A Devestating Time for Asaf Jahis

With Nasir Jung now out of the way, the French took Muzzafar Jung to Pondicherry, where, on 26 December 1750 he was proclaimed the new Nizam. Muzzafar Jung’s inauguration at Pondicherry rather than Hyderabad was a deliberate act. In return for France’s assistance in crowning Muzzafar Jung as the Nizam of Hyderabad, he bestowed honors, treasures, and land upon Dupleix and declared him as the viceroy of the whole south India from Krishna River to Cape Comorin.

Dupleix meeting with Muzzafar Jung
Dupleix meeting with Muzzafar Jung

Dupleix now ruled over 30 million people with absolute power. No enrollment could be obtained without his intervention.

By his actions, Muzzafar Jung would set an important precedent which would dictate the future of his dynasty. He became the first Indian ruler to engage a military force under the command of a European commander.



For all the pomp and installations of Muzzafar Jung’s coronation, his reign was never officially recognized by the Mughal Emperor in Delhi. As it was the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb who under is wings concurred Hyderabad from the Qutub Shahi. In any case, Muzzafar Jung’s reign was destined to last only six weeks.

The same Nawabs who plotted with Dupleix to kill Muzzafar Jung’s uncle Nasir Jung were now demanding exorbitant sums of money from Muzzafar Jung for putting him on the throne. Fearing an ambush, Muzzafar Jung asked Dupliex for help.

Dupleix provided a force of 300 French soldiers under the command of de Bussy. But things did not go according to plan. The Nawabs who were asking for huge sums of money from Muzzafar Jung set a trap.

While approaching a narrow pass in the Eastern Ghats, Muzzafar Jung found his way blocked by the forces under the command of Nawab of Kadapa. Who attacked the Nizam’s army from the rear. Instead of waiting for the French force to arrive Muzzafar Jung mounted on his elephant and personally led the charge.

A well-aimed arrow from Himmat Khan’s bow hit Muzzafar Jung in the eye’ killing him instantly.

Normally the battle would have ended there with the defeat of Nizam’s forces, but a Hindu Raja named Raghunathdas, sitting behind Muzzafar Jung, removed the arrow, took hold of the corpse’s lifeless arms and pretended that his leader was still alive.

“By moving its head every now and then and asking for water, and making the arms of a dead man move as if directing his soldiers to kill his enemies.” Wrote one witness. “To the end of the battle, no one knew that the body of their leader was lifeless until the Nawab’s soldiers had fled.”

Only then did the news spread that Muzzafar Jung had “Quaffed the sherbet of death.”

Salabat Jung
Salabat Jung

De Bussy would not allow himself to be diverted by such a minor matter. As luck would have it, Muzzafar Jung’s brother Salabat Jung had been encamped with the French forces when the fatal arrow was shot. And before the day was over Salabat Jung promptly imprisoned two of his brothers, Basalat Jung and Nizam Ali Khan.

Enter Ghazi-Ud-Din, the eldest son of Nizam-Ul-Mulk who has been serving as a minister in the court of the Mughal Emperor in Delhi since his father’s Death.  Deciding now is the right time to claim the viceroyalty, he marched to Deccan. He took a large force of Maratha warriors to take back the throne that he believed was rightly his.

But he only made as far as Aurangabad.

Living in Aurangabad was Nizam-Ul-Mulk’s former wife, whose ambition was to put his son, Nizam Ali Khan, on the throne.

An invitation was sent to Ghazi-ud-Din for an entertainment in the city. He accepted it and partook a poisoned dish prepared by the hand of the mother of Nizam Ali Khan.

Ghazi-Ud-Din expired the same night.

With three rivals to the Nizamate now dead and further two in prison, Salabat Jung ruled the Deccan for the next eleven years. Even though the real power lay in the hands of French and his reign was never officially recognized by Delhi.

Charles Joseph Patissier de Bussy
Charles Joseph Patissier de Bussy

The outbreak of the war between the British and the French in 1756 had important ramifications for Deccan in particular. Due to the war, Dupleix was recalled to Paris. Two years later De Bussy was also told to withdraw his forces from Hyderabad. With De Bussy and Dupleix had gone Salabat was left fatally weakened.

Feeling exposed, Salabat Jung promised a district to the British in exchange for their military protection. But Salabat Jung’s vacillations cost him the support of his nobles. He was thrown into prison in the fort of Bidar. Where he was eventually strangled and died.


14 comments on “A Devestating Time for Asaf Jahis

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