[Vol 1/ Issue 1/ Dec 2014] [ISSN 2394-9295]

Dr. Tarun Pratap Yadav

Asstt. Professor

Amity University, Noida (U.P)

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The period between 1818-1836 A.D was markedas the golden age of Meerutdivision due to peace and prosperity, which reached its zenith during the ruleof Begam Samru. The Begum made changes in Revenue administration, Police andPrison administration, military innovations as well as improving thesocio-economic conditions of the people in her jagir and maintaining law andorder in a countryside where jungle raj was once the order of the day. Begumrealized that the true glory of king/queen is not determined by the physicalextent of his dominions but upon the moral progress which he/she could secure to his people.

Begum tried to help the cultivators and introduce such means which might increase the produce of the land. Bridges and roads were constructed and efforts were made to provide irrigation facilities to the farmers of her jagirs. Takkavi loans were distributed to the needycultivators. There was also exemption of revenue, in case of calamity. TheBegum herself toured the countryside frequently, so that she could personallycome in contact of her people and know their grievances.

Key words: Golden Age, BegumSamru, Takkavi Loans, Sardhana, Jagirs.


Begum Samru‘s real name was Fazrana(Pondicherry Records. Bussy in a letter of March 3, 1784 to De Castries) and shewas born in or about 1750-51[1]at Kutana, 30 miles North-West of Meerut. She was a Saiyyidini[2]and her father Luft Ali Khan was a nobleman, whose family from the unsettledstate of time had fallen into distress[3].Luft Ali Khan[4]married twice and Fazrana was his offspring by his second wife. When six yearold lost her father, her mother, along with Fazrana, left Kutana to Avadh so asto avoid the cruelties of her step son and in the course of their wanderingreached Delhi in 1760[5].

As both, mother and daughter were penniless; Fazrana joined the companion of nauchnies[6],for earning a livelihood. She herself was trained for dancing but fate decreed that she should make other people dance instead of being herself obliged todance for their amusement[7].She came into contact with General Walter Reinhard Samru in or about in the endof year 1765 at Bharatpur and was united to him by all the forms considered necessary by persons of her persuasion when married to men another[8],in this way Fazrana passed into the harem of Samru Sahib and became his lifepartner[9].When, where and how this marriage took place was a subject of controversy. After the death of General Samru in 1778, she inherited the jagir of Sardhanaand decided to permanently settle there.

On the whole Begam jagir lay in Gangetic Doaband stretched form Muzaffarnagar to Aligarh including within it the areas ofthe parganas of Sardhana, Karnal, Budhana, Barnawa, Baraut, Kutana, Tappal

andJewar[10].The principal pargana of this jagir and seat of administration was Sardhana. All these pargana contained 332 villages[11].Besides these parganas she had some trans-Yamuna estates, two of which she claimed as her altamgha or royal grants in perpetuity. Among her property inthis region may be mentioned the pargana of Badshahpur alias Jharsa, consistingof about 70 villages distant about 14 miles from Delhi. Butgone, a village inpargana Sonipat and Mauza of Bhoghpura Shah Ganj and a garden in SubahAkbarabad (Agra), together with the garden in neighbourhood of Deigh, were alsoheld by her as personal property.[12]Nine villages‘ viz. Garhee and Ca, formally part of jagir of Her Highness BalaBai situated in the parganas of Barnawa and Budhana, belonged to Begam Samruand were in her possession. Daulat Rao Sindhia[13]granted her the Pahasupargana which consisted of fifty four villages.

Though Begam called herself a feudal soverign[14],the British Government did not give her the title. Her jagir was an assignmentfor the payment of troops[15]and the entire holdings at the time of Begam‘s death depended upon the will ofthe British Government. But at the time when Begam was entrusted with itsa dministration, the condition was deplorable. After Aurangzeb, administration went from bad to worse. Constant decay of the Mughal Empire led to the rise ofmilitary state resulting in the lack of good governance. Oppression, poverty and financial ruin were prevalent and the nominal lieutenants of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam, were fighting for their personal interest. Everywhere there was chaos and disorder. Helpless farmers were oppressed, looted and pillaged[16].I twas in this scenario that Begam provided a rule which was in unmatched in the area in and around Delhi.


Under this the whole jagir was divided into eight parganas and the village was its unit. Chaudharies, qanungoes, zamindars,lamberdars were to pay fix revenues[17]and to maintain law and order. Village panchayats or Caste panchayats decided the cases and Begam herself dealt with cases where previous decisions were not acceptable to parties. Criminals were punished severely and were put in jail.They were sentenced to imprisonment for life and various terms of imprisonment were given. After her death, 132 prisoners were found in Sardhana jail[18].


The strength of her army was 4246 in 1836. It consisted of six battalions, the bodyguard, irregular cavalry and artillery(Infantry—2946, Bodyguards—266, Cavalry—245, Artillery—789)[19].These battalions were well armed, equipped and led by a fine body of men. Th earmy was organized on the European model and its payment was regular. Adventurers of all nations were equally welcomed in her army. George Thomas was an Irish, Levaisseau was French and Solari was an Italian[20].Pension rolls showed that the regulars consisted of Hindustanis. She took recruits from different communities too. It was the Muslim community which formed the bulk of the army but communalism and localism were not the governing factors. The troops were fine and stout looking men. A long caftan of quilted cotton of a dirty brown colour, with turbans and sashes of white trousers downto the ankles generally of the same material as the rest with tremendous russet coloured shoes bending upwards from the toe to a great height, formedthe uniform of her army[21].Begam possessed a good arsenal and a foundry for cannon, both built within the walls of the fortress of Sardhana[22].Lashkarganj in the north of Sardhana was founded by Begam as the head camp forher troops for whom, the plain between it and town

formed the parade ground. Tothe south-east of town of Sardhana there was an old fort which now no longer exists[23].She was conscious of the fact that merely friendly relations without an army ather back would not be of much use at a time when several powers were contendingfor supremacy in India. She therefore, set herself to remodel and increase herarmy, whose reputation soon spread far and wide and the princess of Sardhana wasrespected and her friendship was eagerly sought for, by all. After her death in1836, the troops were paid up and disbanded by the Magistrate of Meerut, under the orders of British Government.


For the purpose of Land revenue, jagir was divided into parganas and parganas into mahals. According to Mr. Plowden, thenet demand of her parganas ( Sradhana, Budhana, Baraut, Kutana, Barnawa and twoother villages[24])for twenty years during 1814-34 A.D averaged Rs. 5,86,650 including cesses, while the collection during the same period averaged Rs. 5,67,211 with balances amounting on the whole to only Rs. 19,439,00. Begam also levied custom dutieson goods in transit at places of entry through her territory by land or water.She enjoyed the right of collecting duties at ghats by virtue of Sunnaads from the British Government[25]. Begam‘s revenue policy was based on Mohammaden Law[26].The mode of settlement adopted by her was liberal and according to cultivator‘scapacity. As the assessment was annual, village rent­rolls were framed on money rates which were fixed and determined in each pargana and were classified onthe villages in cash, in a ratio graduated to the caste of cultivators of whom Jats held the first rank. The rate per pucca bigha for sugarcane ranged from Rs6 to Rs 9 as the lowest and from Rs 10 to Rs 15 as the highest, while in Meerutthey were Rs. 3 to 4.5 as the lowest and Rs. 9 to Rs 12 as the highest. An Allowance from 2.5% to 12% was made as nankar[27].In realizing the revenue, the takkavi advances were first recovered with interest at 25% per annum and then a second deduction of rupees 7 % was made for batta or loss in exchange on inferior rupees which was continued even when full weight rupees were current[28].The greatness of this system was that as the demand of State grows, the peasants too, prospered.

Begum established peace and order in her jagir and tried to help the cultivators and introduce such means which might increase the produce of the land. Bridges and roads were constructed and efforts were made to provide irrigation facilities to the farmers of her jagirs. Takkavi loans were distributed to the needy cultivators. There was also exemption of revenue, in case of calamity. The Begum herself toured the countryside frequently, so that she could personally come in contact of her people and know their grievances. Help was provided for sinking wells .In village called Kandera, she got four walls sunk, and a metallic road was constructed in Bamnauli. Her fields looked greener and more flourishing and the people of her villages appeared happier and more prosperous than those of Company‘s provinces.


Begam Samru was apatron of the poets who thronged her court at Sardhana and were encouraged byher benefaction.[29]She herself was efficient in Persian and Urdu and wrote and spoke Persian and Hindustani languages correctly and fluently. In conversation she was engaging and spirited.[30]She took keen interest in Persian and Urdu poetry and encouraged it by bestowing rewards in manner of oriental sovereigns.[31]Inher court Harchand, Zafaryab Khan Sahab‘, Farsoo, Munshi Gokul Chand, MirzaRahim Beg and Hira Lal were prominent poets. Begam was also a generous patronof art. Her palace contained an abundance of paintings,

many of them executed. There were many great paintings about the palace. Some portraits by Beechy and a few specimens of Chinnery‘s landscape were valuable and there was a cartload of trash, three or four good likeness of a native painter Jiwan Ram, who certainly had more of the art in him than any other painter of his time.[32]His portraits, as far as features were concerned, were very faithful and servile copies of the flesh. In life, expression and in figure he could paint an eye, a nose, a mouth most accurately resembling the copy.[33] Sardhana pictures were of historical importance and they displayed the taste of the Begam. Some portraits were to be found in Government House at Allahabad and now in Lucknow and one of them was at the Indian Institute at Oxford[34].The prominent portraits include the portrait of Begam, meeting of Begam and Lord Combermere after the fall of Bharatpur in 1826[35],Begam presenting a chalice to the clergy at Sardhana, Dice Somber wearing hispapal decoration painted at Sardhana, portrait of General Allard & CharlesMetcalfe, Col. Steward who when in command at Anupshahr in 1790 was captured bySikh Chief, Bhanga Singh while out riding and ransomed by Begam for Rs. 15,000.Of the other Sardhana picture, Indian Institute at Oxford possesses the portrait of Fr. Julius Ceasar, the first and last Bishop of Sardhana[36].

Music was actively patronized during her reign and she herself was very fond of dance. Chhotoo was a fine musician and enjoyed Begam‘s favour throughout her life and was awarded a handsome pension[37].She used to hold Mushairas (poetic symposia) particularly at her kothi in Meerut where now Mr. Puesch resides. Famous poets and budding local talent also participated. Outside the court, bhajans, ragnis, and khayals were popular. Further, Begam took keen interest in feasts and festivals. Dinners and ballroom dancing were arranged at her residence[38].Several European travelers have given a picturesque description of lavish display of wealth on such occasions[39].Bacon, who once attended grand feasts, gives a detailed account, which runs as follows, ― The Begum usually gives a grand feast which lasts three days, during Christmas and to which nearly allleading the society of Meerut, Delhi and the surrounding stations are invited,I have by me one of her circulars. Her Highness The Begam Samru requests the honour of company at Sardhana on the Christmas eve at the celebration of High mass and during the two following days, to notch ‘and a display of fireworks’. Tents are prepared in the palace garden for the accommodation of visitors and every luxury, which are profuse outlay can secure, is provided for the company. The tables sumptuously spread; the viands and the wines are alike, excellent. Upon three grand occasions, the Begam usually honours the guest by presiding at the table

but she does not herself partake any food in theirpresence. Not only the numerous visitors entertained in this magnificent style but the whole host of their followers and train are also feasted in the manner equally sumptuous in proportion of their condition. It was strange for Bacon to find that an enlightened British community, the victors of the soil, were paying homage and seeking favour at her foot-stool or even condescending to partake of her hospitality.

Begam was a great builder. The buildings which she erected bears testimony to her architectural taste. The most beautiful of all her buildings was undoubtedly, the Church. Begam created this temple of true God, on a scale of grandeur unrivalled atthat time in these parts and she lavished on it all the magnificence and beauty, which art generously engaged, could contribute to its embellishment[40].Begam sent its fine lithographic prints to Pope Gregory XVI and wrote that, ―I am proud to say that my Church is acknowledged to be the finest, without any exception in India. The Church began to be built in the year 1822by Mr. Anthony

Reghalini[41].The alter was entirely of white marble brought from Jaipur. Behind it, towers a huge marble tabernacles with a niche, on which was enshrined a statue of the mother of Jesus. This statue was not of the time of Begam, since it was thestatue of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose apparitions took place twenty one years after the Begam‘s death. In its place there originally was a beautifullyp ainted picture of our lady of the Sacred Heart that now addresses the SeminaryChapel at St. John‘s. It was replaced eventually, early in this century by the present statue. The former statue is now the treasured possessions of the convent of Jesus and Mary, where it stands enshrined in a garden, at the back of the Church[42].

On the left of the main alter there was the grand monument over the tomb of the Begam. It was the work of the great Italian sculptor, Adamo Tadolini of Bologua, one of the most illustrious followers of Canova. The monument was completed in 1842 at a cost of two and a half lacs of rupees, quite a large sum for those days. It was finally erected in the Church in1870. Till then, the remains of Begam were confined in the side Chapel, whichnow enshrines the sacred image of Our Lady of Graces. When the monument arrived, it was found too large to be erected there. Hence, Begam‘s remain had to bet ransferred to the place where they are now.[43]The entire thing was in Carrsra marble, perfectly white. It had eleven lifesizes statues and three panels in base relief. The Begum, in her rich Indian dress was seated aloft on a chair of State, holding in her right hand a foldedscroll, the Emperor Shah Alam‘s fireman‘ conferring on her the jagir of Sardhana. To her right stands Mr. Doyce Sombre in the mournful postures and onher left Diwan Rao Singh her minister. Immediately behind were Bishop Juliusand Innayatullah, her commandant of Cavalry and first aid-in-camp in waiting. Thesefour figures stand round a circular drum bearing the following inscription inArabic, Latin and English: Sacred to the memory of Her Highness Juanna Zeb-ul-nisa, the Begum Sombre, styled the distinguished of nobles and beloved daughter of the State, who quitted a transitory code for an eternal world, revered and lamented by thousands of her devoted subjects at her place of Sardhana, on the 27th Jan,. 1836 aged 90years. Her remains are deposited underneath in this Cathedral built by her. Toher powerful mind, her remarkable talent and the wisdom, justice and moderation with which she governed for a period exceeding half a century, to whom she was more than a mother, is not the person to award the praise, but in grateful respect to her loving memory is this monument erected by him, who humblytrusts, she will receive a crown of glory that fedeth not away— David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre.Thomas Bacon described the Church as not anungraceful building. For him it was built entirely for display. He wrote its decorations within the paltry and aboutthe altar there is great deal of tinsel frippery and tasteless ornament, better fitted for a theatre. One slab of white marble there is which is deservedly admired for the beauty of its mosaic work, being inlaid with precious stones in the style of Taj Mahal at Agra.

The architecture was mixed and the Church was built after model of St. Peter‘s at Rome .H.G Keene in his book Hindustan under Free Lances gives the following interesting account, of the church called Cathedral though when, the author knew the placethere was no Bishop there is not so much to be said. Besides affording theunwanted spectacle of large place of Christian worship in a Hindustani village, the building has no special to notice. It is, however, of respectable dimensions—170 feet long, with a central dome two lofty pines at the last end, the Vicar Apostolic consecrates it in 1829. The interior is paved with marble and relieved by moldings in

hand stucco . With these descriptions it can easily be calculated that the Cathedral[44]was a fine specimen of Muslim-European style. Its beauty and fame have attracted many foreign and Indian visitors[45].There have great builders in the history of the world, but nearly all of thembuilt building in big cities. It goes to the credit of Begam Samru that she erected the Church and other buildings in a small village like Sardhana andmade it a place of world fame.

Other buildings of Begam Samru include The Old Palace, The Begam‘s Palace, Anthon Kothi,

TheBegam‘s Fort, Former Presbytery St. Joseph‘s Convent, The Begam‘s Palace at Meerut, The Begam‘s Palaces at Delhi (Gernail Bibi Ki Haveli), Presbytery andCatholic Church, Houses at Khirwa and Jabalpur and Catholic Cemetery.


In front of the gate of the Church there was a big building on the opposite side of the road. The building was in Indian style. The Begam passed her life time in this building.Though it was said that the building was in existence when she assumed therein of administration, but many additions and alterations were made by her later on. There were underground rooms where the Begum used to retire to escapet he heat of summer. She gave this palace to Solaroli, an Italian adventurer anda person of influence in her court. She then shifted into the palace which she built for herself. Solaroli donated this building to the Catholic Diocese ofAgra. Later the building served for years as the Parish Priest‘s residence and also as an orphanage and seminary.


This palace was completed in 1835 and Begam lived here for only one year. Bacon visited the palace and gave the following description, It is a handsome a spacious building, though still unfinished. The rooms are very large and well proportioned and the furniture costly though heterogeneous and badly arranged. The whole establishment is a mixture of grandeur and bad taste. Bacon account was somewhat prejudiced. On the whole, the building arrests attention. It was constructed by the same architect, who built the Church. Inside, there was the Begam‘s bath, all in marble with designs inlaid in Petra Dura and avery pretty apartment, the audience hall or throne room. Its gate way was very impressive and was known as the Sher-Darawaza. The palace or Dil-Kusha kothi, stands in a vast enclosed garden and was raised upon a basement 11 feet in height. The portico looks north and the landing of the staircase projects.Parallel to the projection was a hall 42 feet by 36 feet, from which thevarious apartments open on three sides. A winding staircase leads to somewhat similar rooms on the other side. The whole façade was about 160 feet in height and open on four principle sitting rooms besides the central hall. There were bedrooms in the rear. The Catholic mission of Agra purchased the Begam‘s Palace with the annexed garden in 1897 for Rs. 25,000. At present the Begam‘s Palace lodged the Saint Charles Inter­ College


Outside the front ofthe palace compound there stands another large building surrounded by anextensive compound. It was the residence of Major Anthon Reghalini, The architect of the Church and Begam‘s Palace. At present it is a primary school.


On a smaller scale a palace was built at Delhi. It consisted of a splendid mansion, the two or three smaller houses. It was in Gothic style, modeled on her haveli in Sardhana. It stands at the beginning of Chandi Chowk and is today hidden behind a cinema hall and a bank and is known as Bhagirath palace. She also built a beautiful palace near the palace of Sahiba Mahal, the wife of Mohammed Shah Rangella. Itwas known as Gernail Bibi ki Haveli. But the palace was destroyed by the British Government and a railway line was constructed over it near Kauria Bridge. Nowadays, there is also a railway godown.


A large and commodious house was built at Meerut. It lies on the south of the Meerut College. The Begam generally visited the palace for a couple of months towards the close of the year, bringing with her the chief of her trains.


The Begam built aprestybery and a Catholic Church for the British soldiers and officials inMeerut in 1834, which was given to the Government in 1862. In the same year,the present Catholic was solemnly blessed.


She built a very fine housein Khirwa in Feb., 1828. Residential Houses atJ alalpur. Begam also built a residential house at Jalalpur. The ruins of this house were still in existence in about1874.


This was also the monument of Begam‘s time. Many persons connected with the Begam‘s life were buried here. Some monuments were extraordinary beautiful. The domes were beautifully designed and several parts of the inside were silver painted. Many of the monuments are now in a sad state of decadence and require proper maintenance. Lady Forester, the wife David Dyce Sombre, built a hospital with the money left by The Begam for the purpose. A slab on the main Building records its beginning Her highness the Begam Somber having left ascertain sum of money for charitable purposes, the same was applied in theerection and the endowment of this hospital and dispensary by the right honourable Mary Anne, the baroness Forester bfor the benefit of the poor of Sardhana, Anno Domini 1861.


Begum Samru was a benevolent ruler. For her, there was no distinction between a Hindu, Muslim or Christian as far as appointment/promotion in the public services were concerned. The use of force in conversion was unknown and all religions were put on equal footing. Diwan Har Karan das, Rao Diwan Singh,Diwan Nar Singh Rao, Vakil Manna Lal and Munshi Gokul Chand were all Hindus and held important posts. Inayatullah was her commandant of cavalry and firstaid-de-camp in waiting. Agha was head of the treasury. Abul Hasan Beg was a commander in her service. Except the army, the administrative machinery of the jagir was completely in the hands of Hindus and Muslims. The use of Persian asthe language of the record and accounts led the Hindus and Muslims to occupy every office and no office was beyond their reach. A Christian colony had developed had developed in Sardhana because the Begam herself was a Christian and her army officers too were Christians. During her reign, some people oflower castes converted themselves into Christian faith due to the genuine efforts of the priests, but no force was ever used in doing so. As a good Christian, Begam made large grants for charitable purposes[46].The Church at Sardhana was erected, costing four lacs of

rupees. She also gave rupees 1, 00,000 to the Catholic Missions of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras; rupees 30,000 to that of Agra; rupees 12,000 to the Church at Meerut; rupees50,000 to the Archbishop of Canterbury and during her life she gave rupees 150thousand or 143 thousand seven hundred and four pounds three shillings and four pence to His Holiness, pope Gregory XVI[47].


Begum relieved her territory from anarchy and restored peace and order. She was distinguished by an unusual energy, enterprise and courage which enabled her to occupy a position of eminence. All State Business was transacted under her own eyes. She gave audience, carried on diplomatic correspondence with regularity and supervised closely the activities of her subordinates. Peace and order were well kept throughout her dominions[48],no lawless chiefs were allowed to harbour criminals and defraud the public crevenue and the soil was maintained in complete cultivation. This was highly commendable for an Asiatic ruler.[49]It was due to her singular genius that she successfully ruled and attended to the political and diplomatic problems at a time when, on the political field ofIndia, there were brilliant officers like Wellesley, Cornwallis, Barlow, Minto, Lord Hasting, Amherst and William Bentinck as Governor General; David Octerlony, Seton, Metcalfe, Martin and Fraser as Residents of Delhi and Arthur Wellesley(who later on defeated Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo) and Lord Lake as Generals. These men were of superior caliber and were on the scene. Kilpatrick,Close, Elphinstone, Malcolm etc were also men of experience and talent. In the history of British India such a galaxy of statesman, warriors and diplomats were never noticed. The Mughal emperor called her the most beloved daughter and the jewel of her sex. Mahadji Sindhia ever thought of her as his staunch supporter. She served Daulat Rao Sindhia to her utmost, but the attitude of Ambaji Engle and Perron changed her mind. She outwitted Lord Wellesley and was very much applauded by General Lake[50].William Bentinck always treated her as his most esteemed friend.

Like Victoria who ruled over England for a period extending over sixty three years, Begam Samru ruled the Sardhana principality for 58 years. Like Ahalya Bai, she maintained a stable and almost idyllic regime at Sardhana and like Chandbibi, who defended the city of Ahmednagar with valour, equal to that shown by Rani Durgawati inGondwana, Begam Samru kept her principality safe against heavy odds.

RaziaSultan and Nur-Jahan were little much to the abilities of Begam Samru whoseoutstanding position as a great political and military leader standsunsurpassed. Crafty and forceful, the Dowager Empress Tzu Hasi proved worsethan a failure in China, lacking foresight and judgment, whereas Begam Samru‘sremarkable ability made her outstanding among the galaxy of great women of theworld in her own small way[51].

It was owing to her wisdom and practicalability that Chandkaur mother of Naunihal Singh once declared,

“Why should I not do as Queen Victoria does in England? She would come out of the Zanarra,wear a turban or ride on elephant as a Sardar and receive the English Sahibs asdid Begam Samru”[52].She certainly was a remarkable lady, the first and the last of the women whorose from the status of a dancing girl to a position of distinction and ruledover one of the most fertile plains of India. The greatness of Begam Samru layin her spirit of liberality and justice which distinguished her character.


  1. According to Sleeman she must haveborn in or about 1741 as he writes, ―Begum was baptized at the age of 40 by aRoman Catholic priest under the name of Joanna on 7th May, 1781 (1836 was the year of her death). Mr. Higgan Botham referring to Bacon‘s workssays that she died at the age of 89, which places her birth in 1747. Mr. Bealsstates that she was aged 88 limar year‘s equivalent to about 85 solar years.This places her birth in 1751. Mr. Keegan like Mr. Atkinson who stated herbirth in 1751 states says that so far as the date can be plausibly conjectured,she was born in about 1750. Mr. Banerji places the date of her birth in1750-51 pointing out in a letter addressed to Pope Gregory the 16thby Dyce Sombre( her adopted son and heir) in 1836 which was the year of herdeath, she is said to have reached the age of 85. This view is also supportedby George Thomas who was her famous general. He described her in 1796 as follows; Begam Samru is about 45 years of age, small in stature but inclined to beplump.
  2. Concerning her parentage there are various accounts. Onehistorian asserts that she was the daughter of a decayed Mughal Nobleman(Francklin). Another that, she was a Kashmiri dancing girl( Bussy in a letterod March 3, 1784 to Marechal De Castries) and third that she was by birth a Saiyyidinior lineal descendant of the prophet(Sleeman). Much more surprising was theaccount written by Lt. Governor of the N.W Provinces on 4th May,1836, which is as follows—―Having been previously, it is most probable, botHindoo and Mohammadan, the former by birth and the latter in consequence of herprofession . As a matter of fact, it is doubtful whether she herself knew ofher parentage. Sleeman visited Sardhana on 7th Feb, 1836 andgathered information which can be relied upon. He writes, The Begum Samru bybirth a Saiyyidini , or lineal desendant from Muhammad, the founder of Muslim faith.( Rambles and Recollections of an Indian official, Vol. II, p­267)
  3. Fancklin, History in the Reign of Shah Alam, p­147.
  4. H.R Nevill in Meerut DistrictGazetter states on page 157 that, ―This remarkable women was the daughter ofone Asad Khan, a Musalman of Arab descent. But Banerji tells ―We only knowthat her father was a nobleman named Luft Ali Khan. p­14. It seems that AsadKhan was none other than Luft Ali Khan.
  5. North West Frontier ProvinceGazetter, Vol. II,p-96.
  6. Bacon,― First Impressions and Studies fromNatives in Hindustan, Vol. II, P-35
  7. Ibid.
  8. Sleeman,Rambles and Recollections of an IndianOfficial, Vol. II, p-268.
  9. Banerji,Begam Samru, p-14.
  10. Refut. P-372.
    1. Extract from the proceedings SadarBoard of Revenue, May 30, 1840, Vol. 166, No. 28, p-35.
  11. Foreign Poli. Progs. 22-29 Oct.1832, S. No. 678.
  12. Letter from Octerlony to Begam Samru dated 11thMay, 1804.
  13. According to parwana‘ available inState Archives Allahabad, the Begum on Feb. 1, 1798 granted 40 bighas of landsituated in village of Khatauli, as a rent from land to Mohammed Suleh Khan.The

Begam also ordered that the grantee should utilize its produce for hislivelihood and pray for the welfare of the State. State Archives, Allahabad.No. 1867.

  1. Begam to Lt. Col. Octerlony, dated3.2.1804, Sec. Progs 2-3, 1804, No. 252.
  2. M.N Sharma, Life and Times of Begam Samru of Sardhana, Vibhu Prakashan, U.P,1985, P-138.
  3. Sir Charles Metcalfe‘s Minute,dated 7 No., 1830.
  4. Foreign Poli. Progs. 22ndFeb., 1836. No. 26, p-23.
  5. Foreign Dept. Poli. Cons. No. 25dated 22nd Feb., 1836, p-1.
  6. Atkinson, Statistical, Descriptive and Historical Accounts of Meerut(Mirath)District, p-295.
  7. Skinner, Excursions in India Including a Walk Over, Vol. II, p-53.
  8. Compton, A particular Account of the European Military Adventurers of Hindustan,p-174.
  9. A sketch of the rise, progress andtermination of Regular Corps, formed and commanded by Europeans in the serviceof Native Princes of India etc. Smith. L.P.1805.p-5.
  10. These two villages were Nirpura andDoghut (now in Meerut Distt.). In the time of Begam, these villages were keptseparate and the average assessment amounted to Rs. 24,700 for both.( Extractfrom proceedings of Sadar Board of Revenue May 30, 1840, Vol. 166, p-28)
  11. Foreign Poli. Cons. No. 30, 21stAug., 1819, p-3.
  12. Atkinson, North West Frontier Gazetter, Vol. III, p-432.
  13. Nankar was the regular deductionallowed on the zamindari. It was an allowance to the village communitydiffering in each village and ranging from 2% to. 2.5% on the Jamuna. Theincome from which was utilized for the maintenance of the zamindars and theirfamilies.
  14. Extract from the proceeding SadarBoard of Revenue, Vol. 166, p-38.
  15. Saxena R.B, Indo-Europen Poets of Urdu and Persion, p-258.
  16. Keegan, opcit, p-32.
  17. Saxena R.B, opcit, p-258.
  18. Bacon,opcit, p-223.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Bengal: Past and Present, Vol. XXX, p-203.
  21. Begum also sent to General LordViscount Combermere, her portrait and insisted upon a return of compliment. Thepicture, a work of a native artist, who resided in Meerut and had made arespectable progress in arts was an exceptionally good likeness.(Mundy, Pen and Pencil Sketches in India, p-179)
  22. Bengal: Past and Present, Vol. XXX, p-203.
  23. Foreign Poli. 23rd May,1836, Cons. No. 75.
  24. Poli Progs, 8th July,1831, Cons. No. 96, p-278.
  25. At the dinner, Begam seemed inexcellent humour and handed jokes and compliments with His Excellency (LordCombermere) through the medium of interpreter. When the feast ended, Europeanofficer in her service walked around the table and invested each of the guestswith a long necklace of tinsel. (Mundy, Penand Sketches in India, p-181)
  26. Heber,Narrative of a Journey Through the UpperProvinces of India, p-543-45.
  27. Keegan,opcit, p-3.
  28. Patrik Nair, Sardhana, p-47.
  29. Ibid.
  30. The Church was once known asCathedral because at that time Sardhana had its own Bishop.
  31. It annually attracts nearly twomillion visitors. Twice a year, in March and November pilgrimages are organizedin this shrine. Besides, every day people come to ask for favours or to thankHer for those received.
  32. PoliProgs. 25 Nov.-2nd Dec. 1831, S.No. 655, Cons. No. 16 , p-17.
  33. PoliProgs. 25 Nov-2nd Dec., 1831, A. No. 655, Cons No. 16, p-118.
  34. Keene,The Fall of the Mughal Empire, p-241.
  35. Ibid.
  36. Substance of a letter from LordLake dated 6th August, 1805, ―I have been highly gratified byaccounts from Mr. Guthrie of your Highness‘s goodwill and friendship towardsthe British Government, that Gentlemen has been requested to wait upon yourhighness and adjust carefully all your affairs and be assured of the lastingand uninterrupted support and countenance of the British Government .
  37. M.N Sharma, opcit, p-184.
  38. Ibid p-185.

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