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Baig, also commonly spelled Beg, or Begh (Persian: بیگ, Turkish: Bey) was a title of Turko-Mongol Origin, which is today used as a surname or middle name to identify lineage. It means Chief or Commander and is common in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Central Asia and Eastern Europe (former Yugoslav) and among their respective diaspora. The spellings Beg'da',[1] Beg, Beig, Bey, Bek (Turkish), Begzada, Begzadi (Persian) and Bik (Western China) are also found.

Etymology and history[edit]

The name Baig originates from a Turkic-Mongal clan called Barlas (the main tribe of the Timurids). The Barlas tribe and their descendants established Turko-Persian empires in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and later South Asia.[citation needed]

The name Baig is derived from the Turkic word Beg or Bey, which means commander or chief (i.e. military leader.) Baig/Beg was a title given to honorary members of the Barlas clan, and was subsequently used as the family name for their children. The name is most common among the descendants of the Moghal dynasty of South Asia. The members of the Moghal dynasty belonged to the Barlas clan and "Baigs" were high-ranking military leaders and advisors to the Moghal Royal Families. They were also granted the Princely title of Mirza, to signify their high ranking among the aristocracy and ruling class. Baigs occupied the upper echelons of society in the conquered parts of South Asia.[citation needed]

Beg was also subsequently used as a military rank in the Ottoman Empire.[a]

It was also used during the Qing dynasty in China. When the Qing dynasty ruled Xinjiang, it permitted the Turkic Begs in the Altishahr region to maintain their previous status, and they administered the area for the Qing as officials.[2][3][4][5] High-ranking Begs were allowed to wear the Queue.[6]

Use as a name[edit]

For the Moghal use, the honorific title Mirza (Persian: مرزا‎) was added before the given name for all the males and 'Baig' (Persian: بیگ‎) for the males or Begum (Persian: بگوم‎) for the females, was added as a family name. For example: Mirza Mansur Baig or Noor Begum. This was the historical naming convention for the descendants of the Moghal dynasty. Today, however, it is not uncommon to see descendants of the Moghals use Baig as a middle name and Mirza as the surname or vice versa. For example: Mansur Baig Mirza or Mansur Mirza Baig.

For the Slavic or Bosniak use, it is common to see the name Beg added to the Slavic suffix of 'ovic', 'ovich', which roughly means 'descendant of'. While the title "Beg" is not in use in Bosnia anymore, track of families of "Beg" descent is kept. But a surname containing "-begović" suffix in itself is not a clear indicator of descent. For example there is a number of "Begović" families, some are of noble descent, some not. "Idrizbegović" would be another example of non-noble family with the suffix. Some examples of "beg" families are: Šahbegović, Rizvanbegović, Šačirbegović. On the other hand, "Kukavica" is an example of a famous "beg" family, not containing the title in itself. The book by Enver Imamović "Porijeklo i pripadnost stanovništva Bosne i Hercegovine" details the origin of a big number of families in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[citation needed]

For the Persian use, it is common to see the name Beg added to the Persian suffix of 'zada' (male), 'zadi' (female), which means 'son of' or 'daughter of'. For Example: Mansur Begzada or Noor Begzadi.[citation needed] For the Turkish use, it is most common to see the spelling Beg or Bey utilized. (Sometimes, it is used along with the title "Mirza", similar to the Moghal usage).[citation needed]

There are various other alternative spellings used today as well, such as: Begg, Beigh, Beyg, Bayg, Bek, Bik.

Notable Begs/Baigs[edit]












Sri Lanka[edit]


United States[edit]

  • Ed Baig, is an American technology columnist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For more info please refer article: (Bey)


  •  This article incorporates text from Life among the Chinese: with characteristic sketches and incidents of missionary operations and prospects in China, by Robert Samuel Maclay, a publication from 1861 now in the public domain in the United States.
  1. ^ 'Beg' old indian royal person use on 'Begada' Mahmud Begada (Mahmood Beg) the sultan of gujarat
  2. ^ Rudelson, Justin Jon; Rudelson, Justin Ben-Adam (1997). Oasis Identities: Uyghur Nationalism Along China's Silk Road (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0231107862. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Clarke, Michael E. (2011). Xinjiang and China's Rise in Central Asia - A History. Taylor & Francis. p. 20. ISBN 1136827064. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 101. ISBN 0231139241. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Crossley, Pamela Kyle; Siu, Helen F.; Sutton, Donald S., eds. (2006). Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China. Volume 28 of Studies on China (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 121. ISBN 0520230159. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  6. ^ James A. Millward (1998). Beyond the pass: economy, ethnicity, and empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864. Stanford University Press. p. 204. ISBN 0-8047-2933-6. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  7. ^ "Mirza Mehdi Beigh in the list of Nauha writers and chanters". Wikipedia. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Mehdi Beigh, one og the graet chanter from kashmir". Nauha Room Of Beighs. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Same surname beg, baig, bey / surname in part of Mirza and Ottoman Empire in Name Osman I