Nazli Begum of Janjira

نازلی بیگم

Janjira, Gujarat
1874 – 1968

Nazli Begum of Janjira (1874-1968) was the wife of Sidi Ahmad Khan Sidi Ibrahim Khan (1862-1922), the nawab of Janjira.  He was the ruler of a small princely state on India’s west coast, also known as Jazira or Habshan.  Born in Istanbul, Nazli was the second daughter (of three girls and four boys) of Hasanally Feyzhyder (1838-1903), an Indian merchant, and his wife, Amirunissa.  They belonged to the prominent Tyabji clan that was at the forefront of Bombay’s Sulaimani Bohra community.  Along with her two sisters, Atiya and Zehra Fyzee, Nazli was a patron of Muslim education and a participant in some of the earliest Muslim women’s organizations in India.  In 1908, she undertook a formal tour of Britain, Europe and the Ottoman Empire in accompaniment of her princely husband.  As she indicates in the extract, she also travelled with her sister, Atiya, who acted as a kind of guide to British society on the basis that she had spent a year at a teachers’ training college in London just a year before in 1906-7.  Their brother (or ‘Bhai’), Ali Azhar, was also resident in Britain at this time.  The extract describes their reception at court by the King-Emperor, Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra.  It appears that, on this occasion, a number of other Indian princes and notables were also received, including the maharaja of Cooch Behar and his children, the maharaja of Nepal, and the renowned suffragette, Sophie Duleep Singh.  Not long after this occasion, Nazli was separated from the nawab when he took a second wife in the hopes of bearing an heir.

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Sair-i Yurop

1908

Friday, 22 May 1908 Since we have to go to the royal meeting today all day we prepared for it. We arranged our things. Atiya has gone to buy some necessary items since morning. Her being with us has provided me much support. Without her I was not capable of travelling here. I cannot do …