STINKING QUEEN AND HER ROYAL FAMILY: SARKAR AMMAN'S VISIT TO ENGLAND IN MEMOIRS OF A REBEL PRINCESS.
Bhopal, a princely state (1818-1947), has a distinct place in the annals of South Asian history for two specific reasons: first, it is the only state with four generations of Muslim women rulers: and two, these rulers, in sharp contrast to their contemporary male rulers in colonial India, were benevolent administrators, pursuing a reformist agenda, oriented mainly for women's liberation through learning and knowledge. This women rulers' unique dynasty began in 1819 when the scepter of power passed into the hands of the 18-year old widow of the assassinated ruler of Bhopal, Nawab Nazar Muhammad Khan. Qudsiyya Begum was appointed as regent by the colonial government until her daughter, Sikandar Begum, attained age and got married. Breaking the existing conservative norms of patriarchy, Qudsiyya Begum, a novice in statecraft and governance, soon equipped herself with administrative skills and initiated public-benefit reforms.
Sikandar's marriage to an incompetent and ruthless man, introduced a period infamous for maladministration and wife abuse. On account of Sikandar Begum's services to the British throne during the uprising of 1857, the colonial government, regretting its earlier decision of standing behind the incompetent son-in-law, soon realized its mistake and "withdrew their proviso that the husband of the Begam would become Nawab" (Lambert-Hurley 2007, p.4). Later, with Sikandar's coming into full power, the foundation of an efficiently managed system of administration began. Her successor, Nawab Shahjahan Begum who ruled from 1844 to 1901, was also a great reformist. The last woman ruler, Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum (1858-1930) who ruled from 1901-1926, was an enthusiast for women's education and development. Sultan Jahan Begum, also called Sarkar Amman, abdicated in favour of her son, Prince Hamidullah Khan (1894-1960) in 1926. This marked the end of the dynasty of Muslim women rulers of Bhopal.
The State of Bhopal has been an outstanding example of female "agency and power" in the otherwise patriarchal India (Lambert-Hurley, 2007, p. 13). The female dynasty was also supported in Bhopal for its exemplary loyalty to the British from the time of the 1857 'rebellion' (Lambert-Hurley, 2007, p. 4; Sultaan, 1912, p. 15). Both the princely state and the British contracted a symbiotic relationship to obtain commercial and political benefits from a political arrangement in which the Empire conceded some sovereignty to the Indian state and won back its loyalty in exchange (Ramusack, 2004, p. 48).
Khan (2000), a scion of Bhopal's ruling family, being the son of Princess Abida Sultaan (1913-2002), describes Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum, his grand-mother as "deeply religious, homely, frugal and ascetic.... [and] was not masculine and outgoing" (p. 155) like her grandmother, Sikandar Begum. It is important to note that she resisted wearing the mask of masculinity to seek support for her rule. In order to ensure that her biological son was recognized as the next Nawab of Bhopal after her, she voyaged to England to negotiate with the British Crown. Her intent in coming to England in September 1925 was to plead with King-Emperor George V to intercede for her third son, Prince Hamidullah Khan, as her heir apparent in a Case of Succession, which was likely to be decided otherwise in favour of her grandson, Habibullah Khan, by British officials.
Sarkar Amman prepares herself and her family to negotiate directly with the Empire; yet the offices of the Empire work against her. Her decision to visit London is a matter of make or break for her and the family, since the Empire was likely to forfeiture her progeny's right to govern the princely state. She leaves her home to regain power from the British Crown, epitomized and embodied by her 'adopted' mother, Queen Victoria. Her visit to England is aptly described by the narrator of the story as a "personal siege of the British government" (Sultaan, 2013, p. 57). The narrative shares Sarkar Amman's resolve not to return to India if she could not win succession case in favour of her son Hamidullah Khan (1894-1960) (p. 57). The British documents reveal that the Viceroy's advisors in Delhi had "demolished" Sarkar Amman's "contention" that her son should succeed her as the next ruler. Muhammadan Law, (1) Bhopal's 1819 Treaty with the East India Company, (2) the 1858 Canning Sanad, (3) and Bhopal's Customary Law were acceptable for the recognition of the Wazir's (4) younger son's as the rightful heir. After the death of her eldest son and the Crown Prince Muhammad Nasrullah Khan Sahib (1876-1924), Sarkar Amman wanted her younger son. Hamidullah Khan, and not her grandson, Habibullah Khan (1903-1930), the eldest son of her deceased son, the Crown Prince Muhammad Nasrullah Khan Sahib, to be considered as the rightful heir. The Viceroy's staff countered Sarkar Amman's arguments on "legal and political grounds" and the Viceroy Lord Reading (1921-25) supported the grandson, Habibullah Khan, on the principle of primogeniture. The Begum was convinced that her loyalty and that of her family, as well as their services to the royal throne, would guarantee acceptance of her plea. She recalled how her predecessor, Mamola Bai (1715-1795), the Rajput wife of Yar Mohammad Khan the Nawab of Bhopal (d. 1742), had welcomed General Goddard in 1778, how Sikandar Begum had sided with the British during the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, and how she herself had been a strong supporter of the Allies during the First World War (Sultaan, 2013, p. 57).
The present study focuses on the journey from the perspective of postcolonial cultural studies. Said's concept of Orientalism, Bhabha's idea of hybridity and mimicry, and Suleri and Spivak's critique of the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized have been employed to analyze cultural contacts during the stay of the visiting party in England. Said (1979) interprets the Orient as "an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought, imagery, and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in and for the West" (ibid, p. 5). The Orient is defined from the reference point of the West, and negative images have been associated with this idea to desecrate the non-European and eulogize the European. This idea, also linked to the concept of cultural hegemony as identified by Gramsci, is an acknowledgement and establishment of European superiority over the "non-European peoples and cultures" since it positions a white man as a higher being (Said, 1979, p.7). However, interaction between Eastern and Western cultures in determinates the authoritative understanding of the Empire, makes cultural boundaries "Janus-faced" and brings forth hybrid culture (Bhabha, 1990, p. 4).
The Bhopalis, during their short stay stay in England, found themselves in what Bhaba describes in another context as the "moment of transit" i.e., exploring and forging new distinct identities and appropriating the cultural "interstices" of past and present (Bhabha, 1994). The Bhopali travellers tried to shed parts of their erstwhile homogenized and unified culture to articulate the cultural differences and partially acquire English culture in the so-called "third space of enunciation" to experience new emerging identities and beliefs in their life (ibid, p. 55). Indeed, Sarkar Amman's royal visit to England, photos of which appeared in the local newspapers for the public eye, offered an opportunity to contest the fixed stereotypes and identities of the visitors in the host culture, especially in the "moment of transit" between the two different cultures. Finding liminal spaces that offer what Bhabha calls "the interstitial spaces" to recognize and accept the differences, the royal family called for readjustment in the face of the English climate, culture, and way of life that challenged and contested their identities, but also offered opportunities. Misunderstandings and cultural shocks in the 'third space' away from Bhopal, (India) and in the "realm of the beyond" also brought forth lighter moments in the text to the amusement of the readers and the embarrassment of the internal audience (Bhabha, 1994, p.1). It is the 'in-between' space where the renewed identities are formed in "the articulation of cultural differences. These "'in-between' spaces provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood--singular or communal--that indicate new signs of identity and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation, in the act of defining the idea of society itself (Bhabha, 1994, p. 2).
It is in the 'Third Space of Enunciation' of Bhaba (Bhaba, 1994, p. 37) that Abida Sultaan inscribes how the visitors from the Third World experienced cultural exchange and hybridity in the 'alien territory' of the First World (ibid, p. 38). For example, Sarkar Amman appropriated and improvised English dressto suit her needs. When her burqa (veil), which she normally wore, failed to keep her warm in the harsh winter of England, she had no choice but to find an English alternative. She appropriated dressing gowns to keep her warm during her public appearances (Sultaan, 2013, p. 66). Of some concern was the fact that the public made fun of other persons in the princely entourage, including the father, mother, and daughters, along with Sarkar Amman, who "emerge as the others of [their]selves" (Bhabha, 1994, p. 39).
While commenting upon the intricate relationship between the colonizer and colonized, Suleri (1992) takes the position that the "colonizer and colonized can no longer be examined as totally autonomous entities, so must critical discourse recognize its imbrication in the fields of its analyses" (p. 21). Similarly, the Empire and its ancillary are imbricated into a relationship of dependence for their functioning and recognition. It is a huge transcultural experience for the family where respective cultures intervene and intersect to negotiate new values for the visitors and make them look at life afresh. The Bhopali women, veiled from head-to-toe, in England were caught between the extremes of "tradition and modernization, culturalism and development" (Spivak, 1999, p. 304).
The temporal and spatial visit to England, where questions about their royal status emerged, gave them agency to question the hegemony of English culture and offered an opportunity to adapt themselves to new epiphanic truths about themselves. With Sarkar Amman's physical displacement, the loci of power also shifted to England and she was hosted as a guest by English royalty. The Bhopali princely state and its royalty became an abstraction, since the Queen's agency, authority and power dissipated in England as she beseeched the Empire to allow her son to replace her as the next ruling Nawab. Suleri (1992) observes that "Colonial facts are vertiginous: they lack a recognizable cultural plot; they frequently fail to cohere around the master-myth that proclaims static lines of demarcation between imperial power and disempowered culture.... Instead, they move with a ghostly mobility to suggest how highly unsettling an economy of complicity and guilt is in operation between each actor on the colonial stage" (ibid, p.3). This point fits well with the case of Sarakar Amman. The Bhopali Queen in England was as ineffective and powerless as the English King George V (1910-1936) and Lord Birkenhead (1924-1928), the Secretary of State, who back in India were thought to be all-powerful and majestic.
Spivak (1990) deconstructs the idea of forced categories because we would ''insistently be aware that the master words are catachresis... that there are no literal referents, there are no 'true' examples of the 'true worker'" (p. 104). The large English gathering at the state welcome came to reify the myth of an "exotic" Indian 'royalty' and face the "risk of rendering otherness indistinguishable from exoticism" (p. 12). Both the Indian "other" and the English Other become a "site for the breakdown of interpretation" (p. 12). Likewise, there is no true royalty: the English King is a ceremonial King, and Bhopali Queen is only a queen if the Empire wills it for its indirect rule. These are instances of cultural "misapprehension" and "ignorance" (Suleri, 1992, p. 21).
'Stinking' Queen's visit to England
Sarkar Amman travelled along withher son, three granddaughters, nephews, and the usually large retinue of ministers, relatives, and household staff. She received a warm welcome in Dover. The English were eager to greet the Indian woman ruler, clad in burqa (veil), which made her the exotic other (Sultaan, 2013, p. 59). The Bhopalis were welcomed by a "huge crowd" while the cameras clicked to cover the arrival. In contrast with the English furor and excitement to receive an Eastern queen, Sarkar Amman was more concerned about her "box of achars (pickles)" than the welcome (ibid, p. 60). The narrator's father felt "embarrassed" at Sarkar Amman's insistence on not proceeding until she got the crate of achar in her car. Minutes before the royal family could receive a gun salute and the Bhopal national anthem could be played, the English steward put the wrong end of the crate on his head and soiled his white uniform with oil trickling down his neck. Shocked at his greasy body and "an unfamiliar pungent smell," he showed "undisguised horror" at the laughter of the Queen's attendant, Rahmanullah Khan, and hurled abuse at "the bloody Indian and their stinking royalty" (ibid, p. 61).
Rahmanullah Khan, ignorant of the English language and its meanings, picked up the swear words and retorted with frantic sign language that caused the sailor throw the crate into the sea. For the English, the Bhopalis were less royal than English royalty. The English Steward could blurt out swear words for the queen--an act unthinkable for an Indian servant. The incident is a potential site to show bipartisanship to their respective royalty. Sarkar Amman was quite "speechless" at the "shock of her precious achars being kicked into the sea" (ibid, p. 61). The ceremonial welcome party ended in a fiasco witnessed by British Representatives, the press, and the public assembled there. Abida Sultaan's father took a long time to console himself for the failure since he was in charge of the preparations.
The English steward's reverberating swear words, "stinking queen" and "bloody royalty," for the proud and progressive Muslim woman ruler Sultan Jahan Begum (also known as Sarkar Amman) on her arrival to London speak of the Oriental stereotypes fixed in the eyes of the English (Sultaan, p. 61). In contrast, later in the text, the Bhopali Queen's inability to understand that the King was merely a constitutional monarch, reflects the ignorance of the other and problematizes the colonial representation of the King-Emperor as all powerful. Hybrid moments of interaction between the Orientalists and Occidentalists in a London winter, as recorded in Princess Abida's Memoirs of a Rebel Princess, bring forth an interesting study of culture-contact, fixity, cultural stereotypes, mimicry, resistance, cultural confusions, misunderstanding and revisions especially on the part of the visitors and to the embarrassment of the hosts.
Abida Sultaan recollects that her voyage to London began in a "high state of excitement." The details of the sea voyage offer glimpses of prejudices and moments of resistance between the Empire and its people. She recalls in a humorous way how Anwar Booa, Sarkar Amman's "alter ego," more than her personal maid, had got seasick and was feeling ghumeri (dizziness) (Sultaan, p. 58). Princess Abida reveals Booa's beliefs about the journey to a Christian land. Anwar Booa considers the taking of a sea voyage to visit a distant country of the kafirs (infidels) an "unnecessary hazard" (ibid, p. 59). Anwar Booa took the momentous decision to make this journey as a "great favour" to her Sarkar (Queen) to ensure the protection of the Queen's body from heathen "contamination" (ibid, p. 59). Anwar Booa does not pay heed to Dr. Johory's medical advice for Sarkar Amman, since his medical science was Christian, and instead preferred to take "three handfuls of sea waters daily" as ill advised by her fellows with the purpose to befool her (ibid, p. 59).
Bhabha (1994) has aptly observed that "[t]he menace of mimicry is its double vision which in disclosing the ambivalence of colonial discourse also disrupts its authority" (p. 88). Accordingly, stinking royalty is a "fixity" in the text which is subverted by the Bhopali servant (p. 66). In addition, Sarkar Amman's English pronunciation and usage "menace(s)" the colonial hegemony (p. 86). Bhabha contends that "discriminatory stereotypes should be identified, and so replaced with authentic images" (p. 121). After moments of cultural shock and confusion, the visitors know the "authentic" selves of the King and Secretary of State. This issue of identity refers to what Bhabha calls "the problematic of seeing/being seen" (p. 76). According to Young (1990), "what becomes apparent is that while Said wants to argue that Orientalism has a hegemonic consistency, his own representation of it becomes increasingly conflictual" (p. 130). Hybrid moments create conflictual understanding of the respective cultures as they negotiate East-West dichotomies, and dismantle and revise Eurocentric and Asian stereotypes through a recognition of cultural difference. People from both cultures dismantle their essentialism.
The way a Muslim woman ruler from the British colony in the Indian Subcontinent is represented by the English, bespeaks the political "doctrine" and stereotyped images thrust on Indian people and their royalty. Said (1979) contends that the Western idea of Orientalism that is "fundamentally a political doctrine willed over the Orient because the Orient was weaker than the West, which elided the Orient's difference with its weakness" (p. 204). The Bhopali royalty has temporarily transmigrated to the center to challenge the Western style and thought of domination. The event also created a liminal space between two distinct and contestant cultures. As Said (1993) points out, "European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground self (p. 3). The Bhopalis have been "orientalized" by the English (p. 5).
The Bhopalis renegotiate their cultural values and identities in England. Cultural appropriation means taking something (cultural practices) from another culture (Ziff & Rao, 1997, p. 1). The Englishman delegitimizes the Indian Queen, and the Bhopali family members lose some of their cultural and social control in England and make use of "interstices" to appropriate and adapt themselves to new values. They experience split subjectivity, alienation and hybridity that drive them to partial adaptation. The two cultures and their respective values, juxtaposed to begin with, syncretize to bring change in the visitors' understanding of life. In their intercultural engagement, though the Bhopalis experience social marginality in Kulturkampf, yet they coalesce during their stay and prepare a collage of cultural practices which are "almost the same but not quite." The Third World royal family mimics in order to be a "a reformed, recognizable other, as a subject of difference that is almost the same, but not quite. Which is to say, that the discourse of mimicry is constructed around ambivalence" (Bhaba, 1994, p. 86, emphases in the original). This is evident in Sarkar Amman's mimicry of Western apparel in her public appearances.
From cultural confusions to understanding: Breaking away from the shells of conventions
Princess Abida Sultaan recalls that though she was young at the time of her visit to England, yet the visit introduced her tothe unknown, an unapproachable modern world. The British living style was all "new and fascinating" (Sultaan, p. 62). Though the royal visitors had brought their Bhopali servants with them, yet they were provided a number of European servants: a housekeeper, footmen, chauffeurs, kitchen maids, parlour maids and chambermaids, headed by the butler Mr. Babcock, who was prized for his generous servings of chocolates and ice cream.
In India, the British women were addressed by the title Your Highness. Here, in England, it was a matter of high esteem and pride for the visiting women to be addressed by the butler as 'Yer' Eighness' in a perfect British accent (ibid, p. 62). Exotic dishes and inversion of titles were what made Mr. Babcock a favourite with them.
The first shock and confusion for the guests was the commonness and ordinariness of English Lords in England. Lord Birkenhead, the Secretary of State for India, was to be given a red carpet welcome in order to discuss 'vital state matters' with Amman clad in her "best burqa" (Sultaan, p. 64). Lord Birkenhead did not have any chauffeur driven Rolls Royce; instead he got off a bus. The Lord had to identify himself to Mr. Babcock to gain entry to the house. The butler's failure to: 'recognise' Lord Birkenhead deprived Sarkar of the opportunity to welcome the Secretary of State in "style" (ibid. p. 65).
The family tour to London was revealing since the "strict and awesome Sarkar Amman" appeared to be softer (ibid, p. 62). Sarkar Amman acted as a strict Sarkar (ruler) in matters of the state and the enforcement of her decisions on her family members, appeared mild only in England in her role as a grandmother. Though Princess Abida Sultaan was considered "mad" for being an outdoor tom, fond of horses and sports, she believed "music" to be her "redeeming feature" (ibid, p. 62). In London, Sarkar Amman admitted her to Frances Lewis's Studio to learn Western arts, like playing violin and taking piano lessons. She compares the exciting adventures on tonga (carriage) horses and rides on polo ponies in Bhopal with "monotonous" rides in Hyde Park and brief canters on Rotten Row (ibid, p. 63). Unlike Bhopal, where Princess Abida Sultaan would drive Sarkar Amman around, the English chauffeurs guarded the cars and did not allow her to touch them. Sarkar Amman explained about the legality of a driving license in England and her incapacity to "buy" her one (ibid, p., 63).
The narrator is also critical of Sarkar Amman's habits and understanding of Western culture. Her grandmother tries to Easternize Western apparel and social costumes to appropriate them for her Muslim and Eastern identity. Unlike in Bhopal, the "cold English climate" confined Sarkar Amman indoors. She received the English ladies in her zoo-like bedroom shared with her nine cats, four cockatoos, several canaries and small birds (ibid,p. 63). The English winter was too much for Sarkar Amman's burqas which needed to be replaced by "heavier" and "warmest" English apparel (ibid, p. 65). The coats were shorter, ending at the knee, and did not cover her ankles as required by her religion. Sarkar Amman used "gaudy dressing gowns" meant as casual dressing in place of formal coats and inverted the purpose of English clothes when she wore them on formal and public occasions (ibid, p. 66). She visited Buckingham Palace in her "bizarre costume" to meet George V and Queen Mary. The press gave "mocking headlines" to her arrival in a "mauve dressing gown" in order to "ridicule and laugh" at the ignorance of the "uncivilized" Indian princes. Some British officials took it as a "deliberate insult" to the Crown while Sarkar Amman in her peculiar accent called it "kon-pyracies" (conspiracies) and wais unable to understand "what all this fuss is about!." She resisted the English mockery by continuing with public appearances in dressing gowns.
Sarkar Amman's pronunciation of English was "embarrassing" when she told Lady Reading that she knew that Lord Reading, Chief Justice was a "great liar", to the shock of everyone, when Abida Sultaan's mother, Princess Maimuna Sultan (nicknamed and called Beeva in the text) realized Sarkar's "unintended faux pas" and explained that she in fact meant a 'great lawyer' (ibid, pp. 67-68). Sarkar Amman faltered at the English language. Since she could not pronounce "Tomascovitch," she would refer to "My dear Countess Tomato", to the amusement of people around (p. 64). Sarkar Amman adopted Queen Victoria as her 'real mother' in 1868 and acted more British than the British themselves, distrusting all foreigners 'on principle' (ibid, p. 64). Never interested in music until the age of sixty-seven, Sarkar Amman suddenly found her love for the "harp" and started singing in "weird" sounds like her cats and cockatoos, invoking the family's laughter. The "unsmiling" housekeeper, Mrs. Beddy, and Babcock were also at "pains to conceal their amusement" (ibid, p. 64).
The family members violated Sarkar Amman's authority by using the Underground and seeking the "unauthorized help" of teachers to visit parks, cinemas, theatres, and shops. Abida Sultaan's twenty-five year old mother, Beeva, in Bhopal was supposed not to show affection for her children since it was considered 'vulgar' and 'presumptuous' in Bhopali culture. In England, she cracked her "shell" to discover parenthood and experience life as a life partner. Her father helped her give up her veil, and she accompanied her daughters like "a sort of elder sister" in their secret escapades. The Bhopali girls were sight-seeing and went to Buckingham Palace where they were not supposed to meet the Royal Family, but they chanced upon Her Majesty, Queen Mary. Princess Abida Sultaan was quite "stunned" by the encounter. They visited Buckingham Palace again with Sarkar Amman on the birth of Princess Elizabeth with oriental gifts for the baby. The little Princess was draped in an Indian 'doshal (double shawl) by Sarkar Amman, but "the baby was displayed only for a brief instant" with the precaution perhaps that the English newborn might contract an infection from the Indian guests (ibid, p. 67).
The Bhopali girls in England became close to their parents for the first time in their young lives. Unlike the palace with traditional segregated mardana and zenana (men's and women's quarters), they were all under one roof. Abida Sultaan got to know that her father was a "debonair, sporting and educated prince" and that Beeva, her mother, was a "beautiful, cultured and gracious young woman" (ibid, p., 68). The girls enjoyed their company. They were led by their mother Beeva to cinemas, theatres, and parks. Even the General Strike of 1926 was a "source of enjoyment" for its "novelty." With their father and cousins, they would roam around in London till late at night. Her father had taken a fancy to ballroom dancing and to playing drums. Abida Sultaan neglected her classics and began picking up jazz. The girls learned dancing as partners to their father--"a very closely guarded secret from Sarkar." However, these 'un-Islamic' activities were discovered by Sarkar Amman, much to her rage (ibid, p. 68).
Unlike in Delhi, where spies and informers kept the Bhopalis up-to-date with the latest developments in the succession case, there was no word from the India Office regarding the outcome. After the Viceroy's favouring her grandson Habibullah Khan, Sarkar Amman decided to beseech King George V. She was advised by Buckingham Palace staff not to take more than fifteen minutes and was informed that His Majesty was a "constitutional monarch" and all political decisions were taken by the British Cabinet (ibid, p. 69). She told King George V how, according to the Muslim Law, her surviving son takes precedence over her grandchildren. Moreover, her son was better educated, trained and more experienced. She simply failed to understand the idea that King George was a constitutional monarch who could not interfere in the decisions of his government that would favour her grandson, who abducted young girls for "their pleasures" and was afraid to ride a horse, for her unmanly behaviour.
Sarkar Amman did not understand how a King Emperor could not "undo injustice to an old woman" (ibid, p. 70). She uncovered her naqab (veil) to show the King her grey hair and wrinkles, to the embarrassment of the King. It looks quite amusing when Sarkar Amman uses the title "Emperor King", on whose empire "sun never sets", but disbelieves that he cannot "undo" decisions of the British Officials. The English King is not a true King in Sarkar Amman's eyes if he cannot act as per his will. Luckily, the Indian Office in London detected flaws in the Viceroy's legal reasoning. On 2 February 1926, the government decided in favour of her son by considering pre-1857 customary law relating to succession. Sarkar Amman abdicated in favour of her son, Prince Hamidullah Khan, as the first male ruler of Bhopal after 107 years of women's rule, and then left England for Bhopal.
Sarkar Amman's politically motivated visit to England with her family prove rewarding. England acts as a third space for the contact of Bhopali and English culture. Whereas the abuse of the English steward antagonizes the Bhopali servant, Sarkar Amman's love for achar, music and the English language embarrass the audience. Princess Abida Sultaan, her father, mother and sisters in this space of enunciation find the opportunity to get together and cross the barriers of Bhopali traditional society to know one another better and gel like a family. They discover their love for 'un-Islamic activities' like going to the cinema, listening to music and practicing couples dance. Sarkar Amman also appropriates English dress, music and language, to the shock of the press and the English audience. The ordinariness of the Secretary of State and ineffectiveness of the King are hard realities for the visitors to reconcile. The text reveals that Bhopali royalty is taken as stinking, bloody and uncivilized in comparison with English royalty. Princess Abida's stature as princess is reduced to that of a common individual when she is not allowed to drive without a license in England. The way the English press negatively reports Sarkar Amman's public appearances, and the manner in which the royal baby was safeguarded against the guests and their possible infections, reinforce the orientalist images of the "othered" in the English gaze.
(1) The Muslim law of inheritance, though not meant for regalities, gave preference to sons over grandsons in the matters of inheritance (Khan 2000, 206). The term 'Mohammedan Law is now obsolete and is replaced by the term Muslim Law.
(2) It was a treaty of friendship that was signed by the State of Bhopal with the East India Company (Khan 2000, 64). The Supreme Government of India, represented by Lord Hasting (1813-1823), the Governor General, conferred succession of the government in Bhopal in 1819 to Moneer Mohammad Khan at the death of Nussur Muhammad Khan, the Nawab of Bhopal (An Appeal to British justice and honour 1841, 33).
(3) Lord Canning (1856-1862), the Governor General of India, signed Sanads (treaties) with Sikandar Begum assuring her that "on failure of any natural heir, any succession to the government of your State which may be legitimate according to Muhammadan Law will be upheld" (Khan 2000, 194).
(4) The people of Bhopal elected the younger son, NawabNazar Mohammad Khan (1816-1819), at the death of Wazir Mohammad Khan (1807-16), the 6th Nawab of Bhopal, in 1816 and bypassed the older son Nawab Amir Mohammad Khan (Khan 2000, 67).
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Mirza Muhammad Zubair Baig
Department of Humanities, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore
Mirza Muhammad Zubair Baig (PhD, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad) is Assistant Professor of English at the Department of Humanities, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. His research has primarily examined the inversion of colonial and patriarchal metaphors and stereotypes from the structured classic texts in the contemporary rewritings. His research interests lie generally in the areas of Postcolonialism, Feminism, Pakistani Literature, Discourse Analysis, Second Language Acquisition and Digital Literacies. For contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Author:||Baig, Mirza Muhammad Zubair|
|Publication:||Pakistan Journal of Women's Studies: Alam-e-Niswan|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2017|
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