Khairpur (princely state)
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|Princely state of Pakistan|
|-||Disestablished||14 October 1955|
|Area||15,730 km2 (6,073 sq mi)|
|Local Government Department of Sindh|
|This article is part of the series|
|Former administrative units of Pakistan|
The State of Khairpur was a princely state on the Indus River in what is now Pakistan, with its capital city at Khairpur. The state was counted amongst the Sindh states rather than the neighbouring Rajputana states (now Rajasthan) to the east. It was a Princely state of Pakistan from 1947 until its end in 1955.
The history of the state of Khairpur is bound up with the history of the Talpur clan and its rule over Sind. The origins of the state date back to the disputes over the succession to the leadership of the clan, following the murder of its chief, Mir Bahram Khan in 1775. The clan then revolted against the Kalhoras of Sind, taking control of various parts of the kingdom and eventually replacing them as rulers.
Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur established his control over Upper Sind by 1783, established his capital at Burahan, which he renamed Khairpur in 1786. He extended his territories over a vast area, eventually helping his kinsmen from Hyderabad, in expelling the Afghans from the province by 1823. As early as 1811, he had divided his territories into three emirates, each ruled by one of his sons, but with his eldest invested as principal Amir. To them he left the day to day affairs of administration and retired to the Fort of Ahmadabad, in Diji. There, he took a new wife and raised a family, to whom he intended to bequeath a portion of his realm. This incurred the jealousy of his adult grandsons, especially those of his second son, Mubarak 'Ali.
The death of Sohrab in 1830, left his eldest son Mir Rustam 'Ali Khan, in full though precarious control over Upper Sind. His position had been little more than that of a regent during his father's lifetime, and this was to remain unchanged until his youngest half brother, 'Ali Murad, came of age. Unwilling to surrender power to him, Rustam sought to strengthen his position by entering into treaty relations with the British in 1832. He secured their recognition as independent ruler, but surrendered control over external relations to them in April 1838, followed by full British protection later that year. Nevertheless, this did not save him from internal family disputes, with which the British initially refused to treat or take sides. However, the contest between 'Ali Murad, the youngest brother and the sons of Mir Mubarak 'Ali, culminated in victory for the latter. Peace was finally established in 1842 through a negotiated settlement, resulting in Rustam abdicating in favour of his youngest brother.
Mir 'Ali Murad was a forceful personality, who mistrusted the British for siding with his eldest half-brother in 1832. Nevertheless, he imbued himself with a sense of realism and attempted to co-operate whenever his interests or inclinations did not supervene. He honoured the alliance by assisting the HEIC during the Turki Campaign in 1847, but blotted his copybook by intriguing against them in 1851-1852. Accused of deception and fraud, he was stripped of most of his territories in Upper Sind in 1852, being left with little more than his original emirate including Khairpur and surrounding lands. Despite this setback, he co-operated faithfully with the British during the 1857 Mutiny five years later. He ensured them to suppress any upsurge within his jurisdiction takes place. At his death in 1894, after a long reign of fifty-two years, he was an honoured and respected ruler of the empire.
The eldest son of 'Ali Murad having predeceased him, he was succeeded by his second son, Mir Faiz Muhammad Khan. His reign and those of his son and grandson were relatively short and uneventful. The last died in 1935 leaving an only son, Mir Faiz Muhammad Khan II, who had suffered from an unstable and nervous affliction for many years. So much so that he could not be trusted with the management of state affairs. The government instituted a council of regency under local ministers and ordered the Mir to live outside the state. After a period of twelve-years, and shortly before the transfer of power, he abdicated in favour of his minor son in July 1947. The state acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan in October that year, and merged into West Pakistan in 1955. The young Mir having reached his majority and received full ruling powers, just four years earlier. The state had been the first place on the sub-continent to introduce full adult suffrage. His subjects enjoyed free education up to matriculation standard and free healthcare, there were no customs duties, property, income or wealth taxes, the crime rate negligible, and light industries flourished.
Mir 'Ali Murad Khan II remains one of the few surviving first class rulers of the old Indian Empire, still holding a public Majlis every Muharram at his sprawling palace, Faiz Mahal. He has long taken a keen interest in animal welfare and conservation, having established one of the largest private wildlife sanctuaries on the sub-continent. His younger son, Prince Mehdi Raza Khan, continues his father's passion and oversees his conservation interests since retirement.
The form of government was traditional monarchy. However, in 1950 the Mir Ali Murad II introduced democracy with universal adult franchise. The rulers of Khairpur were styled as Amir - thus the correct title of the state was the Emirate of Khairpur. The royal privileges of the Amir were abolished in 1972 in violation of the merger agreement, along with those of most of the other sovereign princes that had acceded to Pakistan.
|Tenure||Amir of Khairpur|
|1811 - 20 December 1842||Rustam Ali Khan|
|1829–1839||Mubarak Ali Khan (challenger)|
|1839–1842||Nasser Khan (challenger)|
|20 December 1842 - 2 April 1894||Ali Murad Khan|
|2 April 1894 – 6 March 1909||Faiz Mohammad Khan I|
|6 March 1909 – 8 February 1921||Imam Bakhsh Khan|
|8 February 1921 – 25 June 1921||Interregnum|
|25 June 1921 – 25 December 1935||Ali Nawaz Khan|
|25 December 1935 – 19 July 1947||Faiz Mohammad Khan II|
|19 July 1947 – 14 October 1955||George Ali Murad Khan|
|14 October 1955||State of Khairpur abolished|