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Extensive Definition

Nizam (Urdu: نظام‌ ), a shortened version of Nizam-ul-Mulk (Urdu: نظام‌الملک ), meaning Administrator of the Realm, was the title of the native sovereigns of Hyderabad state, India, since 1719, belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty. The dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, a viceroy of the Deccan under the Mughal emperors from 1713 to 1721 and who intermittently ruled under the title Asaf Jah in 1724, and After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Mogul empire crumbled and the viceroy in Hyderabad, the young Asaf Jah, declared himself independent.
By the middle of 18th century, the scions, known as The Nizams, had quickly surpassed the Mughals ruling a vast dominion of about 125 million acres in south India. They were among the wealthiest people in the world. Seven Nizams ruled Hyderabad for two centuries until Indian independence in 1947.
The Asaf Jahi rulers were great patrons of literature, art, architecture,culture, Jewelry collection and rich food.
The Nizams ruled the state until its annexation into the Indian Union in 1948.

Family Origins

The Asaf Jahi dynasty originated in the region around Samarkand, but the family came to India from Baghdad in the late 17th century. Shaikh Mir Ismail (Alam Shaikh Siddiqi) Alam ul-Ulema,son of Shaikh Allahadad Siddiqi, son of Abdul Rehman Shaikh Azizan Siddiqi, fourteenth in direct decent from Sheikh Shihab-ud-din Siddiqi Suhrawardy, of Suharwada in Kurdistan, a celebrated [Sufi] mystic, or dervish, who was himself a direct descendant paternal of Abu Bakr siddiq, maternal (first) a lady of the family of Mir Hamadan (descendant of prophet Mohammed ) a distinguished Sayyid of Samarkand.

Origin of the title

Nizām-ul-mulk was a title first used in Urdu around 1600 to mean Governor of the realm or Deputy for the Whole Empire. The word is derived from the Arabic word, nizām (نظام), meaning order, arrangement. The Nizam was referred to as Ala Hadrat /Ala Hazrat or Nizam Sarkar, meaning His Exalted Highness (Only the last Nizam had this title).

Rise of the Nizams

The first Nizams ruled on behalf of the Mughal emperors. But, after the death of Aurangazeb, the Nizams split away from the Mughals to form their kingdom. When the British achieved paramountcy over India, the Nizams were allowed to continue to rule their princely states. The Nizams retained power over Hyderabad State until its annexation into the Indian Union in 1948, after Indian independence.
The Asaf Jah dynasty had only seven rulers; however there was a period of 13 years after the rule of the first Nizam when three of his sons (Nasir Jung, Muzafar Jung and Salabath Jung) ruled. They were not officially recognized as the rulers.
A legend about the first Nizam states that, on one of his hunting trips he was offered some kulchas (an Indian bread) by a holy man and was asked to eat as many as he could. The Nizam could eat seven kulchas and the holy man then prophesied that seven generations of his family would rule the state.
The Nizams, by an honored Hyderabad tradition that no Nizam has ever left India no matter how good a reason might exist for doing so, they believed, "the Sovereign is too precious to his people ever to leave India.".
Ever since Hyderabad stood aloof from the great first war of Indian Independence of 1857 while betraying many Indians and also at time acting against those who opposed the British such as Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, its Royal Family have been accorded by British Royalty special honors and the Nizam was given the official status of Faithful Ally.

Palaces of the Nizams

The Asaf Jahis were prolific builders. Several palaces of the Nizams were:
The princely state had one of the finest palaces in India with rich adornments. Fine objects of art and furnishings in the palaces reflect the grandeur.
The landmarks like the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Jubilee Hall, Asafia library, The Assembly building, the Osmania Arts College and the Osmania Medical College are among their notable constructions.
The Nizams liked the European style of architecture and created a fusion of European traditions with Hindu and Islamic forms and motifs.


Main Article: Operation Polo
After the British left India in 1947, Hyderabad state did not accede to either of the new dominion of India or Pakistan. In September 1948, the Indian government launched Operation Polo, swiftly overrunning the Nizams' forces and annexed the state into India.
Each of the Nizams is buried in the royal graves at the Makkah Masjid, near Charminar, except for the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who has willed that he be buried in his mausoleum in the Judi Mosque facing King Kothi Palace.


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

See also

Further reading

Nizam in Czech: Nizám
Nizam in German: Nizam
Nizam in Spanish: Nizam
Nizam in Italian: Nizam
Nizam in Hungarian: Nizám
Nizam in Marathi: निजामशाही
Nizam in Dutch: Nizam
Nizam in Japanese: ニザーム
Nizam in Swedish: Indiska adelstitlar
Nizam in Telugu: నిజాం
Nizam in Urdu: نظام
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