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Nineteenth-Century Hyderabad: Re-Scripting Urban Heritage

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Chapter Summary

The British saw colonial cities as planned and their inhabitants orderly; Indian ones they saw as haphazard, and this dichotomy served visually to define places with political traditions and societal values that needed to be brought into a colonial modernity. An alternative methodology that focuses on the architectural patronage of a mid-nineteenth-century Hyderabadi ruler, the fifth Nizam, Afzal ud Daulah, provides a visual archive of materials linked to the pre-colonial past. This article seeks to reconstruct the dynamics of his relationship with the British. In the early nineteenth century, the Nizams themselves did not construct any new monument of their own to counter the British presence; instead, they focused on ritual enactments of power in the urban form. In 1857, when Afzal ud Daulah ascended the throne to become the fifth Nizam, Hyderabad's political geography reflected the discomfort which the unwanted alliance with the British caused his predecessors.

Keywords: Afzal ud Daulah; British; Hyderabadi; nineteenth century; Nizams



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