Tracing the Roots of Nizamat
We are all well-acquainted with the wealth and fame of the former Nizams of Hyderabad. The erstwhile Princely State of India has its roots deep within the politics of the medieval subcontinent. Let us go back in time to know how Hyderabad matures from a Mughal subah to a vital centre of commerce and politics.
Salabat Jung, the protector of Nizamat; Image Source- Wikipedia

Born on 24th November 1718

Asaf Jah-I or Nizam-ul-Mulk was the first official Nizam of Hyderabad. As Aurangzeb's trusted nobleman and right hand, he had complete discretion in decision making over Deccan. By the time, Farrukhsiyar became the emperor, Asah Jah rose to undisputable power and reputation, which did nothing to prove Mughal sovereignty. This is how the 18th century became a landmark for the development of Nizams as independent rulers. The weakening Mughal sceptre is one of the main reasons behind Asah Jah's increasing administrative control in the south.

The seeds cultivated by Asaf Jah germinated during the reign of his successors. His death in 1748 left his sons in the bloody battle of succession. His second son, Nasir Jung, captured the throne with the help of British forces. It is no secret that the tug of power between the British and the French often mingled with the affairs of succession in various kingdoms. Nasir Jung claimed his throne at the cost of winning the Second Carnatic War, but his suzerainty was short-lived within a year of his reign.

The next claimant of the throne was Muzzafar Jung, Asah Jah's grandson. His reign proved to be equally unstable, crumbling within a year again.

Then came the third Nizam, Salabat Jung, born as Mir Sa'id Muhammad Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi. Indeed his magnificent name lived up to the grand ambitions of the Nizamat. Under him, the Nizamat established a stable rule of about 11 years, thereby making way for the future Nizams to enjoy an indisputable rule.

Facilitating the construction of the Khilwath Palace of Hyderabad, Salabat Jung worked hard to earn a name. With the French having his back, Salabat Jung fought both external and internal threats. A close friendship with the French made sure the influx of the best weaponry, like heavy muskets, called Catyocks, which were much better than the medieval cannons.

De Bussy, the governor-general of the French colony in Pondicherry, was Salabat Jung's, right-hand man. When the Marathas knocked on the Nizam's territory, De Bussy reassured Salabt Jung of their victory. His words came true when the combined forces of the French and Nizam over-threw and subdued Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao.

The Peshwa did not give up at that. In the meantime, Salabat Jung's elder brother, Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung II, was conspiring for the seat of the Deccan. Like a moth attracted to flame, both the enemies of Salabat Jung joined hands with the sole motive of killing their common prey.

Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung II marched with an army of 150,000 men to Aurangabad, where Salabat Jung resided. An enraged Salabat Jung retorted with an even larger force, if possible. The stage was set for an epic war only to be dismissed by fate. Ghazi ud-Din's mysterious death forced the withdrawal of Marathas and his army itself. Some believe that he was poisoned, but there is no corroborating proof behind the speculation.

With the death of his elder brother Salabat Jung had nothing to fear. While he was unaware of what the future held for him, with De Bussy by his side, Salabat was sure that the Nizamat will see more golden days in the future.

Leha Biswas Author
The crooked awkward cookie who loves to procrastinate but is driven by random bouts of ambition while daydreaming of a loaded future. Yass! That's me.

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