British rule in Telangana

British rule in Telangana

Telangana region has been ruled by great dynasties such as Sathavahanas, Kakatiyas, Chalukyas, Mughals, Qutubshahis, Asafjahis.

In 1799, the Nizam rulers aided the East India Company in their war with Tipu Sultan. When the Nizam was compelled to sign a subsidiary alliance with the British in the year 1799, he lost his authority over the state’s defence and its external affairs. The Nizam also had to give up the Coastal Andhra and the Rayalaseema regions of his vast kingdom to the British, as he was unable to pay monetarily for the assistance the British rendered during the Nizam’s wars against Tipu Sultan. Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema then became part of the British Presidency of Madras, while Telangana became part of the princely state of Hyderabad. For a long time, the Nizam lead a privileged and a charmed life. He was considered to be the world’s richest man of his time.

Nizam Mir Usman Ali Khan Bahadur was conferred with the title of “His Exalted Highness”. Geographically, Hyderabad commanded a pivotal position in the heart of India with a population of nearly sixteen million and an area of 82,000 square miles. Hyderabad boasted of its own coinage, paper currency and stamps. Soon after the announcement of India’s independence, the Nizam declared his intention not to send representatives to either the Constituent.

Mir Qamaruddin Chin Qilij Khan Asaf Jah I – Nizam I

Mir Qamaruddin Chin Qilij Khan traced his descent on his father’s side to Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Islam. On his mother’s side, he is believed to have descended from the Prophet Mohammed  himself. Possessing such an illustrious lineage and ancestry, he also was one of the strongest personalities who emerged during the chaotic times following Aurangzeb’s death.  A fearless soldier, diplomat and shrewd statesman, Mir Qamaruddin rose in favour with the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb; while young, he was made the Subedar (Viceroy) of the Deccan. In 1713, the Mughal Emperor Farukh Siyar bestowed the title Nizam-ul-Mulk Fateh Jung or Regular of the Realma upon him.  Mir Qamaruddin, foresaw the unstable situation in the imperial capital of Delhi that followed Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, in particular, the weakening hold of the Mughals in the Deccan and the dissensions amongst Aurangzeb’s successors. Assessing the state of affairs, he set his eyes on ruling the Deccan and asserting his independence he soon established his rule there.British rule in Telangana

Asaf Jah I single-handedly instituted the title of the Nizam, which became the dynastic title of all the successive rulers of the State of Hyderabad ever since. He ruled his new dominions for the next twenty four years. A wise and able ruler, his efforts safeguarded his kingdom from the hostile Marathas and even kept the English, Portuguese and the French at bay.

Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah II – Nizam II

Asaf Jah’s wise reign did not continue with his heirs, for his successors possessed far more ambition than ability. For the next fourteen years following the death of its founder. Asaf Jah’s progeny busied themselves in waging wars against each other.

The inherent weakness of the state under his reign became evident when he sided with the British in curbing the increasingly heavy hand of Mysore’s Hyder Ali. Through the Treaty of 1766, the British compelled the Nizam to disassociate himself from Hyder Ali. Subsequently, the British and the Nizam fought together and defeated Tipu Sultan. Hyder Ali’s successor. The Treaty of Seringapatnam marking the defeat of Tipu Sultan was signed in 1792. At the same time, the growing strength of the Marathas on his northwestern borders caused the Nizam much worry. The Marathas regarded him as a mere vassal and occasionally demanded heavy levies of chauth and sardeshmukhi from him. Exasperated, Asaf Jah II confronted the Marathas at Khardah in 1795 but suffered a severe defeat and had to inevitably cede more territory.

Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikander Jah Asaf Jah III – Nizam III

Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikander Jah, Asaf Jah III succeeded his father to the throne in 1803.  The third Nizam’s reign saw the affairs of Hyderabad degenerate into chaos and confusion. Coupled with gross financial mismanagement and the tightening hold of the British, Sikander Jah’s reign became merely nominal.

On account of the death of Azam-ul-Umara, his father’s leading minister in whose hands remained the decisions of state, the British Resident had managed to secure the appointment of Mir Alam, another faithful supporter of the British as the diwan (Prime Minister). An able minister, Mir Alam was responsible for establishing cordial relations with the British during this period.

Mir Farkhunda Ali Khan Nasir-ud-Daula Asaf Jah IV – Nizam IV

Sikander Jah, Asaf Jah III, was succeeded by his eldest son Mir Farkhunda Ali Khan Nasir-ud-Daula on May 23, 1829, two days after his father’s death.

Despite this grim picture, Nasir-ud-Daula’s reign had its positive moments. The city of Hyderabad grew with new schools, commercial centers, churches, bridges and the new centre of activity soon revolved around the newly-constructed Resident’s mansion, named the Residency.  A new cantonment was set up at Warangal; coupled with the Resident’s presence, a new sense of security and protection enveloped the city because of the able statesmanship of Mir Turab Ali Khan, Salar Jung I. Appointed as the diwan in 1853, he guided the affairs of the state, introducing administrative and financial reforms that pushed the city to a new era.

Mir Tahniat Ali Khan Afzal-ud-Daula  Asaf Jah V – Nizam V

Nawab Afzal-ud-Daula succeeded his father in 1857 as Asaf Jah V. Though his rule was the shortest, lasting twelve years, it was nonetheless eventful.  In the year of Asaf Jah’s succession to the masnad (throne) of Hyderabad. North India was seething with discontent and unrest. A restlessness was about to erupt into the great revolt-known as the first War of Independence. Conditions were ripe for a revolt. Indians were simmering with discontent, the peasantry was impoverished, landlords divested of their land and soldiers had been disbanded, so with corruption rampant, the general condition of the population was at an all-time low. Yet the British seemed to be indifferent to ground realities. Although the revolt of 1857 caught them by surprise, they slowly banded themselves together and managed to cling back to rule, with the unexpected support from the rulers of the Indian states. One of the leading supporters was the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam’s steadfast support safeguarded his own welfare with the British for later years.

Asaf Jah V was caught between conflicting advices from his council, who suggested backing the revolt, as opposed to the advice of Salar Jung I, who suggested supporting the British. He heeded the latter and Hyderabad found itself allied with the British.

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Asaf Jah VI – Nizam VI

The youngest Asaf Jah to inherit the masnad of Hyderabad was Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, barely three when his father died. Mahboob, whose name meant beloved, was a much-loved ruler. His reign of forty two years was the most cherished in the memory of Hyderabad. His lasting legacy is evident both in the affairs of the state but also imprinted in the lives and collective memory of his subjects.  Asaf Jah VI first ruled Hyderabad under a council of regency, led by the able Salar Jung I, Mir Turab Ali Khan who practically decided the affairs of the state as the Co-regent. While the Nizam grew up under the strict supervision of English tutors, his upbringing was constantly scrutinized under the watchful eye of the British Resident. However, the overwhelming personality of Salar Jung I had a salutary influence on the young lad’s life, which was evidenced in his rule later on.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII – Nizam VII

Barely three hours had passed after Mir Mahboob Ali Khan’s death that Mir Osman Ali Khan was proclaimed the seventh Nizam (VII Nizam).  Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan was twenty five years old when he ascended to masnad of Hyderabad. He came to rule a domain covering 82,698 square miles. Mir Osman was a contrast of sorts to his father. Mir Mahboob Ali Asaf Jah VI was a compassionated and a generous ruler, always transparent in his dealings with the people. However, his son Mir Osman was assertive, shrewd and distrustful of those around him. These contrasts of character and outlook between father and son were stark; this was evident in the dealings the latter had with the Government of India (both pre and post Independence).  Cast in a completely different mould, the reign of Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, was to earmark an era unlike any of his predecessors.

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