(Last Updated on : 02/03/2009)
History of Hyderabad dates back to almost 400 years and begins with the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The city of Hyderabad is an historic city distinguished for its heritage monuments, temples, churches, mosques, and bazaars. A huge amount of influences has shaped the character of the city and left behind marks in the history of Hyderabad. Hyderabad is changing its role and outlook as part of the flourishing service industry revolution, and is trying to preserve and popularise the history of Hyderabad.
Ancient history of Hyderabad states that the Mauryan Empire ruled the area around Hyderabad in the third century B.C during the reign of Ashoka. According to the medieval history of Hyderabad, various Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms ruled the area during the succeeding centuries. The Kalyani branch of the Chalukya kings ruled the area. When the Chalukya kingdom became incompetent, Kakatiyas, who were feudal chieftains of Chalukya, declared independence and setup their kingdom around Warangal. Then Muhammad bin Tughlaq`s forces from the Delhi Sultanate in 1321 AD brought chaos to the region. For the next few decades, the Bahmani Sultanate of the Deccan fought the Musunuri Nayakas on the north and the Vijayanagara Rayas controlled the southern region. By the middle of the 15th century, the region was under the tight control of the Bahmani Sultanate, which controlled the Deccan north of the Krishna River from coast to coast.
The Golconda Sultanate commenced from 1463, when Sultan Mohammad Shah Bahmani dispatched Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk to the Telangana region to repress disorder. Sultan Quli was rewarded as the administrator of the region for his success. He established a base at Kakatiya hill fortress of Golconda, which he strengthened and expanded considerably. By the end of the century, Quli ruled from Golconda as the Subedar of Telangana. Quli enjoyed virtual independence from Bidar, where the Bahmani sultanate was then based.
In 1518, he declared independence from the Bahmani Sultanate and established the Golconda Sultanate under the title Sultan Quli Qutub Shah. This was the start of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. The Bahmani Sultanate disintegrated into five different kingdoms. Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah of Qutub Shahi dynasty built the city of Hyderabad that was originally known as Bhagyanagar on the Musi River, east of Golconda and dedicated it to his beloved Hindu wife Bhagyamathi. He also ordered the construction of the Char Minar, the impressive monument of the city, in 1591, reportedly in appreciation to the almighty for arresting a plague epidemic before it did irrevocable damage to his new city. The Purana Pul ("old bridge") was also build across the Musi River thus enabling quick travel between Golconda and Hyderabad.
The early history of Hyderabad is inextricably entwined with the history of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. As Qutb Shahi power and fortune rose during the 16th and early 17th centuries, Hyderabad became a heart of a pulsating diamond trade. They contributed in the development of Indo-Persian and Indo-Islamic literature and culture in Hyderabad. Golconda soon became one of the leading markets in the world for diamonds, pearls, steel, arms, and also printed fabric. In the 16th century the city became the capital of the Qutb Shahi rulers. Hyderabad became known for its gardens (called baghs) and its relaxed climate.
By the mid-17th century, Mughal prince Aurangzeb fought local Hindu and Muslim kingdoms to establish and implement Mughal Sovereignty. The rise of Maratha power under Shivaji kept the Mughals continuously challenged. After the death of Shah Jahan in 1666, Aurangzeb merged his power in Delhi as Emperor and returned to the south. Aurangzeb laid siege to Golconda in 1686, but finally had to retreat in frustration. Aurangzeb`s attention moved away quickly to other parts of the Deccan, with the Marathas slowly but steadily gaining ground against the Mughals.
After Aurangzeb`s death in 1707, the Mughal-appointed governors of Hyderabad gained more autonomy from Delhi. In 1724, Asaf Jahi dynasty started to rule Hyderabad until a year after India`s independence from Britain. Asaf Jah`s successors ruled as Nizams of Hyderabad. The rule of the seven Nizams promoted the growth of Hyderabad both culturally and economically. Hyderabad became the formal capital of the kingdom and Golconda and huge reservoirs, like the Nizam Sagar, Tungabhadra, Osman Sagar, Himayat Sagar were built. Eventually, Hyderabad had its own currency, mint, railways, and postal system. There was no income tax.
When India gained independence in 1947, the ruling Nizam king declared his intention to remain independent, either as a monarch ruler or by acquiring Dominion position within the British Empire. In order to keep necessary trade and supplies flowing, he signed a Standstill Agreement with the Indian Union, which bounded him on all sides. On September 16, 1948, Indian Army moved in to Hyderabad State from five directions. Four days later, the Hyderabad forces surrendered. The number of dead was around 800. The Police Action achieved success within few days. The Nizam finally surrendered and signed the Instrument of Accession to the Indian Union and Hyderabad was included into the Indian Union as a state
In the history of Hyderabad, the state got its first democratic government and the representatives of its 18 million people were admitted to the Constituent Assembly drafting a constitution for independent India. For the next eight years, Hyderabad continued as a separate state within the union. On November 1, 1956, the states of India were reorganised based on linguistic details. As a result, the provinces of the State of Hyderabad were divided between newly created Andhra Pradesh, Bombay state (later Maharashtra), and Karnataka. Hyderabad and the surrounding areas were included into India, later to Andhra Pradesh based on Telugu linguistic majority, and Hyderabad became the capital of the new state of Andhra Pradesh. The history of Hyderabad is testified in various inscriptions of the heritage monuments in the city.