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HYDERABAD HISTORY

PRE QUTB SHAHI QUTB SHAHI ASAF JAHI PRESENT  HYDERABAD GLOSSARY BIOGRAPHIES

MONUMENTS AND PLACES
Hyderabad City

Hyderabad, the capital of the State of Andhra Pradesh, is the fifth largest city in India with an ancient civilisation and culture. The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are separated by Hussain Sagar, an artificial lake constructed during the time of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah by Hussain Shah Wali in 1562. The city is 400 years old and is noted for its natural beauty, mosques and minarets, bazaars and bridges, hills and lakes. It is perched on the top of the Deccan Plateau, 1776 ft., above sea level,, and sprawls over an area of 100 sq. miles. A multitude of influences have shaped the character of the city.

Its palaces and buildings, houses and tenements, gardens and streets have a history and an architectural individuality of their own, which makes Hyderabad a city of enchantment. The history, here, like elsewhere, is etched on the walls, monuments and collections of the heritage of the place which India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru described as the “microcosm of Indian culture”. Hyderabad was founded on the River Musi five miles east of Golconda, in 1590-91 by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah who was a unique personality. In the 16th century the city grew spontaneously to accommodate the surplus population of Golconda, which was the capital of the Qutb Shahi rulers. Many buildings sprang up along the banks of the River Musi. Gradually the city grew. The poet king of Golconda, Sultan Muhammad Quli, while laying the foundation of this historic city, prayed thus to God Almighty: “Oh God, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men and women of all castes, creeds and religions, make it their abode, like fishes in the ocean.” Sultan Quli’s prayers have been fulfilled. People from all parts of the country have settled here and have merged with the local culture, adding something of their own, to give Hyderabad a distinct flavour, pleasantly palatable to all. The virtues of this gracious city have been sung through the centuries. The observation in the Tarekh-e-Qutb Shahi, a history written about twenty five years after the foundation of Hyderabad, is true even today: The city is verily a paradise, There is nothing that is not to be found here. If an old man hurries to the city He would recover his youth.

Everything that is good is found in Hyderabad in plenty, We find in the city all That is fortunate and nothing that causes pain or sorrow.... Another historian, Muhammad Saqi, the court chancellor of Aurangzeb, who accompanied the Emperor during the siege of Golconda in 1687, wrote: “It is a resort of heavenly peace and worldly comfort; it gives solace to the human heart, and comfort to the human body; its population larger than the human mind can think of; its buildings loftier than human intelligence can imagine; its air is so refreshing and flow of fountain so sweet and its verdure so pleasant and invigorating that the flowers and the vegetation of the land may be compared to the glitter and colour of emeralds and rubies.” Saqi came from Shahjehanabad (Old Delhi) and had witnessed the greatness of Mughal culture and civilisation. For such a connoisseur of culture to pay glowing tributes helps us to gauge the wonder and admiration which the city evoked in the minds and hearts of travellers who visited Hyderabad centuries ago. Monsieur Tavernier from France, who often visited Hyderabad during the Qutb Shahi period,said: “The city has been most artistically planned and constructed and it has very wide roads. There are four or five sarais (rest houses) which are double-storeyed.” Tavernier’s description of the changing of the guard in “Travels in India” gives us an idea of the colour of life in the city more than 300 years ago. “The principal nobles mount guard every Monday, each in his tour, and they are not relieved belore the end of the week.

Some of those nobles command 5,000 or 6,000 horses, and encamp under tents around the town. When they mount guard each goes from his home to the rendezvous, but when they leave it they march in good order across the bridge, and thence by the main street they assemble in the square in front of the balcony. In the van ten pr twelve elephants march, the number representing the rank of the officer who goes off guard. Some of them bear cages (howdahs) somewhat resembling the body of a small coach, while others carry only their drivers, and another man who holds a sort of banner in place of the cage. “After the elephants the camels follow in pairs, sometimes up to thirty or forty in number.

Each camel has its saddle and on it is fixed a small culver in which a man, clad in a skin from head to foot, like a pantaloon, and seated on the crupper of the camel with a lighted match in hand, quickly turns from side to side before the balcony where the King is seated. “After them come the carriages, around which the servants walk after which the lead-horses appear, and finally the noble to whom this whole equipment belongs, preceded by ten or twelve courtesans, who await him at the end of the bridge, leaping and dancing before him up to the square.

After him the cavalry and infantry follow in good order.” A European traveller, William Mathold, exclaimed: “The city of Hyderabad by virtue of its health-giving climate and abundant water supply, is the best city in India.” The Qutb Shahi dynasty founded the kingdom of Golconda, one of the five kingdoms that emerged after the breakup of the Bahmani Kingdom. All the seven rulers were patrons of learning and great builders. They contributed to the growth and development of Indo-Persian and Indo-Islamic literature and culture in Hyderabad. They also patronised the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolised by the Telugu language. Farmans (or orders) were often issued in Telugu as well, for the benefit of the heterogeneous population. During the Qutb Shahi reign Golconda became one of the leading markets in the world for diamonds, pearls, steel for arms, and also for printed fabric.

“Seeing the city of Golconda may be said to be seeing the city of Diamonds” Jeans de Thenends describes Hyderabad. The glory of the Golconda kingdom ended in 1687, after a valiant struggle. Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughal rulers, captured Golconda after a siege that lasted eight months. 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 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 Qamaruddin Khan, the Governor of the Deccan, who bore the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk Feroze Jung Asaf Jah, established his supremacy in 1724. He thus became the first Nizam and the founder of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. Asaf Jah I continued to maintain Aurangabad, which had been founded by the Mughal rulers,as the capital of his new state. In 1763, Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah II shifted the capital to Hyderabad. The seven Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty ruled the Deccan for nearly 225 years, right upto 1948. During the Asaf Jahi period, Persian, Telugu, Marathi and Urdu developed simultaneously. The highest official positions were given to deserving persons irrespective of their religion. Persian was the official language upto 1884 and then Urdu upto 1948. When, the British and the French spread their hold over the country, the Nizam soon won their friendship without bequeathing his power.

The title “Faithful Ally of the British Government” was bestowed on Nizam VII. The British stationed a Resident at Hyderabad, but the state continued to be ruled by the Nizam. The rule of the seven Nizams saw the growth of Hyderabad both culturally and economically. Huge reservoirs, like the Nizam Sagar, Osman Sagar, Himayath Sagar, were built. Survey work OH Nagarjuna Sagar was also begun during this time. 1-lyderabad, under the Nizams, was the largest princely state in India. Areawise it was as big as England and Scotland put together. The State had its own currency, mint, railways, and postal system. Soon after India gained independence, 1—lyderahad State was merged with the Union of India. On November I, 1956 the map of India was redrawn into linguistic states, and 1-lyderabad became the capital of Andhra Pradesh.



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