Mirza Hadi Baig
|Mirza, Rais, Qadi|
Mirza Hadi Baig (Persian: میرزا هادي بیگ; fl. 1530 CE) was an Indian nobleman and Qadi (Islamic magistrate) of Central Asian origin and a direct ancestor of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. He migrated from Samarqand, in what is today Uzbekistan, to northern India and settled in the Punjab during the 16th century.
Mirza Hadi Baig was a Barlas nobleman and scholar and a direct descendant of Hajji Baig, the paternal uncle of Timur (Tamerlane), the 14th century ruler of Persia and Central Asia. The Barlas were originally a Turco-Mongol tribe prominent in Transoxiana and lived in the region of Kesh (modern Shahrisabz, some 80 km south of Samarqand). Following Timur's rise to power within the tribe and amidst his conflict with Hajji Baig as leader of the Barlas, the family fled, with other members of the tribe, to Khorasan where they remained until the 16th century. In the early part of this century, Hadi Baig returned to the homeland of his ancestors and settled in Samarqand but left the city in 1530, perhaps due to domestic dissensions or an affliction, and moved, along with an entourage of two hundred persons consisting of his family, servants and followers, to northern India where the emperor Babur had recently established the Mughal dynasty.
During the final year of Babur's reign, the family settled in the Punjab where Hadi Baig established a walled and fortified village near the River Beas and named it Islampur. He was granted a large tract of land comprising several hundred villages that together resembled a semi-independent territory by the imperial court of Babur and was also appointed the Qadhi (magistrate) of the surrounding district thereby giving him legal jurisdiction (Qadiyat) over the area. As the village was associated with the seat of the Qadhi, it came to be known as Islampur-Qazi. This name evolved into various forms based on cognates and the local dialect, until Islampur was dropped altogether, and it came to be known simply as Qadian, the name by which it is still known today.
Hadi Baig’s descendants held Qadian for over 300 years maintaining close relations with the Mughal rulers and holding important offices within the imperial government. At its height, the family commanded a force of 7,000 soldiers under the Mughal emperor and, following the decline of Mughal power, were able to obtain de facto regional autonomy, becoming, in effect, the quasi-independent rulers of some sixty square miles. Most of this estate was lost however, first to the Sikhs in the 18th century and then to the British in the 19th. Perhaps the best known descendant of Hadi Baig was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who founded the Ahmadiyya movement.
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