The Nizam of Hyderabad (Nizam-ul-Mulk, also known as Asaf Jah) was a monarch of the Hyderabad State, now divided into Telangana state, Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Karnataka and Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Nizam, shortened from Nizam-ul-Mulk, meaning Administrator of the Realm, the title of the sovereigns of Hyderabad State, was the premier Prince of India, since 1724, belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty.
The Asaf Jah Dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, a viceroy of the Deccan under the Mughal Empire from 1713 to 1721. He intermittently governed the region after Aurangzeb's death in 1707. In 1724, Mughal control weakened, and Asaf Jah became virtually independent of them; Hyderabad would then become a tributary of the Maratha Empire, losing a series of battles for independence through the 18th century.
When the British achieved paramountcy over India, the Nizams were allowed to continue to rule their princely states as client kings. The Nizams retained internal power over Hyderabad State until 17 September 1948 when Hyderabad was integrated into the new Indian Union. The Asaf Jah dynasty had only seven rulers; however there was a period of 13 years after the rule of the first Nizam when three of his sons (Nasir Jung, Muzafar Jung and Salabath Jung) ruled. They were not officially recognised as the rulers.
Seven Nizams ruled Hyderabad for two centuries until 1947. The Asaf Jahi rulers were great patrons of literature, art, architecture, and culture, and rich food. The Nizams patronized aspects of a Persianate society, copied from their Turco-Mongol Mughal overlords, and which became central to the Hyderabadi Muslims identity.
|Nizam of Hyderabad|
Coat of Arms of Hyderabad State
|Style||His Exalted Highness|
|First monarch||Qamar-ud-din Khan|
|Last monarch||Osman Ali Khan|
|Formation||31 July 1724|
|Abolition||17 September 1948|
By the time of its annexation by India, Hyderabad was the largest and most prosperous state of all the princely states. It covered 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of fairly homogeneous territory and had 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. In spite of the overwhelming Hindu majority, Hindus were severely under-represented in government, police and the military.  Of 1765 officers in the State Army, 1268 were Muslims, 421 were Hindus, and 121 others were Christians, Parsis and Sikhs. Of the officials drawing a salary between Rs.600-1200 per month, 59 were Muslims, 5 were Hindus and 38 were of other religions. The Nizam and his nobles, who were mostly Muslims, owned 40% of the total land in the state.
The name Nizam also spelled as Nezam, comes from Urdu (نظام) /nɪˈzɑːm/, which itself is derived from the ancient Arabic language niẓām which means "order" or "arrangement". Nizām-ul-mulk was a title first used in Urdu around 1600 to mean Governor of the realm or Deputy for the whole Empire. The word is derived from the Arabic language, as in Abu Ali Hasan ibn Ali Tusi (11 April 1018 – 14 October 1092), better known by his honorific title of Nizam al-Mulk (Arabic: نظام الملک, "Order of the Realm").
According to Sir Roper Lethbridge in "The Golden Book of India"—( 1893), the Nizams are lineally descended from the First Caliph Abu Bakr, the successor of the Prophet Muhammed. The family of Nizams in India is descended from Abid Khan, a Turkoman from Samarkand, whose lineage is traced to Sufi Shihab-ud-Din Suhrawardi ( 1154–91) of Central Asia. In early 1650s, on his way to hajj, Abid Khan stopped in Deccan, where the young prince Aurangzeb, then Governor of Deccan, cultivated him. Abid Khan returned to the service of Aurangzeb to fight in the succession wars of 1657–58. After Aurangzeb's enthronement, Abid Khan was richly rewarded and became Aurangzeb's favourite nobleman. His son Ghazi Uddin Khan received in marriage, Safiya Khanum, the daughter of the former imperial prime minister Sa‘dullah Khan. Mir Qamaruddin Khan, the founder of the line of Nizams, was born of the couple, thus descending from two prominent families of the Mughal court.
Ghazi Uddin Khan rose to become a General of the Emperor Aurangzeb and played a vital role in conquering Bijapur and Golconda Sultanates of Southern India in 1686. He also played a key role in thwarting the rebellion by Prince Akbar and alleged rebellion by Prince Mu`azzam.. Both father and son remained loyal to emperor Aurangzeb until his death in 1707.
After Aurangzeb's death and during the war of succession, Qamaruddin and his father remained neutral by which they escaped the risk of being on the losing side, they remained marginal players in the Mughal court during the reigns of Bahadur Shah I ( 1707–12) and Jahandar Shah ( 1712–13). Their successor Farrukhsiyar ( 1713–19) appointed Qamaruddin the governor of Deccan in 1713, awarding him the title Nizam-ul-Mulk. However, the governorship was taken away two years later and Qamaruddin withdrew to his estate in Moradabad. Under the next emperor, Muhammad Shah ( 1719–48), Qamaruddin accepted the governorship of Deccan for a second time in 1721. The next year, following the death of his uncle Muhammad Amin Khan who had been a power-broker in the Mughal Court, Qamaruddin returned to the Delhi and was made the wazir (prime minister). According to historian Faruqui, his tenure as prime minister was undermined by his opponents and a rebellion in Deccan was engineered against him. In 1724, the Nizam returned to Deccan to reclaim his base, in the process making a transition to a semi-independent ruler.
In 1724, Asif Jah I defeated Mubariz Khan to establish autonomy over the Deccan Suba, named the region Hyderabad Deccan, and started what came to be known as the Asif Jahi dynasty. Subsequent rulers retained the title Nizam ul-Mulk and were referred to as Asif Jahi Nizams, or Nizams of Hyderabad. Nizam I never formally declared independence from the Mughals; he still flew the Mughal flag, and was never crowned. In Friday prayers, the sermon would be conducted in the name of Aurangzeb, and this tradition would continue until the end of Hyderabad State in 1948. The death of Asif Jah I in 1748 resulted in a period of political unrest as his sons, backed by opportunistic neighbouring states and colonial foreign forces, contended for the throne. The accession of Asif Jah II, who reigned from 1762 to 1803, ended the instability. In 1768 he signed the treaty of Machilipatnam, surrendering the coastal region to the East India Company in return for a fixed annual rent.
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 tax (Chauth) to the Marathas. The major battles fought between the Marathas and the Nizam include Palkhed, Bhopal, Rakshasbhuvan, and Kharda, in all of which the Nizam lost. Following the conquest of Deccan by Bajirao I and the imposition of chauth by him, the Nizam remained a tributary of the Marathas for all intent and purposes.
The last Nizam of Hyderabad state, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had been the richest man in the world in his time. The Nizams developed the railway, introduced electricity, and developed roads, airways, irrigation and reservoirs; in fact, all major public buildings in Hyderabad City were built during his reign under the British Raj. He pushed education, science, and establishment of Osmania University.
After the Independence of India in 1947, the Nizam of Hyderabad initially chose to join neither India nor Pakistan. He later declared Hyderabad an independent state, but the Government of India refused to accept this. After attempts by India to persuade the Nizam to accede to India failed, the Indian government finally launched a military operation named Operation Polo to annex Hyderabad. When the Indian Army invaded on 13 September 1948, his overwhelmingly untrained forces were unable to withstand the Indian army and were defeated. The Nizam capitulated on 17 September 1948; that same afternoon he broadcast the news over the State radio network. The Nizam was forced to accept accession to the new Republic of India. His abdication on 17 September 1948 marked the end of the dynasty's ambitions.
Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, died on Friday 24 February 1967. All the Nizams are buried in royal graves at the Makkah Masjid near Charminar in Hyderabad excepting the last, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who wished to be buried beside his mother, in the graveyard of Judi Mosque facing King Kothi Palace opposite.
During the period of Nizam rule, Hyderabad State became the richest. Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII and his family including Salar Jung I were taught by Nawab Sarwar Ul Mulk and Agha Mirza Baig Bahadur, who was his political advisor, and the senior-most salute state among the Indian princely states. It was spread over 223,000 km2 (86,000 sq mi) in the Deccan, ruled by the Asaf Jahi dynasty. The Nizams were conferred with the title of His Exalted Highness, and "Faithful Ally of the British Government" by the imperial-colonial British government for their collaborating role in the wars against Tipu Sultan of Mysore, the First war of Indian Independence of 1857–1858, becoming the only Indian prince to be given both these titles. The rule of the Nizams brought cultural and economic growth for Hyderabad city. One example of the wealth of Nizam rule is the Jewels of the Nizams, which is an international tourist attraction occasionally displayed in Salar Jung Museum. In 1948 Hyderabad state had an estimated population of 17 million (1.7 crore), and it generated an estimated annual revenue of £90,029,000. The state had its own currency known as the Hyderabadi rupee, until 1951. The pace at which the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan amassed wealth made him one of the world's richest men in 1937 and he was also known for his miserliness. He was estimated to be worth ₹660 crores (roughly US$2 billion by the then exchange rates). According to the Forbes All-Time Wealthiest List of 2008, Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan is the fifth richest man in recorded history per the figures, with an estimated worth of US$210.8 billion adjusted by Forbes as per the growth of the US GDP since that period and the present exchange-rate of the US dollar against the Indian rupee. The Nizams set up numerous institutions in the name of the dynasty including hospitals and schools, colleges, universities that imparted education in Urdu. Inspired by the Indian Civil Service, the Nizams established their own local Hyderabad Civil Service. They were great engineers: for example, they built large reservoirs. Survey work on the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam was initiated during this time, although the actual work was actually completed under the aegis of the Government of India in 1969.
The Asaf Jahis were prolific builders. Several palaces of the Nizams were:
Other landmarks include the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, City College, Public Gardens, (formerly Bagh-e-Aaam) Jubilee Hall, Asafia library, The Assembly building, Niloufer Hospital, the Osmania Arts College and the Osmania Medical College.
|Image||Titular Name||Personal Name||Date of birth||Nizam From||Nizam Until||Date of death|
|Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah I
نظامالملک آصف جاہ
|Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan||20 August 1671||31 July 1724||1 June 1748|
|Mir Ahmed Ali Khan||26 February 1712||1 June 1748||16 December 1750|
|Mir Hidayat Muhi-ud-din Sa'adullah Khan||?||16 December 1750||13 February 1751|
|Mir Sa'id Muhammad Khan||24 November 1718||13 February 1751||8 July 1762
|16 September 1763|
|Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah II
نظامالملک آصف جاہ دوم
|Mir Nizam Ali Khan||7 March 1734||8 July 1762||6 August 1803|
|Sikander Jah, Asaf Jah III
سکندر جاہ ،آصف جاہ تریہم
|Mir Akbar Ali Khan||11 November 1768||6 August 1803||21 May 1829|
|Nasir-ud-Daula, Asaf Jah IV
ناصر الدولہ ،آصف جاہ چارہم
|Mir Farqunda Ali Khan||25 April 1794||21 May 1829||16 May 1857|
|Afzal-ud-Daula, Asaf Jah V
افضال الدولہ ،آصف جاہ پنجم
|Mir Tahniyath Ali Khan||11 October 1827||16 May 1857||26 February 1869|
|Asaf Jah VI
آصف جاہ شیشم
|Mir Mahbub Ali Khan||17 August 1866||26 February 1869||29 August 1911|
|Asaf Jah VII
آصف جاہ ہفتم
|Mir Osman Ali Khan||6 April 1886||29 August 1911||17 September 1948
|24 February 1967|
The last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, had 28 sons and 44 daughters. The Asaf Jah dynasty followed the Order of Precedence of male primogeniture regardless of the mother's marital status or rank. Among his children were Azam Jah, Prince of Berar (21 February 1907 – 9 October 1970) the eldest son.
The Nizam's daughters had been married traditionally to young men of the Paigah family. This family belonged to the Sunni sect, and from the second Nizam's time they had been personal bodyguards of the Nizam.
italics – Considered pretenders by most historians; refrained from exercising traditional authority during their reigns.
Places and things named after the Nizam include Nizamabad, a city and district in the state of Telangana; Jamia Nizamia, a university; the Nizam College; the Nizam's Museum; the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway; the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences; the Jewels of the Nizams; the Nizam Diamond; the Nizam Sagar, HMAS Nizam, a Royal Australian Naval vessel whose construction was partly funded by a Nizam; Nizamia observatory; the Nizam Club; the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace; the Nizam's Contingent; the Nizam Gate; the Nizam Palace; Government Nizamia General Hospital; and H.E.H. the Nizam's Charitable Trust.