Roza Khushai with zamzam, in gold spoon over silver stool

Bhopal: My mother Mubarak Jehan Begum was born on the auspicious occasion of the crowning ceremony of Hamid Ullah Khan Sahab. Thus Nawab Sultan Jehan Begum congratulated her father Wala Qadar Sardar Walayat Mohd Khan and said that he should keep his daughter’s name Mubarak Jehan.

Her father was from the family of Nazar-ud-Daulah Nawab Nazar Mohd Khan and Wazir-ud-daulah, Nawab Wazir Mohd Khan. Mubarak Jehan Begum’s marriage ceremony was the last ceremony held in Sadar Manzil. She was given 2.5 kilos of gold. Her anklets were of 55 tolas. Later she could afford to marry two daughters by selling her clothes that were of pure silver threads.

Breaking of my Roza by drinking zam-zam in a spoon of gold over silver stool

All preparations had started in our palace one month ahead of the day of my Roza khushai (celebration made when a child keeps his or her first fast of Ramadan). I was taken for shopping to Meena Bazaar where various items of the vanity and interest were available. At the age of 8, I had to keep the fast from Mubarak Manzil, Barah Mahal. I do not care what the word says but I would call it Roza Khushai (a happy celebration of the fast) as I had always been saying.

I don’t remember what I ate in the sehri except that my mother had cooked Sewaiyan (a special Muslim sweet dish) with great efforts herself. On that special day knowing my interest in guns, father had gifted me all the 52 guns that remained with me till my marriage. He also took me for a drive in our car driven by the driver Fazlu. He drove the car so fast that it becomes popular that if there was anyone who could drive faster than Badi Biya Abida Sultan then he was our Fazlu. At that time there were only 5-7 cars in Bhopal city. My shelter office was then the garage for our cars.

Thus with all this adornment, the tinkling of the jewellery, the smell of the perfume, I entered before the guests. Nawab Hamidullah Khan Sahab was sitting with Princess Gauhar Taj Abida Sultan (Badi Biya) in the centre of the hall. My mother Zubeida Begum seated me on a special stool that she had got made of silver for me.

A very great Peer Sahab Religious scholar was also there and everyone was looking at him. He was probably Hazrat Shah Yaqub Ahmed (Peer Nanhey mian). He only recited the prayer. My father (mian) used to say that a second spent with a Sufi Saint is worth more than a 100 years of worship.

The Iftari (food or snacks eaten after breaking of the fast) was kept in large trays of silver covered with khwanposh (tray cover) of velvet cover with zari work on them. I do not remember all that was there in the Iftari except tukh maliyan (Tulsi Sherbet).

My Mother had told me that at that time in dates only Pind Khajur was available and Bakarkhani (sweet bread) with Rizala (a special Bhopali gravy of meat with lots of lemon and coriander) were always there. My father was very fond of eating sweets and kalakand was his favourite one.

My photograph was taken during my fast only. I was wearing a turki kurta of atlas silk, Churidar pajama of Kamkhaab (pure brocade) and crushed long Bhopali dupatta. With me were my elder brother Mehmood Mohd Khan (Bade Zara se Mian) and younger brother Saeed Mohd Khan (Chotey Zara se Mian) as you could see in the photograph. ‘Zara se’ was added the names of the children to save them from the evil eye.

As Bhopal was a primarily state royalty and authority were even exhibited from my dress. I was wearing a Champakali Set Machialian (fished shaped jewellery embedded with precious stones &diamonds) in my neck, Jhumkis (droppings) in my ears and Jadau Tika on my forehead and various other jewellery.

All the guests who attend my Roza-Khushai ceremony were given with the four special tokens of Bhopal (Ghutkha, Batua, Chuneti and Rumaal) as well as Itra. Badi Biya had gifted me a small Janamaz (prayer mat) with flowers of gold stitched on it.

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