History of Arcot, Tamil nadu: In the 17th and 18th century Chennai was in the old province known as the Carnatic. It was extended from the Krishna River to the Coleroon (river in southeastern India) and was surrounded on the West by Cuddapah, Salem and Dindigul, all of which made part of the State of Mysore. The Northern part was known as the Mughal Carnatic, the Southern the Maharatta Carnatic (with the Maharatta frontier fortress being Gingee town in Viluppuram district). Carnatic, the name usually given to the region of Southern India between the Eastern Ghats, Coromandel Coast and the Western Ghats, extends from Palgha to Bidar and stretches from the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh in the North, to Cape Comorin at the Southern-most tip of Tamil Nadu State.
The Nawabs of Carnatic trace their origin back to second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad). There were 12 Nawabs who ruled Arcot. Carnatic Nawabdom was established by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who in 1692 appointed Zulfikar Ali as Nawab of the Carnatic, with his seat at Arcot as an honor for his triumph over the Marathas.
Below is the detailed history about the Nawabs of Arcot :-
Zulfikar Ali Khan- first Nawab of Arcot was the son of Nawab Azad Khan (minister of the Mughal Empire). With the serious decline of Vijayanagara Empire, the Nawabdom of the Carnatic controlled a huge territory, south of the Krishna River. Zulfikar Ali Khan ruled Arcot from 1692 – 1703.
Daud Khan - in 1703 was nominated as the second Nawab of the Carnatic. Before he was made Nawab, Emperor Aurangzeb appointed him as the Commander¬-in-Chief of the Mughal army in 1701, even while Zulfikhar Ali Khan was the Nawab. During his incumbency, Daud Khan made his headquarters at Arcot. Daud Khan barred Madras (Chennai) for three months, under the orders from Aurangzeb. The blockade was lifted after some negotiations between Daud Khan and the East India Company. In 1708, on 5th October Daud Khan gave a firman (royal mandate) granting the East India Company the five villages of Tiruvottiyur, Nungambakkam, Vysarpady, Kathiwakam and Sattangadu west of Tiruvottiyur. He was called back to Delhi to discharge more creditworthy work as Commander-in-Chief of the Mughal Army.
Muhammed Saadatullah Khan - the third Nawab of Arcot. He was generally mistaken as the first Nawab of Arcot. He carried his contribution wars to the gates of Srirangapatnam and collected "peshkash" or tribute from its rulers. Muhammed Saadatullah Khan started demanding the five villages which granted to the East India Company in 1708 and Egmore, Tondiarpet and Purasawalkam also along with them. The East India Company resisted and even prepared for a war, but it was settled amicably by the good offices of Sunkurama and Rayasam Papaiya, the Company's Chief Merchants.
In 1712, Arcot was captured from the Hindu Marathas by the Muhammed Saadatullah Khan, the Muslim Nawab of Karnataka and made Arcot as his capital. He adopted his brother, Ghulam Ali's son, Dost Ali as his own since he had no children and appointed him as heir. Muhammed Saadatullah Khan was the senior and independent ruler of the Carnatic from the river Godicame on the north to the bogers of Travancore on the South and enclosed between the Eastern Ghats and the sea.
Ali Dost Khan - also referred as Dost Ali Khan by most historiographers, was the son of Gulam Ali Khan (brother of third Nawab Saadatullah Khan). He became the fourth Nawab of Arcot in 1732. Ali Dost Khan had two sons named Safdar Ali and Hasan Ali and several daughters. One of his daughters married to Chanda Sahib whose birth name was Husayn Dost Khan, worked as a Dewan under Dost Ali Khan. Tirusivapuram Rajah, who was the subordinate to the Nawab of Arcot refused to pay his tribute due to the Nawab. Therefore, the Nawab ordered Chanda Sahib to go against the Rajah. Therewith Rajah got the assistance of Marathas and at the same time the Nizam-ul-Mulk of the Deccan, who was not happy with the succession of Dost Ali Khan as Nawab of the Carnatic, motivated the Marathas to invade Arcot. Due to the invitations from both the ends, Marathas happily availed the situation. A large army sent under Raghojee Bhonsle (a Maratha general) to invade the Carnatic. At Ambur (town in Vellore City) Dost Ali Khan and Chanda Sahib met Bhonsle’s army. In this battle Dost Ali Khan was killed on 20th May, 1740 and Chanda Sahib was taken to Poona prison by the Marathas.
Safdar Ali Khan - was the fifth Nawab, son of Dost Ali Khan. In 1740 after the death of Dost Ali Khan at Ambur, he got away to Vellore. By the British in the same year (1740), he was greeted as the Nawab of Arcot. In his period there was insecurity in the Country and Safdar Ali Khan took every possible measure to save his family and the Country. In 1742, Safdar Ali Khan was murdered by his brother-in-law Murthuza Ali.
Muhammad Saiyid alias Sahid Zada - became the sixth Nawab of Carnatic in 1742. After the death of Safdar Ali Khan, the assassin-Murthuza Ali wanted the Nawabship of the Carnatic. As Muhammad Saiyid was minor at the time, his uncle Muhammad Anwaruddin made him the trustee during his nonage. In 1743 Benson, the Governor of Fort St. George obtained the Nawabs fireman granting the villages Perambur, Sadiankuppam, Ernavore, Pudubakkam and Vepery. The First dynasty of the Nawab came to an end with the murder of Muhammad Saiyid in 1744 at Arcot.
Mohammad Anwaruddin - seventh Nawab of Carnatic was the son of Haji Muhammad Anwar, the right hand man of Nizam-ul-Mulk, the founder of the present Hyderabad State. He was also the swayer of Rajamundry and was the direct follower of the Second Caliph of Islam, Hazarath Omar. In 1674 A.D Nawab Anwaruddin Khan was born at Gopamau, in Hardoi District, U.P (India). Mohammad Anwaruddin first appointed as the trustee during the nonage of Muhammad Saiyid.
In 1744, after Muhammad Saiyid, by the Nizam he was appointed as the Nawab of Carnatic and Viceroy on 28th March. Therefore, he became the founder of the Second Dynasty. The French and the English fought and accomplished their supremacy in India, in 1746 at Madras and Cuddalore. On the banks of the Adyar against the French, Muhammad Anwaruddin fought and won the battle. He retook the two towns and restored them to English and supported them. The French desired to cut down the growing influence of the English in the Carnatic. So they supported Husayn Dost Khan alias Chanda Sahib as the right Nawab against Muhammad Anwaruddin.
In 1746, after the death of the Nizam, rivalry started between the second son of the Nizam, Nazir Jang and the favourite grandson of the Nizam, Muzaffer Jang. With a strong force to the South Muzaffer Jang allied with Chanda Sahib and the French. In 1749, Muhammad Anwaruddin was killed in the battle of British and the French at Ambur.
Mohamed Ali Khan Wallajah - son of Muhammad Anwaruddin was born in 1717, became the Eighth Nawab of Arcot and he was the Governor of Trichinopoly. In 1750 he was defeated and forced to fly to Arcot. In 1751 Robert Clive, the British Administrator and Military Leader captured Arcot in the battle against the British and the French. He was born in Shropshire, England. He was the person who joined British East India Company in 1743. In 1754, the battle between the British and the French ended with a treaty by which Mohamed Ali Khan Wallajah left as the Nawab of the Carnatic.
In 1765, he became Independent ruler of the Carnatic. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 also recognized him as the Nawab and friend of the King of England. The first sovereign ruler of the Carnatic was Muhammad Ali Wallajah. In 1770, to the Court of the Nawab Wallajah admiral Sir John Lindsay arrived as the King's Minister. Governor Dupleix strongly objected to such credit of the Nawab. By the king of England, Wallajah was asked twice to undergo the ceremony of his enthronement with the badge of the order of the Bath, first through Lindsay in 1771 and in 1779 through Sir Hector Munro, which he did in his residence at Chepauk Palace. He supported in the establishment of the British Empire in South India against French.
In London, Robert Clive (Lord Clive) spoke about the great qualities of the Nawab and tribute to his ruling. When the British Ship “H.M.S Wester” reached the Madras Fort, the captain of the ship gave a letter from the King of the England saying that his friendship with the Nawab should grow from generation to generation. He was the friend and admirer of the British East India Company. During the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84), the Nawab divested his administrative independence by the British. After the War he got his powers and during the third Anglo¬-Mysore War (1790-92), his powers were taken away by British.
Muhammad Ali Wallajah is the Nawab who donated land for many temples which are still there till date. Near Trichy, Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Srirangam was a gift of the Nawab with a large estate, which is called “Nawab Thottam” even today. Likewise he donated lands for Hindu temples in Tirupati, Tiruvarur, Tirunelveli and Madras. Similarly, he built Mosques in South India. The Wallajah Big Mosque situated in Triplicane High Road, Chennai is one of the biggest mosques in South India. This is the only Mosque in the whole world which has chronogram written by a non-Muslim (his Private Secretary Raja Makhan Lal Khirat). In Arabia, in the Hijaz at Makkah, he had his permanent staff to serve the poor. He furnished a ladder which is covered with gold and silver at Makkah to enable the journeyers to get into the territory of the Kaaba during the Haj. To the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah (Masjid-e-Nabavi) he supplied carpets and lights. The Syeds, who were the descendents of the Holy Prophet, he used to donate Rs. 12000 (in 18th century rupees) every year.
"Safinathullah" and "Safinathun Nabi" are the two ships which Wallajah purchased for trade and commerce, but they were mainly used for Haj Pilgrims transportation from Carnatic. For the benefit of the pilgrims of the Makkah and Madinah, Wallajah built rooms which are known as "Arcot Rubats" in Arabia.
The famous Chepauk Palace, built by Mohamed Ali Khan Wallajah in 1768, is located in the area of 121 acres from the Coolum to Mycroft’s road. This palace has two blocks; the southern block called 'Kalas Mahal' is in two floors which were a school named Madrasa-e-Aalia and the northern block called 'Humayun Mahal', which contained the Diwan Khana, (the land of which now accommodates the PWD Offices, Board of Revenue, Senate House, Madras University, State Guest House and M.A.C. Stadium). Moulana Abdul Ali Bahrululoom from Lucknow was the first Principal of the Madrasa (who is buried in Wallajah Big Mosque, Triplicane). On the site of the Carnatic Nawabs artillery park from where volleys were fined to greet visiting VIPs, Senate house was built.
Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah’s bathing marquee afterwards became the residence of Governor Robert Clive, Wellesley and later the residence of Surgeon-General. In 1930 this building was demolished and the Madras University Library and the Department of Research came up in its place. Till it was demolished, the University of Madras housed the offices of the Tamil Lexicon and the Department of Indian History and Archaeology.
At the age of seventy eight, Nawab Wallajah died in 1795, after a glorious reign of forty-six years. The road which leads from Triplicane to the Palace is still known as Wallajah road. He was buried at Santhome, Madras, but his remains were moved to Trichinopoly, with full honors after two years and buried at the feet of holy saint Hazrath Tabray Alam according to his wish.
Umdat-ul-Umra - the son of Muhammad Ali Wallajah became the Ninth Nawab of Carnatic in 1795. His grandfather, Nawab Anwaruddin Khan named him as "Abdul Wali" and from the Delhi Imperial Court of the Badshah he got the title Umdat-ul-Umra. Like Wallajah he was also the sovereign ruler. In 1799, on the fall of Srirangapatnam the British discovered both Umdat-ul-Umra and his father had been carrying on secret correspondence with Mysore against the interests of the British. Taking this as an opportunity the British East India Company declared that they would no longer honor the Treaty of 1792 made with Nawab Wallajah. They drafted a new Treaty instead by which they determined to assume the management and administration of the Carnatic. Umdat-ul-Umra fell seriously ill at this time and did not agree to this Treaty.
On the death of Umdat-ul-Umra the British took powerful measures to enforce the Treaty in 1801. The British took the possession of the Chepauk Palace and a tent was made for Robert Clive (Lord Clive) within the city district of the Palace. The son of Umdat-ul-Umra, Ali Hussain (Taj-ul-Umra) at first reluctantly accepted the terms, but afterwards rejected the offer made by the Governor. So, the son of Amir-ul-Umra, Azim-ud-Daula the youngest brother of Umdat-Ul-Umra declared the next Nawab as he agreed to sign the 1801 Treaty with the English.
Azim-ud-Daula - the son of Amir-ul-Umra, the second son of the Muhammad Ali Wallajah, was the tenth Nawab of Carnatic, in 1801 he succeeded his uncle. He had to give up the Civil and Military administration of the Carnatic to the East India Company under the terms of the treaty of 1801. Therefore he was the first nominal Nawab of the Carnatic. As the titular ruler of the Carnatic, Azim-ud-Daula was allowed 1/5th of the net revenue or one lakh forty four thousand star pagodas yearly, whichever was greater. He gifted few diamonds of fine quality to Queen Charlotte, the consort King of George III, of which the largest diamond was about 38.6 carat stone. Azim-ud-Daula died in 1819 and he was given the honor of 21 gun salute.
Azam Jah - the Eleventh Nawab of Carnatic was Azam Jah, the eldest son of Azim-ud-Daula became the second titular Nawab of the Carnatic in 1820. He died in 1825 and his time period was an eventless one.
Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan- the Twelfth Nawab of the Carnatic succeeded his father Azam Jah, but at the time of his father’s death he was only a year old. So his paternal uncle, Azim Jah was appointed as the trustee to the nephew Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan in 1825 until he became a major in 1842. He was set up as the Nawab by Lord Elphistone. The ‘Madrasa-e-Aalia' (school) created by Nawab Wallajah was shifted during his period to the princess Azamunissa palace, wife of the Nawab Ghulam Ghouse Khan which is now known as "Madrasa-e-Azam" at Mount Road (Anna Salai).
The Muhammadan Public Library and "Langear Khana" (Charitable kitchen and home) are also created by the Nawab Muhammad Ghouse Khan which is now known as the Muslim Widows Association of which the Chennai collector is the President. In 1855 Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan died without male issue making him the last Nawab who lived in the Chepauk Palace.
The detailed history about the Princes of Arcot:-
Azim Jah- Created first Prince of Arcot was the brother of Nawab Azam Jah and was trustee of the office during the nonage of Nawab Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan from 1825 to 1842. After various talks with Queen Victoria, Azim Jah was made the new title of "HIS HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF ARCOT" or "AMIR-E-ARCOT" and a political pensioner in India was made in 1867 on 12th of April at 5:30 p.m with all the honors. The Prince of Arcot was also known as “The First Noble Man in the Mohammedan Family of South India".
Prince Azim Jah moved to the 'Shadi Mahal' on Triplicane Road after the Chepauk Palace had been taken over by the Government in 1859. For his accommodation the government was paying Rs. 1000/- as monthly rent. The Government took in charge to build a palace as part of the settlement with Azim Jah, is known as "Amir Mahal” in Royapettah on lands belonging to the Nawabs. Due to his personal reasons he did not move to "Amir Mahal” but stayed in “Shadi Mahal”. In 1874 he died in "Shadi Mahal” and buried with State honors.
Sir Zahir-ud-Daula Bahadur- second Prince of Arcot was the son of Prince Azim Jah Bahadur. He succeeded Azim Jah in 1874. In 1876, Prince Sir Zahir-ud-Daula Bahadur shifted his residence to 'Amir Mahal'. He was invited to the Delhi Darbar in January 1877, on the function of the assumption of the title of Empress of India by Her Majesty Queen Victoria. He was provided with the first class merit of the order G.C.S.I (Government Consultant Services Inc). He died in 1879 and was buried with 15 gun salute State honors.
Intizam-u-Mulk Bahadur- third Prince of Arcot was the brother of Sir Zahir-ud-Daula Bahadur. He became the Arcot Prince in conformity with the desire of his father, Prince Azim Jah Bahadur in 1879. He was the last to be excused from personal attendance in Civil Courts and delighted the title of "His Highness" and a 15 gun salute. He died in 1889 and was buried with full state honors.
Sir Muhammad Munawar Khan Bahadur- fourth Prince of Arcot was the nephew of Intizam-ul-Mulk in 1889. In 1879 he was awarded as K.C.I.E (Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire) when his uncle was the Prince of Arcot. In 1903 he died in Delhi where he had gone to attend the enthronement Darbar of King Edward VII and was buried with full State honors.
Ghulam Muhammed Ali Khan- became fifth Prince of Arcot, in 1903 after his father. In 1882, on 26th February he was born and educated at the Newington Court of Wards Institution, Madras. C. Morrison and C.H. Payne were his English teachers as tutors. In June 22, 1897 he received the title of Khan Bahadur and was created a K.C.I.E., (Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire) on January 1, 1909 and later a G.C.I.E (Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire), in 1917.
During 1904-1906 he was nominated as the member of the Madras Legislative Council and again in 1916. By the Musalman electorate of the Presidency of Madras, Sir Ghulam Muhammad Ali Khan Bahadur was elected as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council for the period of 1910-13. He was also the President of Islamic League of the South India. In 1935 he was conferred the title of "His Highness". He was the premier Muhammadan nobleman of South India and the recognized leader of the Muslims in the Madras Presidency. He died in 1952 and was buried with full state honors.
Ghulam Mohiuddin Khan Bhadur- Sixth Prince of Arcot was the brother of Prince Ghulam Muhammad Ali Khan Bahadur, succeeded in 1952 as ‘His Highness of Prince of Arcot’. By the Madras Government he was honored as Sherriff of Madras in the year 1935. In 1956, the President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955 and again in 1963, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Zakir Hussain and Vice Presidents, Mr.V.V Giri, Mr. Sanjeeva Reddy, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed were a few among the eminent men who honored the Prince with their visits to Amir Mahal.
The Prince also had the privilege of inviting State Governors and Chief Ministers every year. In 1966, the Prince along with his family and staff visited Haj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) and had the honor of being the guest of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In October 1969, he died of illness and buried with full State honors.
Ghulam Mohammed Abdul Khader- Seventh Prince of Arcot succeeded his father, Prince Ghulam Mohiuddin Khan Bahadur in 1969. Officially the President of India acknowledged him as "His Highness the Prince of Arcot", by virtue of his inheritance. He was the guest of Saudi Arabia while visiting the Haj, twice in 1966 and 1982 which was a great and rare honor for an Indian Muslim.
Mr. R.Venkataraman, the President of India visited ‘Amir Mahal’ on 30th August 1988. The Prince died in 1993 on August 30 with illness and was buried with full State honors.
Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali - Eighth and present Nawab of Arcot, born on August 9th 1951 in ‘Amir Mahal’ in Royapettah in the Chennai city. Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali is the son of the Nawab Ghulam Mohammed Abdul Khader. By His Excellency the President of India, he was recognized as "His Highness the Prince of Arcot". Since 1870, he was enjoying the honors, privileges and courtesies provided to him by the Government.
Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali was the Sherriff of Madras (Chennai) in 1984-85 and 1988. He is a committed social activist, involved in Cultural, social and religious institutions in the country. He is the founder Secretary-General of 'Harmony India', a registered Association formed in 1990 to encourage communal amity, secularism and national integration. He is the President of All India Muslim Educational Society (AIMES). He is also the head of the Carnatic Family Association.
Every year on 10th day of Mohurram, the Hindus allow the Muslims to dip their sacred symbol of the hand in the waters of the Kapaleeswarar Temple Tank which was donated by his ancestors. Under Article 15-A, he was a very high protocol by the Government in the Warrant of Precedence and his rank is on par with State Cabinet Ministers. He was nominated as the Jury Member of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony an organization developed by the Central Government, Ministry of Home Affairs, along with His Excellency the Vice-President of India, the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, the chairman of the University Grant Commission (U.G.C.), and the Union Home Secretary.
The Prince supervises his ancestral Endowments, called as "The Prince of Arcot Endowments" and looks after several Mosques in Tamil Nadu. He provides arrangements for the Pilgrims by Wakfs in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madina in the Saudi Arabia named as ‘Arcot Wakf’. The Prime Minister of India nominated him as the Deputy Leader of the Indian Goodwill Haj Delegation in 1995, 1997 and 1998.
The Prince received many Awards for his Social Service which includes the National Unity Award from His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu and "For the Sake of Honor" award from the Rotary Club.
Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, loves music, literature and art, photography, gardening and reading books. Sayeeda Begum is the wife of Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali and Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali and Nawabzada Mohammed Naser Ali are the two sons with daughter-in-laws, Nawabzadi Seema Ahmed and Nawabzadi Aasia Zainab respectively.
Heir Apparent and Dewan to the Prince of Arcot
Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali- is the eldest son of Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, born on 14th June 1972 and lives in Royal House ‘Amir Mahal’ in Royapettah in Chennai city. He is the Dewan and Heir-Apparent to the present Prince Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali. He is the Deputy Agent of the Prince of Arcot Endowments and is working on various projects to upkeep the Endowment activities.
Nawab Mohammed Asif Ali is the member of the Carnatic Family Association, which works on helping the needy Carnatic families especially in education. He is the CEO of ‘Olives’ a concern for Web Development, and finished many web development projects. He is also a member and captain of cricket of the Madras Gymkhana Club and the Madras Club.
He loves art, music and literature. He is a good Musician and a sketch artist. He has given music to several Indian pop albums as a hobby. He plays State League Cricket beside tennis, snooker, horse riding, reading, photography and organizing quiz events for schools, colleges and other organizations. He is married to Seema Ahmed and has two sons, Mohammed Ibrahim Ali and Mohammed Eesa Ali.
Arcot became famous for its capture and defense in 1751 by Robert Clive, during the war between the British and the French for the throne of the Carnatic. It is famous for its World famous Diamonds.
Famous Personalities of Arcot, Tamilnadu:-
Nawabs:- Zulfikhar Ali Khan, Daud Khan, Saadatullah Khan alias Muhammad Saiyid, Ali Dost Khan, Safdar Ali Khan, Muhammad Saiyid, Muhammad Anwaruddin, Muhammad Ali Wallajah, Ghulam Hussain-Umdat-Ul-Umra, Azim Ud-Daula, Azam Jah, Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan, etc,.
Princes:- Azim-Jah, Sir Zahir-Ud-Daula Bahadur, Intizam-Ul-Mulk Bahadur, Sir Muhammad Munawar Bahadur, Ghulam Muhammad Ali Khan, Ghulam Mohiuddin Khan Bahadur, Ghulam Mohammad Abdul Khader, Mohammad Abdul Ali etc,.