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Maidan from Flagstaff, Secunderabad.

Maidan from Flagstaff, Secunderabad.

Photographer: Dayal, Deen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1890

Shelfmark: Photo 1056/(4)

Item number: 4

Length: 27

Width: 21

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of troop tents pitched on the Maidan, Secunderabad (now in Andhra Pradesh) taken by Lala Deen Dayal, c. 1890. In the 19th century era of pioneering photography mostly dominated by Europeans in India, Deen Dayal earned renown as a hugely successful Indian photographer. Born to a Jaina family in Sardhana near Meerut, he studied photography while an engineering student, and took it up professionally encouraged by mentors such as Sir Henry Daly. His technical excellence and attention to detail made him much in demand and he took official photographs of colonial events and administrators, including Lord Dufferin, Viceroy 1884-88. In 1884 he was appointed court photographer to the Nizam of Hyderabad and founded a studio in Secunderabad which is still run by his descendents today. He specialised in portraiture and Indian views.

Secunderabad is situated in Andhra Pradesh next to Hyderabad, its older twin city (founded c. 1590). The Nizam of Hyderabad, Sikander Jah, entered into a subsidiary alliance with the British East India Company in 1798, involving military and political cooperation. Under the alliance an area north of Hussain Sagar lake was to be made a cantonment. Soon after the alliance was signed 5,000 British troops arrived and camped north of Hyderabad; the cantonment was laid out in 1806 and named after the Nizam, and thus was Secunderabad founded. Initially it encompassed an area of four square miles and had a population of 5,000 troops plus several thousand civilians, however 60 years later it had increased to 17 square miles and the population, including the armed forces was 50,000. The town continued to develop as its military functions and business opportunities drew large numbers of people from the surrounding rural areas.

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