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The Asaf Jahs - The Magnificent Seven  

The Dynasty
Nizam i
Nizam ii
Nizam iii
Nizam iv
Nizam v
Nizam vi

Nizam vii

Salar Jung

The  Asaf Jahis Dynasty

Nizam-ul-Mulk Asif Jah I (1724-1748):
In 1724 Nizam-ul-Mulk Asif Jah I founded the Asif Jahi Dynasty and seven generations of the family ruled the Deccan for 224 years up to 1948. During this period several buildings of archaeological and public importance were built. Notable among them are: Purani Haveli, Chow Mahalla Palace, Osmania University, Jubilee Hall, Assembly Building, Asifia Library, Osmania Hospital, High Court, and all the buildings in the Public Garden

The origins of the Asif Jahi dynasty can be traced to Chin Qalich Khan who was the grandfather of the first Nizam and the commander of the Mughal army during Aurangzeb's reign. Chin Qalich Khan led the attack of the Mughal army into the Deccan under his Emperor's ambitious plans of expanding the Mughal Empire. During Aurangzeb's last siege of Golconda in 1687, Chin Qalich Khan was wounded. He died in Atapur village near Himayath Sagar. Chin Qalich Khan's son, Nawab Ghaziuddin Khan, married the daughter of Sadullah Khan, Prime Minister of Aurangzeb.

A son was born, and the Emperor named him Mir Qumaruddin. At the age of six, Mir Qumaruddin accompanied his father to the Mughal court. Aurangzeb awarded him a mansab, and said to his father, "The star of destiny shines on the forehead of your son". Mir Qumaruddin displayed considerable skill as a warrior and at the age of nineteen, the Emperor bestowed on him the title "Chin Fateh Khan". At 26, he was appointed Commander in Chief and Viceroy, first at Bijapur, then Malwa and later of the Deccan. Subsequently, the Mughal Empire declined. 

There was much confusion after the death of Aurangzeb, and Mir Qumaruddin established his position as Viceroy. Farukh Siar who was the Mughal Emperor for a brief tenure conferred on Mir Qumaruddin the title Nizam-ul-mulk Fateh Jung. He thus became the first Nizam. A subsequent Emperor, Muhammad Shah bestowed on him the title Asif Jah. The dynasty of the Nizams of Hyderabad thus came to be known as the Asif Jahi Dynasty. 

Unrest and claims to the throne continued after the death of Aurangzeb, and amidst the general confusion, Asif Jah had little difficulty in asserting his independence from the weak occupants of the Delhi throne. At that time, Asif Jah was the Sudedar of Malwa. However, his independence was the cause of much jealousy, and the Delhi court secretly instructed Mubrez Khan, the Subedar of the Deccan, to oppose him. 

A battle was fought at Shakar-Khelda in the district of Berar in 1724, where Mubrez Khan was defeated and killed. This battle established Asif Jah's supremacy in the Deccan. After gaining independence, Asif Jah came to be known as Nizam-ul-Mulk. He first set up his capital at Auragabad but later moved to Hyderabad, which became the capital of the Asif Jahi dynasty. 

Nizam-ul-Mulk's greatest achievement was the foundation of the Hyderabad Dominion. He attained his object by waging a struggle against the Marattas and by the policy of non-involvement in the rivalry for power between the British and the French. His policy has been justified by later events as Hyderabad State survived right through the period of British rule up to the time of Indian independence.

Asif Jahi ruled wisely and established an independent state in the Deccan. He was one of the ablest statesmen. However, his death at Burhanpur on May 21, 1748 at the age of 78, was followed by a struggle for the throne. By this time, foreign powers were spreading their tentacles. 

The British supported Asif Jah's second son Nasir Jung whereas the French supported Muzafar Jung, grandson of Asif Jah. Nasir Jung succeeded; but after a brief rule he was slain in 1750 in an encounter with the French troops at Arcot. Thereupon, Muzafar Jung ascended the throne. In the following year he was murdered and his son Salabath Jung was put on the throne.

Nizam Ali Khan  ASAF JAH II (1762-1803):

In 1762, Salabeth Jung was dethroned by his brother Nizam Ali Khan, and confined at Bidar where he died in 1793. Hence, Nasir Jung, Muzafar Jung and Salabath Jung, who were contestants for the sovereignty of the Deccan for 13 years, have not been historically recognised as reigning Nizams. If they had been, Nizam Ali Khan would have been known as the fifth Nizam and not the second. 

Nizam Ali Khan ascended the throne in 1763 and he ruled Hyderabad for almost 40 years This was one of the eventful periods in the history of India. Foremost among the competitors for supremacy in the Deccan were the Marathas and it was during this period that Nizam Ali Khan employed the famous French adventurer Monsieur Raymond. Nizam Ali Khan died in August 1803 at the age of 72 years after a long and strenuous reign.

Sikandar Jah  ASAF JAH III (1803-1829):
The succession of Sikandar Jah as Nizam was undisputed and he appointed Mir Alam as his Prime Minister. With the throne passing to Sikander Jah, and end of war with the Marathas, there began an entirely new era for Hyderabad. Unfortunately in 1808, the able Minister Mir Alam died and it was he who was responsible for maintaining good relations with the British. In 1809, Mir Alam's son Munir-ul-Mulk was appointed as Minister. Sikander Jah died in May 1829 at the age of 62 after reigning for almost 26 years. Secunderabad was named after him

Nasir-ud-Daula ASAF JAH IV (1829-1857):
Sikander Jah was succeeded by his eldest son Nasir-ud-Daula. It was during his reign that Salar Jung was appointed as the Minister in 1853. Salar Jung guided the affairs of the Deccan with great wisdom and introduced several reforms to improve the finances of the Dominion. 

On May 17, 1857 Nasir-ud-Daula died and his son Afzal-ud-Daula became the fifth Nizam. This was the first time the first war of Indian Independence was fought in the North and there was general disorder in the Deccan. 

After a reign of 12 years, Afzal-ud-Daula died on February 26, 1869 at the age of 43 years, leaving behind the infant prince Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, who was hardly three years old.

Mir Tahniath Ali Khan Afzal-ud-Daula was born on October 11, 1827. He was the eldest son of Nawab Nasir-ud-Daula. He ascended the throne on May 18, 1857 and the great Indian Mutiny (First war of Independence) was started on July 17, 1857. On January 27, 1858, Sir John Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of Punjab, ordered an enquiry against Bahadur Shah Zafar and with the help of false witnesses exiled him to Rangoon. 

1857 was an important year as the Mughal dynasty vanished and the Nizam ceased to be a Mughal Subedar. On August 31, 1861 the order of the Star of India was conferred on Nawab Afzal-ud-Daula. The dominion was divided into five subas and 16 districts. A subedar headed each suba and each district was placed under a Taluqdar. During the reign of Nawab Afzal-ud-Daula, the reforms carried out by Sir Salar Jung included the establishment of a Government central treasury in 1855. Afzal-ud-Daula died at the age of 42 years on February 26, 1869, after reigning for 12 years

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan was born on August 17, 1866. He was the only son of Nawab Afzal-Ud-Daula. Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan along with Sir Salar Jung and other nobles went to Delhi on January 1, 1877 on proclamation day. After the death of Sir Salar Jung on February 8, 1883 a provisional council of Regency consisting of five members, was appointed for administrative purposes.

On October 31, 1883, Mir Laiq Ali Khan was bestowed with the title of "Salar Jung II" and "Muniruddaula" and on February 5, 1884, he was appointed Prime Minister. Mir Laiq Ali Khan Salar Jung II endeavoured to continue the reforms started by his father. In April 1887, he resigned due to court intrigues and internal politics and the Nizam took over the administration of the dominion. At the end of 1901, Sir Viqar-Ul-Umara fell ill and died in 1902

On November 5, 1902, an agreement was signed by the Nizam's government, assigning Berar districts to the British on lease for Rs 25 lakh a year. "In the Nizam's dominion, medical treatment and medical education reached a high standard of excellence. Here was held the famous Chloroform Commission which was due to the liberality and scientific interest of the Nizam and the energy and enthusiasm of Dr Lawrie, the Presidency surgeon", the British Medical Journal of 1895 said.

In 1893 Mahboob Ali Khan announced a major reform in the constitution of the government through an edict called "Qanunche Mubarick". On May 5, 1905, Victoria Memorial Orphanage was established in memory of Queen Victoria. In 1878, Madrasa-I-Aliya was founded and in 1908, the Mahboobia Girls' school was set up. On September 28, 1908, Hyderabad witnessed disastrous floods of the River Musi, flowing through the city. On February 5, 1885, Her Majesty the Queen Empress conferred upon his highness the honour of grand commander of the Star of India. His highness had a sudden stroke of paralysis and succumbed to it the same day at Falaknuma Palace on August 29, 1911, at the age of 46 years.

Mir Osman Ali Khan - ASAF JAH VII (1911-1948):
Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and the last Nizam of Hyderabad ruled for 37 years (1911 - 1948). His Dominion was lager than England and Scotland put together, with an area of 86,000 Sq. miles. 

The seventh Nizam led a very simple life, yet he was one of the richest men in the world. He donated generously to every cause in India as well as abroad, irrespective of caste and religion. If it was the Muslim theological school at Deoband, which received financial help, it was also the privilege of the Benaras Hindu University. His list of donations included Rabindranth Tagore's Shantiniketan and several other institutions including hospitals and schools. The Golden Temple in Amritsar also enjoyed an annual donation. 

The Nizam's rule saw the growth of Hyderabad, economically and culturally. Electricity, railways, roads and airways developed. Huge reservoirs and irrigation projects such as the Tungabhadra and Nizamsagar were completed. The early work on Nagarjunasagar was also taken up. The Osmania University, Colleges and Schools were founded throughout the state. Nearly all the public buildings such as the Osmania General Hospital, High Court, Central State Library, Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall and other buildings in the Public Garden were built during Osman Ali Khan's reign.

Prince Mukkaram Jah
The grandson of the last Nizam Of Hyderabad  

How Hyderabad escaped the fate of Kashmir




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