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State of Hyderabad

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Title: State of Hyderabad  
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State of Hyderabad

This article is about the princely state in India ruled by the Nizam from 1724 to 1948. For other uses, see Hyderabad (disambiguation).

State of Hyderabad
Province of the Mughal Empire 1724–1798
Princely state of the British Indian Empire 1798–1947
Independent 1947–1948


Flag Coat of arms
Hyderabad (dark green) and Berar (not a part of Hyderabad but also Nizam's Dominion between 1853 and 1903) light green.
Capital Aurangabad (1724-1763)
(now in Maharashtra, India)
Hyderabad (1763-1948)
(now in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Languages Urdu, Telugu, Persian, Marathi, Kannada
Religion Hinduism and Islam
Government Principality (1724–1948)
Province of the Indian Union (1948–1950)
Province of the Republic of India(1950-1956)
 -  1720–48 Qamaruddin Khan (first)
 -  1911–48 Osman Ali Khan (last)
Prime Minister
 -  1724–1730 Iwaz Khan (first)
 -  1947–1948

After annexation by Indian Union 1948–1956

Chief ministers of Hyderabad State M. K. Vellodi 1948–1952 Burgula Ramakrishna Rao 1952–1956

Mir Laiq Ali (last)
Historical era Mughal Empire (1724-1798)
Indian British Empire (1798-1947)
Independent State (1947-1948)
Indian Union (1948-1950)
India (1950-1956)
Dividing between Andhra Pradesh
Merging Telanagana part of Hyderabad State with Andhra State
Mysore and Bombay States.
 -  Established 1724
 -  Telangana Rebellion 1946
 -  Annexed by India 18 September 1948
 -  Division 1 November 1956
Area 215,339 km² (83,143 sq mi)
Currency Hyderabadi rupee

The Hyderābād State Nizam. The capital city was Hyderabad.

The Asaf Jahi was a dynasty of Turkic origin from the region around Samarkand in modern day Uzbekistan, who came to India in the late 17th century, and became employees of the Mughal Empire. The region became part of the Mughal Empire in the 1680s. When the empire began to weaken in the 18th century, Asif Jah defeated a rival Mughal governor's attempt to seize control of the empire's southern provinces, declaring himself Nizam-al-Mulk of Hyderabad in 1724. The Mughal emperor, under renewed attack from the Marathas, was unable to prevent it.

Following the decline of the Mughal power, India saw the rise of Maratha Empire, Nizam himself saw many invasions by the Marathas. Some of the major battles fought between Marathas and Nizam include Battle of Rakshasbhuvan and Battle of Palkhed.[1] [1][2]

In 1798 Hyderabad became a princely states under British East India Company's suzerainty. By a subsidiary alliance it had ceded to the British East India company the control of its external affairs.

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.

In 1947, at the time of the partition of India, British offered the various princely states in the sub-continent the option of acceding to either India or Pakistan, or staying on as an independent state.

At the time of the partition of India, the State of Hyderabad was the largest and most prosperous of all princely states in India. It covered 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of fairly homogenous territory and comprised 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.

Nizam decided to keep Hyderabad independent. The leaders of the new Union of India however, were wary of having an independent - and possibly hostile - state in the heart of their new country. Most of the other 565 princely states had already acceded to India or to Pakistan voluntarily. The Indian government was therefore determined to annex Hyderabad into the Indian Union, by force if necessary.

In September 1948, India launched a military operation named Operation Polo, led by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, then Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of India. The Indian Armed Forces invaded the State of Hyderabad and overthrew Nizam.[3][4]

Seven Nizams had ruled Hyderabad State for two centuries until the Indian conquest of Hyderabad in 1948 brought about the end of the dynasty. The Asaf Jahi rulers were great patrons of literature, art, architecture, culture, jewellery, and rich food. The Nizams patronized Persian art, Persian Architecture, and Persian culture, which became central to the Hyderabadi Muslim identity. They also introduced electricity, developed the railways and the roads, air communications, irrigation and reservoirs. The last Nizam was well known for his huge wealth and jewelry collection; he had been the richest man in the world until the end of his reign.[5] Indeed, all major public buildings in Hyderabad City were built during his reign, while the British Raj was supreme. He pushed education, science, and the establishment of Osmania University.

Early history

The Nizam of Hyderabad was earlier the Mughal Viceroy of the Deccan. The Asaf Jahi was a dynasty of Turkic origin from the region around Samarkand in modern day Uzbekistan, who came to India in the late 17th century, and became employees of the Mughal Empire. As the Mughals were great patron of Persian culture, language, literature: the family found a ready patronage. However, with the decline of the Mughals the Deccan attained independence, though the first Nizam continued to owe allegiance to the Mughal Emperor. The Deccan territories were thus the last survivors of the Mughal empire, along with the Princely state of Awadh (in North India). These territories soon came to be known as the 'Nizam's Dominions', which (in the year 1760) included areas from south of Maharashtra to the southern end of Tamil Nadu, encompassing vast territories in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The Nawab of the Carnatic, who accepted the suzerainty of the Nizam, ruled southern territories that are now part of Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh. However, Hyder Ali administered the regions in and around Mysore and did not owe any allegiance to the Nizam.

With the Mughal empire in disarray, this was a time when the French and British were competing for supremacy in the Indian sub-continent. The French exercised considerable influence in the Deccan from their stronghold of Pondicherry. In fact, the Nizam had a French regent stationed at Hyderabad in the later years of the 18th century as an important adviser, and there remains to this day a street of Hyderabad city named Troop Bazaar, which recalls where the French originally had their military barracks. The Nizam's dominions were at their greatest territorial extent at the time of the first Nizam, Nizam-ul-mulk, Asaf Jah-I. However, after his death there arose a succession struggle, with the British and French supporting competing factions. This resulted in a period of internal instability as two Nizams (Nasir Jung and Muzaffar Jung) ruled in rapid succession, each being assassinated by a rival faction. The combined duration of their rule was just four years. The fourth Nizam, Mir Ali Salabat Jung, came to the throne on French instigation and his rule prevailed for 12 years. This period marked the height of French influence in the Nizam's dominions. Mir Ali Salabat Jung's successor was Ali Khan Asaf Jah II, who gained the territories of Aurangabad, Bidar and Sholapur in various battles with the Marathas. Though Asaf Jah-II ruled for over 50 years, the Nizam's dominions lost considerable power and more importantly, land to both the British and the French due to infighting and debts owed to the foreign powers. He ceded the territory of Northern Circars (present day coastal Andhra Pradesh) to the French as a gift 'for perpetuity', while British, French and Hyder Ali annexed the Carnatic regions. The Nizam was criticized for failing to form an alliance with Hyder Ali of the Kingdom of Mysore, a move which could have countered the increasing influence of the British in the Deccan. In this time, with the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, the British also replaced the French as the supreme colonial power in the Indian sub-continent. The British also fought a war with Mysore, which increased its clout in the Deccan and, by 1800, the Nizam's dominions came into a state of near-suzerainty under the British.

During the British Raj

By 1801, the Nizam's dominion assumed the shape it is now remembered for: that of a princely state with territories in central Deccan, bounded on all sides by British India, whereas 150 years earlier it had considerable coastline on the Bay of Bengal. During the Mutiny of 1857, Salar Jung chose to side with the British, thereby earning the title of 'Faithful Ally' for Hyderabad. This action causes some regret among modern patriots, because had the Nizam's dominions sided with the rebel forces, the British would have been greatly weakened. Hyderabad was as important to the South of India as Delhi was to the North. However, this did not happen and Hyderabad was one of several independent kingdoms of India to side with the British. In 1857, when the rule of the East India Company came to an end and British India came under the direct rule of the Crown, Hyderabad continued to be one of the most important of the princely states. Twenty years later, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

The senior-most (23-gun) salute state during the period of British India, Hyderabad was an 82,000 square mile (212,000 km²) region in the Deccan, ruled by the head of the Asif Jahi dynasty, who had the title of Nizam and on whom was bestowed the style of "His Exalted Highness" by the British. Development within the state of Hyderabad grew as Salar Jung and the Nizams founded schools, colleges, madrasas and a university that imparted education in Urdu. Inspired by the elite and prestigious Indian Civil Service, the Nizam founded the Hyderabad Civil Service. The pace with which the last Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, amassed wealth made him one of the world's richest men in the 1930s.[6] Carrying a gift, called Nazrana, in accordance with one's net worth while meeting the Nizam, was a de facto necessity.

Industries in Hyderabad under the Nizams

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. However, the Nizams focussed industrial development on the region of Sanathnagar, housing a number of industries there with transportation facilities by both Road and Rail.[7]

Industries in pre-Independence Hyderabad
Company Year
Singareni Collieries 1921
Nizam Sugar Factory 1937
Allwyn Metal Works 1942
Praga Tools 1943
Sirsilk 1946
Hyderabad Asbestos (HIL Ltd.) 1947
Karkhana Zinda Tilismat 1920
Charminar Cigarette 1925
Vazir Sultan Tobacco Company 1930
Azam Jahi Mills Warangal 1934

After Indian Independence (1947–48)

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 June 11, 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.

On 9 July 1947, in a letter to the Crown Representative, the Nizam requested that Hyderabad be accorded dominion status. This was, however, problematical. Given the Nizam's determination not to join India, this would leave Hyderabad as an independent country entirely surrounded by the new Union of India. The Nizam was a Muslim but the Hindus outnumbered the Muslims by about eight to one in the State.[8]

Keeping in mind Hyderabad's geographical position and the existence of a Hindu majority in his state, and countering India's insistence on accession, pending a settlement the Nizam signed a Stand-still Agreement with India on 29 November 1947. The Agreement was to remain in force for a period of one year. The Agreement provided that disputes arising out of it could be referred to the arbitration of two arbitrators, one appointed by each of the parties, and an umpire appointed by those arbitrators.

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.[9] The Indian government refused to accept Hyderabad's independence and prepared to carry out a so-called "Hyderabad Police Action" against the Nizam.

On 21 August 1948, the Secretary-General of the Hyderabad Department of External Affairs requested the President of the United Nations's Security Council under, under Article 35(2) of the United Nations Charter, to consider the "grave dispute, which, unless settled in accordance with international law and justice, is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security."[10]

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.[11] The Nizam also appealed, without success, to the British Labour Government and to the King for assistance, to fulfill their obligations and promises to Hyderabad by "immediate intervention". Hyderabad only had the support of Winston Churchill and the British Conservatives.[12]

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.[13]

At 5 p.m. on 17 September the Nizam surrendered. India then incorporated the state of Hyderabad into the Union of India and ended the rule of the Nizams.[14] The annexation of Hyderabad was generally welcomed by many Hindus in the state, but Muslims emphasized the unlawfulness of the invasion. Some Muslims migrated to Pakistan, mainly to Karachi, which has a sizeable Hyderabadi muhajir community.

On 6 October 1948, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Zafarullah, requested the President of the United Nations' Security Council that Pakistan be permitted to participate in the discussion of the Hyderabad question in accordance with Article 31 of the United Nations' Charter.[15]

Hyderabad became a state of India.

Communal Violence

The Hyderabad state police and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) sponsored Razakar Islamic militia put down the armed revolts by Communists and the peasantry, committed atrocities against the Hindu population, and even eliminated Hyderabadi Muslims such as Shoebullah Khan, who advocated merger with India.[16] "To face this challenge from the people, the Nizam encouraged the Razakars to terrorise the Hindus and also to change the communal complexion of the State by forcibly converting Hindus into Islam and inviting Muslims from outside to settle in the State."[16]

"From the beginning of 1948 the Razakars had extended their activities from Hyderabad city into the towns and rural areas, murdering hindus, abducting women, pillaging houses and fields, and looting non-muslim property in a widespread reign of terror".[17] "Some women became victims of rape and kidnapping by Razakars. Thousands went to jail and braved the cruelties perpetuated by the oppressive administration. Due to the activities of the Razakars, thousands of Hindus had to flee from the state and take shelter in various camps”.[18] An official count by the Government is hard to come by, but tens of thousands of Hindus are thought to have been killed.

Reports of looting, mass murder and rape of Muslims in reprisals by Hyderabadi Hindus and Indian Army soldiers following the invasion reached the Nehru government.[19] A committee led by Pandit Sunderlal investigated the situation and compiled the facts but the findings of the report was not disclosed until 2013 when they were made available at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi.[19] The Committee concluded that while Muslims villagers were disarmed by the Indian Army, Hindus were often left with their weapons.[19] In some cases, it said, Indian soldiers themselves took an active hand in the butchery: "At a number of places members of the armed forces brought out Muslim adult males from villages and towns and massacred them in cold blood."[19] The official "very conservative estimate" was that 27,000 to 40,000 died "during and after the police action".[19]

Districts of Hyderabad State

Administratively, Hyderabad State was made up of sixteen districts, grouped into four divisions:


After the incorporation of Hyderabad State into India, M. K. Vellodi was appointed as Chief Minister of the state 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.

In first State Assembly elections in India, 1952, Dr. 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.[20]


In 1956 during the Reorganisation of the Indian States based along linguistic lines, the state of Hyderabad was split up among Andhra Pradesh, Bombay state (later divided into states of Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960 with the original portions of Hyderabad becoming part of the state of Maharashtra) and Karnataka.

In December 1953, the States Reorganization Commission was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines.[21] The commission, due to public demand, recommended disintegration of Hyderabad state and to merge Marathi speaking region, Maratwada, with Bombay state and Kannada speaking region with Mysore state. The Telangana region of Hyderabad state with Andhra state.

Andhra state and Telangana were merged to form Andhra Pradesh state on 1 November 1956 after providing safeguards to Telangana in the form of Gentlemen's agreement. Gulshanabad Division or Medak Division and Warangal Division were considered as area of Hyderabad's Telangana. However when Hyderabad was merged in Andhra Pradesh state, substantial area of Adilabad (the area between Godavari and Penganga/Wardha/Pranahita rivers) was transferred to Maharashtra state.(refer Hyderabad state map)

Hyderabad city today

Present day Hyderabad city information.

State institutions

Palaces of Hyderabad State era

See also


Further reading

  • Leonard, Karen. "The Hyderabad Political System and its Participants," Journal of Asian Studies (1971) 30#3 pp. 569–582 in JSTOR

External links

  • Hyderabad City Information Portal
  • Hyderabad: A Qur'anic Paradise in Architectural Metaphors
  • From the Sundarlal Report – Muslim Genocide in 1948
  • Of a massacre untold
  • Manolya's legal fight
  • About Razakars and Islamic ambitions
  • Hyderabad
  • Genealogy of the Nizams of Hyderabad
  • Renaming villages by the Nizam

Coordinates: 17°00′N 78°50′E / 17.000°N 78.833°E / 17.000; 78.833

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