Nizam Ali Khan (Nizam of Hyderabad)
Nizam Ali Khan was the fourth son of Nizam-ul-Mulk. He was the Nizam of Hyderabad. The period of his reign was from1762 to 1803.
He strongly opposed the French influence at Hyderabad. He acted as the Governor of Berar from 1757. He was defeated by the Marathas twice, first in December 1757 at Sindakhed and next in January 1760 at Udgir. He lost Naldurg, Ahmadnagar, Daulatabad, Burhanpur and Bijapur. Meanwhile the French influence at Hyderabad was declining.
Colonel Forde attacked and captured Machilipatnam for the English. Taking advantage of the discomfiture of Salabat Jang, Nizam Ali Khan deposed his brother and became the ruler of Hyderabad. He was willing to grant the three middle Circars to the British in return for military help against the Marathas. But the British declined the offer as their hands were full with the affairs in the Carnatic. In 1763, when the Third Carnatic War came to an end, they expressed their willingness to accept the Nizam’s offer made three years back. But Nizam Ali changed his mind and nothing came out.
Robert Clive, who became the Governor of Bengal for the second time in 1765, persuaded the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam, to issue a ‘Farman’ ceding all the Northern Circars to the British. The Nizam refused to accept the`Firman’. Thereupon, John Pybus, the British resident of the East India Company at Machilipatnam, sent Kandregula Jogipantulu to Hyderabad to open negotiations with the Nizam.
Jogipantulu had great influence at Hyderabad and was held in high esteem by the Diwan of the Nizam. Jogipantulu reached Hyderabad and opened up negotiations with the Nizam. But the Nizam did not give serious thought to the proposals as he was preoccupied with the disturbances and insurrection in some parts of his dominions. Jogipantulu persevered in his attempts. When the Nizam and the Diwan went to Rajahmundry, he followed them. At that time there was a mutiny in Nizam’s troops at Gollapudi demanding the payment of the arrears of their salary. Jogipantulu utilized that opportunity to negotiate the lease of the five Northern Circars to the company for a sum of rupees 15 lakhs. He also persuaded the Nizam to lease Guntur Circar also even though it was under the control of Basalat Jang, the brother of the Nizam.
At last a treaty was concluded in 1766 by which the English East India Company got the Circars. The treaty provided that Guntur Circar would continue to be under the control of Basalat Jang, the brother of the Nizam. After his death it was to revert to the British. Though Basalat Jang died in 1782 it took six years more for the British to secure the possession of the Guntur Circar. After protracted negotiations the Nizam surrendered it to Cornwallis on 18 September 1877. Thus the five Northern Circars came under the British control.
In 1767 Nizam Ali joined hands with Hyder Ali of Mysore and attacked Carnatic. But they were defeated at the Battle of Trichinopoly. Nizam Ali was forced to sign a treaty at Madras confirming the treaty of 1766 by which he ceded the Northern Circars to the English.
In 1773 Nizam Ali intervened in the affairs of the Marathas following the murder of the Peshwa Narayana Rao. He supported Raghunatha Rao who assumed the office of the Peshwa. After the close of the First Maratha War 1774-82 he accepted the treaty of Salbhai in 1782 and maintained cordial relations with the Marathas. In 1784 he met the great Maratha statesman Nana Phadnis and entered into an alliance with the Marathas to check the danger from Tipu Sultan.
Triple Alliance (1790)
In 1789 Lord Cornawallis concluded a treaty with Nizam Ali by which the East India Company agreed to provide troops to the Nizam whenever he required them. He was, however, precluded from using them against the allies of the Company like the Marathas, the Nawab of Carnatic and the Rajas of Tanjore and Travancore. Next year, i.e., 1790 the Marathas, the Nizam and the East India Company formed a Triple Alliance against the ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan. The Third Mysore War broke out in 1790 ended in 1792 with the defeat of Tipu Sultan who lost about half of his dominions.
Though the Nizam and the Marathas fought as allies in the Third Mysore War, their relations were not cordial. The Nizam was opposed to the claim of the Marathas to levy Chauth and Sardeshmukhi. As the issue could not be settled through negotiations, both parties took recourse to war. In 1795 the Nizam was defeated at the battle of Kharda and agreed to pay Chauth amounting to Rs 3 crores and a war indemnity of Rs. 2 crores.
Soon after his defeat at Kharda, Nizam Ali faced another trouble at home when his son Ali Jah re in revolt against him. Ali Jah was supported by Sadasiva Reddy, the Zamindar of Medak. The revolt was crushed and Ali Jah was captured at Aurangabad. He committed suicide. The revolt was crushed easily as the troops of Nizam Ali were trained by a French man, Monsieur Raymond.
The East India Company became uneasy at the growth of the French influence at Hyderabad, at a time when it was making preparations for the final assault against Tipu Sultan of Mysore. So the British Resident at Hyderabad, Capt. Achilles Kirkpatrick, tried to win the support of Nizam Ali by promising him military aid. Nizam Ali entered into a Subsidiary Alliance with the East India Company. Under the terms of the treaty Nizam Ali agreed to disband the French troops in his service. In return the East India Company agreed to keep a permanent force at Hyderabad which was to be paid by the Nizam. This treaty clearly demonstrates that the East India Company had attained a dominant position at Hyderabad. In the Fourth Mysore War which resulted in the death of Tipu Sultan and the destruction of his kingdom the Nizam supported the East India Company.
After the end of the Mysore War the Nizam entered into a new treaty with the East India Company in October 1800. This treaty of General Offensive and Defensive Alliance is popularly known as the Treaty of Subsidiary Alliance. Under the terms of this treaty the Company’s forces at Hyderabad was to be further augmented. For the maintenance of these forces, the Nizam ceded to the East India Company all the territories acquired by him, during the Mysore War, south of the river Tungabhadra. These areas came to be known as the Ceded Districts, now popularly called Rayalaseema (the land of Srikrishnadeva Raya, the great Vijayanagar Emperor).
Nizam Ali Khan died in 1803 and was succeeded by his son Sikandar Jah.
The long reign of Nizam Ali Khan from 1762-1803 is very important in the history of Andhra. It was during this period the East India Company gained complete ascendancy over the Nizam and forced on him as many as six treaties. By the treaties of 1766, 1788 and 1800, the Company acquired the Northern Circars, Guntur and the Ceded Districts respectively. Again, Nizam Ali Khan was the first ruler of the family to use the heredity title of the Nizam.