A lesson for Nizam Ali Khan.

Tipu Sultan.

With the help of the French mercenaries, Haider Ali had built up a formidable army. And was looking to expand his territories.

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Fear of the rising Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan the Nizam and the British were ready to bring him down. Securing the support of the Marathas, the Nizam also called on the British to join the alliance to attack Mysore. Alarmed of Haider Ali’s conquest the British agreed to send forces. The plan Nizam hatched was entirely based on self-interest and self-preservation. He needed the strength of Marathas but also wanted to keep British on his side. This was in order to ensure a favorable division of the spoils of the battle.

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When Nizam Ali Khan set out from Hyderabad with 17,000 of his own troops and 10,000 Maratha soldiers paid out of his pocket in Jan 1767. Haider Ali decided that his best defense was bribery. The Maratha leader was brought off for 3.5 million rupees plus land. He tried to offer Nizam Ali as well, but the Nizam proved harder to sway. The Nizam wanted 5 million rupees, but Haider Ali was prepared to give only 2 million rupees.

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It was already March and the troops promised by the British in December had yet to arrive. The Nizam felt he had been cheated into by the East India Company into ceding the Northern Circars. When the Madras army finally reached the Nizam’s encampment on 13 April 1767, they were shocked to find the Marathas were nowhere to be seen. The Nizam had changed sides.
In the end of all this confusion, Haider Ali had been able to buy off the Nizam quite cheaply. So defective was the Nizam’s forces in arms, discipline, that Haider Ali secured a deal for a mere 600,000 rupees a month.

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In August 1767 their combined forces swept across the Ghats in what was to be the first of four wars against the British. Mysore forces were soon at the gates of Madras and by the end of September, they were ‘scampering about’ in the gardens of the company’s villas. The British, however, gave Haider Ali a severe beating. The Nizam had proved to be a useless ally.

Determined to teach Nizam a lesson, the British decides to send a military to invade a largely undefended city of Hyderabad. Fearful of losing his capital city, the Nizam again switched sides and sent his representatives to Madras to negotiate a new treaty. This time the British would not be so generous.

Nizam Ali Khan

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The British made Nizam Ali khan sign the treaty of ‘Perpetual Friendship and Alliance’ signed on 26 February 1768, Nizam Ali Khan was made to pay war expenses of 2.5 million rupees. Which was to be deducted from the annual tribute of 700,000 rupees over six years. Nizam was made to pay for the privilege of having British troops in his territory. Whether he needed them or not. He was made to declare Haider Ali a ‘Usurper, a rebel, and troublesome man’ and revoked all treaties with him.

In the next episode, we shall see the revenge of Nizam Ali khan. Stay tuned.

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