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Nawab Shahjahan Begum





Shahjahan Begum
Nawab Shahjahan Begum
(July 29, 1838 - June 16, 1901)


  • 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 post office at 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 in the olden days
    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, surrey, uk
      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.




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