Hyderabad State

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State of Hyderabad
حیدر آباد



Hyderabad (dark green) and Berar (not a part of Hyderabad but also Nizam's Dominion) (light green) (Between 1853 and 1903)
Capital Hyderabad
Government Principality
 - 1720-48 (first) Asaf Jah I
 - 1911-48 (last) Asaf Jah VII
 - Established 1724
 - Annexed by India September 18, 1948

Hyderābād and Berar (Telugu: హైదరాబాదు, Urdu: حیدر آباد) under the Nizams, was the largest princely state in the erstwhile Indian Empire. The Berar region of present day Vidarbha in Maharashtra was merged with the Central Provinces in 1903, to form Central Provinces and Berar.

Hyderabad state was located in south-central Indian subcontinent from 1724 until 1948, ruled by a hereditary Nizam. During partition of India in 1947, the Nizam of Hyderabad declared his intentions of not joining either newly formed India or Pakistan. Sensing trouble, India launched Operation Polo which resulted in the absorption of Hyderabad into the Indian Union, in 1948.


After the partition, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII decided that the Princely state of Hyderabad will not join India or Pakistan. His decision found favour with Pakistan but not with India. The Nizam’s state was a prosperous one and had its own army, railway and airline network, postal system and radio network. On 15th August, 1947, India declared itself an independent nation. And so did Hyderabad.

Shocked by the idea of an independent Hyderabad right in the heart of India, Deputy PM Sardar Patel consulted with Lord Mountbatten and he suggested Patel to resolve the challenge without having to resort to force. India then decided to offer Hyderabad a Standstill Agreement, which assured that no military action will be taken against it. In June 1948, before leaving India, Mountbatten proposed the Heads of Agreement deal which gave Hyderabad the status of an autonomous dominion nation under India. The deal required the restriction of its armed forces and the adjourning of its voluntary forces. Hyderabad would be allowed to govern its territory, but its foreign affairs would be handled by the Indian Government. The deal was signed by India, but the Nizam refused. While these negotiations were being carried out, communal riots between Hindus and Muslims had broken out in Hyderabad. The state was also busy arming itself and was receiving arms from Pakistan and the Portuguese administration in Goa. As soon as the Indian Government received information that Hyderabad was arming itself and planning to ally with Pakistan, India decided to annex Hyderabad.

The battle between India and Hyderabad began on 13th September 1948 and ended on 18th September after which the Nizam’s army surrendered to the Indian Army and Hyderabad became a part of India. This war which lasted five days resulted in loss of life and casualties and it is estimated that 32 were killed and 97 injured on the Indian side and 490 killed and 122 wounded on the Hyderabadi side. Thereon Pakistan took the case to the United Nations security council, where it is still pending for resloution.

Administrative divisions

Hyderabad State was made up of sixteen districts. The districts were grouped into four divisions:

  • Aurangabad Division – included Aurangabad, Beed, Nanded and Parbhani districts;
  • Gulbarga Division – included Bidar, Gulbarga, Osmanabad and Raichur district;
  • Gulshanabad (or Medak) Division – included Hyderabad (Atraf-i-Baldah), Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda (Nalgundah), and Nizamabad districts;
  • Warangal Division – included Adilabad, Karimnagar and Waranga districts.

After the states were reorganised in 1956, Aurangabad became part of Maharashtra, and Gulbarga became part of Karnataka.