and Families of Note in the Punjab, Vol I, revised
The Life and
Time of Nawab Haji Sir Fateh Ali Khan Qizilbash with an introductory
brief on Nawab Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash, his grandfather
Ali Khan Qizilbash was the son of Sardar Nisar Ali Khan Qizilobash,
the youngest of three sons of Nawab Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash. His
eldest son was Nawab Sir Nawazish Ali Khan Qizilbash C.I.E. and
K.C.I.E. The British bestowed upon Ali Raza Khan the title of Khan
Bahadur. He was created a hereditary Nawab in 1864 for his commendable
services to the British during their campaign in Afghanistan and
later on in India after the British withdrew from Afghanistan. Nawab
Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash was also an Honorary Magistrate of Lahore
justly possessing great influence in the city.
In 1857 when
the English need was greatest Nawab Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash raised
a troop of horses at his own expense by mortgaging his house and
property in Lahore. Forming part of the celebrated Hodsons' horse
the troop raised by Nawab Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash served with distinction
throughout the Campaign where ever that gallant corps was sent and
its gallantry was ever conspicuous. In raising this force he did
not apply for any pecuniary assistance from the British.
Ali Khan Qizilbash's father Sardar Nisar Ali Khan Qizilbash the
next in line to the family's title after his two older brothers,
passed away during the lifetime of his second brother Nawab Nasir
Ali Khan Qizilbash, hence Fateh Ali Khan Qizilbash inherited the
title of Nawab from his uncle Nawab Nasir Ali Khan Qizilbash after
the latter's death in 1896 consquent upon which control of the family's
estate passed on to him.
Ali Khan Qizilbash was nominated a member of the Punjab Legistlative
Council in 1897.
In 1902 he
was invited as an official guest to the Delhi Darbar at which
he was invested as a Companion of the Order of the British Empire.
In 1904 he
was made an additional member of the Governor General's Legislative
In 1911 he
once again attended the Delhi Darbar as an official guest.
Great War he served the Empire with exemplary loyalty and devotion.
Some of his war services include:
1. He dontaed
Rs. 16,000/- towards the war effort when it broke out in 1914
2. A donation
of Rs.6,000/- was paid by him towards the Aeroplane Fund in 1916
3. He contributed
Rs.10,000/- to the First War Loan.
this he gave sums of money large as well as small aggregating to
about Rs.100,000/- towards the prosecution of the war.
supplied a large number of recruits both from the Punjab and his
estate in the United Provinces. Moreover he offered himself and
his eldest son Nisar Ali Khan Qizilbash for any service in connection
with that campaign.
disturbances in the Punjab in 1919 the Nawab once again rendered
valuable assistance to the administration.
At the time
of the last Afghan War he was attached as liaison officer to the
The Nawab was
very keen to promote education amongst the Muslim population so
that they could keep pace with the Hindus and progress along with
them. The Hindus had foreseen the advantages they could gain by
mastering the the English language to qualify for important positions
in the Government departments. This they knew was a sure way of
stepping on to the first rung up the social ladder and thus gain
influence in Government circles. They rightly believed that following
this plan they would gain economically also and thus be in a position
to dominate over the Muslim minority. Nawab Fateh Ali Khan Qizilbash
foresaw this happening and thus dedicded to contribute in the noble
cause of educating the Muslims and concentrated in this regard in
two areas i.e. at Aligarh and the Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam, Lahore.
He raised funds which he augmented with personal contribution and
started a school and an intermediate college at Lucknow and became
the Honorary General Secretary of these insitutions. This position
he held for several years.
He also built
a block for the use of doctors at the Mayo Hospital, Lahore.
In 1921 he
was made the Knight Commander of the Indian Empire.
He was the
President of the Punjab Chiefs Association, the Anjuman-e-Himayet-e-Islam,
Lahore, the Punjab Muslim League and the Anjumane-Islamia, Punjab.
He was also
a liberal subscriber to all charitable causes and earned the respect
of all classes both as a public spirited citizen and a leading Muslim
nobelman of the Punjab.
Nawab Sir Fateh
Ali Khan Qizilbash died on 28th October 1923 after suffering a protracted
kidney condition. He added substantially to the property he had
inherited from Nawab Nasir Ali Khan Qizilbash and left behind a
greatly developed estate.
kindly provided by Begum Afsar Qizilbash, Lahore]
Times - Site Edition Thursday, September 16, 2004
Nisar Haveli —
at the centre of mourning
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: Though childless, Nawab Nisar Ali Khan Qizalbash will live
on in Lahore, particularly among the Shia community in the Walled
City. It is from the haveli named after him that starts the city’s
biggest procession of the Ashura (10th of Muharram), the day Muslims
mourn the death of Imam Hussain at Karbala 1,364 years ago.
The first procession to begin from the haveli was in the 1850s.
It was then actually the Mubarik Haveli. The Nisar Haveli was one
part of the Mubarik Haveli, which was divided in two after Partition
as property was divided in the Qizilbash family in 1928. The part
where the main Ashura procession begins was named the Nisar Haveli,
while the other part retained the name Mubarik.
The Mubarik Haveli was built by the Mughals. According to legend,
it was named Mubarik, which means blessing, because a royal son
was born there. It is also said the Koh-e-Noor was kept there for
a while. The Qizalbash family got it on lease from the Mughals.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh took it over briefly, but it returned to the
Qizalbash when the East India Company established itself in India.
Elderly Shia residents of the Walled City said the Qizalbash family
were also the first to begin Zuljinnah processions in Lahore, which
are now a vital part of Ashura processions.
The Qizilbash family has its roots in Iran and Afghanistan. According
to one account, they came to India with the Mughal emperor Humayun
from Persia. According to another, some Qizalbash came from Afghanistan
with Ahmad Shah and Nadar Shah.
Nawab Nisar Ali Khan Qizalbash, who died in 1944, was the great
grandson of Nawab Raza Ali Khan, one of the originators of processions
in the area, and whose son Nawab Fateh Ali Khan also played a key
role in promoting processions.
The current Nawab, who is also the license holder for the central
procession, is also named Raza Ali Khan. His three sons are Nawab
Fateh Ali Khan, Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan and Nawab Jaan Ali Khan.
Syed Mustafa Ali Shah is the current caretaker of the Nisar Haveli,
following on from his father and grandfather.
Some elders feel that the Nisar Haveli is now not big enough to
handle the main procession, but don’t want to lose this traditional
start. There is no land available around the Haveli for expansion
because of the closely-packed architecture of the Walled City.
The Qizalbash family is also credited with holding the first Zuljinnah
procession in Lahore, when they started mourning for Imam Hussain
in the Haveli in the middle of the 19th century. At that time there
was only one Zuljinnah, a horse meant to represent the steed Imam
Hussain rode into Karbala.
Later, other imambargahs began holding Zuljinnah processions, and
now there are believed to be more than 50 Zuljinnah kept by different
families in the city. The Qizalbash Waqaf, or trust, takes care
of seven Zuljinnah that are loaned out free to imambargahs for processions.
Prominent personalities such as former air force chief Syed Babar
Ali, Rangers Director General Hussain Mehdi, and politicians and
bureaucrats have attended the majalis at the Nisar Haveli in Lahore