1902 Encyclopedia > Hyderabad (City), South India

Hyderabad (City), South India

HYDERABAD, the chief city and capital of the above state [Hyderabad, Realm, South India], is situated in 17° 21' 45" N. lat. and 78° 30' 10" E. long., on the river Musi, and stands at a height of about 1700 feet above sea level. No census of the population has been taken, but it has been estimated at 200,000. The scenery around Hyderabad is wild and picturesque, the country being hilly and dotted with numerous granite peaks and isolated rocks, Approached from the west, the appearance of the city is very striking,-—the palace, the mosques, and the magnificent pile of buildings erected for the British residency towering above the outer wall. A large lake, a few miles south of Hyderabad, covering an area of 10,000 acres, supplies the town with water. The palace of the nizam, the mosques, and the British residency are the principal buildings. The palace has no pretensions to splendour, but is of considerable size. Hyderabad is a great Mahometan stronghold, and contains several mosques. The Jama Masjid or " cathedral" mosque, so called after the one at Mecca from which it is designed, is large, and is crowned by minarets of an extraordinary height. In the environs of Hyderabad there are many fine gardens with gorgeous pavilions; that of the nizam's minister has long been celebrated for its beauty. One of the most interesting places is the college, or Char Mindr (so called from its four minarets), built upon four grand arches at which the four principal streets of the city meet. Above are several stories of rooms, and formerly each story was devoted to a science. On the north side of the Musi is an extensive suburb known as the Begam or "Princess" bazaar. The British residency is in this quarter, and communication between it and the palace of the niz&m is maintained by a fine bridge. The residency is a very handsome building, and is remarkable as having been raised entirely by native work-men. It stands in ornamental pleasure grounds enclosed by a wall with two gateways. The staircase is the hand-somest in India, each step being a single block of the finest granite. The priucipal private residence in the city is the palace of the Bdra Dari, or "Twelve Doors," which is now occupied by the minister of the nizam, Sir Sfilar Jang.

History.—Hyderabad was founded in 1583, by Kutab Shah Muhammad Kuli, a descendant of Sultan Kuli Kutab Shah, the founder of the dynasty at Golconda in 1512. Muhammad Kuli removed the seat of government on account of its want of water and conse-quent nnhealthiness, and built a new city on the banks of the Musi river, 7 miles from his former capital. He called it Bhdgnagar, "Fortunate City," from his favourite mistress, Bhagmati; but after her death he named it Hyderabad. The history of Golconda and of Hyderabad after 1589 are almost identical. Soon after estab-lishing himself in his new metropolis, Muhammad Kuli carried on an aggressive war with the neighbouring Hindu rajas. He ex-tended his conquests south of the Kistna river ; the strong fortress of Gandikota was ca.ptured ; and the town of Cuddapah was sacked. His troops penetrated to the frontiers of Bengal, and Muhammad Kuli defeated the raja of Orissa and subjugated the Northern Circars. In 1603 an ambassador from the king of Persia arrived with a ruby studded crown and other magnificent gifts. When he returned six years afterwards, he was accompanied by an officer of the court of Hyderabad, bearing return presents. In 1611 Muhammad Kuli died, after a most prosperous reign of thirty-four years. The principal memorials of this monarch are the palace and gardens of Ilahi Mahal, the Muhammad! gardens, the palace of Nabat Ghat, and the Jama Masjid or " cathedral " mosque. During his reign nearly £3,000,000 was expended on public works, and £24,000 was distributed every year among the poor.

Muhammad Kuli was succeeded by his son, Sultan Abdullah Kutab Shah. Mir Jumla, the prime minister, whose son had in-volved him in a dispute with the court, finding himself unable to obtain favour from his own sovereign, determined to throw him-self on the protection of the Mughal emperor. Shah Jahan, espous-ing his cause, issued a mandate to Abdullah to redress the complaints of his minister ; but Abdullah was so incensed that he sequestrated Mir Jumla's property, and committed his son to prison. Shah Jahan now despatched Aurangzeb, his son, to carry his demands into effect by force of arms. Abdullah Kutab Shah was preparing an entertainment for Aurangzeb's reception, when he suddenly ad-vanced as an enemy, and took the king so completely by surprise that he had only time to flee to the hill-fort of Golconda, whilst Hyderabad fell into the hands of the Mughals, and was plundered and half burned before the troops could be brought into order. Abdullah did all in his power to negotiate reasonable terms, but the Mughals were inexorable, and he was at last forced to accept the severe conditions imposed on him.

Abdullah died in 1672, and was succeeded by his son-in-law Abu Husain, who in his youth had been notorious for dissipated habits. He fell entirely under the influence of a Marhatta Brahman, named Madhuna Panth, who became his prime minister. During this reign Aurangzeb ngain marched upon the city. The king shut himself in the fort of Golconda, and Hyderabad was again left open to plunder. Madhuna Panth was killed in a popular tumult, and the king accepted such terms as he could obtain. A payment of £2,000,000 sterling in money and jewels was demanded. In 1687 Aurangzeb formally declared war against Abu Husain. The king bravely defended the fort of Golconda, but lost it by treachery, and was sent a captive to Daulatabad, where he resided until his death. Abu Husain was a very popular monarch, and many anecdotes oi his virtue are still current in the Deccan. Aurangzeb immediately took possession of all the territories of Bijapur and Golconda, but his occupation was little more than military.

No event of any importance occurred at Hyderabad until 1707, the year of Aurangzeb's death, when a dispute for the crown took place. His son, Prince Muazi'm, was victorious, and ascended the throne as Bahadur Shah. After he made a truce with the Mar-hattas, affairs in the Deccan remained quiet until the end of his reign, in 1712. His death was followed by struggles amongst his sons. A battle ensued ; Azun-ush-Shan was slain, and Jalandhar Shah remained master of the throne. Among those he could not get into his power was Farrukh Siyyar, the only son of Azim-ush-Shan ; but the cause of this prince was espoused by the governor of Behar, Sayyid Husain All. The rivals met near Agra ; and on the 1st January 1713 Farrukh Siyyar ascended the throne, and con-ferred dignities upon all his adherents. Among these was Chin-Kilich Khan, to whom was given the title of Nizain-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, and Sayyid Husain All was appointed viceroy of the Deccan. In 1719 Husain All and Sayyid Abdullah Khan, his brother, ad-vanced upon Delhi, and soon their troops took possession of the royal citadel and palace. Farrukh Siyyar was deposed, and two months later put to death. The Sayyids now (1719) selected Muhammad Shah, who was the last emperor that sat on the Pea-cock throne of Shah Jahan. In 1720 Husain Ali was assassinated, and at the end of the year Abdullah Khan was defeated and taken prisoner by Muhammad Shah ; but the power of this monarch was fast declining. In 1722 Chin-Kilich Khan, also called Asaf Jah, arrived at Delhi, and assumed the office of vizier. In 1723 he re-signed his post, and set off for the Deccan, a proceeding amounting to a declaration of independence. The emperor sent orders to Mobariz, the local governor of Hyderabad to assume the govern-ment of the entire Deccan. Asaf was forced to come to open war, and soon gained a decisive victory over Mobariz, who lost his life in the battle, fought in October 1724. He then fixed his residence at Hyderabad, and became the founder of an independent kingdom, now ruled over by his descendants, who derive from him the title of the Nizams of Hyderabad state.

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