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About Paighas

In the historical documents of Hyderabad the word ‘Paigah’ was used for the Nizam’s household troops or guards. Abul Khair Khan, a noble from the north, received the title of’Khan’ and a Mansab from Muhammad Shah for his services to the Emperor. He originally belonged to Shukhwabad (near Agra) and came to the Deccan along with Nizam—ul--Mulk Asaf Jah 1. He took a active part in the battle against Dilawar Khan Bakshi and refused to join Nasir Jung against his father Asaf Jah I. Abul Khair Khan was employed at Burhanpur by the Nizam. Nasir Jung gave him the title of ‘Shamsheer Bahadur’ and Salabat Jung gave him the title of ‘Imam Jung’ and took his advice on every important matter.

Abul Khair Khan died in 1750 at Burhanpur. His Baradari at Burhanpur was very famous. Abul Khair Khan’s son Abul Fateh Khan received the title of ‘Tegh Jung’ from Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah II. After the death of Ruknud-Daula the post of Diwan (Prime Minister) was offered to him by Nizam Ali Khan, Asaf Jah II but he respectfully declined. Subsequently he was made the Commander-in-Chief of 12,000 troops including cavalry & infantry which formed the nucleus of the Paigah. For the maintenance of the troops for the Nizam he was granted Jagirs in Berar, Hyderabad and l3ijapur covering an area of 4134 sq. miles (almost half the size of Baroda) yielding an annual revenue of over Rs. 30 lakh.

The title of Shams-uiU mara which became the family title, was originally conferred upon Abul Fateh Khan. He was entrusted with the defence of the State which subsequently became the hereditary function of the Paigah nobles. On the death of Abul Fateh Khan in 1791, his son Fakhruddin Khan, Shams-uI-U mara Ii, became the head of the aristocratic Paigah family and received the high title of Amir-e-Kabir. The Nizam was very fond of him and he gave his own daughter as a second wife. Fakhruddin Khan died in 1863.

His two sons were Rafiuddin Khan Umdat-ui-Muik Shams-uiU mara III Amir-e-Kabir II and Rasheeduddin Khan lqtidar-ul- Mulk who received the title of Viqar-ul-Umara. Paigah nobles were influential and were most faithful to the Nizam. The head of the Paigah family ranked next to the ruler. Within the Nizam’s Dominion they were permitted to use their own revenue stamps, maintain their own revenue offices and educational institutions.

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