The most touching part of Abida Sultan’s life, and one that throws light on the way these Pathan Begums of Bhopal were treated more than equal to their male counterparts is her description about how she cannot remember herself without agun ever, even as a toddler when she could not handle nothing more tha a toy gun. ‘Sarkar Amman’ (HH Sultan Jahan Begum) was very proud of Abida Sultan’s riding and shooting skills from a very young age, but the discipline was very strict. Sarkar amman brought the sisters (three sisters – Abida alias Barkul the eldest, Sajida alias Majkul the middle one and Rabia alias Rabboo) up single handedly and was sole dominating influence in the upbringing. Nawab Hamidullah Khan lived in the mardana (Gents quarters) and showed little interest in the education of the girls while the mother was simply not allowed to do so.
By Abida’s own admission, when Sarkar Amman was attending her ailing son Obaidullah Khan, Abida was going wild riding tonga horses, donkeys and even the pet cheetal. She went tearing around in a car, propped up by several cushions as a nine year olds legs were not long enough to reach the pedals. Sajida preferred playing with dolls, but the younger Rabboo spent her time body-building and eating eight or ten poached eggs a day to be able to defeat Abida in whatever she did!
Abida finally discovered her parents during in London during the Bhopal Succesion case . Hamidullah Khan and Maimoona Sultan became her friends during the long stay in a gloomy London during the long drawn legal battle, which ended on Hamidullah Khan being declared the last Nawab and Sultan Jahan abdicating in his favour. By the end of the case Abida was asked to start observing purdah (veil) by her grand mother, who wanted her to get married to Sarwar Ali Khan of Kurwai. Brought up under strict discipline by Sultan Jahan Begum and competing with the boys of the household, Abida did not know anything about sex. The Nikah of Abida Sultan with Sarwar Ali Khan of Kurwai, known as Dadabhai took place on Friday, 18th June 1926.