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The Nizam of Hyderabad



Capital Hyderabad
Language(s) Urdu, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada,
Government Monarchy, Deccan Emperors
 - 1720-1748 Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi, Asaf Jah I
 - 1869-1911 Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI
 - Established 1720
 - Invasion of Hyderabad 1948

Nizam (Urdu: نظام‌), a shortened version of Nizam-ul-Mulk (Urdu: نظام‌الملک), meaning Administrator of the Realm, was the title of the native sovereigns of Hyderabad State, India, since 1719, belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty. The dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, a viceroy of the Deccan under the Mughal emperors from 1713 to 1721 and who intermittently ruled under the title Asaf Jah in 1724, and After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Mughal Empire crumbled and the viceroy in Hyderabad, the young Asaf Jah, declared himself independent.

By the middle of 18th century, the scions, known as The Nizams, had quickly surpassed the Mughals ruling a vast dominion of about 125,000,000 acres (510,000 km2) in south India. They were among the wealthiest people in the world. Seven Nizams ruled Hyderabad for two centuries until Indian independence in 1947.

The Asaf Jahi rulers were great patrons of literature, art, architecture, culture, jewelry collection and rich food. The Nizams ruled the state until its integration into the Indian Union in September 1948 after independence from the British.

The Asif Jahis were lineal descendants of the first Khalifa of Islam Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq (R.A) and they were fourteenth in direct male descent from Shaikh Shihab ud-din Suhrawardy a acclaimed sufi from Kurdistan. Even though they were staunch sunnis, they had a very liberal approach towards shia muslims and non-muslims.


Family Origins

The Asaf Jahi dynasty originated in the region around Samarkand, but the family came to India from Baghdad in the late 17th century. Shaikh Mir Ismail (Alam Shaikh Siddiqi) Alam ul-Ulema,son of Ayub younus Salim, son of Abdul Rehman Shaikh Azizan Siddiqi, fourteenth in direct decent from Sheikh Shihab-ud-din Siddiqi Suhrawardy, of Suharwada in Kurdistan, a celebrated [Sufi] mystic, or dervish, maternal (first), a lady of the family of Mir Hamadan (a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed)(SW), a distinguished Sayyid of Samarkand.

Origin of the Nizam Title

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 word, nizām (نظام), meaning order, arrangement. The Nizam was referred to as Ala Hadrat /Ala Hazrat or Nizam Sarkar, meaning His Exalted Highness (The last Nizam was awarded this title. It is a heredity title).

Rise of the Nizams

The first Nizams ruled on behalf of the Mughal emperors. But, after the death of Aurangazeb, the Nizams split away from the Mughals to form their kingdom. When the British achieved paramountcy over India, the Nizams were allowed to continue to rule their princely states. The Nizams retained power over Hyderabad State until September 1948 when it was integrated into the 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 recognized as the rulers.

A legend about the first Nizam states that, on one of his hunting trips he was offered some kulchas (an Indian bread) by a holy man and was asked to eat as many as he could. The Nizam could eat seven kulchas and the holy man then prophesied that seven generations of his family would rule the state.

The Nizams, by an honoured Hyderabad tradition that no Nizam has ever left India no matter how good a reason might exist for doing so, they believed, "the Sovereign is too precious to his people ever to leave India.".

Ever since Hyderabad stood aloof from the great first war of Indian Independence of 1857 while betraying many Indians and also at time acting against those who opposed the British such as Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, its Royal Family had been accorded by British Royalty special honours and the Nizam was given the official status of Faithful Ally.


A cover story by TIME in February 22, 1937 called the last Nizam as the wealthiest man in the world
  1. Qamar-ud-din Khan, Asaf Jah I (1720-1748)
  2. Mir Ahmed Ali Khan Siddiqi, Nizam-ud-Dowlah Nasir Jang (1748-1750)
  3. Nawab Hidayat Mohi-ud-din Sa'adu'llah Khan Bahadur, Muzaffar Jang (1750-1751)
  4. Nawab Syed Mohammed Khan Siddiqi, Amir ul Mulk, Salabat Jang (1751-1762)
  5. Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur, Nizam ul Mulk, Asaf Jah II (1762-1803)
  6. Nawab Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikandar Jah Siddiqi, Asaf Jah III (1803-1829)
  7. Nawab Mir Farkhonda Ali Khan Siddiqi Nasir-ud-Daulah, Asaf Jah IV (1829-1857)
  8. Nawab Mir Tahniat Ali Khan Siddiqi Afzal ud Daulah, Asaf Jah V (1857-1869)
  9. Fateh Jang Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqi, Asaf Jah VI (1869-1911)
  10. Fateh Jang Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi, Asaf Jah VII (1911-1967)
  11. Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah Asaf Jah VIII (1967 - present)

Line of Succession

The Asaf Jah dynasty followed the policy of male primogeniture during their long rule, regardless of the mother's marital status or rank. Currently, the line of succession to the Hyderabad throne is as follows:

  • 1. His Highness Azmet Jah, the Prince of Berar (1960-). Eldest son of Asaf Jah VIII.
  • 2. Azam Jah (1979-). Second son of Asaf Jah VIII.
  • 3. Muffakham Jah (1939-). Younger brother of Asaf Jah VIII.
  • 4. Rafat Jah (1966-). Elder son of Muffakham Jah.
  • 5. Farhad Jah. Younger son of Muffakham Jah.
  • 6. Shahamat Jah (1957-). Son of His Highness Moazzam Jah, the paternal uncle of Asaf Jah VIII.
  • 7. prince kazim jah Bahadur (1912-). Paternal uncle of Asaf Jah VIII.
  • 8. prince Ahmad Jah. Paternal first cousin of Asaf Jah VIII through his uncle prince Kazim Jah bahadur and 2nd son prince baqar jah(1912-1952).
  • 9. Baqir Jah. Paternal first cousin of Asaf Jah VIII through his uncle prince Kazim Jah bahadur and 5 daughters of prince kazim jah bahadur(1912-1952).
  • 10. nawab Arshad 'Ali Khan. Son of prince Ahmad Jah.from prince baqar jah 2 sons and i daughter nawab jaffar ali khan. nawab kausar ali khan.and sahibzadi zehra begum,
  • 11.princes abbasi begum has 3 sons and i daughter.nawab ameer ali hyder.nawab asghar ali hyder.nawab mauzam ali hyder and sahibzadi sakina hyder

12.princes salma begum has i son nawab kazim ali khan 13.princes saleha begum has 2 sons and i daughter.nawab namdar ali khan.nawab kamdar ali khan and sahibzadi zanib begum

Palaces of the Nizams

The Asaf Jahis were prolific builders. Several palaces of the Nizams were:

The princely state had one of the finest palaces in India with rich adornments. Fine objects of art and furnishings in the palaces reflect the grandeur.

The landmarks like the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Jubilee Hall, Asafia library, The Assembly building, the Osmania Arts College and the Osmania Medical College are among their notable constructions.

The Nizams liked the European style of architecture and created a fusion of European traditions with Hindu and Islamic forms and motifs.

End of the Dynasty and Removal of the Last Nizam

Main Article: Operation Polo

After the British left India in 1947, the princely state of Hyderabad did not accede to either of the new dominion of India or Pakistan and started taking support and arms from Pakistan. After all attempts by India to persudade the Nizam to see reason failed, the Indian government launched Operation Polo, a "police action", on 13 September 1948 swiftly overrunning the Nizam's forces within four and a half days. The Nizam's rule ended on 17 September 1948, his forces surrendered and he himself broadcast this over radio the same afternoon.

All Nizams are buried in the royal graves at the Makkah Masjid near Charminar in Hyderabad except for the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who willed that he be buried in his mausoleum in the Judi Mosque facing King Kothi Palace.

See also


  • Zubrzycki, John. (2006) The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback. Pan Macmillan, Australia. ISBN 978-0-3304-2321-2.
  • University of Queensland feature

Further reading

  • Mughal Administration of Deccan Under Nizamul Mulk Asaf Jah, 1720-48 A.D.By M. A. Nayeem, Indian Council of Historical Research, University of Poona, Dept. of History [1]

External links History of Hyderabad state]


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NIZAM, the hereditary title of the reigning prince of Hyderabad in India, derived from an Arabic word meaning order, or administration. The same word is found in Nazim, applied to the Nawab of Bengal, and in Nizamat, the old term for criminal jurisdiction. Nizam-ul-Mulk (_ "administrator of the kingdom") was the title of Asaf Jah, the founder of the dynasty, a very able soldier and minister of the court of Aurangzeb, who was appointed governor of the Deccan in 1713, and established his independence before his death in 1748.

Nizami (1141-1203). Nizam-uddin Abu Mahommed Ilyas bin Yusuf, Persian poet, was born 535 A.H. (1141 A.D.). His native place, or at any rate the abode of his father, was in the hills of Kum, but as he spent almost all his days in Ganja in Arran (the present Elizavettpol) he is generally known as Nizami of Ganja or Ganjawi. The early death of his parents, which illustrated to him in the most forcible manner the unstableness of all human existence, threw a gloom over his whole life, and fostered in him that earnest piety and fervent love for solitude and meditation which have left numerous traces in his poetical writings, and served him throughout his literary career as a powerful antidote against the enticing favours of princely courts, for which he, unlike most of his contemporaries, never sacrificed a tittle of his self-esteem. The religious atmosphere of Ganja, besides, was most favourable to such a state of mind; the inhabitants, being zealous Sunnites, allowed nobody to dwell among them who did not come up to their standard of orthodoxy, and it is therefore not surprising to find that Nizami abandoned himself at an early age to a stern ascetic life, as full of intolerance to others as dry and unprofitable to himself. He was rescued at last from this monkish idleness by his inborn genius, which, not being able to give free vent to its poetical inspirations under the crushing weight of bigotry, claimed a greater share in the legitimate enjoyments of life and the appreciation of the beauties of nature, as well as a more enlightened faith of tolerance, benevolence, and liberality. The first poetical work in which NizAmi embodied his thoughts on God and man, and all the experiences he had gained, was necessarily of a didactic character, and very appropriately styled Makhzanul Asrar, or "Storehouse of Mysteries," as it bears the unmistakable stamp of Sufic speculations. It shows, moreover, a strong resemblance to Nasir Khosrau's ethical poems and Sana'i's Hadikat-ulhakikat, or "Garden of Truth." The date of composition, which varies in the different copies from 552 to 582 A.H., must be fixed in 574 o r 575 (1178-1179 A.D.). Although the Makhzan is mainly devoted to philosophic meditations, the propensity of Nizämi's genius to purely epic poetry, which was soon to assert itself in a more independent form, makes itself felt even here, all the twenty chapters being interspersed with short tales illustrative of the maxims set forth in each. His claim to the title of the foremost Persian romanticist he fully established only a year or two after the Makhzan by the publication of his first epic masterpiece Khosrau and Shirin, composed, according to the oldest copies, in 576 A.H. (I 180 A.D.). As in all his following epopees the subject was taken from what pious Moslems call the time of "heathendom" - here, for instance, from the old Sassanian story of Shah Khosrau Parwiz (Chosroes Parvez), his love affairs with the princess Shirin of Armenia, his jealousy against the architect Ferhad, for some time his successful rival, of whom he got rid at last by a very ingenious trick, and his final reconciliation and marriage with Shirin; and it is a noteworthy fact that the once so devout Nizami never chose a strictly Mahommedan legend for his works of fiction. Nothing could prove better the complete revolution in his views, not only on religion, but also on art. He felt, no doubt, that the object of epic poetry was not to teach moral lessons or doctrines of faith, but to depict the good and bad tendencies of the human mind, the struggles and passions of men; and indeed in the whole range of Persian literature only Firdusi and Fakhr-uddin As`ad Jorjani, the author of the older epopee Wis u. Ramin (about the middle of the 11th century), can compete with Nizami in the wonderful delineation of character and the brilliant painting of human affections, especially of the joys and sorrows of a loving and beloved heart.

Khosrau and Shirin was inscribed to the reigning atabeg of Azerbaijan, Abu Ja`far Mahommed Pahlavan, and his brother Kizil Arslan, who, soon after his accession to the throne in 582 A.H., showed his gratitude to the poet by summoning him to his court, loading him with honours, and bestowing upon him the revenue of two villages, Hamd and Nijan. Nizami accepted the royal gift, but his resolve to keep aloof from a servile courtlife was not shaken by it, and he forthwith returned to his quiet retreat. Meanwhile his genius had not been dormant, and two years after his reception at court, in 584 A.H. (1188 A.D.), he completed his Diwan, or collection of kasidas and ghazals (mostly of an ethical and parenetic character), which are said to have numbered 20,000 distichs, although the few copies which have come to us contain only a very small number of verses. About the same time he commenced, at the desire of the ruler of the neighbouring Shirvan, his second romantic poem, the famous Bedouin love-story of Laila and Majnun, which has so many points in common with Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and finished it in the short space of four months. A more heroic subject, and the only one in which he made a certain attempt to rival Firdousi, was selected by our poet for his third epopee, the Iskandarnama, or "Book of Alexander," also called Sharaf iama or Igbalnama-i-Iskandari (" The Fortunes of Alexander"), which is split into two divisions. The first or semi-historical part shows us Alexander the Great as the conqueror of the world, while the second, of a more ethical tendency, describes him in the character of a prophet and philosopher, and narrates his second tour through the world and his adventures in the west, south, east and north. There are frequent Stifle allegories, just as in the Makhzan; and quite imbued with pantheistic ideas is, for instance, the final episode of the first part, the mysterious expedition of Alexander to the fountain of life in the land of darkness. As for the date of composition, it is evident, from the conflicting statements in the different MSS., that there must have been an earlier and a later recension, the former belonging to 587-589 A.H., and dedicated to the prince of Mosul, `Izz-uddin Mas`ud, the latter made for the atabeg Nusrat-uddin Abu Bakr of Azerbaijan after 593 A.H., since we find in it a mention of Nizaml's last romance Haft Paikar, or the "Seven Beauties," which comprises seven tales related by the seven favourite wives of the Sassanian king Bahramgur. In this poem, which was written 593 A.H., at the request of Nur-uddin Arslan of Mosul, the son and successor of the abovementioned `Izz-uddin, Nizami returned once more from his excursion into the field of heroic deeds to his old favourite domain of romantic fiction, and added a fresh leaf to the laurel crown of immortal fame with which the unanimous consent of Eastern and Western critics has adorned his venerable head. The most interesting of the seven tales is the fourth, the story of the Russian princess, in which we recognize at once the prototype of Gozzi's well-known Turandot, which was afterwards adapted by Schiller for the German stage. The five mathnawis, from the Makhzan to the Haft Paikar, form Nizami's so-called "Quintuple" (Khamsa) or "Five Treasures" (Panj Ganj), and have been taken as pattern by all the later epic poets in the Persian, Turkish, Chaghatai and Hindustani languages. Nizami died at Ganja in his sixty-fourth year, 599 A.H. (1203 A.D.).

The fullest account of Nizami is given in Dr W. Bacher's Nizami's Leben and Werke (Leipzig, 1871; English translation by S. Robinson, London, 1873; reprinted in the same author's Persian Poetry for English Readers, 1883, pp. 103-244). All the errors of detail in Bacher's work have been corrected by Dr Rieu in his Catalogue of the Persian MSS. in the British Museum (1881), ii. 563 sqq.

Principal Editions

The whole Khamsa (lithographed, Bombay, 1834 and 1838; Teheran, 1845); Makhzan-ul Asrar (edited by N. Bland, London, 1844; lithographed, Cawnpore, 1869; English translation in MS. by Hatton Hindley, in the British Museum Add. 6961); Khosrau and Sarin (lithographed, Lahore, 1871; German translation by Hammer in Shirin, ein persisches romantisches Gedicht, Leipzig, 1809); Laila and Majnun (lithographed, Lucknow, 1879; English translation by J. Atkinson, London, 1836); Haft Paikar (lithographed, Bombay, 1849; Lucknow, 1873; the fourth tale in German by F. von Erdmann, Behramgur and die russische Fiirstentochter, Kasan, 1844); Iskandarnama, first part, with commentary (Calcutta, 1812 and 1825; text alone, Calcutta, 1853 lithographed with marginal notes, Lucknow, 1865; Bombay, 1861 and 1875; English translation by H. Wilberforce Clarke, London, 1881; compare also Erdmann, De expeditions Russorum Berdaam versus, Kasan, 1826, and Charmoy, Expedition d'Alexandre contre les Russes, St Petersburg, 1829); Iskandarnama-i-Bahri, second part, edited by Dr Sprenger (Calcutta, 1852 and 1869). (H. E.)

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