Nawab of Bhopal

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The Nawabs of Bhopal were the Muslim rulers of the princely state of Bhopal, now part of the modern state of Madhya Pradesh, in India. The last Nawab was Hamidullah Khan, who acceded his state to India in 1947.

The female Nawabs were also known as the Begums, their official title being Nawab Begum of Bhopal. The term “Begum of Bhopal” may in theory also refer to the wives of male Nawabs of Bhopal; however, in practice such ladies are only rarely referred to by that title.

1908 one anna stamp of Bhopal State

List of rulers of Bhopal[edit]

Nawabs of Bhopal[edit]

Dost Mohammad Khan, the founder of the dynasty
1876 stamp issued during the reign of Nawab Begum Shahjahan
  1. Nawab Dost Muhammad Khan Bahadur (circa 1672-1728); founded the state of Bhopal in 1723 and ruled it until 1728.
  2. Nawab Sultan Muhammad Khan Bahadur (1720-?); ruled from 1728 to 1742.
  3. Nawab Faiz Muhammad Khan Bahadur (1731-1777); ruled from 1742 to 1777.
  4. Nawab Hayat Muhammad Khan Bahadur (1736-1807); ruled from 1777 to 1807.
  5. Nawab Ghaus Muhammad Khan Bahadur (1767-1826); ruled from 1807 to 1826.
  6. Nawab Muiz Muhammad Khan Bahadur (circa 1795-1869); ruled from 1826 to 1837.
  7. Nawab Jahangir Muhammad Khan Bahadur (1816-1844); ruled from 1837 to 1844.

Nawab Begums of Bhopal[edit]

  • 1. Qudsia Begum, (ruler from 1819 to 1837) - In 1819, 18-year old Qudsia Begum (also known as Gohar Begum) took over the reins after the assassination of her husband. She was the first female ruler of Bhopal. She declared that her 2-year old daughter Sikander will follow her as the ruler. None of the male family members dared to challenge her decision. She ruled till 1837 when she died having adequately prepared her daughter for ruling the state.
  • 2. Nawab Sikandar Begum (ruled from 1860 to 1868)
  • 3. Begum Sultan Shah Jehan (ruled from 1844 to 1860 and 1868 to 1901) - Shahjahan was the only surviving child of Sikandar Begum, sometime Nawab of Bhopal by correct title, and her husband Jahangir Mohammed Khan. She was recognised as ruler of Bhopal in 1844 at the age of six; her mother wielded power as regent during her minority. However, in 1860, her mother Sikandar Begum was recognised by the British as ruler of Bhopal in her own right, and Shahjahan was set aside. During her reign the first postage stamps of the Bhopal state were issued. In 1876 and 1878 there were issues of half and quarter anna stamps. Those of 1876 have text "HH Nawab Shahjahan Begam" in an octagonal frame; the 1878 stamps the same text in a round frame and the Urdu form of the Begum's title. The last stamps bearing her name were issued in 1902 with inscription: "H.H. Nawab Sultan Jahan Begam".[1]
  • 4. Begum Kaikhusrau Jahan (ruled from 1901 to 1926, died 1930)

Titular rulers[edit]

  1. Al-Haj Nawab Sir Hafiz Muhammad Hamidullah Khan Bahadur GCSI, GCIE, CVO (1894-1960); ruled from 1926-1947, serving as nominal ruler to his death in 1960. Last of the sovereign Nawabs of Bhopal.
  2. Sajida Sultan, Begum of Bhopal (1915 - 1995); ruled from (1960-1971), titular Begum of Bhopal until 1971 when India abolished royal entitlements through the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India.[2]

Upon the demise of Begum Sajida in 1995, the title was debatedly left to her oldest daughter Nawabzadi Saleha Sultan Begum Sahiba, Bhopal being a matriarchy.[3] Nawab Begum Saleha Sultan is married to Nawab Muhammad Bashir ud-din Khan Bahadur, Bashir Yar Jung, also belonging to the Paigah family, a family once almost as powerful as the Nizams of Hyderabad.[4]

  • Saleha Sultan Begum Sahiba (born 14 January 1940)

The title was also claimed by her son Mansoor Ali Khan, the titular Nawab of Pataudi, and his descendants:[5][6]

  • Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, sometimes M. A. K. Pataudi, born 5 January 1941, the son of Sajida Sultan, Begum of Bhopal, and Nawab Iftikhar Ali Khan, eighth Nawab of Pataudi; holder of the title from 5 September 1995 to 22 September 2011
  • Saif Ali Khan, born 16 August 1970; the son of Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, 9th Nawab of Pataudi, Nawab from 22 September 2011 to date

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stanley Gibbons Ltd. Stanley Gibbons' Simplified Stamp Catalogue; 24th ed., 1959. London: Stanley Gibbons Ltd.' p. 153
  2. ^ The 26th amendment of the Indian constitution
  3. ^ Henry Soszynski (2012-03-08). "Bhopal (Princely State)". World of Royalty. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  4. ^ "India Travel: The Treasures of Hyderabad". 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  5. ^ "Nawab’s legacy: A trail of property disputes". The Times of India. 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  6. ^ "Daughter Saba to inherit Pataudi's Bhopal legacy". Daily Bhaskar. 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 

External links[edit]