Establishment of Nizam’s Subjects League known as the Mulki League 1935 and its Significance

Establishment of Nizam’s Subjects League known as the Mulki League 1935 and its Significance


Mulki is a Persian word and means countrymen. The origin of the Mulki issue can be traced to the migration of Muslims to the Deccani plateau during the medieval period. The first wave of Muslim migrants came to Deccani Plateau during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans and called themselves Mulki. The next wave of Muslim migration took place during the rule of the QutbShahis and they were called as Gair-Mulkis or Afakis. However, the issue of Mulki and non-Mulki came to prominence during the Nizam rule which can be understood in the following three phases: 

Phase I – 1853 to 1883

Phase II – 1883 to 1911

Phase III – 1911 to 1948

PHASE I:  Before Salarjung I became the PM of Hyderabad State, non-Mulkis were employed in the Hyderabad state largely based on the recommendations of the British resident. However, the number of such employees was very limited.

Salajung I was appointed as the Diwan or PM of the Hyderabad State in 1853. At that time the Hyderabad state was in severe financial crises with too many debts. The situation was so bad that the Britishers threatened Nizam that they would start direct rule in the state in the event of non-payment of debts to the British Government. Salarjung I assessed the entire situation and realized that the most important reason for the economic crisis was the high level of corruption in the collection of land revenues. Land revenue was the main source of income to the Hyderabad state.

Salarjung I introduced a number of administrative reforms to counter this situation. However, these reforms were largely influenced by the administrative system adopted by the Britishers. In order to implement these reforms, people trained under the British Government or people who had access to the western education were required. However, the literacy rate in Hyderabad state at that time was less than 5%. Also the Hyderabad state followed a conservative system of education in which the medium of instruction was Persian. Because of all these reasons, Salarjung I had to recruit non-Mulkis to implement his administrative reforms.

Most of the non-Mulkis recruited by Salarjung I were from the Madras and Bombay Presidencies. Non-Mulkis were also recruited from amongst the graduates of Aligarh Muslim University. With the appointment of non-Mulkis in Government services, a new level or class of people belonging to the western educated community emerged in the Hyderabad society and started influencing the conventional and conservative Hyderabadi culture. Also, the non-Mulki employees slowly started to ascertain their power over the Nawabs and Jagirdars. They also created a number of unnecessary posts within the Government service and started recruiting their own people for these posts. This increased the number of non-Mulkis in public service and the increase was perceived as a threat by the Mulkis.

Salarjung I realised the impact of non-Mulkis on the Hyderabad state and in order to prevent any resentment from the Mulkis, he took the following measures.

  • He clearly demarcated the political affairs from the administrative affairs and restricted non-Mulkis to the administrative sphere by ensuring that only Mulkis from the Hyderabad state held a key post in the political affairs of the state.
  • He himself identified educated young men from noble families and appointed them as ministers. The non-Mulki employees had to work under the supervision of these ministers.
  • He continued employment of Mulkis along with non-Mulkis under the state. All Mulkis were posted under the Munsib department and were designated as irregular forces.
  • Salarjung I rejected the demand of non-Mulki to replace the official language of the state Persian with Urdu.
  • The non-Mulkiwere employed on a salary basis. No Inams in the form of Jagirs, pensions and so on and titles could be conferred on the non-Mulkis.

PHASE II: With the death of Salarjung I in 1883, the situation in the Hyderabad state became volatile as the Nizam was still a minor. From 1883-to 1884, the council of regency ruled Hyderabad after which a new PM was to be appointed. The non-Mulkis and British Government strongly supported the candidature of Mir Laiq Ali Khan, son of Salarjung I for the post of Prime Minister. Mir Laiq Ali Khan has conferred the titleSalarjung II on 31st October 1883 and was appointed as the PM on 5th February 1884.

Salarjung II took the following measures which caused widespread discontentment amongst the Mulkis.

  • He replaced Persian with Lucknowi Urdu as the official language of the state on 21st February 1884. He also ensured that Urdu completely replaced the Persian language in the administrative and Judicial departments within 2 years.
  • Unlike his father Salarjung II encouraged the appointment of non-Mulki into government services. Most of his personal staff were also non-Mulki s. He had one north Indian Muslim and one European as his personal secretaries. This clearly indicated that Salarjung II preferred non-Mulki over Mulkis.
  • Salarjung I accommodated the non-Mulki without dismissing the Mulkis. The Mulkis were working under the Munsibdepartment and were managing the affairs of the Nizam estate. However, Salarjung II merged the Munsibdepartment with the Accountant General’s office and constituted a separate board to manage the affairs of the Nizam estate. In addition to all the above changes, the non-Mulkis projected their children as Mulkis and got them appointed Government jobs. The actions of Salarjung II, most importantly the change in the official language resulted in widespread discontentment amongst the Mulkis.

Phase 3-Mulki Movement

Mulki Movement was born out of a discontent and self-respect in every “Hyderabadi” as far back as 1935 itself. As a sequel to this, a five member group of well meaningful citizens of Hyderabad of the stature of Miss Padmaja Naidu, Abdul Hasan Syed Ali, Boorgula Ramakishen Rao, Bar-at-law SB Sharma and Syed Abid Hasan proposed to start an organization at that critical juncture. “The Nizam’s Subjects League” was born. The group strongly felt that “all was not well with the state, things were not what they should be and can be and something must be and can be done or undone to improve the then existing affairs”. The book “Whither Hyderabad”-Published in 1935, gave a brief but detailed account of some of the outstanding problems of the Premier Indian State that prevailed then. In the preface, Secretary of the League, mentioned that the Mulki Movement was a self-help and self-development movement without harming anybody or without being hostile or antagonistic to anybody.

The “Doctrine” that the League prepared then categorically asserted the “Rights and Privileges” of the sons of the soil. It said “the privileges of serving the state, profiting by the economic resources, shaping the administrative policies belong to Mulkis.” The doctrine explicitly warned those insiders, who doubt the “righteousness and legitimacy of the claim” to forfeit their claim to be called as “Mulki”!  When the league talked of an “Outsider” it meant that “any outsider is an outsider”.

There shall not be any WHY and HOW of it! The doctrine called for a definite stoppage of outsiders being brought to the state. If it was not done, the discontent among the people of Hyderabad will grow to such perilous proportions that it will be extremely difficult to keep it in check warned the League.

The league was of the opinion that capable Mulkis could be found and ought to be found for every administrative and technical post.  The League even went to the extent of quoting instances of vacancies that were likely to fall vacant in a short while from then like Directors of Medical, Agricultural and Educational departments and to fill them to pickup suitable Mulki and train him for the post! Even if they are found incompetent (on this false plea the services of outsiders even after they outlived their utility were extended preventing young Mulkis from rising to their stature) they should be given a chance to benefit by their failures and to learn by experience felt the League. They had a “Right to make Mistakes” like any other human beings.


Few startling facts concerning the non-Mulkis in Hyderabad (if in that ratio and proportion as well the growth rate is taken then the number of outsiders in Telangana today could easily be assessed) were given in the book by the League. As per the 1931 Census, the Telangana Region in the Nizam’s Hyderabad consisted of a population of around 75 Lakhs including the urban and rural areas. Probably it would not have been more than four to five lakhs in Hyderabad-the main potential for employment then (as well as now). Among them the Non-Mulkis accounted for 2.5 Lakhs and more than half of them were from Madras Presidency (Mostly the Telugu-English speaking Coastal Areas’ People). The Railways, the general Trade, the educational institutions, the Singareni Mines, the irrigation projects under construction etc mostly accounted for large number of Madrasis (From Coastal Area). When it came to exploitation, initially in those days, services were mostly manned by Northern Indians and they formed a sort of caucus and clique with a view to keep out Mulkis from the administration. This is what is being done by outsiders from Coastal Area-the so called integrationists even now.

What would otherwise have been a purely economic question had become a question of honor and self-respect for the people of Hyderabad. The Mulkis therefore demanded that they should have the privilege to shape their own administrative policies and for that the right type of Mulkis were to be chosen. That was the crux of the Mulki Movement of 1935. The League also pointed out that, the Muslim outsiders from Northern India advocated that Hyderabad State was only for Muslims and Hindu Outsiders from Southern (Mostly from Madras Presidency) advocated ousting Muslims. Between these two outside elements, the atmosphere of the state got polluted. A similar situation with a difference provoked by the “Seemandhra Business Lards” is prevalent even now. A sincere Nationalist Mulki according to the League never bothers whether the beneficiary is a Hindu or Muslim but whether it is Insider or outsider.

The League also pointed out that outsiders not only entered in to administrative machinery but also systematically crippled the cottage industrial potential of Hyderabad and Telangana. There was a time when the state could boast of several cottage industries that flourished and provided employment to lakhs of Mulkis. For instance the Paper Industry (Karimnagar and Medak), Dyeing and Printing (Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Medak), Gold Thread (Hyderabad), Woolen Carpet (Warangal), Arms and Weapons (Hyderabad and Warangal), Metal (Adilabad), Toy Making (Adilabad), Silver Filigree Work (Karimnagar) and Bangles.


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