British Relations with Hyderabad – City of Pearls

Like the governors of the other provinces, the Nizam-ul-mulk Asaf Jah, though theoretically a representative of the Delhi Emperor in the Deccan, had made himself virtually independent of the latter’s authority in the reign of Muhammad Shah. But the authority of his son, Nizam “Ali, was menaced by the growing ambitions of the Marathas and the Sultans of Mysore, which led  him to court British help.

Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah 2 - Hyderabad Nizams


  • On 12th November 1766, Nizam-ul-mulk Asaf Jah concluded a defensive and offensive alliance with the Madras Council. During the First Anglo-Mysore War, he was temporarily seduced from this alliance by an agent of Hyder “Ali, but he soon concluded a peace with the English at Masulipatam on the 23rd February, 1768.

Hyderabad Nizams

First Anglo Mysore War - Hyderabad Nizams

  • According to the treaty of 1766, as revised in 1768, the Company promised to pan an annual tribute of nine lacs of rupees to the Nizam in return for the latter’s granting them the Northern Sarkars.
  • The sarkar of Guntur being given for life to the Nizam’s brother, Basalat Jang, the amount of tribute was reduced to seven lacs.
  • But in 1779 Rumbold, the tactless governor of Madras, secured the sarkar of Guntur directly from Basalat Jang and sought to stop the payment of tribute to the Nizam, who had violated the treaty of 1768 by taking French troops into his service.

Hyderabad State - Hyderabad Nizams

  • This was disapproved of by the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, but it served to alienate the Nizam, whose resentment had been already aroused by the English alliance with Raghoba, at a very critical moment.
  • He joined in an anti-English confederacy with Hyder and the Marathas. Hastings, however, succeeded in detaching the Nizam from the confederates by returning Guntur to Basalat Jang when the Second Anglo-Mysore War had already progressed to the disadvantage of the English.
  • But after the death of Basalat Jang in 1782, the English demanded the cession Guntur from the Nizam on the strength of the treaty of 1768.
  • Guntur occupied a position of importance both for the Nizam and the English; for the former it was the only outlet to the sea, and for the latter its possession was necessary to connect their possessions in the north with those in the south.
  • After some hesitation the Nizam surrendered Guntur to the English in 1788 and in return sought their help, according to the treaty of 1768, to recover some of his districts which Tipu had seized.

Hyderabad Nizams on the side of British Forces:

  •  Lord Cornwallis, the then Governor-General, found himself in a delicate position, because the right of the Mysore Sultans to those very territories had been recognised by the English by two separate treaties concluded with Hyder and Tipu respectively in 1769 and 1785; and also because he was precluded by clause 34 of Pitt’s India Act from declaring war against Indian powers or concluding a treaty with that object without being previously attacked.
  • But at the same time he was eager to secure allies in view of the certain war with Tipu. So he wrote a letter to the  Nizam on the 7th July, 1789, explaining the treaty of 1768 to suit his motives, and agreeing to support the Nizam with British troops, which could not be employed against the allies of the English, a list of whom was included, Tipu’s name being deliberately excluded from it. Thus the Nizam joined the Triple Alliance of 1790 and fought for the English in the Third Anglo-Mysore War.

Third Anglo Mysore War

  • As we have already noted, Sir John Shore, in pursuance of the neutrality policy laid down by Pitt’s India Act, did not lend assistance to the Nizam against the Marathas, who severely defeated him at Kharda in March, 1795.

Also Read:

Family Tree of Mughal Rulers of India

Magadha Empire Kings & Sungas And Kanvas


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