Northbrook's letter: Fort William (Kolkata), 13 January 1873. Altogether about 12 Folio official manuscripts (ca. 32,5x21 cm); some on folding leaves; with the manuscript contents of the folder, in all ca. 29 pp. Northbrook's letter is written in English, the rest of the documents are in Urdu. Brown ink on laid and wove paper of various colours (some watermarked); seven manuscripts are verified by British India officials; many are with manuscript comments in Urdu on the margins; two documents with large ink stamps (text in Urdu). The documents are loosely inserted but have the needle holes in the gutter margins from the original stitches. Original card government folder with a paper label and a manuscript title in Urdu on the front board. Paper slightly age-toned, occasional staining, one document split in two parts, but overall a very good collection.
Interesting collection of original official manuscripts illustrating the relations of the British India government with the Princely State of Bhopal (now a part of the Madhya Pradesh state of India) in the 1870s. The letter from Lord Northbrook, then the Vice-Roy of India (1872-76), to Sultan Shah Jehan, the female ruler or the Begum of Bhopal, congratulates her once again with the investiture as a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (Sultan Shah Jehan became one of the four only female recipients of the order, together with her mother Sikandar Begum, daughter Sultan Jahan Begum and Mary of Teck, Queen consort of Great Britain). In the end, Northbrook concludes that he will be pleased "to forward to the Secretary of State of India for delivery to Her Majesty your Highness' petition and accompanying address" – the latter two documents are possibly present among the other eleven Urdu manuscripts in the folder. Among the Urdu papers, seven are signed by the British India officials – Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison (1832-96, foreign secretary of the Government of India in 1868-78), Lieut.-Col. John Willoughby-Osborne (1833-1881, British political agent in Bhopal in 1863-74, 1875-76 and 1878-79), and Captain Dalrymple, "assistant political agent, Bhopal." Willoughby-Osborne wrote the brief history of the Nawabs of Bhopal accompanying the travelogue of Shah Jahan’s mother Sikandar Begum (1817-1868) about her trip to Mecca in 1864 (Sikandar Begum of Bhopal. A Pilgrimage to Mecca. Translated from the original Urdu and edited by Mrs. Willoughby-Osborne, Followed by a Historical Sketch of the Reigning Family of Bhopal, by Lieut.-Col. Willoughby-Osborne, C.B., Political Agent in Bhopal. London, 1870).
"Shah Jahan succeeded her mother as Begum of Bhopal upon the death of the latter in 1868. Having been groomed for leadership of the state, Shahjahan improved the tax revenue system and increased state intake, raised the salaries of her soldiers, modernised the military's arms, built a dam and an artificial lake, improved the efficiency of the police force and undertook the first census after the state suffered two plagues (the population had dropped to 744,000)" (Wikipedia). "Gladstone appointed [Northbrook] Viceroy of India in 1872-1876. His major accomplishments came as an energetic reformer who was dedicated to upgrading the quality of government in the British Raj. He began large scale famine relief, reduced taxes, and overcame bureaucratic obstacles in an effort to reduce both starvation and widespread social unrest" (Wikipedia).
Price: $1,250.00 USD