Titles of Mir Tahniat Ali Khan Afzal-ud-Daula:
Asaf Jah V, Nizam V, Nizam ul-Mulk, Afzal ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Tahniyat 'Ali Khan Bahadur, Nizam of Hyderabad, GCSI
Nawab Afzal-ud-Daula succeeded his father in 1857 as Asaf Jah V. Though his rule was the shortest, lasting twelve years, it was nonetheless eventful.
In the year of Asaf Jah V’s succession to the masnad (throne) of Hyderabad. North India was seething with discontent and unrest. A restlessness was about to erupt into the great revolt-known as the first War of Independence. Conditions were ripe for a revolt: Indians were simmering with discontent, the peasantry was impoverished, landlords divested of their land and soldiers had been disbanded, so with corruption rampant, the general condition of the population was at an all-time low. Yet the British seemed to be indifferent to ground realities. Although the revolt of 1857 caught them by surprise, they slowly banded themselves together and managed to cling back to rule, with the unexpected support from the rulers of the Indian states. One of the leading supporters was the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam’s steadfast support safeguarded his own welfare with the British for later years.
Asaf Jah V was caught between conflicting advices from his council, who suggested backing the revolt, as opposed to the advice of Salar Jung I, who suggested supporting the British. He heeded the latter and Hyderabad found itself allied with the British.
Soon after the revolt was crushed, Queen Victoria in recognition of the loyalty and services rendered by the Nizam, conferred on him the title G.C.S.I. (The Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India). Though the Nizam refused at first, he hesitantly accepted it in 1861; the title “Our Faithful Ally” accompanied with medal.
Another gesture that symbolized the reign of the Nizam as an independent ruler was the removal of the name of the exiled Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah, from Hyderabad’s coinage. Once again, a hesitant Asaf Jah refused but, persuaded by his advisers, gave in. Soon the name of the Mughal Emperor was replaced by his own coin. Coins were now stamped “Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah Bahadur” instead of Bahadur Shah. These coins named the Hali Sicca went on to be circulated till the time of Asaf Jah VII. With these gestures, the Nizam now was no more a Subedar (Viceroy) of the Mughal Empire but an independent sovereign. No allegiance remained to the Mughal throne at Delhi as the Mughal Emperor was forced into exile.
Though short and eventful, Afzal-ud-Daula’s reign saw Hyderabad continue to develop and grow with the construction of more public buildings. At this time, the Afzal Gunj Bridge was built across the Musi River joining the old city to the burgeoning new city. A new General Hospital was also established. The wealth of Asaf Jah V, inherited from his father continued to be amassed even during his rule.
The fifth Nizam died young at forty two in 1869, leaving behind his son and successor, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan-an infant barely two and a half years old.