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Baig, also commonly spelled Bayg, Beigh, Beg, Bek, Bey, Baeg or Begh was a Turkic title which is today used as a name to identify lineage. It means Chief or Commander and is an honorific title. It is common in Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Europe and among their respective diaspora.
The origin of beg is still disputed, though it is mostly agreed that it is a Turkic loan-word. Two principal etymologies have been proposed. The first etymology is from a Middle Iranian form of Old Iranian baga; though the meaning would fit since the Middle Persian forms of the word often mean "lord", used for the king or others. The second etymology is from Chinese po "eldest (brother), (feudal) lord". Gerhard Doerfer seriously considers the possibility that the word is genuinely Turkic. Whatever the truth may be, there is no connection with Turkish berk, Mongolian berke "strong" or Turkic bögü, Mongolian böge "wizard, "shaman".
It was also used by the Uyghurs, it permitted the Turkic Begs in the Altishahr region to maintain their previous status, and they administered the area for the Qing as officials. High-ranking Begs were allowed to call themselves Begs.
Use as a name
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: Sohaib Begzada or Hira Begzadi. 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 Mughal usage)..
For the Mughal and Timurid dynasty 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 Sohaib Baig or Hira Begum. This was the historical naming convention for the descendants of the Mughal and Timurid dynasties, Today, however, it is common to see descendants of the Mughals and Timurids use Baig as a middle name and Mirza as the surname or vice versa. For example: Abdullah Baig Mirza or Abdullah Mirza Baig.
For the Slavic or Bosniak use, it is common to see the name Beg added to the Slavic suffix of 'ović', '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 a 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.
There are various other alternative spellings used today as well, such as: Begh, Begg, Beigh, Beyg, Bayg, Bek, Bik.
- Sultan Abu Sa'id Beg
- Mohammad Murad Beg, Emir of Bokhara
- Mir Yar Beg and Mir Yar Beg Sahibzada, Emir of Bokhara
- Skanderbeg, Dominus Albaniae (lord of Albania)
- Mirza Adigozal Bey, was an Azerbaijani historian of the 19th century.
- Mirza Miran Shah Beg, was a son of Mirza Timur Beg, and a Timurid governor during his father's lifetime.
- Elbey Mirza-Hasan oglu Rzaguliyev, was an Azerbaijani Soviet artist and stage director, and father of artist Ayten Rzaguliyeva.
- Mirza Agha Muhammad Reza Baig - Iranian Shia Muslim immigrant living in the Sylhet region of Bengal. Claimed to be the Mahdi and twelfth imam, engaged in battles against the East India Company and Kachari Kingdom.
- Isfandiyar Beg - Mughal faujdar of Sylhet
- Alija Izetbegović
- Bakir Izetbegović
- Asmir Begović
- Denis Omerbegović
- Elvir Omerbegovic
- Mirza Begić
- Senad Begić
- Elvedin Begić
- Aida Begić
- Silvije Begić
- Isa-Beg Isaković
- Gazi Husrev-beg
- Ali-paša Rizvanbegović
- Safvet beg Bašagić
- Turahan Bey
- Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey
- Abbas Ali Baig, Indian Test cricketer
- Aghajan Baig, Indian comic actor
- Mahmud Begada, Sultan of Gujarat
- Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan
- Mirza Babur Beg, the first Mughal emperor
- Mirza Muhammad Akbar Beg, He was the third and one of the greatest rulers of the Mughal Dynasty in India.
- Mirza Abul-Qasim Babur bin Baysonqor Beg, was a Timurid ruler in Khurasan (1449–1457).
- Mirza Mehboob Beg, is an Indian politician belonging to Jammu & Kashmir National Conference.He was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Anantnag.
- Mirza Farhatullah Baig, was an Indian Urdu writer of humor and prose.
- Mirza Ibrahim Beg, was Subahdar of Bengal during the reign of emperor Jahangir Beg.
- Wali Beg Zul-Qadr, Soldier under Akbar Mirza Mughal Emperor.
- Tardi Beg, was a military commander in the 16th century in Mughal India.
- Mirza Afzal Beg was the first Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. He was the founder of All Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front.
- Adina Beg, was the governor of the Punjab including Lahore, Jalandhar and Multan from 1755 to 1758.
- Diana Baig international cricket and football player from Gilgit Baltistan
- Idrees Baig, Test cricket umpire
- Mirza Athar Baig, author
- Mirza Aziz Akbar Baig
- Mirza Iqbal Baig is a sports journalist and cricket commentator who currently works as a television show host.
- Mirza Nazeer Baig Mughal is an actor. He has acted in several films, telefilms, and TV drama serials.
- Brigadier Mohammad Abbas Baig, a Pakistan Army one-star officer, dubbed "Baba-e-Artillery" (father of the Artillery) for his role in establishing artillery in the Pakistani army. He was also a wealthy landlord in Muzaffargarh
- Naeem Baig is a novelist and short-story writer, who has written articles, short stories, and novels in Urdu and English.
- Obaidullah Baig was a scholar, Urdu writer/novelist, columnist, media expert, and most notably a documentary filmmaker from Karachi.
- General Mirza Aslam Beg, retired Chief of Army Staff (Pakistan)
- Rabiah Jamil Beg journalist
- Mirza Rafiuddin 'Raz' Baig is a poet.
- Samina Baig only Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest
- Mirza Kazem-Bey, Muhammad Ali Kazim-bey, was a famous orientalist, historian, and philologist of Azeri and Iranian origin.
- Alexander Lvovich Kazembek (often spelled Kazem-Bek or Kasem-Beg), was a Russian émigré and political activist, and founder of the Mladorossi political group.
- Iskander Mirza Huzman Beg Sulkiewicz, was a Polish politician of Tatar ethnicity, activist in socialist and independence movements and one of the co-founders of Polish Socialist Party.
- Mohideen Baig, was a popular Sri Lankan musician.
- Sultan Osman-bey,[note 1] Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
- Mirza Tugay Bey, was a notable military leader and politician of the Crimean Tatars.
- Moazzam Begg, activist
- "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica".
- "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica".
- 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.
- Clarke, Michael E. (2011). Xinjiang and China's Rise in Central Asia – A History. Taylor & Francis. p. 20. ISBN 978-1136827068. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-0231139243. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Crossley, Pamela Kyle; Siu, Helen F.; Sutton, Donald S., eds. (2006). Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China. Studies on China. Vol. 28 (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 121. ISBN 0520230159. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- 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.
- 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.