Living Hyderabad History & Culture

Mir Alam Bahadur is remembered for his gifts to Hyderabad

Mir Alam Tank   | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

Hyderabad has a new attraction — the Mir Alam Park on the banks of the lake by the same name in the southern part of the city. The six-acre park at the foothill of Mir Mahmood ki Pahadi perpetuates the name of the nobleman who was a minister of the Nizam Ali Khan. Near Charminar one of the most bustling markets for almost anything is the Mir Alam Mandi. It is a cacophony of noises, smells and colours framed by a graceful arch. And inside the Salar Jung Museum are a bunch of ivory chairs with intricately wrought patterns and shapes that were gifted by the French king Louis XVI to the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan.

The one man who binds all these strands of Hyderabad is Mir Alam Bahadur or Mir Abul Qasim. Mir Abul Qasim was born a few metres away from Charminar in an area known as Irani Gully or as is now popularly known, Burqa Gully. His father hailed from Shustar region of Iran and settled down in Hyderabad. Beginning his career as a vakil to one of Nizam’s courtiers, Mir Abul Qasim came into his own when he led the Nizam’s soldiers to fight Tipu Sultan in 1799.

A painting showing Mir Alam sitting behind Raja Rambho and watching a dance performance by courtesan Mah Laqa Bai Chanda

A painting showing Mir Alam sitting behind Raja Rambho and watching a dance performance by courtesan Mah Laqa Bai Chanda  

While the Paigah nobles were opposed to aligning with the British to fight Tipu Sultan, Mir Alam had no such qualms. At the battle of Seringapatam as Tipu Sultan’s challenge folded up, a massive share of the spoils came the way of Mir Alam who in turn shared it with the Nizam. But the greed for treasure never ends. If Mir Alam gifted the Nizam some of the spoils of war, the courtiers began whispers about the wealth he had secreted away.

Another sticking point for the Nizam was a partition deal agreed by Mir Alam. While the Nizam and the British shared some of the dominions of Tipu, a big chunk of the kingdom of Mysore went to the Wodeyars, the traditional rulers of the land. As the army which defeated Tipu Sultan had been bankrolled by the Nizam, who had also contributed almost half the soldiers for the war, he felt he should have got a more significant share. This heartburn led to a fissure in the relationship between the powerful nobleman and the Nizam.

But it is in his role as a benefactor of Hyderabad that Mir Alam is best remembered. He was instrumental in deepening and creating one of the modern wonders of Hyderabad when French engineers built a dam near Mir Mahmood ki Pahadi to create the Mir Alam Tank. Completed in 1806, it was a source of drinking water for the southern part of the city for years. The Mir Alam Mandi too is a gift of the nobleman, as are the ivory chairs, now in the Salar Jung Museum. The legacy of Mir Alam continued when his son-in-law Munir ul Mulk became the key minister in Nizam’s cabinet. Munir ul Mulk’s grandson Mir Turab Ali Khan rose to prominence as the Salar Jung after his appointment in 1853, according to Imperial Gazetteer of India.

Mir Alam died in 1808 and is buried in Mir Momin ka Daira not very far from Mir Alam Mandi and Mir Alam Tank. With the addition of the Deccan themed park, the legacy of the 18th century nobleman continues to resonate in Hyderabad.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 6:32:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/living-hyderabad-mir-alam-bahadur-is-remembered-for-his-gifts-to-the-city/article26687116.ece

Next Story