The Revenge of Nizam Ali

Nana Phandnavis

The Nizam was planning his revenge. In 1778 he opened a secret correspondence with Nana Phadnavis, the Maratha Prime Minister, on creating a grand alliance against the British.

“We shall manage the English with the means of French whose Vakeel is with us, with whom we have entered into a treaty.” Nana wrote to Nizam in August 1778.

Unfortunately for both men, the letter has been intercepted by the British. As was the Nizam’s reply a few months later which said.
“I will repair in person to you, and rose that bad race from their dream of security, and overthrow their ambitions and designs”

Governor General Warren Hasting

The contents of these letters and other intelligence that the Governor General Warren Hasting collected made for a disturbing reading. The ‘Vakeel’ Nana was talking about was the French agent Chevalier de St Lubin. He immediately began to consider plans to ‘avert those dreadful consequences’ of their designs.

Those designs were complicated by the formations in 1780. A powerful confederacy comprised of the Nizams, the Marathas, and Haider Ali. All three hold a strong grudge against the British. They conspired to attack all three presidencies- Bombay, Madras, and Bengal- simultaneously. Nana Phadnavis and Maratha military chieftains were to attack Bombay, the Nizam and Haider Ali would march on Madras. Bhonsle, the Maratha ruler would take on Bengal.

Najaf Khan

The depth of Nizam’s hatred towards the British at this time was apparent in a letter he wrote to the Mughal Emir Najaf Khan in September 1780
“The world is now involved in calamities through the turbulence of the English; the deceits of this wicked nation are spread over the whole empire…A handful of people without a head of a foundation have possessed themselves of the three richest provinces in the empire, every one of which is equal to a kingdom, a set of merchants without a name and scarcely known have engrossed and disposed of as they please.”

Nizam Ali Khan was now at the height of his power. Successfully playing off the British against the French. Through the confederacy, he was threatening the very future of the East India Company’s presence on the Indian Sub-continent.


In the next episode, we shall find out did Nizam Ali Khan succeed in his attempt on taking revenge. Till then, stay classy!.

5 comments on “The Revenge of Nizam Ali

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