The Physical Environment - Hyderabad

 Location and Physical Setting of Hyderabad City
 Hyderabad City is located at approximately 78° 15´ E & 17° 15’ N. in the Deccan Plateau. In the peninsular India, landscaped with rock formations, which are boulders of immense size. The Deccan Plateau has a countryside verging on the idyllic.
 The river Musi divides Hyderabad city into two parts, the south and north banks. The portion of the city on the southern bank of the river is an elongated trapezium-shaped plain which is bounded by Mir Alam tank, Koh-i-tur(Falakhnuma hill), sarurnagar tank in the south-west, south and east at distances of 6,3 and 4 miles, respectively, from Charminar. This plain has an elevation of 1,600 to 1,650 feet with a uniform northerly slope which has been utilized in the laying of the city’s water and drainage pipes. The southern bank is 30 feet above the riverbed which, at the Afzalgunj Bridge, lies 1,572 fee above sea level. Hills or tanks are conspicuously absent from the inhabited tracts, but they occupy a firm and strong foundation for the construction of lofty structures like the Charminar.
                The north bank covers the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderbad. Its average surface elevation is between 1,650 and 1,700 feet, but there are many hills and isolated rock protuberances which rise between 50 and 300 feet above this surface. The general tilt of the land is south-east and west to east. Among its prominent landmarks are the hills of Golconda in the extreme west and Banjara and Jubilee Hills. The northern bank also stands like the southern one, about 30 feet above the riverbed.
                The river Musi, a tributary of the river Krishna’s 52 miles long between its sourve in the Anantgiri hills on the west to the eastern boundary of Hyderabad city. It has a fall of 10 feet per mile within the city.
                Since the foundation of Hyderabad more than four hundred years ago, the topography of the city and its immediate environs has been altered beyond recognition by the super-imposition of the urban profile. In the course of the twin cities’ development, hillocks have been leveled down, depression filled in and built over, stream covers dammed for the city’s water supply and their banks raised to protect the city folks from devastation floods. In such a setting, amidst the hilly plateau of Archaean crystalline rocks, the twin cities, are located centrally in the Deccan.

Geo-Political evolution of Hyderabad State
                The city of Hyderabad founded in the last decade of the 16th century (1591) was successively the capital of the Qutb Shahi Sultans of Golconda, of  a Mughal suba after Aurangzeb’s conquest, of the Deccan, and of the Nizams of the state of Hyderabad, until 1948. It took the form of a full-fledged, automonous State in the 18th century with its capital first at Aurangabad and from 1763 at Hyderabad.
                The Territorial extent of the Qutb Shahi Kingdom at its height during the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah in 1670 etended as far as Madras to about six miles south of St.Thomas Mount, including the coastal districts of Nizampatam, Masulipatam, Srikakulam, etc., in the east, up to the environs of Bidar and including Goti in the west and areas on the other side of the river Godavari.
                Following the Mughal conquest of the Golconda kingdom in 1687, territorial adjustments and changes were effected and the kingdom was incorporated as one of the six Mughal provinces of the Deccan as subah Farkhundabunyad (Hyderabad). This Suba, or provinces , during the first quarter of the 18th century had 42 sarkars and 405 mahals. These sarkars or districts, were: Muhammadnagar (alias Golconda), Kolas, Khammamet, Koikonda, Ganpur, Deverkonda, Nalgonda, Pangal, Bhongir, Medek, Malangur, Mustafanagar, Murtazanagar, Ellore, Rajahmundry, Ellgandal, Warangal, Machlipatnam, Chingalpet (Madras), Chandergiri, Narsapur, Dandwari, Nusrathgarh, Tiryapal, Palamkotah, Daradur, Walgondapur, Vellore, Jagdev, Tanjavur and Trichinopally.
                Nizam ul Mulk Asaf Jah I was thrice provincial governor of the Mughal Deccan of the six provinces-Khusjistabunyad (Aurangabad), Muhammadabad (Bidar), Khandesh, Berar, Darul-Zafar (Bijapur) and Farkhundabunyad (Hyderabad), first from 1713-15, next from  1720-22 and again from 1724 till his death in 1748. The territorial etent of the Mughal Decccan at Nizam ul Mulk’s death was as far as the fort of Trichinoaly and included the six Mughalprvinces detailed above.
                The Vastness of the provinces led to a war of succession between various claimants for the governorship of the Muhal Deccan. The French and the British availed themselves of the golden opportunity to support the cause of one over the other to establish their own hold, and , in doing so the French and British, though favourable treaties, tried to acquire “free gits” of coastal districts in lieu of their help. Meanwhile, the Marathas tried to annex the Mughal territory on the westand in the north, This resulted in the shrinkage of the Mughal provinces and the Mughal governors of the Deccan lost much of the territory. Consequently, by 1759, ten years after Nizam ul Mulk’s death, the Mughal Deccan had been reduced to about half of the area, There were two modes by which the Nizams lost their territories. First by cession to the British, and secondly by hostilities with the Marathas. In the latter case, the territory los in one war was regained to a certain extent, in later war(s). But it was the end-less cession of the land to the British, lasting about a century. Which really altered the shape of the Mughal Deccan.
                The First cession to the British began with the treaty of 1759 by which the Mughal governor granted the sea port of Masulipatam and other districts comprising an area of about 700 square miles in “free gift”. By the second treaty of 1766, Nizam Ali Khan granted to the British the Circars of Sarkars in the east, off the Bay of Bengal.
                In 1768, by the third treaty, Nizam Ali Khan ceded to the British the diwani of the Carnatic abouve the ghats, i.e., the territory along the coast of Madras, By the partition treaty of Mysore of 1799, the Nizam received the districts of Goti, Guram Konda, Kolar, etc., south fo Aoni, Karnul and Cuddapa as his share and also a few districts in the south-west of the Nizam’s State on he bank of Tungabhadra river which were rejected by the Peshwa . But all these gains of 1799 and that acquired by the treay of Srirangapatam in 1772 by the Nizam had to be ceded to the British. On the whole, the Nizam did not gain anything but on the contrary he lost much.
                In 1800, the Nizam ceded to the British the districts called “ceded districts” comprising Kurnul, Adoni, Ananthapur, Cuddapa, Harnapalli, etc., north of Mysore. While, on the other hand the Marathas were operating on the western and northern borders of the Mughal Deccan, By the treaty of Udgir of 1760, the Mughal had to cede to the Marathas the forts of Daulatabad, Bijapur, Asirgarh, Harsul, Satara, Ahmednagar and other areas of the provinces of Aurangabad. Burhanpur and Bidar, their revenue receipts totaled Rs 62 lakhs annually.
                In the following year, by the treay of poona, Mughals recovered most of the lost territories of the value of R.27 lakhs. Shortly after accession, Nizm Ali Khan recovred from the Marathas about half the territory lost earlier, including the fort of Daulatabad. More territory was recovered in 1771 from the Peshwa of the value Rs. 18 lakhs. But in the battle of Kharda in 1795 with Marathas, the Nizam lost territory of an annual receipt of Rs.35 lakhs. This drastically altered the territorial jurisdiction of Hyderabad. By the partition treaty of 1804, the Nizam received the territories which were conquered from Scindia and Nagpur.
                On the conclusion of the Maratha wars in 1817, and after the over throw of the Peshwa, the Nizam received considerable territory and an exchange of territory was effected with the British to secure a well-defined boundary, However, the territories on the western borders along Ahmednagar, etc., were ceded to the British in 1822. Thence, for about three decades there was an interval in cession of areas to the British.
                In 1853, the district of Berar was assigned to the British in trust along with Barsi, Jamkhed, etc., within the sate limits, Seven years later, in 1860, the British restored to the Nizam the districts of Raichur Doab and Naldrug, in exchange for an adjustment of territory the Nizam had ceded to the British lying along the west of the Godavari. After a lull of about 50 years, the Berar was leased to the British and was never returned.
                Thus evolved Hyderabad state from 1720 to 1860, taking a stable shape in 1860. It lasted till its merger with the Indian Union in 1948-50. The evolution of the State and its final form are illustrated in the accompanying. The State comprised, besides the twin-cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad and 16 districts,
                 Hyderabad State lies between 15° 10´ & 21° N and 74° 40´ and 81° 35 E´, with an area of 100,408 square miles, including Berar. Excluding Berar, the state covered an area of 82,698 sq. miles, i.e., larger that England and Scotland put together. It forms a polyonal tact occupying almost the centre of the Deccan Plateau. The State is an extensive plateau, with an average elevation of about 1,250 feet and in one instance 3,500 feet. It is divided into two large and nearly equal divisions, geologically and ethnically distinct, separated from each other by Manjara and Godavari rivers. The portion to the north and west belongs to the trappean region, that in the south and east granitic and Calcareous. There is a corresponding agreement between the two ethnical elements. The trappean tegion is inhabited by those who speak Marathi and Kanarese and the granitic country by the speakers of Telugu. Thus the state is trilingual. These linguistic regions were called Marathwada, Karnataka, Telengana and the granitic regions are lands of rice and tanks. The principal rivers of the State are Godavari and Krishna, with their tributaries, the Tungabhadra, the Purna, the Penganga, the Manjira, the Bhima and the Maner. Besides these there are several smaller rivers- the Musi, the Esi, The Windi, the Munair, etc. The Balaghat, the Sahyadrarvat, the Jalna hills, the kandikal, etc., are the hill ranges and mountain regions of the State.
                The principal mineral products of the State are diamond, gold, coal, iron, ore, copper, manganese, mica, garners, graphite, galena, ceramic clay, semi-precious stones, etc.
                Much of the land in the State is level, a large percentage of which is under cultivation. The hills are often covered with forests. A variety of wildlife is found in the forests.
                The climate is not altogether salubrious, though in general good, for it is pleasant and agreeable during the greater part of the year. On the whole, the three seasons are moderate.
                There are numerous artificial lakes in the State, which are source of drinking water to the twin cities and other areas.