Revisiting the history of Bhopal
Its early history
Folklore of the region states that this city had been founded by Bhoja, the Paramara King during the 11th century and it was at Dhar that he had his capital. According to this theory, Bhopal was known originally as ‘Bhojpal’, named after a pal (dam), as one had been constructed by minister of the king. The earlier settlement that had been established by Bhoja at this very place is not supported by any historical text, inscription or archaeological evidence. However, at Bhojpur exists the Bhojeshwar Temple which is ascribed to him. From Bhopal, it is located at a distance of 28km. There is an alternate theory which states, the city being named after Bhupal or Bhupala, another king.
During the early part of the 18th century, it was just a small village located within the Gond kingdom. It was Dost Mohammed Khan who had established the modern city of Bhopal. He was a Pashtun soldier serving the Mughal army. But after Aurangzeb’s death, he started to offer the local chieftains with mercenary services in the highly politically unstable region of Malwa. He took up Berasia estate lease in 1709 and then annexed several territories for establishing Bhopal State. It was from Kamlapati, the Gond Queen who had provided Bhopal territory against payment for receiving mercenary services. But after her death, he usurped her kingdom. He, then went on to construct the Fatehgarh Fort during the 1720s that later developed into Bhopal city in the coming decades. One can book hotel in Bhopal to have a grand stay.
After a treaty was signed between British East India Co., Bhopal went on to become a princely state in 1818. Four powerful women were said to have ruled this state between 1819 & 1926, which is considered to be quite unique in royalty, especially in those days, especially under British suzerainty. The initial woman ruler was Qudsia Begum who ruled between 1819 and 1837 and succeeded by Shah Jehan, her granddaughter. Sikandar, Qudsia’s only daughter had ruled as a regent when Shah Jehan was just a child between 1844 and 1860. She got recognized in 1860 as a ruler until 1868, as Shah Jehan took over the reins and ruled until 1901. Kaikhusrau Jahan, Shah Jehan’s daughter ruled until 1926 and is regarded to be the last female succession line. She had abdicated her rule in 1926 to favor Hamidullah Khan in 1926 who ruled till 1947. He was the last sovereign nawab after which Indian government took unified it with the country. The Begums are said to have provided the city with plenty of infrastructure like the railways, postal system, and waterworks including a municipality that was constituted in 1907.
After Hyderabad, this state was regarded to be second largest Muslim dominated princely state in the country. The last Nawab in 1947 had expressed his desire to make Bhopal an independent unit. However, in December 1948 agitations broke out, leading to arrests of several prominent leaders like Shankar Dayal Sharma. On April 30, 1949 was signed a treaty for the merger of Bhopal with the Indian Union and on June 01, 1949 Bhopal State had been taken over by Indian Union Government.
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