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Arcot

The term ‘Arcot’ is said to be derived from Tamil word Aarukaadu which means ‘Six Forests’. In local folklore, Arcot was described as a lush region flanked with forests which was believed to be resided by sages and seers. The Arcot Princely state was situated in the Carnatic region of South India between about 1690 and 1855. The term ‘carnatic’ was given by Europeans to southern India between the Eastern Ghats and the Coromandel coast of Madras presidency, present day Tamil Nadu state. The Arcot reign can be divided into two phases into – Nawayat (1710- 1744) and Wallajah (1744- 1855).

Arcot struggled a lot initially to establish an independent state after the fall of Mughals in the North and Vijayanagar in the South. The Nawab of Arcot had to compete with his contemporary rulers such as Tanjore, Madurai, Mysore, Marathas and the Nizams of Hyderabad. Arcot- Carnatic rule consisted of present day Tinnevelly, Ramnand, Madurai, Trichinopoly, Tanjore, South Arcot, Chegleput and North Arcot in Tamil Nadu and Chittor and Nellore in Andhara Desha.

Zulfikhar Ali Khan was the son of Nawab Azad Khan who was the wazir of the Mughal Empire and his forefathers too gave their services to Mughal Empire. Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb sent Commissioner-in- Chief Zulfikhar Ali Khan and his son Kam Baksh to fight against the Marathas.

Nawabship of Carnatic was given as a reward to Zulfikhar for defeating Marathas. He had a friendly relationship with the East India Company. The East India Company gave many presents and assisted him wherever needed for gaining his favourism. His tireless efforts re-captured the lost territories of the Mughals from the Marathas.

Earlier, in 1701, Daud Khan was appointed as Commander- in-Chief of the Mughal Map Empire. He was appointed as Nawab in 1703. He chose Arcot to be his headquarters. He enjoyed the confidence of Mughal Emperors and friendly relations with the East India Company. As per one of the episiode, when Daud visited St. George fort, the streets were lined with soldiers upto fort. Under the command of the Emperor Aurnagzeb, Daud Khan blocked St. George Fort for three months. Later, the governor Thomas Pitt was instructed by the British East India to vie for peace. In 1710, he was called back to Delhi to discharge another important duty.

Muhammad Saiyid was the Diwan in Daud Khan’s reign. The title of Saadatullah Khan was given by Emperor Aurangzeb. He was the last mughal governor appointed as Nawab. He led a war against the Srirangapatnam and demanded Egmore, Tondiarpet, Purasawalkam and five villages from the East India Company. He did not have any son. So he adopted Ghulam Ali Khan’s son, Dost Ali Khan and nominated him as the next successor. For this, he also got approval from Mughal Emperors. After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire became weak. Therefore, he became an independent ruler of Carnatic which streatched from the river Godicame in the North to the border of Travancore.

Many historians refer Ali Dost Khan also by the name Dost Ali Khan. He had two sons, Safdar Ali and Hasan Ali and several daughters. One of his daughters got married to whom he selected his diwan and other daughter to Murtuza Ali who latterly tried to kill Dost Ali Khan’s son. The Raja of Tirusivapuram refused to pay tribute to the Nawab and he supported Marathas who were their foe. Nizam-ul-Mulk of the Deccan was not happy with Dost Ali Khan and so incited Marathas to invade the Carnatic. On 20th May 1740 at Ambur, Maratha armies killed Dost Ali Khan and Chanda Sahib was imprisoned in Poona.

Safdar Ali Khan was recognized as Nawab of Carnatic who was the son of Ali Dost Khan. At the time of assassination, he fled to Vellore. There was chaos in the territory, so he sent his family to Madras under the protection of British. They were securely lodged in Black town of Madras. His brother-in-law Murtuza Ali took advantage of the anarchy and therefore he killed Safdar Ali.

The real name of Muhammad Saiyid was Sahid Zada. English supported Muhammad Sayid and proclaimed him as a Nawab of Carnatic. He was a minor at the time of succession so Muhammad Anwaruddin was made a regent. Governor of St. George fort acquired grants from Nawab of Perambur, Sadiankuppam, Ernavore, Pudubakkam and Vepery villages. He was also murdered and the first phase of Arcot dynasty came to an end.

This was a very old painting of Amin us-Sultanat, Siraj ud-Daula, Nawab Haji Muhammad Jan-i-Jahan Anwar ud-din Khan Bahadur, Shahamat Jang, Subadar of the Carnatic (1744-1749)Muhammad Anwaruddin was the first Nawab of the second phase of Arcot dynasty. Earlier, he was a Subehdar of Thatta province from 1721-1733. He was born at Awadh and was the son of Haji Muhammad Anwar ud-din Khan. He went to Delhi and enrolled himself in the army where he achieved a higher position soon. Later, he became Yameen-us- Sultanate of Asaf Jah I, Nizam of Hyderabad. After the death of Muhammad Saiyid, he was made Nawab of Carnatic by Nizam of Hyderabad. He also maintained a friendly relationship with the East India Company. In 1746, English and French fought for the supremacy over India at Carnatic. Anwaruddin fought against French and secured two towns and restored them to English. In response to this, French supported Chanda Sahib as a rightful candidate for Nawabship against Anwaruddin Khan. Anwaruddin army, supported by English, met the French army at Ambur in 1749 where he was killed on the battlefield.

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