabad[78]
Company Year
Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway 1875
Karkhana Zinda Tilismat 1920
Singareni Collieries 1920
Hyderabad Deccan Cigarette Factory 1930
Vazir Sultan Tobacco Company, Charminar cigarette factory 1930
Azam Jahi Mills Warangal 1934
Nizam Sugar Factory 1937
Allwyn Metal Works 1942
Praga Tools 1943
Deccan Airways Limited 1945
Hyderabad Asbestos 1946
Sirsilk 1946
Sirpur Paper Mills 1938

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ However some Hindus served in high government posts such as Prime Minister of Hyderabad — Raja Ragunath Das, Vitthal Sundar Parshurami, Raja Sham Raj Rai Rayan, Maharaja Chandu Lal, Ram Baksh, Ganesh Rao, Maharaja Sir Kishen Pershad; Kotwal of Hyderabad (Venkatarama Reddy); and Raja Shamraj Rajwant Bahadur, member of H. E. H the Nizam's Executive Council.

References edit

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  2. ^ Beverley, Hyderabad, British India, and the World 2015, p. 110.
  3. ^ Benichou, Autocracy to Integration 2000, p. 20.
  4. ^ MiO'Dwyer, Michael (1988), India as I Knew it: 1885–1925, Mittal Publications, pp. 137–, GGKEY:DB7YTGYWP7W
  5. ^ Smith 1950, pp. 27–28.
  6. ^ Benichou, Autocracy to Integration 2000, Chapter 7: "'Operation Polo', the code name for the armed invasion of Hyderabad"
  7. ^ a b Husain, Mazhar (1947). Census Of India 1941 Vol-xxi H.e.h. The Nizams Dominions (hyd State).
  8. ^ Ali, Cherágh (1886). Hyderabad (Deccan) Under Sir Salar Jung. Printed at the Education Society's Press.
  9. ^ "Imperial Gazetteer2 of India, Volume 13, page 277 – Imperial Gazetteer of India – Digital South Asia Library".
  10. ^ a b Leonard, Karen Isaksen (2007). Locating Home: India's Hyderabadis Abroad. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-5442-2.
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  12. ^ Sherman, Taylor C. (2007), "The integration of the princely state of Hyderabad and the making of the postcolonial state in India, 1948–56" (PDF), The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 44 (4): 489–516, doi:10.1177/001946460704400404, S2CID 145000228
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  28. ^ Lynton, Days of the Beloved 1987, pp. 13–19.
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  33. ^ Law 1914, pp. 84–86.
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  45. ^ Benichou, Autocracy to Integration 2000, p. 231.
  46. ^ United Nations Document S/986
  47. ^ "High Commissioner of Pakistan v Natwest Bank" (PDF). p. 66. On 17 September 1948, the troops of Hyderabad surrendered and the Government of Hyderabad administration headed by Laik Ali (and including Moin) resigned.
  48. ^ "High Commissioner of Pakistan v Natwest Bank" (PDF). p. 69. ... Government of India had purposely avoided any question of accession and maintained until that date Nizam's authority as source from which military Governors' and chief Ministers' powers were derived.
  49. ^ "High Commissioner of Pakistan v Natwest Bank" (PDF). p. 66. Further, on 26 January 1950 there came into being the Union of India and a new State of the Union of India, the Union State of Hyderabad.
  50. ^ "High Commissioner of Pakistan v Natwest Bank" (PDF). p. 697. ... Firman issued by Nizam on 24 November 1949…which suggests that accession became effective on 26 January 1950.
  51. ^ Benichou, Autocracy to Integration 2000, p. 232.
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  56. ^ Guha 2008, p. 51.
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  58. ^ Smith 1950, pp. 29–30.
  59. ^ Leonard, K.I., 1994. Social History of an Indian Caste: The Kayasths of Hyderabad. Orient Blackswan.[1] Archived 27 January 2020 at the Wayback Machine
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  61. ^ a b c Benichou, Autocracy to Integration 2000, Chapter 2.
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  65. ^ "Nizam set to get possession of £35 million after London court rules in favour". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  66. ^ Dalrymple (2003), p. 86.
  67. ^ Dalrymple (2003), p. 87.
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17°00′N 78°50′E / 17.000°N 78.833°E / 17.000; 78.833