Nawab Hamidullah Khan Bhopal

After abdication of Sultan Jahan, Hamidullah Khan became the ruler, a perceptible change was apparent in Bhopal. Sultan Jahan remained the revered head of the family and a ‘mother’ figure for the people of Bhopal, often referred to as “Sarkar Amma”. The centre of power had moved to her son who introduced his own brand of governance and lifestyle. He appointed a cabinet of distinguished Indian personalities, drawn from   outside of Bhopal and comprising mainly associates from his Aligarh period.
From the Punjab came Sir Liaquat Hayat, Justice Salamuddin (member cricket team of India which played its first ever representative match against England in 1911), Col Mumtaz, Col. Habib and Ustad Wazir. From Bengal arrived the financial wizard Khundkar Fuzle Haider. From UP Sir Ross Masood, Sohaib Qureshi and Ali Haider Abbassi. Allama Iqbal and Abdur Rehman Siddiqui were also frequent visitors in an advisory capacity.  A number of eminent English men, like Freddy Young IG Police, the famous detective abd General Toogod were employed by Hamiduulah Khan. These appointments were not popular with Bhopalis who saw outsiders gain influence with young ruler to be the detriment of their own prestige and influence.
There was also a change in style. Gone was the austerity of Sultan Jahan and the earlier Begums. Instead Bhopal became a centre of sport, notably polo and shikar. Hockey flourished under erstwhile Obeidullah Khan‘s family. Hamidullah ordered a fleet of eighteen Nash vehicles, all specially fitted out for shikar as well as Rolls Royce and Bentleys. He also enjoyed the company of a circle of women friends who would join him at Chicklode or at shikar parties. In January 1947, Hamidullah contracted a clandestine nikah with Aftab Jahan, one from this circle of women. Aftab Jahan was a school freind of Abida Sultan, the eldest daughter of Hamidullah Khan and the heir apparent of Bhopal throne recognised by the British. By May 1947 the marriage was publicly announced and the new Begum started insisting on her rights and protocols. This led to unfloding of ugly confrontations between Nawab Hamidullah and his first wife. Hamidullah and his second wife Aftab Jahan started confronting the first wife Shahbzadi Maimoona Sultan and her three daughters Abida sultan (married and separated from Nawab Sarwar Ali Khan of Kurwai, had a son, Shahryar Mohammad Khan, 14 years old by that time),  Sajida Sultan (married to the famous cricketer Iftikar Ali Khan of Pataudi) and Rabia sultan (married to Agha Nadir Mirza after a brief marriage to Rasheed-uz-zafar Khan). In many ways, a repetition of Shahjehan Begum’s long stand-off with Sultan Jahan was unfolding again at Bhopal


6 thoughts on “Nawab Hamidullah Khan Bhopal”

  1. The history of Bhopal, is a story that remains largely untold, and this blog post is, I’m sorry, no exception.

    I think despite all the candidness, the historians, Shahryar M. Khan included, the ‘real’ story of Bhopal has failed to hit the public domain and needs to be told even if it shatters hearts and carefully planned images around the morally bankrupt ‘royals.’

    The story of Bhopal would remain a a family heirloom whispered down generations, unless an unbiased storyteller comes along to pay the dues to Bhopal’s Nawab in waiting Major Rafiqullah Khan and mentions the Shamla escapades as well as Sarkar Amma’s visit to the Buckingham Palace which was instrumental in cobbling British support for HamidUllah Khan’s accession.

    And the million ignominies the Bhopalis were subjected to by a Nawab thrust upon them by a mother who, perhaps, hated her husband – Ahmed Ali Khan aka Sultan Dulha, who refused to allow his wife (Sarkar Amma) to dictate terms.

    The evenings at Shaukat Mahal, the hateful divorce of Nayab Jehan (Al Nasir’s mother) with her Pushtun husband Zafar Ali Khan, are all just there awaiting an honest pen and circular objects.

    The insensitive handling of the city’s educated class by the Bhopal royals are other chapters that could not be deemed complete unless accompanied by the story of the citizen’s revenge that perhaps pushed on the city’s political firmament a leader like Saeedullah Khan Razmi.

  2. hi
    i live in paris now
    but at heart i am bhopali and iam a ferozkhel pasthun i would like to thnk the author to keep our history alive in the from of photographs

  3. You can get the book directly from the author – Syed Akhtar Husain by contacting him at his address:
    14, Green House,
    Bhopal 462001 MP, India
    Alternatively, you can contact him at:
    91 755 2532424.

  4. I wonder if anybody could tell me how to get the book mentioned by “Miracles” (Royal journey of Bhopal). I have seen a presentation on YouTube, but I cannot find any net shops offering this book.

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