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Hyderābād state ( , ) was the largest princely state in the erstwhile British Indian Empire. It was located in the south-central region of the Indian subcontinent, and was ruled, from 1724 until 1948, by a hereditary Nizam. The Berar region of the state was merged with the Central Provinces of British India in 1903, to form the Central Provinces and Berar.

In 1947, at the time of the partition of India and the formation of the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, the then Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, decided not to join either new nation. However, the following year, the Government of India incorporated Hyderabad into the Indian Union, using military force, in what was known as Operation Polo, led by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.


Hyderabad was founded by the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golkonda. In 1686 the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb campaigned in the Deccanmarker to overcome the Marathas and conquer the independent Deccan states. Before the campaign, the Mughals had controlled the northwestern Deccan, including Khandesh and Berar, but Mughal control ended at the Godavari River. Aurangzeb conquered Golconda and Bijapur in 1687, extending Mughal control south of the Krishna River.

The Mughal Empire began to weaken during the reign of Aurangzeb's grandson, Muhammad Shah. A Mughal official, Asif Jah, treacherously defeated a rival Mughal governor to seize control of the empire's southern provinces, declaring himself Nizam-al-Mulk of Hyderabad in 1724. The Mughal emperor, under renewed attack from the Marathas, was unable to prevent it.

The Nizams patronized Islamic art, culture and literature and developed railway network in Hyderabad. Islamic Sharia law was the guiding principle of the Nizams' official machinery.

During the British Raj

The seniormost (21-gun) salute state during the period of British India, Hyderabad was an 82,000 square mile (212,000 km²) region in the Deccanmarker ruled by the Asif Jahi dynasty, who had the title of Nizam and was bestowed the title of His Exalted Highness by the Britishmarker. The Nizam set up numerous institutions in the name of the dynasty. He set up schools, colleges, madrasas and a university that imparted education in Urdu. Inspired by the elite and prestigious Indian Civil Service he founded the Hyderabad Civil Service. The pace with which he amassed wealth made him to be the world's richest men in the 1930s, (Time cover story Feb. 22, 1937). Carrying a gift, called Nazrana, in accordance with one's net worth while meeting Nizam was a de facto necessity.

Industries in pre-Independence Hyderabad

Various industries emerged in pre-independence Hyderabad, the major industries that were established in various parts of Hyderabad/Telengana are .

After the British Raj (1947-48)

When India gained independence in 1947, the British left the choice of independence or unification up to the local rulers of the princely states. Razakars(some Muslim nobles under Nizam ), wished to remain independent or consider joining Pakistan. In the case of Hyderabad however, this could not be applied as it was right in the middle of the new state of India. Being Muslim-governed state, the Nizam wanted to join Pakistan but he was overruled by the viceroy Lord Mountbatten. As a result, the Indian Government carried out the so called “Hyderabad Police Action” against the Nizam. Code-named “Operation Polo” by the Indian military, this action by the Indian armed forces ended the rule of the Nizams of Hyderabad by the forceful incorporation of the princely state of Hyderabad into the Indian Union.

Hyderabad today

In 1956 during the Reorganisation of the Indian States, the state of Hyderabad was split up between Andhra Pradeshmarker, Maharashtramarker and Karnatakamarker. The last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, died in 1967.

Administratively, Hyderabad State was made up of sixteen districts, grouped into four divisions. Aurangabad division included Aurangabad, Beedmarker, Nandedmarker, and Parbhanimarker districts; Gulbargahmarker (Gulbargah) division included Bidar Districtmarker, Gulbarga, Osmanabad District, and Raichur Districtmarker; Gulshanabad District or Medak division included Atraf-i-Baldah, Mahbubnagarmarker, Medakmarker, Nalgondamarker (Nalgundah), and Nizamabad districts, and Warangalmarker division included Adilabadmarker, Karimnagarmarker, and Warangal districts

Urdu (in particular, the unique Dakhani dialect), Telugu, English, Marathi and Kannada are among the important languages spoken in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh today.

The political party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, founded by Bahadur Yar Jung, enjoys prominent support amongst Muslims.

See also


  • Zubrzycki, John. (2006) The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback. Pan Macmillan, Australia. ISBN 978-0-3304-2321-2.

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