Nawab Shahjahan Begum
(July 29, 1838 - June 16, 1901)
|Nawab Shahjahan Begum|
- She was the ruler for two terms: 1844-60, and secondly during 1868-1901.
- The only surviving child of Nawab Sikandar Begum, she was born in Islamnagar near Bhopal.
- In 1844, at the tender age of 6, she was recognised as the ruler of Bhopal. However, as she was a minor, her mother wielded power as regent.
- She married Waki Mohammad Khan on 26th July 1855.
- In 1860, the British recognised her mother Sikandar Begum as the Nawab of Bhopal in her own right.
- Finally, in 1868 when her mother passed away, Shahjahan became the Nawab of Bhopal.
- One of her daughters Suleman Jahan expired at quite a young age.
- Her husband expired on 24th June 1867
- Her second husband was Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, the marriage being solemnized on 8th May 1871.
- Nawab Siddiq expired on 20th February 1890.
- Her rein lasted up to 1901, when she died on 16th June in Taj Mahal.
- She was a lady with loads of energy and courage.
- She was interested a lot in learning and piety.
- She got documented the history of Bhopal for the time in a book titled "Tajul Iqbal".
- She authored a number of books in Urdu.
- Enacted special laws for protection of Hindus at Bhopal.
- Established a Hindu Property Trust for conservation and protection of Hindu properties.
- Architecture was her other passion, reflected in the large number of buildings created in her tenure.
- She introduced the following landmark services in Bhopal :-
- Postal system in 1862. She issued the first postage stamp of Bhopal
|First G.P.O. of Bhopal - 1862|
- Started a government newspaper "UMDATUL" in 1871.
- Railway services in 1885.
- Establishment of the waterworks in the city.
- Lady Lansdowne Hospital (Now known as Sultania Zanana Hospital).
- Hydro Power unit at Shahjehanabad by the name Putlighar. Also laid the blue print for the first-ever industrial policy.
- She initiated the construction of the largest mosque in India, the Tajul Masajid.
- The work on the Masajid started in 1871.
- However, she could not complete the task and died.
- Further construction was abandoned after her death.
- Work on the masjid was resumed only in 1971.
- She built her own palace by the name Sadar Manzil.
- This was used as the Durbar Hall in her tenure.
- Today, it serves as the headquarters of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation.
|Sadar Manzil - Now the H.Q. of Bhopal Municipal Corporation|
- She built a vast mini-city, called Shahjahanabad after her.
- Taj Mahal at Bhopal was also built by her.
- She built a lot of other beautiful buildings as well - Noor Mahal, Ali Manzil, Amir Ganj, Barah Mahal, Benazir Complex, Khawasoura, Mughalpura, Nematpua and Nawab Manzils.
- She built 3 lakes too :-
- Motia Talab
- Noor Mahal Lake
- Munshi Hussain Khan Talab
- Her love for architecture and philanthrophy was not confined to Bhopal.
- She made sizable donations towards the building of a mosque at Woking, Surrey in the UK. It is known as Shahjahani Woking Masjid, built in 1882.
|Shahjahani Woking Masjid, U.K. Built by Shahjahan Begum |
- She contributed generously towards the founding of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh.
- This college later on developed into the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
- She also built 3 hostels at the AMU -
- Sultan Jahan hostel
- Nasrullah hostel
- Obaidullah hostel
- She also constructed living rooms for people of Bhopal at Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Today, residents of Bhopal going for the Haj pilgrimage can stay in these rooms for free.