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The Asaf Jahi (Hindi: आआआआ आआआआ, Urdu: ‫ )آصف جاہ‬was a Turkic dynasty from the region
around Samarkand in modern-day Uzbekistan. The family came to India in the late 17th
century, and became employees of the Mughal Empire. As the Mughals, of Turco-Mongol
origin, were great patrons of Persian culture, language, literature, the family found a ready

The dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, a viceroy of the Deccan under
the Mughal emperors from 1713 to 1721. He intermittently ruled after Aurangzeb's death in
1707 and under the title Asaf Jah in 1724. The Mughal Empire crumbled and the viceroy in
Hyderabad, the young Asaf Jah, declared himself independent.


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Nawab Khwaja Abid Siddiqi, grandfather of the first Nizam, was born in Aliabad
near Samarkhand in the kingdom of Bukhara. His father, Alam Shaik, was a well-known Sufi
and celebrated man of letters. Khaja Abid's mother was of the family of Mir Hamdan, a
distinguished Syed of Samarkhand.

Khaja Abid, who had held the high office of Qazi (Judge) and Shaik-ul-Islam, first
visited India during the reign of Shah Jehan (Mughal Emperor) in 1655 on his way to Mecca.
He presented himself at the Imperial Court where he won favours and robe of honour. He was
offered a position in the Emperor's service, which he agreed to accept after his return from

In 1657 Khaja Abid returned from his pilgrimage and joined the service
of Aurangzeb (Mughal Emperor). At that time Aurangzeb was in the Deccan preparing for

the war of succession to the Mughal throne. Khaja Abid, besides being a learned man, was
well versed in the art of war. Aurangzeb gave him an important post in the Imperial army. He
was granted a high rank of 3000 Zat and 500 Sawars and the title of Khan.

After succeeding in the war of succession, Aurangzeb made him the Governor of Ajmer and
subsequently of Multan with the title of Qalich Khan. He served the Emperor with distinction
particularly during the early years of Aurangzeb's reign while he was consolidating and
restoring peace in his newly acquired territory.

On 30 January 1687 during the siege of Golconda while leading the Imperial armies against
the Qutb Shahi King, Qalich Khan died when he was struck fatally by a cannonball.

Qalich Khan was survived by five sons, and his eldest son Shahabuddin Khan, entitled
Ghaziuddin Khan Feroz Jung, earned the position of highest distinction in the Mughal Court.
He married Safia Khanum, daughter of Saadullah Khan, the famous Prime Minister of Shah
Jehan, and by her had a son named Qamaruddin, who later became the celebrated Nizam-ul-
Mulk, the founder of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty.

Asaf Jah I
Main article: Asaf Jah I

Qamaruddin Khan,Asaf Jah I

The founder of this dynasty was Mir Qamaruddin Khan, a noble and a courtier of the
Mughal Muhammad Shah, who negotiated for a peace treaty with Nadirshah, the Iranian

invader; got disgusted with the intrigues that prevailed in Delhi. He was on his way back to
the Deccan, where, earlier he was a Subedar. But he had to confront Mubariz Khan, as a
result of a plot by the Mughal emperor to kill the former. Mubariz Khan failed in his attempt
and he was himself slain. This one on one took place in AD 1724, and henceforth Mir
Qamaruddin, who assumed the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk, conducted himself as an independent
ruler. Earlier, while he was one of the Ministers of the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah,
the latter conferred on him the title of Asaf Jah. Thus begins the Asaf Jahi rule over Golconda
with the capital at Aurangabad.

The Asafjahi Nizams are generally counted as seven, though they were ten. Nasir Jung,
Muzaffar Jung, (son and grandson of the Nizam I who were killed by
the Kurnool and CuddapahNawabs) and Salabat jung who together ruled for a decade, were
not counted by the historians and the Mughal emperors at Delhi only recognised them just as
Subedars of the Deccan.

The authority of the founder of the State of Hyderabad, Asafjah I, extended

from Narmada to Trichinapally and from Machilipatnam to Bijapur. During the period of
Afzal-ud-Daula (AD 1857–1869) it was estimated to be 95,337 sq.miles (2,46,922.83 km2),
forming a lateral square of more than 450 miles (724.17 km) each way.

After Nizam I, Asaf Jah, died in AD 1748. There was a tussle for power among his son, Nasir
Jung, and grandson Muzaffar Jung. The English supported Nasir Jung whereas Muzaffar Jung
got support from the French. These two heirs were subsequently killed by Nawabs of
Kurnool and Cuddapah, one after another, in AD 1750 and AD 1751 respectively. The third
son of Nizam I, Salabat Jung became the ruler as Nizam under the support of the French.

Hostilities recommenced in India between the French and the English in AD 1758 on the
outbreak of Seven Years' War in Europe in AD 1756. As a result, the French lost their power
in India and consequently, it also lost influence at Hyderabad. In AD 1762 Nizam Ali Khan
dislodged Salabat Jung and proclaimed himself as Nizam.

Asaf Jah II

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Main article: Asaf Jah II

The fourth son of the Nizam-ul-Mulk, Nizam Ali Khan was born on 24 February 1734. He
assumed the Subedari of the Deccan at the age of 28 years and ruled the Deccan for almost 42
years - The longest period among the Nizams. His reign was one of the most important
chapters in the history of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. Among his efforts to consolidate the Nizam
empire was the shift of the Deccan capital from Aurangabad to Hyderabad. He ruled the
Deccan at a most critical period and got very successful support from the Paigah Party. He
protected the Deccan from the attack of the Marathas and Tippu Sultan of Mysore by signing
a mutual protection treaty with the British.

After a reign that played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Nizam dynasty, Nizam Ali
Khan died in 1803 at the age of 69. He was buried at the Mecca Masjid alongside the tomb of
his mother Umda Begum.

Asaf Jah III
Main article: Asaf Jah III

Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikander Jah, Asaf Jah III was born on 11 November 1768.A fter the
death of the Nizam Ali Khan he became the Subedar Jah was ratified by the emperor Shah
Alam II and he also conferred all his father's titles on Sikander Jah.[2]

Asaf Jah IV
Main article: Asaf Jah IV

Mir Farkhunda Ali Khan Nusir-ud-Dawlah was born in Bidar on 25 April 1794. He was the
eldest son of Sikander Jah and after his father's death, he succeeded him on 23 May 1829.
During the reign of his father, a number of British officers were employed on several civil
services. Hence on ascending the throne in 1829 one of the first ads of this highness was to
request the Governor-general, Lord William Bentick to the European officers.[3][4]

Asaf Jah V
Main article: Asaf Jah V

Mir Tahniath Ali Khan Afzal-ud-daula was born on 11 October 1827. He was the eldest son
of Nawab Nasir-ud-daula. He ascended the throne on 18 May 1857 and Indian mutiny was
stated on 17 July 1857 Rohillas attacked the residency but Sir Salar Jung put down the attack
with a firm hand. Similarly, trouble was started in Solapur but the Maharaja of Solapur was
unable to control.[5]

Asaf Jah VI
Main article: Asaf Jah VI

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan was born on 17 August 1866. He was the only son of Nawab Afzal-
ud-Daula. When his father died he was two years and seven months old. He was installed as
the Munsab by Sir Salar Jung I, Nawab Rasheeduddin Khan, Shar-ul-Ummul and the
residents, there functioned as the Reyab. Shar-ul-Ummul died on 12 December 1881 and
Salar Jung become the sole regent. He was remembered administrator and regent till his
death.[6][7] He is popularly known for his efforts to abolish the practice of Sati [8] and having
supernatural healing powers against snakebite.[9]

Asaf Jah VII
Main article: Asaf Jah VII

Mir Osman Ali Khan was born in Hyderabad on 5 April 1886 at Purani Haveli. Since he was
the heir-apparent, great attention was paid to his education, and eminent scholars were
engaged to teach him English, Urdu, Persian. On 14 April 1906 he was married to Dulhan
Pasha Begum, daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung, at Eden Bagh at the age 21.[10]

He is credited for various reforms in Education and development and remembered for being a
truly secular[11] King by giving yearly donations to various temples.[12] He made large
donations to educational institutions in India and abroad, he donated Rs 10 Lakh for
the Banaras Hindu University and Rs 5 Lakh for the Aligarh Muslim University.[13]

He set up the Osmania University[14], Osmania General Hospital, Osmania Medical

College, State Bank of Hyderabad, South India's first airport -the Begumpet Airport, Nizamia
Observatory, Government Nizamia General Hospitaletc.


Descendents of Asaf Jah VII

 Azam Jah, Prince of Berar, GCIE, GBE, MSM (21 February 1907 – 9 October 1970).
Granted the title of His Highness the Prince of Berar (13 November 1936). Passed over
in the line of succession in 1967 in favour of his elder son. He had two sons, the
elder Mukarram Jah & the younger Muffakham Jah
 Moazzam Jah, second son of Asaf Jah VII.
 Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, Asaf Jah VIII, 11th Nizam of Hyderabad (6 October
1933-). Succeeded his grandfather as titular monarch on 24 January 1967; titles abolished
by the Indian Government on 28 December 1971. He has children that include two sons.

Asaf Jahi Rulers Of Hyderabad

Titular Personal Date of Nizam Nizam Date of

Name Name birth From Until death

ul-Mulk, Mir
Asaf Jah Qamar-ud- 20 August 31 July
1 June 1748
I din Khan 1671 1724
‫آصف جاہ‬

Nasir 26
Mir Ahmed 1 June
Jung February 16 December 1750
Ali Khan 1748
‫نصیرجنگ‬ 1712

Muzaffar 16
Jung ? December 13 February 1751
‫مظفرجنگ‬ 1750

Mir Sa'id 24 13 8 July 16
Muhammad November February 1762 September
Khan 1718 1751 (deposed) 1763

Asaf Jah
Mir Nizam 7 March 8 July
II 6 August 1803
Ali Khan 1734 1762
‫جاہ‬ ‫آصف‬

Jah, Asaf
Jah III Mir Akbar 6 August
November 21 May 1829
‫جاہ‬ ‫ سکندر‬Ali Khan 1803
‫جاہ‬ ‫آصف‬،

Asaf Jah Mir
25 April 21 May
IV Farqunda 16 May 1857
1794 1829
‫ ناصر الدولہ‬Ali Khan
‫جاہ‬ ‫آصف‬،

Asaf Jah Mir 11
16 May
V Tahniyath October 26 February 1869
‫ افضال الدولہ‬Ali Khan 1827
‫جاہ‬ ‫آصف‬،

Asaf Jah
Mahbub Ali 26
VI 17 August
Khan February 29 August 1911
‫جاہ‬ ‫آصف‬ 1866
‫میر محبوب علی‬ 1869

Asaf Jah Mir Osman 17

29 24
VII Ali Khan 6 April September
August February
‫جاہ‬ ‫ میر عثمان علی آصف‬1886 1948
1911 1967
‫ہفتم‬ ‫خان‬ (deposed)

Nasir Jung, Muzaffar Jung and Salabat Jung:- * These three rulers are not enumerated in the
order of the Asaf Jah's, mainly because they were not granted the title of ASAF JAH by the
Mughal Emperor.

Hyderabad State ( pronunciation (help·info)), also known as Hyderabad Deccan,[8] was

an Indian princely state located in the south-central region of India with its capital at the city
of Hyderabad. It is now divided into Telangana state, Hyderabad-Karnataka region
of Karnataka and Marathwada region of Maharashtra.

The state was ruled from 1724 to 1857 by the Nizam who was initially a viceroy of the Great
Mogul in the Deccan.

Hyderabad gradually became the first princely state to come under British
paramountcy signing a subsidiary alliance agreement.[citation needed]

Later, under the leadership of Asaf Jah V it changed its traditional heraldic flag. The dynasty
declared itself an independent monarchy during the final years of the British Raj.

On 22 February 1937 a cover story by Time called Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII the
wealthiest man in the world

Five-rupee note from Hyderabad

Maharaja Sir Kishen Pershadwas the Prime Minister of Hyderabad State between 1901-1912
and 1926-1937

After the Partition of India, Hyderabad tried to be a part of Pakistan but signed a standstill
agreement with the new dominion of India, continuing all previous arrangements except for
the stationing of Indian troops in the state. Hyderabad's location in the middle of the Indian
union, as well as its diverse cultural heritage, was a driving force behind India's invasion and
annexation of the state in 1948.[9] Subsequently, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the 7th Nizam, signed
an instrument of accession, joining India.

Early history

Hyderabad State was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan who was the governor of Deccan
under the Mughals from 1713 to 1721. In 1724, he resumed rule under the title of Asaf
Jah(granted by Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah). His other title, Nizam ul-Mulk (Order of
the Realm), became the title of his position "Nizam of Hyderabad". By the end of his rule, the
Nizam had become independent from the Mughals, and had founded the Asaf Jahi

Following the decline of the Mughal power, the region of Deccan saw the rise of 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, Rakshasbhuvan,
and Kharda.[12][13] Following the conquest of Deccan by Bajirao I and the imposition
of chauth by him, Nizam remained a tributary of the Marathas for all intent and purposes.[14]

From 1778, a British resident and soldiers were installed in his dominions. In 1795,
the Nizam lost some of his own territories to the Marathas. The territorial gains of the Nizam
from Mysore as an ally of the British were ceded to the British to meet the cost of
maintaining the British soldiers.

British suzerainty
See also: Northern Circars

Main street of Hyderabad with Charminar, 1890

Hyderabad was a 212,000 km2 (82,000 sq mi) region in the Deccan, ruled by the head of
the Asaf Jahi dynasty, who had the title of Nizam and on whom was bestowed the style of
"His Exalted Highness" by the British. The last Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, was one of the
world's richest men in the 1930s.[15]

In 1798, Nizam ʿĀlī Khan (Asaf Jah II) was forced to enter into an agreement that put
Hyderabad under British protection. He was the first Indian prince to sign such an agreement.
(Consequently, the ruler of Hyderabad rated a 23-gun salute during the period of British
India.) The Crown retained the right to intervene in case of misrule.[11]

Hyderabad under Asaf Jah II was a British ally in the second and third Maratha Wars (1803–
05, 1817–19), Anglo-Mysore wars, and would remain loyal to the British during the Indian
Rebellion of 1857 (1857–58).[11][1

His son, Asaf Jah III Mir Akbar Ali Khan (known as Sikandar Jah) ruled from 1768 to 1829.
During his rule, a British cantonment was built in Hyderabad and the area was named in his
honor, Secunderabad.[17] The British Residency at Koti was also built during his reign by the
then British Resident James Achilles Kirkpatrick.

Sikander Jah was succeeded by Asaf Jah IV, who ruled from 1829 to 1857, and was
succeeded by his son Asaf Jah V.

Asaf Jah V

Asaf Jah V's reign from 1857 to 1869 was marked by reforms by his Prime Minister Salar
Jung I. Before this time, there was no regular or systematic form of administration, and the
duties were in the hand of the Diwan (Prime Minister), and corruption was thus

In 1867, the State was divided into five divisions and seventeen districts, and subedars
(governors) were appointed for the five Divisions and talukdars and tehsildars for the
districts. The judicial, public works, medical, educational, municipal, and police departments
were re-organised.[21] In 1868, sadr-i-mahams (Assistant Ministers) were appointed for the
Judicial, Revenue, Police, and Miscellaneous Departments.[22]

Asaf Jah VI

Asaf Jah VI Mir Mahbub Ali Khan became the Nizam at the age of three years.
His regents were Salar Jung I and Shams-ul-Umra III. He assumed full rule at the age of 17,
and ruled until his death in 1911.

The Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway was also established during his reign to connect
Hyderabad State to the rest of British India. It was headquartered at Secunderabad Railway
Station.[26][27] The railway marked the beginning of industry in Hyderabad, and factories were
built in Hyderabad city.

During his rule, the Great Musi Flood of 1908 struck the city of Hyderabad, which killed an
estimated 50,000 people. The Nizam opened all his palaces for public asylum.[29][30][31]

He also abolished Sati where women used to jump into their husband's burning pyre, by
issuing a royal Firman.[32][33]

Asaf Jah VII

The last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan ruled the state from 1911 until 1948. He
was given the title "Faithful Ally of the British Empire". Hyderabad was considered
backward, but peaceful, during this time.[11] The Nizam's rule saw growth of Hyderabad
economically and culturally. The Osmania University and several schools and colleges were
founded throughout the state. Many writers, poets, intellectuals and other eminent people
(including Fani Badayuni, Dagh Dehlvi, Josh Malihabadi, Ali Haider Tabatabai, Shibli
Nomani, Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Mirza Ismail) migrated from all parts of India to
Hyderabad during the reign of Asaf Jah VII, and his father and predecessor Asaf Jah VI.

The Nizam also established Hyderabad State Bank. Hyderabad was the only state in British
India which had its own currency, the Hyderabadi rupee.[34] The Begumpet Airport was
established in the 1930s with formation of Hyderabad Aero Club by the Nizam. Initially it
was used as a domestic and international airport for the Nizam's Deccan Airways, the earliest
airline in British India. The terminal building was created in 1937.[35]

In order to prevent another great flood, the Nizam also constructed two lakes, namely
the Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar. The Osmania General Hospital, Jubilee
Hall, Moazzam Jahi Market, State Library (then known as Asifia Kutubkhana) and Public
Gardens (then known as Bagh e Aam) were constructed during this period.[36][37]

After Indian Independence (1947–48)

Main article: Operation Polo

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 11 June 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.

However, the Nizams were Muslim ruling over a predominantly Hindu population.[11] India
insisted that the great majority of residents wanted to join India.[38]

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.[39]

On 21 August 1948, the Secretary-General of the Hyderabad Department of External Affairs

requested the President of the United Nations' Security Council, 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".[40]

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.[41]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.

General El Edroos (at right) offers his surrender of the Hyderabad State Forces to Major
General (later General and Army Chief) Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri at Secunderabad.

(From left to right): Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nizam VII and army chief Jayanto
Nath Chaudhuri after Hyderabad's accession to India

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.[43][non-primary source needed]

At 5 p.m. on 17 September the Nizam's army surrendered. India then incorporated the state of
Hyderabad into the Union of India and ended the rule of the Nizams.[44]

Main article: Hyderabad State (1948–56)

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

In the 1952 Legislative Assembly election, 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


In 1956 during the reorganisation of the Indian States based along linguistic lines, the state of
Hyderabad was split up among Andhra Pradesh and 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.[47]

Government and politics


Wilfred Cantwell Smith states that Hyderabad was an area where the political and social
structure from medieval Muslim rule had been preserved more or less intact into the modern
times.[48] At the head of the social order was the Nizam, who owned 5 million acres (10% of
the land area) of the state, earning him Rs. 25 million a year. Another Rs. 5 million was
granted to him from the state treasury. The last Nizam was reputed to be the wealthiest man
in the world.[49] He was supported by an aristocracy of 1,100 feudal lords who owned a
further 30% of the state's land, with some 4 million tenant farmers. The state also owned 50%

or more of the capital in all the major enterprises, allowing the Nizam to earn further profits
and control their affairs.[50]

Next in the social structure were the administrative and official class, comprising about 1,500
officials. A number of them were recruited from outside the state. The lower level
government employees were also predominantly Muslim. Effectively, the Muslims of the
Hyderabad represented an 'upper caste' of the social structure.[51][a]

All power was vested in the Nizam. He ruled with the help of an Executive Council or
Cabinet, established in 1893, whose members he was free to appoint and dismiss.The
government of the Nizam recruited heavily from the North indian Hindu Kayastha caste for
administrative posts.[52] There was also an Assembly, whose role was mostly advisory. More
than half its members were appointed by the Nizam and the rest elected from a carefully
limited franchise. There were representatives of Hindus, Parsis, Christians and Depressed
Classes in the Assembly. Their influence was however limited due to their small

The state government also had a large number of outsiders (called non-mulkis) — 46,800 of
them in 1933, including all the members of the Nizam's Executive Council. Hindus and
Muslims united in protesting against the practice which robbed the locals of government
employment. The movement, however, fizzled out after the Hindu members raised the issue
of 'responsible government', which was of no interest to the Muslim members and led to their

Political movements

Up to 1920, there was no political organisation of any kind in Hyderabad. In that year,
following British pressure, the Nizam issued a firman appointing a special officer to
investigate constitutional reforms. It was welcomed enthusiastically by a section of the
populace, who formed the Hyderabad State Reforms Association. However, the Nizam and
the Special Officer ignored all their demands for consultation. Meanwhile, the Nizam banned
the Khilafat movement in the State as well as all political meetings and the entry of "political
outsiders". Nevertheless, some political activity did take place and witnessed co-operation
between Hindus and Muslims. The abolition of the Sultanate in Turkey and Gandhi's
suspension of the Non-co-operation movement in British India ended this period of co-

An organisation called Andhra Jana Sangham (later renamed Andhra Mahasabha) was
formed in November 1921, and focused on educating the masses of Telangana in political
awareness. With leading members such as Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Burgula Ramakrishna
Rao and M. Narsing Rao, its activities included urging merchants to resist offering freebies to
government officials and encouraging labourers to resist the system of begar (free labour
requested at the behest of state). Alarmed by its activities, the Nizam passed a powerful
gagging order in 1929, requiring all public meetings to obtain prior permission. But the
organisation persisted by mobilising on social issues such as the protection of ryots, women's
rights, abolition of the devadasi system and purdah, uplifting of Dalits etc. It turned to politics
again in 1937, passing a resolution calling for responsible government. Soon afterwards, it
split along the moderate–extremist lines. The Andhra Mahasabha's move towards politics also
inspired similar movements in Marathwada and Karnataka in 1937, giving rise to
the Maharashtra Parishad and Karnataka Parishad respectively.[54]

The Arya Samaj, a pan-Indian Hindu reformist movement that engaged in a forceful religious
conversion programme, established itself in the state in the 1890s, first in the Bhir and Bidar
districts. By 1923, it opened a branch in the Hyderabad city. Its mass conversion programme
in 1924 gave rise to tensions, and the first clashes occurred between Hindus and
Muslims.[54] The Arya Samaj was allied to the Hindu Mahasabha, another pan-Indian Hindu
communal organisation, which also had branches in the state. The anti-Muslim sentiments
represented by the two organisations was particularly strong in Marathwada.[56]

In 1927, the first Muslim political organisation, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (Council for
the Unity of Muslims, Ittehad for short) was formed. Its political activity was meager during
the initial decade other than stating the objectives of uniting the Muslims and expressing
loyalty to the ruler. However, it functioned as a 'watchdog' of Muslim interests and defended
the privileged position of Muslims in the government and administration.[54]

1938 Satyagraha

1937 was a watershed year in the Indian independence movement. The Government of India
Act, 1935 introduced major constitutional reforms, with a loose federal structure for India
and provincial autonomy. In the provincial elections of February 1937, the Indian National
Congress emerged with a clear majority in most provinces of British India and formed
provincial governments.

On the other hand, there was no move towards constitutional reforms in the Hyderabad state
despite the initial announcement in 1920. The Andhra Mahasabha passed a resolution in
favour of responsible government and the parallel organisations of Maharastrha Parishad and
Karnataka Parishad were formed in their respective regions. The Nizam appointed a fresh
Constitutional Reforms Committee in September 1937. However, the gagging orders of the
1920s remained curtailing the freedom of press and restrictions on public speeches and
meetings. In response, a 'Hyderabad People's Convention' was created, with a working
committee of 23 leading Hindus and 5 Muslims. The convention ratified a report, which was
submitted to the Constitutional Reforms Committee in January 1938. However, four of the
five Muslim members of the working committee refused to sign the report, reducing its
potential impact.

In February 1938, the Indian National Congress passed the Haripura resolution declaring that
the princely states are "an integral part of India," and that it stood for "the same political,
social and economic freedom in the States as in the rest of India". Encouraged by this, the
standing committee of the People's Convention proposed to form a Hyderabad State
Congress and an enthusiastic drive to enroll members was begun. By July 1938, the
committee claimed to have enrolled 1200 primary members and declared that elections would
soon be held for the office-bearers. It called upon both Hindus and Muslims of the state to
"shed mutual distrust" and join the "cause of responsible government under the aegis of the
Ashaf Jahi dynasty." The Nizam responded by passing a new Public Safety Act on 6
September 1938, three days before the scheduled elections, and issued an order that the
Hyderabad State Congress would be deemed unlawful.[57]

Negotiations with the Nizam's government to lift the ban ended in failure. The Hyderabad
issue was widely discussed in the newspapers in British India. P. M. Bapat, a leader of the
Indian National Congress from Pune, declared that he would launch a satyagraha (civil
disobedience movement) in Hyderabad starting 1 November. The Arya Samaj and Hindu
Mahasabha also planned to launch satyagrahas on the matter of Hindu civil rights. The Hindu
communal pot had been boiling since early 1938 when an Arya Samaj member in Osmanabad
district was said to have been murdered for refusing to convert to Islam. In April, there was a
communal riot in Hyderabad that pitted Muslims against Hindus that raised the allegation of
'oppression of Hindus' in the press in British India. The Arya Samaj leaders hoped to
capitalise on these tensions. Perhaps in a bid not to be outdone, the activists of the Hyderabad
State Congress formed a 'Committee of Action' and initiated a satyagraha on 24 October

1938. The members of the organisation openly declared they belonged to the Hyderabad State
Congress and courted arrest. The Arya Samaj-Hindu Mahasabha combine also launched their
own satyagraha on the same day.[57]

The Indian National Congress refused to back the satyagraha of the State Congress. The
Haripura resolution had in fact been a compromise between the moderates and the radicals.
Gandhi had been wary of direct involvement in the states lest the agitations degenerate into
violence. The Congress high command was also keen on a firmer collaboration between
Hindus and Muslims, which the State Congress lacked. Padmaja Naidu wrote a lengthy report
to Gandhi where she castigated the State Congress for lacking unity and cohesion and for
being 'communal in [her] sense of the word'. On 24 December, the State Congress suspended
the agitation after 300 activists had courted arrest. These activists remained in jail till 1946.

The Arya Samaj-Hindu Mahasabha combine continued their agitation and intensified it in
March 1949. However, the response from the state's Hindus was lacklustre. Of the 8,000
activists that courted arrest by June, about 20% were estimated to be state's residents; the rest
were mobilised from British India. The surrounding British Indian provinces
of Bombay and Central Provinces and, to limited extent, Madras, all governed by Indian
National Congress, facilitated the mobilisation, with towns such
as Ahmednagar, Sholapur, Vijayawada, Pusad and Manmad used as staging posts.
Increasingly strident anti-Hyderabad propaganda continued in British India. By July–August,
the tensions had eased. The Hindu Mahasabha dispatched the Shankaracharya of
Jyotirmath on a peace mission, who testified that there was no religious persecution of
Hindus in the state. The Nizam government set up a Religious Affairs Committee and
announced constitutional reforms by 20 July. Subsequently, the Hindu Mahasabha suspended
its campaign on 30 July and the Arya Samaj on 8 August. All the imprisoned activists of the
two organisations were released.

Communal violence[

Prior to the operation

In the 1936–37 Indian elections, the Muslim League under Muhammad Ali Jinnah had sought
to harness Muslim aspirations, and had won the adherence of MIM leader Nawab Bahadur
Yar Jung, who campaigned for an Islamic State centred on the Nizam as the Sultan
dismissing all claims for democracy. The Arya Samaj, a Hindu revivalist movement, had
been demanding greater access to power for the Hindu majority since the late 1930s, and was

curbed by the Nizam in 1938. The Hyderabad State Congress joined forces with the Arya
Samaj as well as the Hindu Mahasabha in the State.[59]

Noorani regards the MIM under Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung as explicitly committed to
safeguarding the rights of religious and linguistic minorities. However, this changed with the
ascent of Qasim Razvi after the Nawab's death in 1944.[60]

Even as India and Hyderabad negotiated, most of the sub-continent had been thrown into
chaos as a result of communal Hindu-Muslim riots pending the imminent partition of India.
Fearing a Hindu civil uprising in his own kingdom, the Nizam allowed Razvi to set up a
voluntary militia of Muslims called the 'Razakars'. The Razakars – who numbered up to
200,000 at the height of the conflict – swore to uphold Islamic domination in Hyderabad and
the Deccan plateau[61]:8 in the face of growing public opinion amongst the majority Hindu
population favouring the accession of Hyderabad into the Indian Union.

According to an account by Mohammed Hyder, a civil servant in Osmanabad district, a

variety of armed militant groups, including Razakars and Deendars and ethnic militias
of Pathans and Arabs claimed to be defending the Islamic faith and made claims on the land.
"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."[62][63] "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".[64] Precise
numbers are not known, but 40,000 refugees have been received by the Central
Provinces.[61]:8 This led to terrorizing of the Hindu community, some of whom went across
the border into independent India and organized raids into Nizam's territory, which further
escalated the violence. Many of these raiders were controlled by the Congress leadership in
India and had links with extremist religious elements in the Hindutva fold.[65] In all, more
than 150 villages (of which 70 were in Indian territory outside Hyderabad State) were pushed
into violence.

Hyder mediated some efforts to minimize the influence of the Razakars.[citation needed] Razvi,
while generally receptive, vetoed the option of disarming them, saying that with the
Hyderabad state army ineffective, the Razakars were the only means of self-defence
available. By the end of August 1948, a full blown invasion by India was imminent.[66]

Nehru was reluctant to invade, fearing a military response by Pakistan. India was unaware
that Pakistan had no plans to use arms in Hyderabad, unlike Kashmir where it had admitted
its troops were present.[61] Time magazine pointed out that if India invaded Hyderabad, the
Razakars would massacre Hindus, which would lead to retaliatory massacres of Muslims
across India.[67]

During and after the operation

There were reports of looting, mass murder and rape of Muslims in reprisals by Hyderabadi
Hindus.[68][63] Jawaharlal Nehru appointed a mixed-faith committee led by Pandit Sunder
Lal to investigate the situation. The findings of the report (Pandit Sunderlal Committee
Report) were not made public until 2013 when it was accessed from the Nehru Memorial
Museum and Library in New Delhi.

The Committee concluded that while Muslim villagers were disarmed by the Indian Army,
Hindus were often left with their weapons.[68] The violence was carried out by Hindu
residents, with the army sometimes indifferent, and sometimes participating in the
atrocities.[61]:11 The Committee stated that large-scale violence against Muslims occurred in
Marathwada and Telangana areas. It also concluded: "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."[68] The Committee generally credited the military officers with good conduct but
stated that soldiers acted out of bigotry.[61]:11 The official "very conservative estimate" was
that 27,000 to 40,000 died "during and after the police action."[68] Other scholars have put the
figure at 200,000, or even higher.[70] Among Muslims some estimates were even higher and
Smith says that the military government's private low estimates [of Muslim casualties] were
at least ten times the number of murders with which the Razakars were officially
accused.[71] In William Dalrymple's words the scale of the killing was horrific. Although
Nehru played down this violence, he was privately alarmed at the scale of anti-Muslim

Patel reacted angrily to the report and disowned its conclusions. He stated that the terms of
reference were flawed because they only covered the part during and after the operation. He
also cast aspersions on the motives and standing of the committee. These objections are
regarded by Noorani as disingenuous because the commission was an official one, and it was
critical of the Razakars as well.

According to Mohammed Hyder, the tragic consequences of the Indian operation were
largely preventable. He faulted the Indian army with neither restoring local administration,
nor setting up their own military administration. As a result, the anarchy led to several
thousand "thugs", from the camps set up across the border, filling the vacuum. He stated
"Thousands of families were broken up, children separated from their parents and wives,
from their husbands. Women and girls were hunted down and raped."[74] The Committee
Report mentions mass rape of Muslim women by Indian troops.[72]

According to the communist leader Puccalapalli Sundarayya, Hindus in villages rescued

thousands of Muslim families from the Union Army's campaign of rape and murder.[75][


A locomotive at the Secunderabad Station (circa 1928)

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.
Hyderabad city had a separate powerplant for electricity. However, the Nizams focused
industrial development on the region of Sanathnagar, housing a number of industries there
with transportation facilities by both road and rail.

Industries in pre-Independence Hyderabad[76]

Company Year

Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway 1879

Karkhana Zinda Tilismat 1920

Singareni Collieries 1921

Hyderabad Deccan Cigarette Factory 1922

Vazir Sultan Tobacco Company, Charminar cigarette factory 1930

Azam Jahi Mills Warangal 1934

Nizam Sugar Factory 1937

Allwyn Metal Works 1942

Praga Tools 1943

Deccan Airways Limited 1945

Hyderabad Asbestos 1946

Sirsilk 1946

Sirpur Paper Mills 1942