Between 1819 and 1926 four Muslim
women rulers reigned over Bhopal, the second
largest Muslim state of India, despite staunch opposition
from powerful neighbors and male claimants.
Even the British India Company initially opposed female rule in Bhopal
until the Begums quoted Queen Victoria as their model and inspiration. Each
Begum--or Queen--impressed her own personality on the role and succeeded
in reigning over a mostly Hindu population. Qudisa, the _x005Frst Begum, was supported
by her powerful French-Bourbon Prime Minister in her departure from
the traditional. She was succeeded in 1844 by Sikandar, her only daughter,
who was also followed by her only daughter, the highly controversial Shahjehan.
The story ends with the last Begum, Sultan Jehan, and her abdication in
favor of her son, the _x005Frst male ruler (Nawab) of Bhopal in _x005Fve generations. This
book o_x005Fers the _x005Frst balanced history of the state.
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