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The Hyderabad Karnatik, 1687—1707

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

J. F. Richards
University of Wisconsin, Madison


In September 1687 the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, finally achieved a goal he had sought for the past forty years: the conquest of the kingdom of Golconda. After an extended siege of the great fort of Golconda, treachery and a night escalade had finally given the Mughal ruler possession of the last center of resistance in the kingdom. Abul Hasan, the last Qutb Shah ruler, became a Mughal captive. Aurangzeb wasted little time in sending the former king off to captivity in Daulatabad fort. For approximately four months the conquering emperor remained in Hyderabad in order that he could personally direct the first steps toward assimilation of the new territories into the empire.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1975

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1 Mughal administration in Hyderabad is discussed in detail in my book, Mughal Administration in Golconda (forthcoming, Clarendon Press).Google Scholar

2 After 1687, the Mughals treated these troops as less than regularly-appointed Mughal soldiers. The infantry were exempt from muster lists (nām-nawīs) and from identification records of physical characteristics (chihra). Sih-bandī cavalry were similarly exempt from branding and inspection regulations (dāgh-o-tashīha). Cf. Inayat Jang Collection, National Archives of India, New Delhi, for an explicit statement to this effect. Hereafter the Inayat Jang Collection will be cited as I.J. Coll., followed by the serial number assigned by the archives.Google Scholar

3 The term sih-bandī seems to have been a Mughal importation into the eastern Deccan at this time. As far as can be determined, none of the Golconda sources employ it. Irfan Habib, Cf.: ‘The actual meaning of sih-bandī seems to be that of troops hired for the occasion, as distinct from troops permanently employed.’ The Agrarian System of Mughal India (Aligarh, 1963), p. 276 n.Google Scholar

4 British Museum Persian Manuscript, Sloane Collection, No. 3582, fol. 114a.Google Scholar

5 Bhimsen, ‘Nuskha-i Dilkusha’, British Museum Persian Ms. Or. 23, fol. 95a, Jadunath, Sarkar, History of Aurangzib (Calcutta, 5 vols, 19121924), V, 56–7.Google Scholar

6 Ibid., pp. 58–9.

7 Ibid., p. 61.

8 ‘Wee haveing certaine advice that Rama Rajah King of the Morattaes is come privately from His Kingdome of Punnarree, to the Chingye Countrey leaveing his Uncle in charge of the Kingdome and family to manage the Warr against the Mogull, his designe of comeing hither being reported to divert the Mogulls Army from thence, and joine with the severall Gentue Naigues & raise a considerable army to retake the Golcanda & Vizapore Kingdomes, wch there is a great probability of, both places being at present very weakly gaurded…’ Madras Presidency, Records of Fort St. George: Diary and Consultation Books, 1672–78–1756 (Madras, 85 vols, Record Office, 19101943), 14 11 1689, p. 92.Google Scholar

9 François, Martin, Mémoires de François Martin: Fondateur de Pondichéry (1665–1696), ed. Martineau, A. Martineau, (Paris, 3 vols, 19311934), III, 59.Google Scholar

10 Ibid.

11 Sarkar gives a list of most of the variants used for Yācham Na'ir in various sources. The identification of Martin's ‘Lacheminaïque’ as another variant of Yācham Na'ir is based on the fact that all the sources mentioned by Sarkar describe Yācham Na'ir's role in the 1690 revolt. Martin's account is more detailed than that of any of the other contemporary sources in its description of Yācham Na'ir's activities in 1690. The prefix ‘Bandar’, used by Martin, is obviously a corruption of the honorific Bangaru. Martin does not describe the Telugu raja's death, for the French governor's mémoires end in 1693. Sarkar does not specifically identify Yācham Na'ir as the raja of Venkatagiri; instead he states that the Telugu chief's home fort was at Sagar.Google Scholar The determination that Yācham Na'ir was a predecessor of the present Venkatagiri raja is based on the account in Row, T. Rama, Biographical Sketches of the Rajas of Venkatagiri (Madras, 1875), pp. 40–4. This work includes a detailed description of the execution by the Mughals of ‘Bangaru Yachama Naidu’ of the 22nd generation which matches that found in other sources.Yācham Na'ir was a member of the Velugotivaru family, one of 34 divisions of the Recharla or ‘Raicherla’ gotram or section, which in turn is one of 77 subdivisions of the Velama caste. Yācham Na'ir was descended from Annapota Naidu, the fourteenth-century Velama ruler of Rajkonda.Google Scholar

12 Rama, Row, Biographical Sketches of the Rajas, p. 8.Google Scholar

13 Manucci, writing about ten years later (1700) commented: ‘In the Karnatik, inland six leagues from Madras, is a famous and ancient temple called Tirpiti (Tirupati). Here assemble many people from all parts of India. The shrine is very wealthy from the large and frequent offerings presented, and owing to the large revenue derived from it, Aurangzeb has to this time postponed its destruction. But it seems to me the reason for not doing so was his fear of renewed rebellions difficult of suppression.’Google Scholar Niccolao, Manucci, Storia do Mogor, or Mogul India, 1653–1708, translated by Irvine, W., Indian Text Series (London, 4 vols, 19071908), III, 143.Google Scholar

14 Martin, , Mémoires, p. 66.Google Scholar

15 Ibid., pp. 72–3.

16 Ibid., p. 84.

17 Sarkar, , History of Aurangzib, V, 68.Google Scholar

18 Samsamud-dowla, , shah, Nawaz khan [Abd al-Razzaq], The Ma'asir-ul Umara (completed by his son Abd al-Haqq), ed. Abu-ur-Rahim, Maulawi (Bibliotheca Indica, No. 112, 3 vols, Calcutta, 1888–1895), I, 291;Google Scholar Saqui, Musta'id Khan, Ma'asir-i Alamgiri, edited by Ahmad Ali, Maulawi Agha (Bibliotheca Indica No. 66 Calcutta, 1870-1873), pp. 357, 369, 387, 550.Google Scholar

19 Bhimsen, fol. 116a; Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, III, 271–2;Google Scholar Dutch Factory Records, ‘Inkomend Briefbook’, Koloniaal Archief of the Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Vol. 1436, dated 11.10.1694, fol. 381 vo (cited hereafter as K. A.), Rao, Rama, , pp. 42–4.Google Scholar Sarkar, , History of Aurangzib, V, 95–6. Some of the accounts, such as that of the official history of the Venkatagiri house, assert that Zulfikār Khan killed Yācham Na'ir because of fear that the latter would reveal to the emperor that the Mughal commander had not been pressing the campaign against the Marathas as vigorously as he should have done. This seems less likely than the version adopted.Google Scholar

20 Rao, Rama, pp. 44–7.Google Scholar

21 Ibid., p. 47.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 The munīwār (the term used in northern Golconda) or the kāwali (in the Karnatik) was a chief appointed by the king to maintain a force for policing the major roads and markets. The munīwār was also charged with keeping order over a number of parganas or even a full district.Google Scholar

25 ‘Historical Account of Sauyapa Naid and Suba Naid zemindar of Marriapalla in Dupadu’, India Office Library, London:Mackenzie Collection (Unbound Translations), Class VIII, Telugu No. 18, pp. 22–3 (hereafter cited as ‘Kyfyat of Sauyapanaid’). The information given in this English version is corroborated by that appearing in copies of the original Persian patents. These survive in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library (Madras), ‘Persian Records from the MacKenzie Collection’ Ms. No. 250. The fourteen documents dating from Aurangzeb's reign addressed to Sāyapanair Kumār Venkatādri Nā'ir, were clearly sources for the English translation now in London. The Kamma chief held Dūpādū pargana as a tax farm under the Qutb Shahs; the Mughal document appoints him dīwān of the pargana with exemption from any necessity to produce reports or records. This was probably a circumlocution to avoid calling him a tax farmer.Google Scholar

26 ‘Kyfyat of Sauyapanaid’, p. 23. The grants were reaffirmed in other documents as late as Aurangzeb's 40th regnal year.Google Scholar

27 ‘Akhām-i Alamigiri’, State Archives of Andra Pradesh, Hyderabad, India, Persian ms. 1358, fols 46a–46b.Google Scholar

28 K. A. 1480, (23.12.1697), fol. 5; see Sarkar, , History of Aurangzib, V, 72109Google Scholar, for full details of the siege of Jinji and the Mughal-Maratha war, 1689–1698.Google Scholar

29 Bhimsen, fol. 114a.Google Scholar

30 See Ma'asir'ul Umara, II, 68–70, for a biography of Daud Khan Panni. He belonged to a family of Afghan adventurers, originally horse traders, who had found their way to the Deccan in the seventeenth century. All active members of the family had entered Mughal service during Aurangzeb's reign.Google Scholar

31 In July 1702 the emperor demanded of Daud Khan Panni that he send fifty elephants taken as pishkash from the zamīndārs of the Karnatik. Sitamau Collection, ‘Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla’ Raghubir Library, Sitamau (M.P.) India, Vol. 46 (5 Rabi II), p. 73a (hereafter cited as Akh).Google Scholar

32 Akh., Vol. 48, (18 Muharram) Pt I, p. 85a.Google Scholar

33 Bibliothèque Nationale, (Paris) ‘Mémoiresur la compagnie des Indes Orientales’, FR 6231, fol. 36.Google Scholar

34 Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, III, 480. As yet, this account is not corroborated in any other sources.Google Scholar

35 See my article ‘European City-States’, (forthcoming).Google Scholar

36 In 1701, the Mughal faujdar killed Govind, a raiding Maratha chief and took a number of his followers captive. The Mughal defenders also took six elephants and forty horses as part of their spoils from the battle. Akh., Vol. 44 (8 Shaban), p. 389a.Google Scholar

37 Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, III, 506. Manucci was in Madras at this time and in close touch with Daud Khan's affairs.Google Scholar

38 Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, IV, 58.Google Scholar Cf. also Akh., Vol. 48, Pt II (18 Rabi II), p. 145a for a report of Daud Khan's movement to the north in August and his encounter with Dhana the famous Maratha general. Understandably, this report stresses Daud Khan's success in driving the Marathas off.Google Scholar

39 Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, IV, 249.Google Scholar

40 I. J. Coll., 1/7/72.Google Scholar

41 See ‘Akh.ām-i Alamgīmi’, fols 48b–49a. The emperor ordered an investigation into the mismanagement of the finances of the Hyderabad Karnatik in 1691 as soon as Ali Mardan Khan became dīwān.Google Scholar

42 Ibid., fols 34b–36a.

43 Ibid.

44 These figures are abstracted from I. J. Coll., I/6/1-I/6/16 and I/6/144–7.Google Scholar

45 I. J. Coll., I/9/34.Google Scholar

46 I. J. Coll., I/11/79.Google Scholar

47 I. J. Coll., I/17/284–5. These figures are actually from 1700, two years after the fall of Jinji. Total assessed demand was 9.1 million rupees. There may well have been an increase in revenue demand when Daud Khan Panni took office in 1700. According to Manucci, Daud Khan Panni ‘had bound himself to pay to the court a revenue fifty per cent. in excess of that usually paid. From this cause the people had a good deal to suffer’.Google Scholar Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, IV, 238.Google Scholar

48 Yusuf, Husain Khan (ed.), Selected Documents of Aurangzeb's Reign: 1659–1706 A.D. (Hyderabad, 1956), pp. 233–5.Google Scholar The document is headed ‘Details of the Karnatik Farkhonda Bonyād Hyderabad up to the end of the year 1117 A.H.’ [A.D. 1705–06]. The revenue categories given here differ from those found in the document. The Khālisa revenues included lands assessed at 138,427 rupees ‘in possession of pālīgārs’ who paid 23,000 rupees pishkash.Google Scholar

49 See Samsamud-dowla, , Ma'asir-ul Umara, II, 65, for the presence of Daud Khan Panni at the siege of Wakinkira.Google Scholar

50 Cf. a newsletter dated in early March 1704 which commands Daud Khan Panni and other Karnatik officers to make sure that grain was shipped uninterruptedly from the Hyderabad Karnatik and that macebearers be appointed to accompany it. This order was also sent to the governor of Bijapur, but not Hyderabad. Akh., Vol. 48, Pt I (7 Shawal), p. 44b.Google Scholar

51 Manucci, , Storia do Mogor, IV, 98–9; 239–40; 242; 245.Google Scholar The Raja of Mysore paid fifteen million rupees and five elephants to Daud Khan Panni in 1705 to ward off a threatened Mughal attack. The next year, he recovered this money by retaking the fortress in which it had been stored in the Karnatik.Google Scholar