Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16742/2 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Sanad, Sikandar Begum, Bhopal State


1 copy of Sanad-i tamlīk-i pargānah-'i Bāyrasīyah ba-nām-i Riyāsat-i Bhūpāl

A sanad issued in 1860 in the name of Lord Canning, the British Governor-General and Viceroy of India, confirming the ownership (tamlīk) of the pargana (district) of Berasia (Bāyrasiyya) by Navvāb Sikandar Baygum Ṣāḥiba, ruler of the state of Bhopal.

This document anticipates the ceremonial conferment of the grant, which was announced by Canning at a durbar of Central Indian princes at Jabalpore on 15 January 1861. For an account of this and subsequent durbars in which the Begum participated, see Shaharyar M. Khan, The Begums of Bhopal: a history of the princely state of Bhopal (London and New York, 2000), pp. 105-108. The pargana of Berasia had been leased in 1709 by Sikandar Begum’s great-great-great grandfather Dūst Muḥammad Khān, who proceeded to build up what became the state of Bhopal. Subsequently Bhopal was taken over by the neighbouring state of Dhar, then later ceded to the British. The grant of this pargana entailed its annexation to Bhopal, although this is not made explicit in the document.

The sanad is headed with the imposing Persian seal impression of the Government of British India, dated 1831, beneath which is the signature ‘Canning’; in the top left corner is the inscription, faintly visible: ‘To the Bhopal state’. It cites the Begum’s loyalty to the Raj (dar ayyām-i balvā bar jāda-’i khayr-khwāhī va iṭā‘at-i sarkār-i Angrīzī sābit-qadam būda ast) during the Uprising of 1857; her goodly services (marātib-i ḥusn-i khadamāt); and her orderly governance (intiẓām-i umūr-i riyāsat). Her heir and successive generations are to enjoy the same entitlement. The conditions of this tamlīk remain unchanged from those that applied to its previous holders.

Dated December 28, 1860. Checked and noted by Munshī Mīr Ḥusayn of the Governor-general’s office.

Good nasta‘līq. 12 lines, plus seal inscription and munshī’s circular inscription (mulāḥaẓa shud). Decorative margin, between 25 and 30 mm. wide, of leaf scrolls in gold. Cream paper. The document was acquired in a mount and the verso has not been inspected or the full measurements of the leaf established. Dimensions of visible area, including outer edge of decorative margin: 230 x 599 mm.

Purchased from Bonhams (15 April 2010, part of Lot 57).

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: leaf
Support: In mount
Extent: 1 f.
Dimensions (leaf): 599 × 230 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 28 December 1860 CE Bhopal Princely State, Malwa (Madhya Pradesh) ; India, Bhopal

Record Sources

Based on unpublished description in M.I. Waley, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts acquired 2000-2014.


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