Hyderabad (Pakistan)
Hyderabad, situated on the banks of the Indus River, has expanded to encompass the central hill that was once of great military significance. The city is a maze of narrow streets with bazaars, forts and tombs forming the main focal points. In its earliest known history, under the Hindu ruler, Nerun, Hyderabad was known as Nerun-kot (Fort of Nerun). Some have argued that Hyderabad may have been the city of Patala, a stop on Alexander's journey through Sind. The city was surrendered by the ruler, a Buddhist who was on good terms with the Governor of Mesopotamia, to Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 AD. Nerun-kot came under Muslim rule and it appears that one of the Arghun rulers, Hyder Quli Arghuni, laid the foundation of a new city at the site of Nerun-kot. Hyderabad may have derived its name from him but there is no historical documentation to corroborate this. Present day Hyderabad dates to 1768 and owes its foundation to Ghulam Shah Kalhora of the Kalhori Dynasty, whose dissatisfaction with the capital city, Thatta, convinced him to award Hyderabad this status. Hyderabad was made the capital due to its strategic and military advantage served by the hillock on which the city was situated. Ghulam Shah Kalhora was a Shia and widely considered a saintly and pious figure. He proved the most capable and vigorous of the Kalhora rulers. He named the city after Hazrat Ali, the fourth Caliph of the Muslims and most venerated leader of the Shia sect. The foundation stone is beautifully inscribed with a dedication to Hazrat Ali, who was also known as "Haider". He gave high priority to military fortification. Hyderabad Fort (1768), locally known as the Pukka (brick) Fort, was built of burnt bricks with embrasures. The Kucca (mud) Fort (1772) defended the main fort from the west. The only entrance to the Kucca Fort is up a flight of steep steps and through the shrine of Maki Shah Baba. The mud fort is also known as Shah Maki-jo-Qilo after the saint buried there. Ghulam Shah had his tomb built in the northern most corner of the hillock. The particular mixed significance of this military fortification can be seen in its duel usage as fortress and tomb. Four minarets mark the tomb and a staircase leads to the roof, a unique design feature not seen in other tombs and allows this tomb to function as a watchtower. Another project, still extant, is the Gidu Bunder (port) on the River Indus. It is named after the Hindu servant, Gidumal who built the port with Ghulam Shah's financial backing. Succeeded by weaker leaders, by 1783 Hyderabad fell to the Balochis. Fateh Ali Khan Talpur defeated the last Kalhora ruler, Mian Abdul Nabi at the Battle of Halani. The Talpurs invested in a sophisticated system of forts and out-posts, extended the irrigation system, encouraged scholarly pursuits and educational institutions, and promoted trade and commerce internally as well as with neighboring countries. The British were granted permission to trade, a privilege they maintained till the British colonized the area. Power officially shifted out of the Talpur's control to the British after the Battle of Mianie in 1843. Today, Hyderabad is the second largest city of Sind and a thriving industrial metropolis. Sources: Shaw, Isobel. 1989. Pakistan Handbook. Hong Kong: The Guidebook Company Limited, 79. Bohra, Dr. Qamaruddin. 2000. City of Hyderabad Sindh (712-1947). Karachi: Royal Book Company, 07.
Variant Names
Hyderabad (Pakistan)