Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan (1858, r.1901-26, 1930)
Begum of Bhopal
Albumen print on carte-de-visite, c. 1875
Size: 4 x 2.5 in. (10.2 x 6.4 cm)
Inscription: HH the Sultana of Bhopal
Kaikhusrau Jahan, known better as Sultan Jahan, was the eldest and only surviving child of Begum Shah Jahan and her husband General HH Nasir ud-Daula, Nawab Baqi Muhammad Khan
Bahadur. In 1868, she was proclaimed heiress apparent to the Bhopal musnaid, following the death of her grandmother, Sikander Begum and her mother’s succession to the throne. In 1901, Sultan Jahan succeeded her mother on her death, becoming Nawab Begum of Dar-ul-Iqbal-i-Bhopal.
She built many technical institutes, schools, and increased the number of qualified teachers. She was the founding and the only women chancellor, till date, of Aligarh Muslim University from 1902 till her death. However, she is well known for her public health reforms, of adopting widespread inoculation and vaccination, improving sanitation, hygiene and the water supply.
In 1926, after a reign of 25 years, Sultan Jahan abdicated the throne in favour of her youngest and the only surviving son, Hamidullah Khan. She died four years later, at the age of 71.
Here is the portrait of the young Begum with her legs crossed and one hand resting on a chair beside her. In the background there is a table on which a flower vase is kept. The Begum is wearing an embroidered top dress with a skirt and leggings inside. She is also wearing a head-dress and pearl jewellery.