Hyderabd - 400 Years Rich History
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400 Years Rich History of Hyderabad

Before the present city of Hyderabad was built, the area around it saw numerous rulers: from the Mauryan King, Asoka during the third century B.C. to the Chalukyas, and Kakatiyas till the 14th century. The area ultimately succumbed to the might of Mohammed Bin Tughlak’s forces and came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate in 1321, a rule that brought anarchy along with it.

The Bahmani Sultanate of the Deccan wrested control of part of the city north of the Krishna River, by the middle of the 15th century.

The governor (Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk) of the Bahmani Sultanate set up base in Golconda Fort on the Kakatiya hills to quell disturbances in the area. He ultimately declared independence and set up the Golconda Dynasty under the title of Sultan Quli Qutb Shah.

History of Hyderabad is inextricably linked with the rise and fall of various kingdoms, Qutb Shahi to Asaf Jahi (Nizams), which flourished in the Deccan region during the medieval and modern times.

It was the famous Qutb Shahi’s rule that opened a glorious chapter in the chronicles of Hyderabad.

City of Love:

The fourteen year old crown Sultan of Golconda, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was madly in love with beautiful Hindu courtesan ‘Bhagmati’, a local dancer. Every evening, the Prince of Golconda would ride to the village of Chichlam across Musi river, to meet his beloved for he couldn’t live without watching her dance, and listening to her soulful voice.

Legend has it that once heavy rains and thunderstorm lashed Golconda and the city was devastated. Flood water of the Musi river destroyed many homes and lives.

Young Sultan of Golconda, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was worried for Bhagmati, so he decided to cross the flooded river to meet her. His Royal guards tried to stop him as it was very dangerous for the young sultan, but in vain. Prince rode to the shore of the Musi river. He coerced his horse to step into the river and as soon as it did, a furious current nearly swept it away. It was a miracle that both survived and reached the other end.

After crossing the Musi river, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah rode towards the Chichlam village; he found many homes and lives were destroyed, he was searching for Bhagmati all the way and was praying for her safety.

Prince of Golconda found Bhagmati alive and felt happy after meeting her. After storm subsided, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah and Bhagmati left for Golconda.

When Sultan Ibrahim, the father of the young Sultan heard this tale of dangerous passion, he was alarmed and forbade Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah from meeting Bhagmati. Young Sultan was miserable without her. Beautiful women from Armenia, Persia, Arab and different parts of India were brought to entertain the prince, but none could attract his attention away from his beloved ‘Bhagmati’.

Sultan Ibrahim found that his son loved only Bhagmati and no one else, no matter how beautiful she was. After seeing so much love for Bhagmati, Sultan Ibrahim constructed the Purana Pul (Old Bridge) – a massive stone bridge across the Musi River, to make it easy for the young Sultan to reach Chichlam to meet his beloved.

The romance of the crown Prince with a dancer evoked great curiosity and controversy in Golconda. The fact that the Bhagmati was a Hindu courtesan and much older than the prince, created quite a uproar in the court. The orthodox society was not ready to accept her as queen of Golconda. After ascending the throne, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah defied all traditions, married Bhagmati, and made her his queen. He re-christened her Hyder Mahal, and named the city Hyderabad in honour of her.

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Founder of Hyderabad
Fifth ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty
(Accession 1580 - Death 1612)

The Birth of the City:

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, a ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, was the founder of Hyderabad City. In the year 1591, when the Moon was in the constellation of Leo, Jupiter in its own abode and all celestial planets favourably placed, he laid the foundation of a new city which he called Bhagyanagar after his beloved queen ‘Bhagmati’. Bhagmati embraced Islam and took the name Hyder Mahal and consequently Bhagynagar was renamed Hyderabad after her.

Prayer which Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah prayed
when he laid the foundation of the Hyderabad city.

Translated from Urdu

Listen to this prayer O Lord!
Bless my days and nights with contentment, O Lord!
Make Thou my country prosperous and populous,
And grant me a hundred years to live, O Lord!
Among all the thrones let my throne be
Like the gem that adorns a ring, O Lord!
Fill this city with people

As Thou hast filled the ocean with fish, O Lord!

The Qutb Shahi Kings were rulers between 1518 and 1687. As the monuments of their time reveal, they were great builders, lovers of architecture and patrons of learning. The greatest and the most popular edifice of the time is the Charminar. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, fifth ruler of the Qutab Shahi dynasity, inherited a rich legacy – a prosperous and large kingdom with the densely populated capital of Golconda.

Hyderabad History during Qutb Shahi rule

Qutb Shahi Kings - Rulers of the Deccan
1518 - 1687

Eight Qutb Shahi Rulers:

 I. Sultan Quli Qutbul Mulk
1518 - 1543
Founder and first ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty
 II. Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah
1543 - 1550
Second ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty
 III. Subhan Quli Qutb Shah
Third king of Qutb Shahi Dynasty
   IV. Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah
1550 - 1580
Fourth ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty

V. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah
1580 - 1612
Fifth ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty & Founder of Hyderabad City

VI. Muhammad Qutb Shah
1612 - 1626
Sixth ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty

VII. Abdullah Qutb Shahi
1626 - 1672
Seventh ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty

VIII. Abul Hasan Tana Shah
1672 - 1687
Eighth & last ruler of Qutb Shahi Dynasty

Hyderabad History during Mughal Attack

Mughal Attack

Fall of Qutub Shahi and the rise of Asaf Jahis

Abul Hasan Tana Shah was the last king of Golconda. It was during his reign that the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after a siege of 8 months was able to storm into the fortress when the gates were opened by a traitor in 1687. Abul Hasan was taken prisoner first to Bidar and then to Daulatabad (Aurangabad) where he died in prison after 12 years of captivity.

On September 22, 1687, Golconda was conquered by Aurangzeb and became a part of the six Mughal provinces in the Deccan. Mahabat Khan who was initially the Commander of the Golconda army, switched sides and joined the Mughal camp. He was appointed the Governor of Golconda-Hyderabad state, by Aurangzeb.

 Hyderabad History during Asaf Jahi rule
Asaf Jahi Dynasty - Nizams
1724 - 1948

Though Aurangzeb tried to consolidate his authority over Hyderabad, the city began to lose its importance. The final nail was struck when the capital of the new province was shifted from Hyderabad to Aurangabad, which became the new headquarters of the Mughals in the Deccan.

In 1713, the Mughal Emperor, Farruksiyar, appointed a twenty six year old warrior Qamaruddin as the new Governor of Deccan. Qamruddin was the grandson of Chin Qilij Khan, Aurangzeb's brave commander who lost his life during the siege of Golconda. The young Governor proved to be an able administrator and earned the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk or the Governor of the Kingdom.

In October 1724, Nizam-ul-Mulk declared himself Subedar or Governor of the six Deccan provinces - Aurangabad, Bidar, Bijapur, Berar, Adilabad and Hyderabad.

Between the fall of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and the rise of the Asaf Jahis dynasty, the city of Hyderabad steadily deteriorated. Aurangzeb's only contribution to the city was the completion of the Mecca Masjid in 1693. In 1763, after a gap of nearly seventy six years Hyderabad regained its lost glory when Nizam Ali Khan, the second Asaf Jahi ruler moved the capital back from Aurangabad to Hyderabad.

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 Mogul 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 annexation into the Indian Union in 1948.

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, who was himself a direct descendant paternal of Abu Bakr siddiq, maternal (first) a lady of the family of Mir Hamadan (descendant of prophet Mohammed ) a distinguished Sayyid of Samarkand.

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 its annexation into the Indian Union in 1948, after Indian independence.

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 honored 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 have been accorded by British Royalty special honors and the Nizam was given the official status of Faithful Ally.

Asafia Flag

Nizam's crest

Seven Asaf Jah Rulers - Seven Nizams

Mir Qamaruddin Khan,
Nizam ul Mulk, Asaf Jah I
Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan Bahadur,
Nizam ul Mulk, Asaf Jah II
Nawab Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikandar Jah,
Asaf Jah III
Nawab Mir Farkhonda Ali Khan Nasir-ud-Daulah,
Asaf Jah IV

Nawab Mir Tahniat Ali Khan Afzal ud Daulah,  
Asaf Jah V

Fateh Jang Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan,
Asaf Jah VI

Fateh Jang Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan,
Asaf Jah VII
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