The Mirazi Khel Dynasty


The State of Bhopal was founded in 1723 by Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan, from Tirah in Afghanistan, a descendant of the Mirazi Khel branch of the Warakzais (Orakzai) Pathans. He entered the service of Emperor Aurangzeb and had been appointed Governor of Bhairsa. Taking advantage of the disintegrating of the Mughal Empire, he declared his independence and found a separate state. He fell foul of the Nizam of Hyderbad for siding with the notorious Sayyid brothers, and was forced to surrender many of the territories he had won. Dos Muhammad's successors lost further territory during the Maratha invasions. In 1795 they forced Nawab Hayat Muhammad Khan to cede large tracts of his domains to them. The state was saved only through the intervention of Wazir Muhammad, a colatteral scion of the family and a distinguished soldier in the Nizam's service. He eventually made himself Nawab Regent in 1808 and was followed by his own son, Nasir ud-Daula, eight years later. The two branches of the family ruled thereafter in an uneasy alliance until a settlement was affected in 1837. Seven years later, the daughter of Nasir ud-Daula became the first of three successive and world famous female rulers. The youngest son of the last of these ladies, Hamidullah, succeeded as Nawab in 1926. He signed the instrument of accession the Dominion of India in 1947, but was left to administer his state as a separate entity. However, two years later local agitation encouraged the central governmnt to merge Bhopal into Madhya Bharat. Nawab Hamidullah died in 1960 leaving three daughters, but no son. The Heiress Apparent had opted for Pakistan in 1950 and entered that country's Foreign service. Therefore, the Government of India excluded her from the succession and her younger sister succeeded in her stead. Nawab Begum Safida Sultan married the Nawab of Pataudi, the famous first class and international cricketer. Her son and heir is the equally famous cricketer known as "Tiger Pataudi". Indeed, the entire family is 'cricket mad', providing several stars on the field at international and national levels of the game, both in India and Pakistan.
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19-guns (21-guns local)
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Vert a tower or, within twelve musk blossoms (yellow flowers with gules spots and seeds) proper in bordure. Crest: A sheath of arrows charged with a lily argent. Supporters: Mahsir proper. Motto: "Nasir min Allah" (God giveth victory). Lambrequins: Vert and or.
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The ruling prince: Sikander Saulat, Iftikhar ul-Mulk, Nawab (personal name) Khan Bahadur, Nawab Begum of Bhopal, with the style of His Highness.
The Consort of the ruling prince: Nawab (personal name) Begum Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: The Wali Ahad Bahadur.
The younger sons of the ruling prince: Nawab (personal name) Khan Bahadur.
The daughters of the ruling prince: Nawabzadi (personal name) Begum Sahiba.
The grandsons of the ruling prince: Sahibzada (personal name) Khan.
The granddaughters of the ruling prince: Sahibzadi (personal name) Begum Sahiba.
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The family did not seem to adhere to any apparent rules of succession, other than that of nomination by the incumbent ruler.
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The Badge of Splendour (Nishan-i-Ihtishima): founded as a military decoration by Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum Sahiba, 17th February 1902.
The Sultania Medal (Tamgha-i-Sultania or Tamgha-i-Farma Rawae): founded by Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum Sahiba, and awarded in two classes (1. Sultania Gold Medal, and 2. Sultania Silver Medal).

The Sultania Gold Medal

The Medal of the Exalted Government (Tamgha-i-Sarkar-i-Alia): founded by Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum Sahiba.
The Hamidiya Medal (Tamgha-i-Hamidiya): founded by Nawab Hafiz Muhammad Hamidu’llah Khan, and awarded in two classes (1. Hamidia Gold Medal, and 2. Hamidia Silver Medal).
The Hamidia Star (Akhtar-i-Hamidia): founded by Nawab Hafiz Muhammad Hamidu’llah Khan, and awarded in two classes (1. Hamidia Silver Star, and 2. Hamidia Bronze Star).

The Police Medal for Gallantry (L) and The Bronze Civil Defence Meritorious Service Medal (R).

Camp Chakloud Medal: instituted by Sikander Sultan Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum Sahiba in 1904. Awarded to officers and men of her escort who defended her camp and caravan when attacked by Beduin tribesmen during her pilgrimage to Medina in November 1903.
Police Medal for Gallantry: instituted by Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum Sahiba to reward brave conduct by members of the Bhopal Police Force. Awarded in a single class (silver medal).
Civil Defence Meritorious Service Medal: instituted by Nawab Hafiz Muhammad Hamidu’llah Khan to reward services during World War II. Awarded in two classes (1.Silver Medal, and 2. Bronze Medal).
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Abida Sultaan. Memoirs of a Rebel Princess. Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 2005.
Salma Ahmed. Cutting Free: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Pakistani Women. The Lotus Collection, Roli Books Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 2007.
Dr. Syed Ashfaq Ali, Bhopal - Past and Present. Jai Bharat Publishing House, Bhopal, 1970.
Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage. Burke’s Peerage Limited, London, 1900-1959.
H.H. The Nawab Shahjahan, Begum of Bhopal. The Taj-ul Ikbal Tarikh Bhopal or, The History of Bhopal. Thacker, Spink and Co., Calcutta, 1876.
Her Highness Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum, GCSI, GCIE, CI. Hayat-i-Qudsi: Life of the Nawab Gauhar Begum alias the Nawab Begum Qudsia of Bhopal. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1918.
B. Ghosal (trans). Hayat-i-Shahjehani: Life of Her Highness the late Nawab Shahjehan, Begum of Bhopal. Times Press, Bombay, 1926.
Sir Roper Lethbridge, KCIE, The Golden Book of India. Macmillan and Co., London, 1893.
“Local History: Muzaffarnagar-Pathans of Jalalabad, Parganah Thanah Bhawan”, North Indian Notes and Queries. October 1894. Vols 4-5. pp 118-124. Pioneer Press, Allahabad, 1894.
Captain C.E. Luard, MA, IA. Bhopal State Gazetteer. The Central India State Gazetteer Series. Superintendent Government Printing, Calcutta, 1908.
Major C. Eckford Luard, IA, MA (compiler). Chiefs and Leading Families in Central India. Government of India, Calcutta, 1916.
Momtaaz Jung. A Brief History of Kurwai State, based on the Waqa-e-Dileri translated by Munawar Ali Khan of Kurwai. Bedford, UK, 2004.
Sambhu Chandra Mukhopadhyaya. The Career of an Indian Princess: The late Begum Secunder of Bhopal, KSI. I.C. Ghose, Anglo-Sanskrit Press, Calcutta, 1869.
Claudia Preckel. Begums of Bhopal. Lotus Collection, Roli Books Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2000.
Rulers, Leading Families and Officials in the States of Central India, Fifth Edition. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1935.
Sharharyar M. Khan, The Begums of Bhopal: A Dynasty of Women Rulers in Raj India. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., London, 2000.
Sohan Singh Sital. Rise of the Sikh Power in the Punjab. Dhanpat Rai & Sons, Jullundur, 1970.
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Farah Edwards-Khan.
Haroon Ali Khan.
Ira Mathur, Trinidad.
Munawar Ali Khan of Kurwai, Rawalpindi.
Father Lawrence Ober, SJ.
Sahibzada Omar Faruq Ali.
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Copyright© Christopher Buyers

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Copyright© Christopher Buyers, May 2001 - September 2015