For centuries, Hyderabad was the cradle of a great civilization. It was the center of cultural developments in the Deccan Plateau and the Southern part of the Indian sub-continent. During the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century (until its annexation by the Indian Republic in 1948), it was considered to be one of the richest nations on the face of the Earth.
The roots of the Hyderabadi civilization go back to the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Sultan Muhammad Shah Bahmani – the ruler of Deccan – sent Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk to Telangana in 1463 to quell disturbances there. He was then appointed the administrator (subedar) of the region. Sultan Quli built the Golconda fort and established that as his base. In 1518, when the Bahmani kingdom disintegrated, Sultan Quli declared independence and established the Golconda Sultanate, and took on the title of Sultan Quli Qutb Shah.
The city of Hyderabad was founded in 1589 on the banks of Musi River by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. It was located five miles east of the Golconda fort. The Char Minar (4 minarets building) is an icon of the city, and it was built in 1591 by the same ruler.
The Qutb Shahi sultans were great patrons of art, architecture, construction of buildings and learning. They promoted the Persian culture as well as the local Telugu culture. Golconda became one of the major markets in the region for pearls, diamonds, precious stones, printed fabric, steel, arms and armaments during their reign.
In 1686-87, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb laid siege to Golconda fort and finally captured it. The last Qutb Shahi ruler Sultan Abul Hasan Tana Shah was taken prisoner, and the region became a part of the Mughal Empire. After Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, the Mughal emperors lost control over the region, leading to claims of autonomy by local governors.
In 1724, Mir Qamaruddin Siddiqi, grandson of Aurangzeb’s commander Khwaja Abid Siddiqi (also known as Qulich Khan) took control of Hyderabad, and was granted the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk by the Mughal governor. This was the beginning of the Asaf Jahi dynasty that ruled over Hyderabad for nearly two and a half centuries. The Asaf Jahi Nizams remained loyal to the Mughal empire and never claimed sovereignty, although they were the autonomous rulers of the region in actuality.
The Asaf Jahis built a magnificent civilization with a very rich culture, which remains the envy of many to this day. The state was a welfare state and catered to the needs of all the citizens regardless of their caste, creed or religion.
In 1948, a year after the British granted independence to India, Hyderabad was invaded by the Indian forces and was occupied under the garb of “Police Action”. It was in fact a full invasion by the Indian army. The state was formally legally inducted into the Indian union in 1956, with different parts given to different provinces of the country.
The Nizam of Hyderabad was a great philanthropist and supporter of human rights. During its nascent years, the Nizam supported the fledgling economy of the new state of Pakistan financially to keep it afloat.
The State of Hyderabad was a sponsor and promoter of cultural developments and learning throughout the sub-continent. Most of the great literary personalities, thinkers, teachers, and researchers were funded by the Nizams and many of them settled down in Hyderabad. Urdu language in particular received a great boost through the Dar ut Tarjumah. Thousands of books on every subject were translated from different languages into Urdu. The Osmania University was established as one of the eminent centers of excellence and education. All education (including engineering and medicine) were taught in Urdu.
Though some work has been done to understand the history and culture of Hyderabad and its environs, a lot more research and publication on the subject is required. There is also a degree of misunderstanding on how Hyderabad became a great center of human civilization.
In order to promote a better understanding, HFUSA plans to establish satellite research programs in Hyderabad, India and Karachi, Pakistan to promote research on various aspects of the culture and history of Hyderabad in particular and the Indian sub-continent in general. Reputable scholars will be retained to promote a true understanding of the history of this region.
Thus, HFUSA will raise funds to establish such institutes and libraries that will promote greater harmony and understanding between people of Hyderabadi origin and others.