Saturday, January 22, 2011

The "Princely" Nawabs of Bahawalpur of 17-Gun Salute!


The rulers of Bahawalpur were Abbasids who came from Shikarpur and Sukkur and captured the areas that became Bahawalpur State. They took the title of Amir until 1740, when the title changed to Nawab Amir. 
Muslim rulers almost all used the title "Nawab" (the Arabic honorific of naib, "deputy," used of the Mughal governors, who became de facto autonomous with the decline of the Mughal Empire), with the prominent exceptions of the Nizam of Hyderabad & Berar, the Wali/Khan of Kalat and the Wali of Swat.
Other less usual titles included Darbar Sahib, Dewan, Jam, Mehtar (unique to Chitral) and Mir (from Emir).
More prestigious Hindu rulers (mostly existing before the Mughal Empire, or having split from such old states) often used the title "Raja," or a variant such as "Rana," "Rao," "Rawat" or Rawal. Also in this 'class' were several Thakur Sahibs and a few particular titles, such as Sar Desai.
The most prestigious Hindu rulers usually had the prefix "maha" ("great", compare for example Grand duke) in their titles, as in Maharaja, Maharana, Maharao, etc.

A Princely State (also called Native State or Indian State) was a nominally sovereign entity of British rule of India that was not directly administered by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.

At the time of Indian independence, only five rulers—the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir State, the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda and the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior—were entitled to a 21-gun salute.

Five more rulers—the Nawab of Bhopal, the Maharaja Holkar of Indore, the Maharana of Udaipur,  the Maharaja of Kolhapur and the Maharaja of Travancore—were entitled to 19-gun salutes.

The most senior princely ruler was the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was entitled to the unique style Exalted Highness.

Other princely rulers entitled to salutes of 11 guns (soon 9 guns too) or more were entitled to the style Highness. No special style was used by rulers entitled to lesser gun salutes.

As paramount ruler, and successor to the Mughals, the British King Emperor of India, for whom the style of Majesty was reserved, was entitled to an 'imperial' 101-gun salute—in the European tradition also the number of guns fired to announce the birth of a (male) heir to the throne.

All princely rulers were eligible to be appointed to certain British orders of chivalry associated with India, The Most Exalted Star of the Order of India and The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. Even women could be appointed as "Knights" (instead of Dames) of these orders. 

The Royal House of Bahawalpur is said to be of Arabic origin and claims descent from Abbas, progenitor of the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad and Cairo. Sultan Ahmed II, son of Shah Muzammil of Egypt, left his country and arrived in Sindh with a large following of Arabs in 1370.

He married a daughter of Raja Rai Dhorang Sata, receiving a third of the country as a dowry. Amir Fath'ullah Khan Abbassi is the recognized ancestor of the dynasty. He conquered the Bhangar territory from Raja Dallu, of Alor and Bahmanabad, renaming it Qahir Bela. Amir Muhammad Chani Khan Abbasi entered the imperial service and gained appointment as a Panchhazari in 1583. At his death, the leadership of the tribe was contested between two branches of the family, the Daudputras and the Kalhoras. Amir Bahadur Khan Abbasi abandoned Tarai and settled near Bhakkar, founding the town of Shikarpur in 1690. Daud Khan, the first of his family to rule Bahawalpur, originated from Sind, where he had opposed the Afghan Governor of that province and was forced to flee.


The princely state of Bahawalpur was founded in 1802 by Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan II after the breakup of the Durrani Empire. The city claimed to be one of the largest states of British India more than 451 kilometres long. Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan III signed a treaty with the British on 22 February 1833, guaranteeing the independence of the Nawab. 
During the first Afghan war, the Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan III assisted the British with supplies and allowing passage and in 1847-8 he co-operated actively with Sir Herbert Edwardes in the expedition against Multan. For these services he was rewarded by the grant of the districts of Sabzalkot and Bhung, together with a life-pension of a lakh. On his death a dispute arose regarding succession. He was succeeded by his third son, whom he had nominated in place of his eldest son. The new ruler was, however, deposed by his elder brother, and obtained asylum in British territory, with a pension from the Bahawalpur revenues; he broke his promise to abandon his claims, and was confined in the Lahore fort, where he died in 1862.
In 1863 and 1866 insurrections broke out against the Nawab and was succeeded by his son, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV, a boy of four. In 1879, the Nawab was invested with full powers, with the advice and assistance of a council of six members. During the Afghan campaigns (1878–80) the Nawab placed the entire resources of his State at the disposal of the British Indian Government, and a contingent of his troops was employed in keeping open communications, and in guarding the Dera Ghazi Khan frontier. On his death in 1899 he was succeeded by Muhammad Bahawal Khan V, who attained his majority in 1900, and was invested with full powers in 1903. Although the title was abolished in 1955 by the Government of Pakistan, the current head of the House of Bahawalpur (Salahuddin Muhammad Khan) is referred to as the Amir.

"The Foundation Stone of Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur was laid by the late Ala Hazrat Nawab Sadiq Mohammad Khan Abbasi -V, on March 04, 1953. The School was intended to produce young men with high moral principles, who should be self-reliant and self- confident, with qualities of initiative, sense of responsibility, selfless devotion to duty, religious outlook and burning desire to serve the cause of Islam and the country. This great project was taken up under the advice and guidance of Makhdumzada Syed Hasan Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Bahawaipur State and was executed with the blessings of the Ala Hazrat. The School started functioning on January 18, 1954 when the Ala Hazrat performed its opening ceremony."

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