Book: Sadiqnamah-The History of Bahawalpur State

Sadiqnamah-The History of Bahawalpur State

A banker by profession, Salim Ansar has a passion for history and historic books. His personal library already boasts a treasure trove of over 7,000 rare and unique books.

 

Every week, we shall take a leaf from one such book and treat you to a little taste of history.

 

BOOK NAME: Sadiqnamah: The History of Bahawalpur State

 

AUTHOR: Brigadier Nazeer Ali Shah

 

PUBLISHER: Maktaba Jadeed – Lahore

 

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 1959

 

The following excerpt has been taken from Pages: 34 — 40

 

“There were about six hundred princely States in India. Many of these States were of the British creation. Some were created by the Mughals.

 

“A few of these States were created as a result of self-help on the part of their founders and are known as Daulat-i-Khudadad. Bahawalpur was one of these states. Among the six hundred Indian States it ranked twenty-second in order of precedence. Its rulers were entitled to seventeen-gun salute. The Afghan Kings, Mughal Emperors and the British Monarchs held the Abbasi Rulers of Bahawalpur in great esteem.

 

“As independent Sovereign Rulers, they had their own mints including three mobile ones. Hyderabad, Bhopal and Bahawalpur were the three prominent Muslim states in undivided India. Out of these three, Bahawalpur was the only one which survived, as a well-defended Muslim State in 1947.

 

Extracts from treaties concluded between Bahawalpur and the British:

 

“‘There shall be eternal friendship and alliance between the Hon’ble the East India Company and Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan, his heirs and successors.’

 

(Article 1 – 21st February 1833)

 

“‘There shall be perpetual friendship, alliance, and unity of interests between the Hon’ble Company and Nawab Bahawal Khan Bahadur and his heirs and successors, and the friends and enemies of one party shall be friends and enemies of both parties.’

 

“‘The Nawab and his heirs and successors shall be absolute rulers of their country, and British jurisdiction shall not be introduced into that principality.’

 

(Articles 1 & 7 of the Treaty concluded at Ahmadpur, 5th day of October, 1838)

 

“In a nut shell the history of the Bahawalpur State is the history of the Islamic Faith in India – of Forts and Fellaheen.

 

“Had there been no Bahawalpur State the large Sikh force sent under General Sham Singh and General Ventura (formerly a Colonel in Napoleon’s army) by Ranjit Singh, to annex Sind, would have occupied that country. Had Sind at that time been occupied by the Sikhs, the history of the subcontinent would have been different from what it is today; and no doubt the Muslims in this subcontinent, too, would have met the fate their brethren had met in Spain.

 

“Yet, the State, which had maintained her entity and at times her independence for nearly four hundred years, was brought to an abrupt end in October, 1955, by a stroke of the pen. All this happened so very well that not a bullet was fired and no bloodshed. In years to come, the students of history will ask: Was it Surrender or Sacrifice?

 

“‘Sadiqnamah’ is an honest effort to answer the above question. A compound word of Arabic and Persian origin, Sadiqnamah means true letter, i.e., a reliable record.

 

“Figuratively speaking, every State in the course of her history passes through the smoke, fire and ash stage. Bahawalpur too has been through these stages. As such, the State has, to her credit especially during the period of her ash stage, a brilliant record of achievements and under the present Ameer, Gen. Sadiq Muhammad Khan V. Abbasi, due to his sagacious leadership, and now by merging the State in Pakistan, has made herself immortal.

 

“The motto of the Bahawalpur State is ‘Sadiq Dost’. As Sadiq Dost, the sovereigns and the citizens of this State have always stood by the right cause. On the birth of Pakistan, in order to become part and parcel of the Islamic Republic, the Ruler of Bahawalpur and his subjects, sacrificing their entity, came forward and were the first to join Pakistan. Long before Pakistan came into existence, during his visit to Delhi in connection with Victory celebrations (1945) the Ameer of Bahawalpur on his own initiative contacted the late Syed Ghulam Bhik Nairang and other Muslim leaders. Also during his stay there at that time the Ameer called at 10-Aurangzeb Road and met the Qaid-i-Azam. The Ameer was always in favour of an Islamic Republic.

 

“In 1937 the present Ameer contacted Bashir Pickard in London and from time to time sought advice from Allama Iqbal and other Ulema to introduce Idara-i-Sharia’ in the State.

 

“In the truest sense of the word ‘Gharibnawaz’, Bahawalpur has always been a real welfare State. ‘Had it not been for the generous and timely help from Bahawalpur’, the late Syed Suleman Nudvi, while addressing a large public meeting, declared, ‘Nudva, the celebrated Muslim institution in India, would have remained a dream.’ Time and again large numbers of famine-stricken people from Rajputana and the East Punjab have been taking refuge in this State. Having lost his kingdom of Afghanistan, Shah Shuja came to Bahawalpur to seek help. The exiled monarch was given every help.

 

“Education in the State was free and well-organized. Large numbers of students from Multan, Muzaffargarh, Mianwali and Derajat used to come to Bahawalpur to get education. Compared with many other places in West Pakistan, the pace of progress maintained in the State during the pre-independence period has been praiseworthy.

 

“Before the independence, if there were not as many schools as there are in the State today, the conditions at that time throughout the Muslim majority areas with regard to all sorts of developments were no better.

 

“Result of many years of hard labour – blueprints and the necessary funds for the construction of Sadiq Public School and other institutions such as Jamia Abbasia and Mosque Maktab and the improvements of roads and towns, of which the construction could only be effected after the termination of the World War II, were already in hand when the representative Ministry took over.

 

“The development plans materialized in the State since 1947 now being claimed solely by some ‘Aladins’ as miracles or wonderful lamps is not the real history of this State.

 

“What is history? Who writes history?

 

“‘History is to a nation or community what memory is to an individual…. History enables the members of a nation or community to recognize their identity with their previous generations from whom they have inherited their religious beliefs, their moral ideals, their social and legal institutions, in short, their whole culture.’

 

The Martyrdom of a State

 

“Like Bahawalpur, if a Moorish State had survived in Spain, there must have been one more Pakistan on the map of the world today. Basically Pakistan is synonymous of peace. More than ever it is Peace that the world needs most today. Therefore voluntary abdication of power for the welfare of man was martyrdom of the fine type.

 

“There is a vast difference between death and martyrdom. Death is the normal routine. Martyrdom is an honourable end for the serene and sublime beginning. The merger of Bahawalpur State with Pakistan demonstrates fully the cause and effect of martyrdom.

 

“On the passing away of a benevolent system of Government, as was the administration of His Highness the Ameer of Bahawalpur, any saint or Roman senator of yore would have felt inspired to have delivered a befitting oration.

 

“The style of the Government in vogue in Bahawalpur, before the merger, had the spirit of friendliness. On account of the ‘personal touch’ the people of the State were aware of it. It made them believe that they are the members of one family. As members of the same family they shared the ups and downs of life together. The Magistrates knew the people. The people, in turn, knew their Magistrates. Bad characters could not afford to remain at large for long. It was easy to recognize the good and the worthies. On account of the ‘personal touch’ the decisions of the Courts of Law were quick and fair. Favouritism, although not unknown, was not of the chronic type. The dress and the dialect of the Bahawalpuris were the two deterrents which discouraged these people from going abroad. Fortunately for some of them and for many reasons, the people of this State could not be anything but Bahawalpuris.

 

“May it be a barren desert or the frozen tundras ‘personal contacts’ of long duration, with one’s native land or with its hereditary Rulers rivet and weld people to these institutions (State and the sovereignty of a benign rule) so very well that they remain devotedly attached to them.

 

“To illustrate this fact the story quoted by Bertrand Russell, in his book ‘Power’ is interesting and is narrated below:

 

“‘In passing by the side of Mount Thai, Confucius came on a woman who was weeping bitterly by a grave. The master pressed forward and drove quickly to her; then he sent Tze-Lu to question her; ‘Your wailing’, said he, ‘is that of one who has suffered sorrow on sorrow?’ She replied that is so. Once my husband’s father was killed here by a tiger. My husband was also killed, and now my son has died in the same way’ The Master said, ‘Why do you not leave the place’? The answer was; there is no oppressive Government here. The Master then said, ‘remember this, my children: Oppressive Government is more terrible than tigers’”.

 

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