Region: India Area
Group: India Feudatory States
Classification: Semi-autonomious state
Prior Regime: Mughal Empire
1724 – The formation of Hyderabad and the rise of the Nazim dynasty
1798 – Hydrabad became part of the British Empire
1903 – Berar region separated from Hyderabad and merged into the Central Provinces of British India
1948, Sep 17 – Hyderabad annexed into the Republic of India
Following Regime: Dominion of India
Scott Catalogue: (India States) Hyderabad #1-59, O1-O56
Pick Catalogue: (India, Hyderabad) #s261-s275
Hyderabad, located in the south-central region of the Indian subcontinent, and was ruled, from 1724 until 1948, by a hereditary Nizam. The region became part of the Mughal Empire in the 1680s, however, in 1724, when the empire began to weaken, a Mughal official, Asif Jah, defeated a rival Mughal governor to seized control of the empire’s southern provinces declaring himself “Nizam-al-Mulk” of Hyderabad.
In 1798 Hyderabad was added to the British Empire as one of the princely states of British India, but it retained control of its internal affairs. In 1903, the Berar region of the state was merged with the Central Provinces of British India to form the Central Provinces and Berar. The Nizams patronized Islamic art, culture and literature which became central to the Hyderabad Muslim identity and developed railway network in Hyderabad. Islamic Sharia law was the guiding principle of the Nizams’ official operations.
In 1947, at the time of the partition of India and the formation of the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, decided not to join either new nation. The following year, the Government of India, using military force, forcibly incorporated Hyderabad into the Indian Union in what was known as Operation Polo.
For India States, stamp collectors divide the states that issued stamps into two camps. Feudatory States ran their own post and issued stamps which were valid within that particular state. Convention states had an agreement (aka convention) with the British India postal system to handle internal postage, and overprinted stamps of British India with the particular state.
Hyderabad is considered a Feudatory state. The first stamps of Hyderabad were issued beginning 1869 and featured a Arabic script design with three different values 1/2, 1 and 2 Annas. They were replaced in 1880 with new design which was inscribed “POST STAMP” and the value was shown in four languages: Hindi, Telugu, Urdu and English around the center of the stamp. This design was used for Hyderabad definitives (including a surcharge), when a new design was introduced which featured the seal of the Nizam (the hereditory ruler of Hyderabad) in the center. The first few years contained the word “POSTAGE” inscribed across the top of the stamp in an arc. In 1915-16, an additional set was issued with the inscription “POST & RECEIPT”.
In 1931, Hyderabad released a set of pictorials, which featured various important places within Hyderabad, including Char Minar, the reservoir for the City of Hyderabad, and the entrance to Ajanta Caves. Additional commeratives were issued including the Nazim Silver Jubilee issues on 13 Feb, 1937, an issue in 1946 celebrating the Allied victory in WW2, and issues depicting various buildings in the state.
Beginning in 1873, the majority of Hyderabad’s stamps were overprinted for official use, up until (and a little after) the annexation of Hydrabad into the newly formed Dominion of India.
Hydrabad issued banknotes from 1918 until 1953. Two basic design sets were issued. The first from 1915-1936 in 5, 10, 10, 100 and 1.000 Rupees. The second from 1936 to 1953 in 1, 5, 10, and 100 Rupees. Hyderabad was the only Indian Princely State that was allowed to continue issuing its own notes after it became a part of the Dominion of India in 1948 and the Republic of India in 1950. The Hyderabadi rupee was an independent currency separate from the Indian rupee.