October 2, 2023


Hyderabad History

Round Tower of Hyderabad fort, 1844.

MAIN GATEWAY, HYDERABAD FORT, 1844 Lithograph by Charles Haghe based upon a sketch by William Edwards,1844. Published in W. Edwards Sketches in Scinde (London, 1846), Plate 5.

‘The city of Hyderabad’ Edwards noted, ‘is a poor place as the capital of the country, carrying on but little trade, and that only for its own consumpt. The presence of the chiefs always induced an a, of bustle and importance from the great thron of retainer who frequented the bazaar. Besides he leading personages that composed the hyderabad durbar, a host of functionaries filled up the scene each Chief, independently of his necessary quot of kardars, munshis, and other officers of state’.

Main Gateway of Hyderabad fort, 1844.

‘This gateway is a crowded thoroughfare, and a double sentry is posted there to prevent obstructi on. It appears in the plate thronged with passengers, Europeans and natives on foot and horseback, suffi­ciently distinct in characteristic costume to mark their various avocations’ (Edwards, text to plat,- 6).


Lithograph by Charles Haghe based upon a sketch by  William Edwards,1844. Published in W. Edwards Sketches in Scinde m (London, 1846), Plate 6.

An extract from Edwards’ notes read: ‘This is a place of great thoroughfare. The building on the left is the main guard, the officer’s guardroom being above and that for the men below. These were built by and were the residence of the ex-Ameer, Meer Nusser Khan.

Mir Nasser Khan had obviously impressed Lt. Edwards for he quoted an earlier description of him as ‘by far the most engaging and popular of the reigning family’ of Mirs. Mir Nasser died suddenly in April 1845 aged about forty-three years.

Government House, Hyderabad fort, 1844

A VIEW OF HYDERABAD, c. 1845 Lithograph by Capt. Fitzgerald, c.1845. Inscribed : A View of Hyderabad in Scinde – Sir Charles Napier in the foreground followed by his escort of Scinde Horse.

Few details are available about the artist Capt. Fitzgerald. He had served with Sir Charles Napier in 1842 and had been despatched by him from Imamgarh ‘with a few troops of the Scinde Horse, to investigate the route to Balmir in Rajputana, and return by way of Umarkot and Hyderabad’ (Lambrick (1952), 113). Subsequently he and the Camel Corps he organised accompanied Napier in the 1845 punitive campaign against Bejar Khan and the Dombkis.

Fitzgerald possessed some inventive skills in ad­dition to his soldierly capabilities : ‘We know that there was a swimming bath at Larkana, constructed it seems by the ingenious Fitzgerald, who also built his own private steamer, which plied on the Ghar canal’ (quoted in Lambrick (1952), 342).

A sketch of Sehwan by Fitzgerald is in the Postans collection (see Archer (1969), I, 280).

THE TOMB OF MIR KARAM ALI KHAN TALPUR, HYDERABAD, c. 1890 Photograph, published as a postcard, c. 1890.

View from the Round Tower of Hyderabad fort, 1844.

Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur, one of the four ‘char yar’ or quartet of friends, shared responsibility and authority for the affairs of Hyderabad with his brothers – Mirs Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam All Khan and Murad Ali Khan Talpur.

After meeting him in 1827, Dr. James Burnes sketched this pen-portrait of the likable Mir Karam: ‘He is a man of approved personal bravery, and, as far as the etiquette of the court permits, is cheerful, condescending, and even affable. … In person he is below the middle size, with a pleasing countenance and engaging manners. Although but five years

older than Mourad Ali, he bears in his appearance the furrows of age, with traces of early intenmperance; and in all probability, he will ere long lea v its more robust and energetic brother the unriv ~d actor in the scene’ (Burnes (1831; 1974 edition),67).

Tomb of Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur,

Before Burnes’s account could be published, he was informed of the death of Mir Karam Ali fitum fever in December 1828. ‘The deceased chief is much lamented by his dependants, to whom he had en­deared himself by kindness and liberality;’ Burnes added in a postscript, ‘and his death will no doubt cause a considerable revolution in the appearance of the court, the style and dignity of which were sup­ported principally at his cost’.

SHAIKH MAKAI FORT, HYDERABAD. c. 1890 Photograph, published as a postcard, c. 1890.

The Shaikh Makai fort lay a mile south-west of the Hyderabad fort. Built by Ghulam Shah Kalhora in 1772, the fort protected the shrine of Shaikh Makai, a muslim divine who had settled in the vicinity during the thirteenth century.

RUNIS AT BRAHMANABAD, 1857 Engraving published in The Illustrated London News, 28 February 1857.

The ruins of an ancient city, located forty-four miles north-east of Hyderabad, in Hala district, were investigated in 1854 by Mr. A.F.Bellasis of the Bombay Civil Service and at the time Collector of Hyderabad. A brief account of his findings illus­trated by this engraving were published in The Illustrated London News in February 1857. An extract reads: ‘The most prominent object is the remains of a high tower of brickwork standing isolated on a heap of ruins. This may have been a citadel, or one of those circular towers such as are seen in Sind to this day in the forts of Hyderabad and Omercote. The present appearance of the city is a vast mass of ruins, forming irregular mounds or hillocks, as shown in our drawing, with here and there open

A view of Hyderabad, c. 1843.

spaces or squares, evidently the bazaars and market­places.’

From the evidence found by Bellasis, the city, about four miles in circumference, had been quite densely populated until it was destroyed, most probably, judging from the posture of the skeletons and the pattern of crushing injuries visible on them, precipitately by a convulsive earthquake. To nine­teenth century enthusiasts of archaeology, Brahmanabad became known as Sindh’s Pompeii. The cataclysm seemed also to have changed the course of the nearby river, of which only the dry bed remained, forcing the inhabitants of this once flourishing city to abandon their homes.

The text to the engraving refers to the mosque depicted on the left as ‘a modern edifice erected by a faqueer or devotee, who has selected one of the mounds, and thereon fixed his abode and raised his flagstaff amid this scene of solitude and desolation.’

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