Hyder Ali or Haider Ali was the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore and his reign was from 1761-1782 AD. The year of Hyder Ali’s birth has no concrete evidence, some historians say his birth year was 1721 AD, while some argue about the exact year and state that he was born somewhere between 1717-1722 AD.
Hyder Ali has said to be born in a devoted Shia Muslim family. Some historians state that his lineage descends back from Baghdad. While in contradiction, some believe that his lineage is traced back to modern-day Afghanistan. In another account, a French Military commander states that Hyder Ali himself claimed that he is descended from the clan of Quraysh, the tribe of HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H).
Hyder Ali belonged to a military background. His father was a naik or Chief Constable at Budikote. His brother served in the army as a commander of Brigade in the Mysore Army. Hyder developed an interest in the military while assisting his brother. He learned quite a few tactics about the French when they were under the rule of Joseph François Dupleix.
Hyder slowly learned the art of war over time, to then infuse his personal army brilliance into operations, finally growing from his humble roots right into a ruler of the Hindu state of Mysore.
Accession to Power
Hyder Ali started his military career as a mere soldier but he quickly rose in Army rank due to his commendable skills. Despite being from Mysore his initial loyalty was to “Nizam of Hyderabad”. Soon he and his companions become Sepoys in Deccan.
By the end of 1755, He was in charge of 3000 infantry and 1500 cavalry and was said to be enriching himself on campaigns by means of plunder. In the same year, he got appointed as Faujdar (military commander) of Dindigul. He is also known to work alongside De Bussy and is known to have met Muzaffar Jung and Chanda Sahib.
In 1757, Hyder Ali called to Srirangapatamto assist Devaraja towards threats from Hyderabad and the Marathas. When he arrived, he found Mysorean Army in chaos and near mutiny overpay. Along with supporting Devaraja in overcoming the threats he also arranged money to pay to the army and arrested the leaders of the Mutiny.
He also led the Mysorean Campaigns against the Nairs of Malabar. For his participation in these activities, He rewarded Devaraja with jaghir (regional Governorship) of Bangalore.
Hyder Ali as Incharge of Mysorean Army:
In 1758, He successfully entered Bangalore with his forces, lifted off the siege, and captured it. By the end of 1759, Hyder Ali was sole in charge of the Mysorean Army. In 1759, Raja Krishnaraja awarded him with the title of “Fath Hyder Bahadur” or “Nawab Hyder Ali Khan”.
Hyder Ali as Nawab of Mysore
Hyder Ali’s position was rapidly increasing in court due to the ongoing conflict between the Marathas which has crippled the Mysorean treasury making it bankrupt and In 1760 the Queen decided to oust him and conspired against him with Kandhe Rao, forcing him to leave his family along with putting his son Tipu Sultan on house arrest.
He made some allies and marched alongside Makdum Ali’s forces, with 6000 men towards Seringapatam. Before even reaching the capital, they fought with Kandhe Rao’s forces constituting 11000 men and lost the battle. He forced to turn to exiled Nanjaraj for support. Nagaraj agreed and gave him his army and also the title of Dalwai.
Hyder Ali cooked up a deception plan and sent letters to Kandhe Rao’s army appearing to be from Najaraj confirming to turn over Kandhe Rao to him. Kandhe Rao feared the conspiracy and fled to Seringapatam.
Kandhe Rao left his army leaderless, so after a little battle, Hyder Ali took over and surrounded Seringapatam. And took complete control over the Mysorean military.
Hyder Ali assumed control over Mysore after overthrowing Kandhe Rao in 1761.
Expeditions after being made Nawab
Hyder Ali expanded his territories and consolidated his positions and set out for several conquests. In 1763 he conquered Kanara, and in 1765 he defeated the Maratha forces at Malabar coast, then conquered Calicut.
Haider Ali was a skillful leader and a strategist and in First Anglo-Mysore War he defeated the British in Bombay but the Britishers strike badly and Hyder Ali lost his fleet and sued for peace. When the British declined, he again broke the British siege at Bangalore. By 1769, the British agreed to enter a treaty, it was Hyder Ali who drew the terms of the treaty which included restoration of occupied land by both sides.
In 1771 Maratha attacked again and the British didn’t keep their words of sending troops. In retaliation to this, Hyder formed an alliance with the French and In 1780, Hyder launched his second way against the British to run them out from South India, he didn’t win it all but holding enough of the land.
Death and Legacy
Hyder Ali died of Cancer Growth on his back in 1782. Hyder’s advisers tried their best to hide his death till his son Tipu sultan recalled from the Malabar Coast. Because the enemy could’ve benefitted from his death and the absence of his son.
Hyder Ali known as a military leader but he was a strong civilian administrator. He ran a Hindu majority state, by giving enough freedom to all religions, and was a careful secular state ruler. Hyder did a lot of work in fortifying Bangalore and Seringapatam.
Hyder Ali was one of the resistances to imperialism and paved a path for future generations who actively took part in India’s independence movement.