In 1762, the map of southern India was re-drawn over a dozen times. The Mughal Emperor in Delhi issued a farman (Royal Order) recognizing Nizam Ali Khan as the rightful heir of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. The Delhi court proclaimed Nizam Ali as the second Nizam.
The fourth son of Nizam-Ul-Mulk, Nizam Ali Khan was 28 when he took power. He was clearly a fighting man. He maintained his father’s white beard and maintained the carefully manicured mustache.
Over the succeeding generations the Nizams grew more corpulent and their jewelry more extravagant as they increasingly left running the state to others and indulged in more sensuous pursuits.
Nizam Ali Khan was destined to become the second-longest-serving ruler of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and the last to lead its armies into battle. But his longevity and military prowess did not translate into glory for the Nizam’s dominions.
Though Nizam Ali Khan came to power with the support of the East India Company, He believed British did not have the right to rule. The British constantly exploited Nizam’s weakness to their full advantage in their skirmishes with the French.
Nizam Ali khan would prove poor strategist in military matters. He took his entire zenana(the part of a house for the seclusion of women) every time he went for a battle. This nearly cost him his empire and his life. Too weak to take on the East India Company by force, but too ambitious to give up pretensions of power. Nizam Ali Khan’s constantly shifting interests and alliances so frustrated the British. They ultimately forced his to sign no fewer than six treaties just to keep him in line.
By the end of the century, Nizam Ali Khan had played into their hands so completely that the East India Company. It was the strongest power in the Southern India and the leading trading conglomerate in the world.
Hyderabad became the largest and most important princely state In India.
After his inauguration, the Nizam’s first priority was to restore some of the territory lost to the French and the British. In November 1766, the first of a series of treaties were signed between Nizam Ali Khan and the East India Company. Most of the treaties very favorable compared with those that followed. Nizam Ali Khan had yet to commit the tactical blunders that would increasingly strengthen the British’s stronghold.
He was negotiating the treaty’s terms with the British. Nizam Ali Khan was setting aside half a century of hostilities and conducting secret talks with the Marathas on a new military alliance. The reason for the change of hearts towards his most bitter foes was the emergence in Mysore. Located to the south of Hyderabad, the ancient Hindu kingdom of Mysore was now owned by a Muslim nobleman.
Enter Haider Ali a military adventurer and a nobleman with his son Tipu Sultan created a powerful new dynasty. Haider Ali had built up a formidable army and was looking to expand his territories.
Having secured the support of Marathas, the Nizam called on the British to join the alliance to attack Mysore. The Nizam’s motive for calling on Marathas and the British was entirely based on self-interest and self-preservation.
In the next episode, we shall see the attack on Mysore. And how the defense was the best for Haider Ali and Tipu sultan.