- History of Hyderabad

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Among the cities of India, Hyderabad, the capital of the new state of Andhra Pradesh, has one of the richest and most colourful histories, accentuated by magnificent architecture and a rich culture. Several influences for the past 400 years has molded it into the A-1 status city it is today.Abul Hasan Tana Shah, the last king of Golconda, was imprisoned at Daulatabad, where he died after twelve years in captivity. With the conquest of the Deccan and the South, Aurangzeb succeeded in expanding the Mughal Empire to cover the entire sub-continent. However, after his death in 1707, the Empire rapidly declined. At that time , the Deccan was administered by a Subedar or viceroy of the Mughal Emperor. Mir Quamaruddin, the Governor of the Deccan, who bore the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk Feroze Jung Asif Jah, declared his independence from Mughal rule in 1724.He thus became the first Nizam and the founder of the Asif Jahi dynasty. Asif Jah I continued to maintain Aruangabad, which had been founded by the Mughal rulers as the capital of his new state. In 1769, Nizam Ali Khan Asif Jah II, shifted the capital to Hyderabad. The seven Nizam's of the Asif Jahi dynasty ruled the Deccan for nearly 224 years, right up to 1948. During the Asif Jahi period, Persian, Urdu, Telugu and Marathi developed simultaneously. The highest official positions were given to deserving persons irrespective of their religion.

Ancient History

Before the city’s actual historical rise, the area where Hyderabad would ultimately be established was under the rule of several kingdoms, including those of Buddhist and Hindu royalty. It came under rule by the kings of the Chalukya kingdom, whose feudal chieftains, the Kakatiyas, splintered off to create their new kingdom and established it around Warangal. In 1321 AD, the Sultanate of Delhi under the command of Muhammad bin Tughluq brought Warangal to its knees, resulting in anarchy in the whole region.

The Qutub Shahi Dynasty

The history of Hyderabad as a city began in 1518 when Sultan Quli Qut-ul-Mulk declared independence from the Bahmani Sultanate and established the fortress city of Golconda, calling himself the Sultan Quli Qutub Shah. Decades before, Sultan Mohammed Shah Bahmani instructed Quli Qut-ul-Mulk to quell insurgents and disturbance in the region, a job which the future ruler carried only too well. By the time he established the Golconda Sultanate under the title of Sultan Quli Qutub Shah and began the Qutub Shahi Dynasty, the Bahmani Sultanate had completely disintegrated, splintering into five different kingdoms.

The Mughal Empire

Hyderabad’s fame finally caught the attention of the Mughal prince Aurangzeb, who laid siege on Golconda in 1686. Aurangzeb had been spending most of his time in the Deccan establishing and enforcing the Mughal superiority and sovereignity. When Shah Jahan finally died in 1666, Aurangzeb consolidated his power as Emperor and he spent most of it trying to expand his empire beyond that of his predecessor, Akbar the Great. His target was Hyderabad, at that time one of the richest cities in the area, and was reportedly impregnable because of the protection of Golconda Fort.

Rise of the Nizams

In 1724, Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, was granted the title of Nizam-ul-Muk (meaning Administrator of the Realm) by the Mughal emperor as viceroy tasked to oversee parts of the Mughal empire in behalf of the emperor. He intermittently ruled under the title of Asaf Jah and defeated a rival official in order to establish control over Hyderabad. During this time, viceroys and governors of Hyderabad have gained a considerable autonomy from the seat of power at Delhi and, when the Mughal empire finally crumbled down in the mid 18th century, the young Asaf Jah declared himself independent and the dynasty of the Nizams was established.

Integration into the Nation

When the British and French took hold over most of India, the Nizams played a delicate game of balance and subterfuge. They allied themselves with each side at different times, playing an important role in the wars involving Tipu Sultant, the French, and the British. The Nizams eventually won the friendship of the Western invaders without giving up their powers. As a result, Hyderabad was still ruled by a Nizam, and it became the largest princely state of India. As a princely state, Hyderabad had its own currency, railways, mint, and postal system. The citizens enjoyed no income tax.

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