Copyright©The Darbar Sahib of Kamadhia


Kamadhia was one of those small states in Western India that made up the patchwork of principalities that was Kathiawar before 1947. It came into being during the period of British ascendancy in the region when Mir Sarfraz 'Ali Seshwani received Kamadhia and other villages in 1817 as his reward for military services during the last Anglo-Maratha War. His distinguished sayyidi descent ensured prestigious marriages for his two elder sons, with the daughters and heiresses of Nawab of Surat. The descendants of the second son by the princess continue to represent the Surat family to this day.

The death of Sarfraz 'Ali in 1860 ushered in a lengthy succession dispute, because his eldest son had died within his fathers lifetime, leaving a minor son by his second wife. Bakar 'Ali, youngest son of Sarfraz, objected to his nephew by citing Islamic tradition which limited heirs to living issue. Eventually his objections were accepted, but it was his brother Ja'afar 'Ali, who was recognised as successor. Ibrahim 'Ali, the son of the eldest son received a settlement including Gothra and some other villages which had been willed to his father by Sarfraz 'Ali during his lifetime.

Mir Ja'afar 'Ali, enjoyed his rule for a relatively short period, dying in 1863 and leaving two minor sons by his second and third wife. The elder son, Mir Zulfikar 'Ali, succeeded but had to endure the management of the state by his unpopular uncle, Bakar 'Ali. He preferred to remain in Surat amongst the relatives of his father's first wife. Although he was the first of his line to receive a modern education, both in England and at Rajkumar college, his little state benefited little from his knowledge.

It wasn't until the succession of Ghulam Khwaja Moin ud-din in 1934, younger son of Zulfikhar 'ali, that the ruler made Kamadhia his principal residence or took a personal interest in its government. By all accounts, his rule ushered in a new period of development, good government and reform. High taxation was either removed or alleviated, a school established, and the administration reformed along modern lines. Unfortunately for the good prince, his reign came at a time when the princely order had passed its zenith. Thirteen years into his reign, he had to accede to the Dominion of India and surrender his rule. He then settled in Broach, content that he had done his best in the time fate had allotted to him.

The family now lives mostly in Bombay, with branches in Surat, Broach and the USA. For over a century, members of it have had a deep interest in Urdu scholarship, literature and poetry. Chief amongst these, a long association with Mirza Ghalib and his works, to which they have contributed financially and enhanced through their own talents in these fields. The current head of the family, Mir Jaffar 'Ali Imam II, has himself written an elegant account of the association with Ghalib. He runs a successful corporate communications and PR agency in Bombay and has recently restored the Darbargarh in Kamadhia, which he visits regularly.

The ruling chief: Namdar Darbar Shri Mir (personal name) Khan Sahib, Darbar Sahib of Kamadhia.
The wife of the ruling prince: (personal name) Begum Sahiba.
The mother of the ruling prince: Rajmata Sahiba.
The Heir Apparent: Pratham Raj Kunwar Kumar Shri Mir (personal name) Khan Sahib.
The sons of the ruling chief: Kumar Shri Mir (personal name) Khan Sahib.
The daughters of the ruling chief, in the male line: Kumari (personal name) Begum Sahiba.
More distant male relatives and male descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line: Mir (personal name) Khan.
More distant female relatives and female descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line: (personal name) Begum.

Male primogeniture.

Alphabetical List of Title-Holders in India, other than Ruling Chiefs, corrected to 31st December 1907 (with appendix). IOR (L/PS/20/H91/2), Oriental & India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency. Volume II. Surat and Broach. Government of Bombay, Bombay, 1877.
Lewis Bentham Bowring. Bowring Collection. Volume II. MSS. Eur. G.38, Oriental India Office Collection, British Library, London.
Collection of Papers in the Office of the Superintendent of Political Pensions. IOR (V/27/71/1), Oriental & India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
Edward B. Eastwick (ed.). Autobiography of Lutfullah, A Mohamedan Gentleman; and his transactions with his fellow-creatures. Smith, Elder, and Co., London, 1857.
In the Privy Council: Petition to Her Majesty in Council from Meer Jafar Allee, and his two daughters and Ameroo-nissa Begum, the widow of the late Nawab of Surat, and papers connected therewith. Gregory, Faulkner and Skirrow, No. 1 Bedford Row, London, 1853.
Mir Jaffar Imam. Mirza Ghalib and the Mirs of Gujarat. Rupa & Co., New Delhi, 2003.
Papers relating to an investigation into the Right of Inheritance to certain private property of the late Nawab of Surat. Bombay Government Press, 1853.
Thacker's Indian Directory, Thacker's Press & Directories, Ltd., Calcutta 1863-1956.
Titles and Forms of Address. National Archives of India, New Delhi, 1980.
A. Vadivelu. The Ruling Chiefs, Nobles and Zamindars of India. G.C. Loganadham Bros., Madras, 1915.

The Darbar Sahib of Kamadhia.
Atik Baig.
Kumar Shri Moin Mir.
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Copyright© Christopher Buyers  

Copyright©Christopher Buyers, September 2004 - August 2012