Lieutenant-ColonelJames Achilles Kirkpatrick (1764 – 15 October 1805) was an East India Company officer and diplomat who served as the Resident at Hyderabad Deccan from 1798 until 1805. Kirkpatrick also ordered the construction of the Koti Residency in Hyderabad, which has since come to serve as a major tourist attraction.
James Achilles Kirkpatrick was born in 1764 at Fort St George, Madras. He replaced his brother William and arrived in Hyderabad in 1795 to assume the position of Resident, which had previously been held by his brother. During his initial few months in Hyderabad, James became enamoured with the Indo-Persian culture at the Nizam of Hyderabad‘s court, and substituted his European dress for Persian attire.
Although a colonel in the Presidency armies, Kirkpatrick wore Mughal-style clothing at home, smoked a hookah, chewed betelnut, enjoyed nautch parties, maintained a small harem in his zenanakhana. Kirkpatrick, born in India, educated in Britain, spoke Tamil as his first language, wrote poetry in Urdu, and added Persian and Hindustani to his “linguistic armoury”.
With fluent Hindustani and Persian, he openly mingled with the social elite of Hyderabad. Kirkpatrick was adopted by the Nizam of Hyderabad, who invested him with many titles: mutamin ul mulk (‘Safeguard of the kingdom’), hushmat jung (‘Valiant in battle’), nawab fakhr-ud-dowlah bahadur (‘Governor, pride of the state, and hero’).
During the reign of King George III, Kirkpatrick’s hookah-bardar (hookah servant/preparer) was said to have robbed and cheated Kirkpatrick, making his way to England and stylising himself as the Prince of Sylhet. The man was waited upon by the Prime MinisterWilliam Pitt the Younger, and then dined with the Duke of York before presenting himself in front of the King.