The Babi Dynasty


The ruling family belongs to the Babi family of Junagadh, once powerful Imperial officials in Gujarat who wrested control over several tracts of land during the decay of the Mughal empire. Bantva was granted by Nawab Muhammad Bahadur Khanji I to his younger brother Diler Khanji Babi, in 1733. The family reigned there uneventfully for two hundred years.

Manavadar came under British protection in 1818 and was classed as a third class state. The state was promoted to second class status in recognition of the model administration of Fatima Siddiqa Begum when she headed the regency for her minor son.

The sleepy little state came to prominence during partition. For a brief moment, it became an important pawn in the tussle over territory between India and Pakistan in 1947. The Muslim ruler, Nawab Ghulam Moin ud-din Khanji acceded to Pakistan at the same time as his Babi cousin, the Nawab of Junagadh. Faced with hostile elements from the local Hindu population and organised agitation by local Congress Party thugs, he was forced to leave for Karachi, taking his large family to safety. Indian police entered the state ten days later, after allowing law and order to deteriorate further. The Indian government then appointed its own administrator, organised and referendum, then annexed the little state. In Pakistan, he continued to be officially recognised and granted all the prerogatives of a ruling prince, until his death in 2003.



The ruler: Nawab (personal name) Khanji (father's personal name) Khanji Babi, Khan Sahib of Manavadar*.
The wives of the ruler: Nawab (personal name) Begum Sahiba*.
The Heir Apparent: Nawabzada (personal name) Khanji (father's name) Khanji Babi*.
The younger sons and other descendants of the ruler, in the male line: Sahibzada (personal name) Khanji (father's name) Khanji Babi.
The daughters of the ruler: Sahibzadi Bima Shri (personal name) Bakhte.
The other more distant male relatives of the ruler, descended in the male line: Khan Shri (personal name) Khanji (father's name) Khanji Babi.
The granddaughter and other more distant female relatives of the ruler, descended in the male line: Bima Shri (personal name) Bakhte Sahiba.

* The title of Nawab seems to have been assumed without official sanction or recognition. The Pakistan Army List and Abbottabad College Register for 1962 list the former ruler as "Major Khan Ghulam Moinuddin Khan". However, his elder son was styled "Nawabzada" (i.e. son of a Nawab) in the 2006 Pakistan Government notification concerning Cabinet approval for the continuation of allowances, while sill referring to his late father as the "Khan of Manawadar".


Male primogeniture.

The Annual Administration Reports of the Manavadar State. Mehta-Rajkot, 1909-1944.
Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency. Volume VIII. Kathiawar. Government of Bombay, Bombay, 1884.
M. F. Lokhandwala (transl.). Mirat-i-Ahmadi, a Persian History of Gujarat (English Translation), Translated from the Persian Original of Ali Muhammad Khan. Oriental Institute, Baroda, 1965.
Memoranda of Information regarding certain Native Chiefs. Volume I, Bombay. IOR (L/PS/20/F76/I), Oriental & India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 1st edition. Rajkot, 1928.
The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 2nd edition. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1935.
Capt. H. Wilberforce-Bell, The History of Kathiawad, from the earliest times. William Heinemann, London, 1916.

Sahibzadi Fatima Khair.
Momtaaz Jung, B.A., PGCE (Glasgow), Bedford.
Sahibzada Muhammad Idrees Khanji.
Nawabzada Muhammad Mahmood Khanji Babi
Munawar Ali Khan of Kurwai, Rawalpindi.
Father Lawrence Ober, SJ.
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Copyright©Christopher Buyers
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