Seven Asaf Jah Rulers – Seven Nizams

Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan Siddiqi Asaf Jah II
Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan Siddiqi Asaf Jah II (Nizam II)


Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur Asaf Jah II (7 March 1734 – 6 August 1803) was the Nizam of Hyderabad State in South India between 1762 and 1803. He was born on March 7, 1734 as fourth son to Asaf Jah I and Umda Begum. His official name is Asaf Jah II, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Nizam ‘Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur, Fath Jang, Sipah Salar, Nawab Subedar of the Deccan.

Titles of Nizam Ali Khan:
Asaf Jah II, Nizam II, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Nizam ‘Ali Khan Bahadur, Fath Jang, Sipah Salar, Nawab Subadar of the Deccan.
Asaf Jah I’s wise reign did not continue with his heirs, for his successors possessed far more ambition than ability. For the next fourteen years following the death of its founder. Asaf Jah’s progeny busied themselves in waging wars against each other.

Fourteen years passed by before the second Nizam appeared on the scene.

Nizam Ali Khan, the fourth son of Mir Qamaruddin Asaf Jah I ascended the throne in 1762 and ruled Hyderabad for almost forty years. Asaf Jah II turned out to be a weak ruler; though he had acquired power with British support, he paid for it by having to cede large tracts of territory.

The inherent weakness of the state under his reign became evident when he sided with the British in curbing the increasingly heavy hand of Mysore’s Hyder Ali. Through the Treaty of 1766, the British compelled the Nizam to disassociate himself from Hyder Ali. Subsequently, the British and the Nizam fought together and defeated Tipu Sultan. Hyder Ali’s successor. The Treaty of Seringapatnam marking the defeat of Tipu Sultan was signed in 1792. At the same time, the growing strength of the Marathas on his northwestern borders caused the Nizam much worry. The Marathas regarded him as a mere vassal and occasionally demanded heavy levies of chauth and sardeshmukhi from him. Exasperated, Asaf Jah II confronted the Marathas at Khardah in 1795 but suffered a severe defeat and had to inevitably cede more territory.

Successive military setbacks, the repeated loss of territory, manipulated and exploited by those around him, the Nizam became a dejected and broken man. The last blow, however, came with the death of a much-loved son. This grief resulted in a serious stroke in 1796; from which it is said he never recovered. He died seven years later in 1803.

The reign of Nizam Ali Khan was a turning point in the rule of the Asaf Jahi dynasty; not only was it a long reign, spanning forty one years, but it was also eventful.

Recognizing the strategic location of the city of Hyderabad. Asaf Jah II shifted his capital from Aurangabad to Hyderabad in 1763. Hyderabad became the new capital and later even lent its name to that of the State he created.

It was also during his reign that the Paigah (the household troops) was introduced – and to maintain them, large tracts of land were given to the leading noble family of Tegh Jung, a family went on to become the leading noble family of Hyderabad till modern times.

At the same time, the institution of the Peshkar also was initiated by the Nizam, the first title being conferred to a Maharashtrian family. The Peshkar was responsible for maintaining the state’s accounts and controlling the treasury – a post that soon became the preserve of the family of Raja Chandu Lal from 1806 onwards.

Asaf Jah II (Nizam II) died at Chowmahalla, Hyderabad at the age of 69 on August 6, 1803.