Tag Archives: Nawab of Pataudi

Tiger Pataudi’s daughter Saba recasts Auqaf-e-Shahi Board


Bhopal :

Saba Sultan, daughter of Tiger Pataudi, the only women custodian of royal endowment properties in Saudi Arabia, appointed a new secretary and member, here on Monday. With appointment of Azam Tirmizi as secretary and social worker Abdul Tahir as a member, process of completion of six-member executive board came to an end. The board advises Sultan on financial, administrative and legal issues.

Resignation of two members, including former secretary Mohammed Hasim necessitated freshappointments. Sultan heads Rs-1,200 crore Auqaf-e-Shahi, a royal endowment charitable trust of erstwhile Bhopal State with its properties spread across Bhopal and also in the holy city of Mecca and Medina.

Monday’s meeting comes in backdrop of a confrontation between trust advisor Gufran-e-Azam and current MP Waqf board chairman Shoukat Mohammed Khan.

In presence of Sultan, Azam claimed Auqaf-e-Shahi is independent as it only registers its Indian properties with Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board, which is a caretaker and paid chanda nigrani (token amount from rent/earnings).

Azam took on MP Waqf Board over jurisdiction claim on Auqaf-e-Shahi, a royal endowment trust of former Bhopal State.

Saba Sultan reiterated she was ‘mutawalli’ (custodian), a position accepted by Saudi Arabia and MP Waqf Board. She said her agenda was now to augment rent collection and, in return, provide better pay to all Auqaf-e-Shahi workers and imams of mosques under the trust.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> Cities> Bhopal / TNN / November 21st, 2014

Pataudi: The Afghan connection

The Pataudis.... Photo: R.V. Moorthy
The Pataudis…. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

They embody the dream of gracious living and togetherness. And you realise why when you meet them, says Kausalya Santhanam, about her tete-a-tete with Sharmila Tagore and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

Cricket, cinema and royalty — can there be a more potent mixture? Three decades after he headed the Indian cricket team with such distinction and his begum won the hearts of cinegoers, the spell cast by the couple continues. The Pataudis — Mansur Ali Khan and Sharmila Tagore — embody the Indian dream of gracious living and togetherness. You realise why when you meet them at their spacious bungalow in Delhi.

Though his clipped replies on the telephone make you apprehensive about the interview, he is quite forthcoming when you begin to talk to him. “I know what it is like to be at the other side for I was a reporter for the Ananda Bazaar Patrika many years ago,” he says. He listens to the questions with patience and courtesy. To be a Nawab is to be heir to a lifestyle marked by refinement in speech and behaviour.

How does it feel to be so respected three decades after leaving the game and how much has the royal aura contributed to this, you ask.

“If there is respect, it is because of a mixture of many things,” he replies. “It is also because I married into a recognised family (Sharmila is a grand niece of Rabindranath Tagore) with cultural interests and a literary background. There is a lot of curiosity (about us).

“I was not the only one in cricket from a similar background,” he says. “There were others like me — Hanumant Singh, Inderjit Singh, Fatesingh Gaekwad (who was President of the Board of Cricket Control), the Maharaja of Udaipur, the Patiala family… there were a lot of us around. The disadvantage was not because of the background but because I did not understand the undercurrents; I had not studied in India but abroad. It helped too for I did not get involved in the local politics. Regarding the royal aura, you are right in the sense we didn’t indulge in nepotism or favouritism. We played it pretty straight — not promoting someone because he was from a particular background. I played most of my cricket from the South. I still meet Chandrasekhar, Prasanna and Ramnarayan.”

What are his links now with Pataudi, the princely State in Haryana?

“Links are with the people,  not with the soil, After Independence, there was a large transfer of property. Quite a few people from Pataudi migrated to Pakistan. Many of my family members too went away, like my uncle, a former army general in Pakistan, who has written a book about the family and its history.”

Does he visit often and how much regard is there now in Pataudi for the former royal family?

“I’m a fairly private person. I don’t make an issue of going there. But for certain occasions, I do go. A large number of people came to my mother’s funeral to pay their respects. So the connection is still there, the bond is strong. I’m not into politics in Pataudi. I do some social work and am involved in running an eye hospital.”

What are his earliest memories?

“The background for me is cricket or sport. The earliest memories are of playing cricket on the lawns of our home and at the Roshanara Club at the age of nine.”

As for the story that he was upset when his father, the renowned cricketer, Ifthikar Ali Khan, stepped in and took a catch, he says, “Oh, that! I was young and father thought I would drop it.” He adds with feeling, “His was a very good presence.”

“My first coach was Sir Frank Worrell,” says the Nawab who became the youngest captain in the world at the age of 21 and acquired the appellation “Tiger” for his superb fielding skills. “My Master at Winchester College (in England where I did my school) also coached me. Winchester was an important turning point. My son Saif also went there, but perhaps,” he adds reflectively, “it is better to go abroad to study when you are a little older.”

Does he regret not playing one-day cricket as he would have been eminently suited for it?

“Yes. But I’m happy I played for my country. Nobody thought that one-day cricket would become so popular. When we played, there was not much money in the game but we enjoyed our game very much. And no, I don’t watch all the matches whether the World Cup or others. I was a commentator for AIR and Doordarshan. The main activity however had to be cricket or commentary — we had to be totally committed to the game.”

Is he disappointed his son Saif did not become a cricketer but an actor?

“Not at all, there was no compulsion for him to be one. I’m very happy that he is happy.”

Did not the commercials on television and the advertisements in print contribute to keeping the Pataudis in the public eye, projecting them in a regal way?

“If I came across well, it was because of the directors of the commercials,” he states simply.

Having been educated in England, did he not want to settle there?

“I feel very comfortable living here. My forefathers came here from Afghanistan during the time of the Lodis and established themselves after Aurangazeb died. Pataudi was set up as a principality by the English.

How difficult is to maintain the property?

“I have no palace. Palaces are like elephants around your neck. They are very difficult to maintain. Part of the Bhopal Palace has been given to a University. My cousins live in the other portions. My father sold the house in Delhi and built the palace at Pataudi for my mother when they got married in 1938. My mother was recognised as the Begum in 1968. Her elder sister migrated to Pakistan and her son, my cousin, was the manager of the Pakistan cricket team in this World Cup.”

With paternal ancestors at Pataudi and the maternal inheritance of Bhopal, life must have been interesting for him as a child…

“It was. Bhopal was a State with a great deal of protocol. There were bodyguards. When we had to meet our grandfather, we had to wear our best clothes and we were then lined up before him. He would ask: `How’s school? Which class are you in?’ We would answer, bow and come away. Pataudi was different — there were no bodyguards and life was more informal.”

Is not the present trend in the country — of religious fanaticism — disturbing?

“Extremely. But it is inevitable, a post-colonial syndrome which the country has to go through. Moderate voices won’t be heard for a lot of propaganda has been unleashed. It reflects poor thinking and vision, as there are more important things to think of — building houses and providing drinking water. There is so much of unemployment and frustration.”

What does he have to say about his foray into politics?

“I was in politics in 1992, when Rajiv (Gandhi) said `we would like you to come into it’. If he was alive, I might have still been in politics though I find it claustrophobic as it robs you of privacy.”

And how does he spend time now?

“Talking to reporters,” he deadpans.

* * *

“WHAT’S in a name?” asks Sharmila Tagore, acclaimed actress and the Begum of Pataudi, when you talk to her. “To elderly family members and friends, I am the Begum. I’m Rinku to my friends and Mrs. Khan to others. I’m better known as Sharmila Tagore. That’s what I am, what I have made of myself. I come from a middle-class literary background and I don’t have an identity crisis.”

“Belonging to a royal family is not an advantage any more in India,” adds the Begum.

“Titles are no longer respected. The tendency is to minimise their worth whereas titled people are respected in England.

“The reaction here comes from a very uninformed source and is a response to the reading of novels, which depict the royals as debauched and autocratic. The books do not highlight how the former rulers maintained law and order. Bhopal did not lose a single life in riots during Partition. The rulers provided good administration. They still have a place in the hearts of the people and are invited to grace marriages and other functions. Jealousy prompts some people to look down on them. But they can’t help but be impressed by royalty.”

Has she had to give up anything — freedom for instance — by marrying the Nawab?

“I haven’t given up anything. He is very liberal in his views. I’ve gained a lot of experience and gained another culture, cuisine, and way of dressing. I’ve benefited a lot.”

As an outstanding example of a successful Hindu-Muslim marriage, would it not be a good idea for them to make efforts to promote communal harmony?

“Pluralism is the strength of our country. History has shown us that we can co-exist peacefully. India absorbed other cultures but now we are becoming xenophobic. We are reacting 500 years after the Moghuls came. But if Tiger and I make attempts to promote harmony, I do not know how far we will succeed. People will say that I am not a Muslim and that Tiger is a Hindu fanatic.”

How do her two daughters, Saba and Soha, and son regard their lineage?

“Saif is very much into family history and all three children are conscious of their ancestry but in a nice way.”

Cricket lofted it

FIVE HUNDRED years ago, Mansur Ali Khan’s ancestors came from Afghanistan, equipped with superb skills in horsemanship, and looking for greener pastures. Salamat Khan, his forefather arrived in India in 1480 A.D. with his clan during the time of Bahlul, an Afghan of the Lodi tribe, says Tiger’s uncle in his book on the history of the family. Bahlul was governor of the Punjab and later ruled Delhi. A mass migration of Afghans to India took place during his time. Salamat Khan’s family was chosen to quell the Mevati tribe.

Bahlul’s grandson, Ibrahim Lodi, did not trust the Afghan nobles. This led to their rebellion and Babur of Kabul was invited to India resulting in the Battle of Panipat. Ibrahim Lodhi was killed and Mughal rule was established.

Salamat Khan did not actively participate in the Battle of Panipat. His great-grandson, Muhammed Pir, rose to power in Akbar’s court.

In the 18th Century, Alaf Khan of the family assisted the Mughal ruler in his battle against the Maharaja of Jaipur. He was rewarded with Kalam Mahal (which later came to be known as Pataudi House near Delhi Gate) to serve as the family residence.

The princely State of Pataudi was established in 1804 by the British when Faiz Talab Khan (who was made the first Nawab) aided them in their battle against the Marathas. In 1857, the Nawab of Jhajjhar, the Nawab of Pataudi’s cousin, joined anti-British forces and was hanged by the British. The territory was cut in half and Pataudi became a minor State. Cricket placed it on the international map with two generations of players excelling in the game.

Tiger’s mother Sajida Sultan belonged to the well-known House of Bhopal. She became the Nawab Begum of Bhopal after the death of her father, Nawab Hamidullah Khan. Flag Staff House, the residential building of the Bhopal rulers is located within the Ahmedabad palace complex which Hamidullah Khan built in the old Bhopal area. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Rajendra Prasad were State guests here.

This article was published in ‘The Hindu Sunday Magazine’ on August 3, 2003

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Cricket / by Kausalya Santhanam / September 26th, 2011

Whole Lotta Saif


A library with books ranging from Ustinov and Wodehouse to a French dictionary, a Mandela biography and even a Dan Brown novel, occupies prominent space in the study of actor Saif Ali Khan. His Padma Shri and the National Award adorn one wall in the room, while a framed picture of Clint Eastwood gazes at you from another corner. A giant mounted television and an accompanying sound system are indicative of the vinyl-collecting actor’s interest in a complete audio-visual experience.

Saif walks in and profusely apologises for a short wait. Clad in a simple white kurta-pyjama, the bespectacled actor makes for a comfortable picture, his boyish smile not once betraying the kind of hectic day he’s having.
Within a few hours, he’d be on a flight to Mauritius following which he would make his way to a month-long shooting schedule in the US. Even so, his excitement is infectious as he takes me to a wall that proudly displays the iconic image of Jimmy Page, the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist, using a violin bow on his guitar.

“This is    an enlarged version of the original that I have. The picture was taken by Terry O’Neill and I blew it up to frame it and place it here,” he says, beamingly.

Whether or not he has a blockbuster in his kitty, his has always been the image of a guitar-totting star. Even before Bollywood fans discovered rock music through the works of Vishal-Shekhar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy or even films like Rock On!! Saif was the only Bollywood actor to have toured with a band (India’s premier rock outfit Parikrama in this case) and performed at concerts that had little to do with any filmi promotions. He is modest about his skills and agrees that his Bollywood connection has helped fans overlook the fact that he isn’t all that gifted with the guitar. “It’s probably true that I can get away with playing mediocre music because I’m a Bollywood star. I should have practised much more over the years. But when people say that my playing is rubbish, I think that’s a bit unfair, though perhaps their condescension is understandable. However, it’s safe to say that for many years I was the only actor who knew how to hold a guitar let alone play it!” he laughs, uproariously.

Mornings in the Khan household, he says, usually mean Saif, wife Kareena Kapoor and Elvis the doggie taking in a healthy dose of jazz along with their breakfast. The actor is a big fan of this genre of music along with rock, blues and classical. He doesn’t like his music too “aggressive” and admits to knowing little about the burgeoning EDM scene. His musical education started rather early. In fact, during one of his musical appreciation classes in school, he was even made to watch the movie version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. “The first group that interested me was Deep Purple. I was going to a grown up school in England after prep school. One of my seniors was strumming a guitar,” he says and starts to hum the tune while subconsciously breaking into air guitar mode. “He said he was playing a song called Black Night. I fell in love with it immediately. I had obviously heard music before but this is when I fell in love with rock.”

Incidentally, Saif’s best friend in school was the son of Paul Samwell-Smith, founding member and bassist of English rock band Yardbird. Although he was taking guitar lessons, he tried his hand at vocals but his teachers discovered early on that Saif was probably “tone-deaf” or some variant of it. “It doesn’t come naturally to me. I can’t tune a guitar, at least some frequencies. Of the five strings of the guitar E-A-D-G-B, I’m fine with EADG. The tuning area for the B string is slightly different to the rest. I just can’t tune that well. It’s not like I can’t hear it but I don’t seem to hear it correctly. I can’t make sense out of it,” he says, bemused with his condition yet grateful for electronic tuners.

If school initiated him into rock, it was his mother, the illustrious actress Sharmila Tagore, who introduced him to a lot of musical luminaries. He recalls, “My mum was very hip with music. She was into soul, Motown, funk; admired singers like Eartha Kitt and Ella Fitzgerald. She had great speakers and a good record player.” The first CD Saif ever bought was ZZ Top’s Eliminator when his mother took him shopping.

Even as he credits his mother for being a musical influence, the one feature that he didn’t pick up from his father was, incidentally, his taste in music. The late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was an avid ghazal listener, a genre of music Saif till date can’t seem to get his head around. “Ghazals, albeit beautiful songs, can be a bit too melancholic for my liking. We went to a Begum Akhtar concert at the Pakistani embassy in Delhi once with my father, when I was about 12 years old. I was sitting behind him or on his bad side, he couldn’t see me on his right. A lot of elders were going all ‘Wah! Wah!’ during the performance. So even I started doing that. I kept doing it until someone or probably my dad told me to shut up!” he guffaws.

Thankfully for him, Kareena and he have grown to sharing some musical tastes. Saif plays the guitar for her sometimes though he admits to his tendency to play the same AC/DC songs and a few others all the time. “She says I should practise more. She likes it when I play the guitar. Once, early on in our relationship, she had asked me to turn down the music because she was talking to someone. Today she can’t start her morning without jazz! She once told me that she learnt so much from me without having been consciously taught. I, in fact, feel the same with her.”

A Zen-like calmness seeps into his face when he talks about her. He admits that at 43, he’s experiencing a personal stability after years of trying to do many things. When Saif finished his A-levels, he told his parents he wanted to be an actor. “They were mortified. I wasn’t adamant but I was pretty stupid, yet incredibly lucky,” he says, before acknowledging his spate of flops that went on for years. “I never thought I’d stop doing films. I didn’t think I had much of a choice. I didn’t go to University, so what would I have done apart from films? With my qualifications, I would’ve been a farm manager at Pataudi! I had so many opportunities to learn from my mistakes. It was a bit depressing and I really wasn’t enjoying much of the work I did then. I learnt what not to do and I worked hard to try and better myself. Dil Chahta Hai was the gamechanger. That gave me a new lease of life,” he says, with the pride of a man who despite all odds, didn’t give up.

Ironically, Saif admits to being quite the escapist. And that trait extends even into his love for music, a constant companion through all of his struggles. “I don’t like to connect with too much drama. I have enough in my life, like most others do. Connecting to pain through music is something I find rather painful and highly avoidable. I’d rather listen to something happy,” he laughs.

source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle – Sunday Chronicle / Home> Comment / by DC Correspondent / March 01st, 2014