Last modified: 2003-06-21 by rob raeside
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by Todd Mills, 14 November 1998The standard of the 1st Lancers, Hyderabad Contingent ca. 1890.
The 1st-4th Lancers all had similar standards, but of different colours, and with the numbers of the regiments in both Persian and Roman script. The inscription reads "Allah-u-Akhbar".
In 1903 the 1st, 2nd and 4th Lancers of the Hyderabad Contingent joined the reorganised British Indian Army as the 20th Deccan Horse, 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse), and 30th Lancers (Gordon's Horse). Presumably the Lancers gave up their standards in keeping with British regulations, and the 20th Deccan Horse eventually received a British-style crimson standard. (The 3rd Hyderabad Lancers disbanded in 1903.)
In addition to the Hyderabad Contingent which ceased to exist in 1903, there were the Hyderabad Indian State Forces (ISF) whose oldest unit was founded in 1853. In 1947 these consisted of 3 armoured car regiments, a horsed cavalry regiment, eleven infantry battalions and some artillery. I have no information on their flags, but they were probably very similar to the attached GIF. In 1947 Muslim militants in Hyderabad inflamed the situation by committing depradations in India. On 13 Sept. 1948 the 1st Armoured Division of one-year-old India invaded Hyderabad and four days later the Nizam surrendered.
Most Indian State Forces were worthless militarily, but a few that were up to standard were placed at the disposal of the British in both world wars. Hyderabad sent two recce regiments and three infantry battalions "overseas" in WWII and one was captured by the Japanese in Malaya.
In 1957 India disbanded the Nizam's forces with the exception of the 2nd Hyderabad Infantry which was absorbed as 22nd (Hyderabad) Battalion, The Maratha Light Infantry. In similar manner some other viable ISF were absorbed into the Indian Army, like the 61st Cavalry which was formed from ISF lancer units of Gwalior, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Mysore, Patiala and Saurashtra.
Todd Mills, 14 November 1998