Pages from History – Today’s Chennai was a Part of Old Province, Carnatic

The history of The Nawabs of the Carnatic (1690-1855 A.D.) is much older than the State of Tamil Nadu, India.

The old province known as the Carnatic, in which Madras (Chennai) was situated, extended from the Krishna river to the Coleroon and was bounded on the West by Cuddapah, Salem and Dindigul, all of which formed part of the State of Mysore. The Northern portion was known as the Mughal Carnatic, the Southern the Maharatta Carnatic with the Maharatta frontier fortress being Gingee. Carnatic, the name commonly given to the region of Southern India between the Eastern Ghats and the Coromandel Coast and the Western Ghats, extends from Palghat to Bider and stretches from the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh in the North, to Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) at the Southern-most tip of Tamil Nadu State.

It was divided into the Southern., Central and Northern Carnatic. The region south of the river Coleroon, which passes the town of Trichinopoly, was called the Southern Carnatic. The principal towns of this division were Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Madura, Tranquebar, Negapatam and Tinnevelly. The Central Carnatic extended from the Coleroon river to the river Pennar; its chief towns being Madras, Pondicherry, Arcot, Vellore, Cuddalore, Pulicat, Nellore and a few other towns. The Northern Carnatic extended from the river Pennar to the northern limit of the country; and the chief town was Ongole.

Many volumes of history are available on the Nawabs of the Carnatic in the University of Madras and Connemara Libraries and the Public Record Office, Chennai. They are also found in other parts of India as well as foreign countries, all of them containing fascinating narratives. The history of the Carnatic Nawabs and in particular the Carnatic wars, apart from being of absorbing interest, are essential to a correct and complete understanding of South Indian history.

The First Nawab of the Carnatic, Zulfikar Ali Khan (1690-1703 A.D.) to the present Prince of Arcot, His Highness Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali Azim Jah  keep with the glorious traditions and  has been rendering great service to the society especially in promoting communal harmony, secularism and national integration in the country.

Among the rulers, Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah, Nawab of the Carnatic (1749-1795), who belonged to a family having its lineage from the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrath Omar Bin Khattab R.A. – 580 A.D. (May God be pleased with him) was not only a great ruler and most celebrated of the Nawabs, but also a very religious person and philanthropist. His contributions to the society cannot be just forgotten in a few years. Nawab Wallajah stands out as the epitome of religious tolerance and nobility. He was praised by Lord Clive as “his words were more trustworthy than of any Muhammadan I have ever known”.

For more information –

Posted on February 19, 2012, in Heritage of Chennai and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Interesting to read 🙂
    nawab sahib !

  2. Interesting historical byte, thanks for sharing.I am sure Carnatic music came up from that era as well

  3. Arnab, From whatever I gathered, Classical music in India has its roots as earlier as the vedas where we see Sama veda talks about music. The name carnatic must have been given by the rulers who patronized this music as the regional influence came along with diversification. It is a known fact that Maharajas of Mysore and Travancore contributed their best towards this genre of classical music and probably one of the reason this music came to be known as Carnatic Music. ( Carnatic – Karnataka)


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