Sunday, March 8, 2009


Hyderabad was founded by the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golkonda. In 1686 the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb campaigned in the Deccan to overcome the Marathas and conquer the independent Deccan states. Before the campaign, the Mughals had controlled the northwestern Deccan, including Khandesh and Berar, but Mughal control ended at the Godavari River. Aurangzeb conquered Golconda and Bijapur in 1687, extending Mughal control south of the Krishna River.

The Mughal Empire began to weaken during the reign of Aurangzeb's grandson, Muhammad Shah. A Mughal official, Asif Jah, treacherously defeated a rival Mughal governor 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.

The Nizams patronized Islamic art, culture and literature and developed The Nizam's State Railways railway network. Islamic Sharia law was the guiding principle of the Nizams' official machinery.
During the British Raj

The seniormost (21-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 Asif Jahi dynasty, who had the title of Nizam and was bestowed the title of His Exalted Highness by the British Empire. The Nizam set up numerous institutions in the name of the dynasty. He set up schools, colleges, madrasahs and a university that imparted education in Urdu. Inspired by the elite and prestigious Indian Civil Service he founded the Hyderabad Civil Service. The pace with which he amassed wealth made him to be the world's richest men in the 1930s, (Time cover story Feb. 22, 1937). Carrying a gift, called Nazrana in the local dialect, in accordance with one's net worth while meeting Nizam was a de facto necessity.MUSHAM3@GMAIL.COM

When India gained independence in 1947, the British left the choice of independence or unification up to the local rulers of the princely states. The Muslim ruler of Hyderbad, the last Nizam, and his followers, Razakars, wished to remain independent. The Indian Government took police action against Nizam. This was known as “Hyderabad Police Action” and code-named “Operation Polo” by the Indian military, and was the Indian armed forces' action that ended the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad and led to the incorporation of the princely state of Hyderabad in Southern India into the Indian Union.

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