India became a democratic republic in the year 1947; before which, the Indian subcontinent was divided into princely states, led by their rulers, who were graced with titles as Maharajas, Sultans, Nawabs, Raja. These ruling kings and queen ensured the well being of their dynasty, state, and all its people.
Rampur State was a princely state of British India. It came into existence in 1774. The founder and first ruler of Rampur State was Nawab Faizullah Khan, who ruled it for 20 years, making it the capital of the princely state. He was a collector of rare and valuable manuscripts, which made up the bulk of the Rampur Raza Library; one of the biggest library in Asia.
After Nawab Faizullah Khan, ten rulers ruled the Rampur princely state. The last ruler was Nawab Raza Ali Khan. All the succeeding Nawabs were the great patrons of scholars, poets, painters, calligraphers and musicians contributing to the upliftment of education and culture of the state.
According to the National Archives of India, 7 Items were listed as “Heirloom” Jewels.
1. One big Diamond Necklace.
2. One big Diamond Necklace.
3. Two Emerald Necklaces.
4. One crown with diamonds and pearls.
5. One emerald, Diamond and Ruby sword cover.
6️. One diamond and Gold Gilt sword.
7️. One gold and diamond belt.
Unfortunately, there are no books available, covering the legacy and heritage of Rampur.
Rampur had the largest and the finest collection of Natural Pearls in India, few of the pieces exceeded the sizes of a thumbnail. Along with the strings of Natural Pearls necklaces, the nawabs also wore approximately thirty strings of Natural Pearl sash falling from the shoulders until the hips.
Nawab Hamid Ali Khan, during his reign of 41 years (1889-1930) expanded the number of educational institutions. He also built a splendid mansion of Indo-European style named Hamid Manzil inside the fort in 1904 which had a Gold throne and Gold Hookah. The Raza Library was later shifted to this magnificent building in 1957.
Nawab Raza Ali Khan wearing Emerald State Necklace.
The value of the jewels of Rampur was almost equal in value to the collection of Baroda Jewels. They were even believed to be thrice the value of the collection of Maharaja of Jaipur with a wide range of unique rubies, emeralds and diamonds jewellery. Besides the Nawabs, the Treasury Officer knew about the strong room where the jewels were kept, and the only person ever given a tour of the treasure vault was the Viceroy of India and no other guest were shown the jewels. These jewels were kept in a strong room with thick walls of 3-4 feet, isolated from the rest of the rooms of the palace and multiple keys were used by the nawabs to open the jewel safe.
When we speak of the royal family, we cannot go on without the mention of the beautiful BEGUMS! Nawab Raza Ali Khan, the last Nawab of the princely state, had three queens. Rajmata Rafat Jamani Begum was the first queen; her fondness for elaborate jewels is depicted in the images. Rajmata is seen wearing a spectacular diamond tiara and necklace, studded with gold and big diamonds.
Besides the jewels, I would like to bring your attention to the royal ensemble worn by Rajmata and the begums of Rampur court. The ladies wore special Persian pyjamas and a full sleeve shirt, and a six-yard chiffon scarf. The dress was handcrafted with intricate floral designs made with diamond beads and gold wire. Rajmata had several hundred dresses, which she gave to her daughters-in-law and daughters.
And now talking about some yummy cuisine!! The Nawabs of Rampur had an appetite of good food, the royal courts over the years gave rise to the Rampuri cuisine, developed by the chefs of the Nawabs known for its distinct flavours and dishes with recipes passed on from the royal kitchen. Rampur was also traditionally famous for the knives known as Rampuri Chaaku (knives) along with Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana of Hindustani classical music and Kathak dance, which had its origins in court musicians.
Following independence in 1947, Rampur State and other princely states of the area were merged into the United Provinces. The last Nawab of Rampur Nawab Raja Ali Khan handed the administration to the government of India and Rampur became a part of Uttar Pradesh in India. After the death of Nawab Raza Ali Khan in 1966, several valuables including crown, jewellery were handed over to his descendants and kept in Kothi Khas Bagh in Rampur. After a long family dispute over the property of the nawabs, the court had recently passed an order for the property to be divided amongst all the family heirs. The descendants of the Nawab family have joined Indian Political party, representing Rampur.
Not many books have thrown light on the rich heritage and legacy of Rampur. I sincerely hope that through this article, which is inspired by from Live History India blog, you all have enjoyed the virtual tour learning about the Indian rich lives of the Nawabs of Rampur.
Coming back with some more interesting articles ahead. Are you looking forward to them?
****** Disclaimer: The above images belong to their respective sources, where rights may be held. Usage here is for information/reference purpose only ******
All credits: Pratiek Dhadha, Nawabzadi Malika Nuzhatara Begum, Live History India blog