Mr. Jafar Mir Abdullah had been working with Biological Evans, a pharmaceutical company, since 1974. His late father was in the antiques business and quite well known in this circle. Since his father had left behind a vast collection of antiquities, all set up and displayed in a showroom, Jafar Mir resigned from his job in 1995 to take charge of his father’s business. Only he can throw light upon his first interview that came to light, in a vernacular daily, in which he claimed his being a direct descendant of Nawab Asaf ud Doulah. From then onwards, he has been descending from various rulers of Awadh as well as famous nobles of Awadh.
The Times of India [Lucknow Times, dated 15.01.2007] has done an excellent job in bringing out the truth behind this fraud. But, surprisingly, it has had little impact upon the authorities and the channels concerned as they continue to portray him in their news. India Today, UNI, The Telegraph, Siasat, etc. have been reporting his fraud in continuation, yet all this while, Jafar Mir was an honoured guest of the University of Trinidad and Tobago, as Awadh Royalty, reading his ‘royal’ papers, in seminars as the “Prince / Nawab of Lucknow” here and “The Nawab of Sheesh Mahal” there! Government Departments like the Archaeological Survey of India issue invitation cards to Lucknowites, including real royal descendants, with his photographs prominently displayed on them. The Department of Tourism projects him as the royal nawab, in their display cards. Doordarshan and other channels are after him to be on air for anything that has to do with Awadh or Lucknow!
A British “historian” has erroneously introduced him as the direct descendant of King Mohammed Ali Shah, in her book, Lucknow Then and Now; which has been the main reason, for his continuous fame viz. Awadh royalty. Whenever doubts arise in the mind of any nosy news hound, he/she is shown this book and asked, “Do you think that a famous British historian and that too, a lady, would project me as a direct descendant if she knew that I was not”? The inquisitive media then backs off in bewilderment.
Mr. Jafar Mir Abdullah’s grandfather, the late Syed Wajid Hussain from Patna, married Bilqees Ara Begum, in 1917, a second cousin of my grandfather, late Nawab Haider Ali Khan Shishmahal. Bilqees Ara Begum was a darling of her parents and four brothers, as such her family wanted a ghar jawai, descending from a good family, apart from being a Syed too. The late Syed Wajid Hussain was the son of Syed Lutf Ali Khan, whose mother Razia Begum was the daughter of Nawab Syed Mohd. Lutf Ali Khan belonged to the Guzri family of Patna. The title of “Nawab” to S.M. Lutf Ali Khan was “Hayati” and not hereditary.
When M.M. Raza Hussain Khan (father of Bilqees Ara Begum) died, one of the Taluqdars, Jafar Mir Abdullah’s father, the late Mr. Mir Abdullah, applied to the British India Association [BIA] for registration of his name in place of the deceased but his application was rejected on the grounds that the Taluqas go only to the male descendants of the Taluqdar and Mr. Mir Abdullah was a claimant from the daughter’s side.
The chance of becoming a Taluqdar and “Nawab” came once again to the Abdullah family, when M.M. Sajjad Ali Khan, Taluqdar and my grandfather’s maternal uncle expired, issueless, in 1968. “Mr.” Jafar Mir Abdullah applied for registration, by adopting the deceased as his “adopted” father, in place of his living one! He smartly added “Nawab” before his name, explaining to the BIA that his full name was Nawab Jafar Mir Abdullah and that the word “Nawab” does not refer to any title! BIA played a partisan and illegal role by entertaining this absurd application, overlooking the fact that Islam has no place in any inheritance for adopted children. The BIA has, however, specified that he or his predecessors were not given the title of “Nawab”.
In lieu of the facts mentioned above, it is, therefore, a matter of grave concern to the actual and legal descendants of the ex-royal family of Awadh, when fakes start capitalising upon their genealogy and project themselves as real.
It becomes more important when these tricksters, in connivance with unscrupulous elements, start fooling gullible tourists, for a “Dine With The Royalty” parties, charging them hefty sums. They also betray the trust imposed upon them, as has been done by the Abdullah Family, who are the sons-in-law of the Nawab of Shishmahal and have no connection whatsoever with any royalty of Awadh.
Jafar Mir Abdullah has sold the Shishmahal Family graveyard, known as the Muqbara Hakim Mehdi as his own personal property [The Times of India dated 02.02.2009, page 2].
Unfortunately, true nobility and genuine royal descendants are becoming suspect because people have encountered too many deceivers and pretenders, making it very difficult to discern the actual from the fake. There are also many others who claim illustrious ancestors based on vague legends passed down through the generations or because of unscrupulous greedy men and women who sell these impostors for ‘a few dollars more’. Unless people can see the immense worth and value of monarchy, nobility and chivalry, which is far above silver and gold, these special and unique ideals will lose their edge and could eventually be lost to mankind.
Hence, there really needs to be a practical and effective approach designed to help protect the public and safeguard it from the lies and deceit of the self-proclaimed title holders and the fake and unaccredited genealogists. I appeal to all concerned to resist these activities by discouraging such actions and also caution those who are bent upon tarnishing the name of Awadh Rulers that are world famous for their hospitality and generosity.
[NAWAB IBRAHIM ALI KHAN SHISHMAHAL is President, Royal Family of Awadh and Nawabeen e Awadh Foundation]