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Pakistan Princely States - Bahawalpur


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Chris Buyers has updated his Royal Ark pages on the orders, decorations and medals of the princely state of Bahawalpur.

He has been working with the current Nawab and his brother, Prince Fallaeddin Abbasi, and they seem to have ironed out a number of oddities and identifications. Apparently, Tony McClenaghan seems to have either overlooked or disregarded some of the information sent to him by the late Nawab. The late ruler was himself a great medal collector and authority with an unrivalled collection of his own. The result is that several medals and decorations were either incorrectly identified or omitted from 'Indian Princely Medals' back in the 1990s.

The links to the relevant pages are as follows:

Orders: http://www.royalark....an/bahawal7.htm

Decorations: http://www.royalark....an/bahawal8.htm

Medals: http://www.royalark....an/bahawal9.htm

Cheers

James

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Many thanks for this post James, the post and its links will be most helpful for those, like myself, who collect Bahawalpur.

I am far from an expert on Bahawalpur but this is the first time I have seen it referred to as a Pakistan Princely State. I've seen it only as an Indian Princely State. Bahawalpur and the area now know as Pakistan were in India prior to 1947. I pose this as a question not as a criticism. Is the proper term "Pakistan Princely State" or is "Indian Princely State" the proper term?

Thanks again for your post and for any help you can give regarding my question.

Regards

Brian

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Many thanks for this post James, the post and its links will be most helpful for those, like myself, who collect Bahawalpur.

I am far from an expert on Bahawalpur but this is the first time I have seen it referred to as a Pakistan Princely State. I've seen it only as an Indian Princely State. Bahawalpur and the area now know as Pakistan were in India prior to 1947. I pose this as a question not as a criticism. Is the proper term "Pakistan Princely State" or is "Indian Princely State" the proper term?

Bahawalpur acceeded to Pakistan in 1947 and retained a considerable degree of autonomy until October 1955. Relations with the Pakistan government during that period remained very much the same as with the old British Indian government. So it faired far better than those princely states that joined India, who were recorganised, bundled, chopped up and otherwise emasculated in one guise or another by 1949/1950. The Nawab-Amir was, for example, entitled to continue awarding his decorations to his own state subjects and instituted several medals during that time. The last medal instituted in 1955 for his Golden Jubilee. None of them could be properly described as "indian" anything, so Pakistan seems more appropriate.

Quite why people describe it as an Indian Princely State rather than Pakistan, I do not quite know. After all, one would not really describe Sind or Baluchistan as Indian provinces.

Cheers,

James

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Bahawalpur acceeded to Pakistan in 1947 and retained a considerable degree of autonomy until October 1955. Relations with the Pakistan government during that period remained very much the same as with the old British Indian government. So it faired far better than those princely states that joined India, who were recorganised, bundled, chopped up and otherwise emasculated in one guise or another by 1949/1950. The Nawab-Amir was, for example, entitled to continue awarding his decorations to his own state subjects and instituted several medals during that time. The last medal instituted in 1955 for his Golden Jubilee. None of them could be properly described as "indian" anything, so Pakistan seems more appropriate.

Quite why people describe it as an Indian Princely State rather than Pakistan, I do not quite know. After all, one would not really describe Sind or Baluchistan as Indian provinces.

Cheers,

James

Hi James,

Good points. As to why anyone would refer to Bahawalpur as Indian I can only speak for myself,it is out of habit and going by others who have more knowledge about this issue than me. That is why I asked. Taking only one point of view as the only point of view can be misleading. Thanks again for your fast reply.

I hope others who are collecting Bahawalpur will read your post and share their collections with us.

Regards

Brian

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I'm quoting below from Mr. Buyers notations on the Volunteer Corps medal. My question - does anyone know about / have pictures of the three bars mentioned below?

Tamgha-e-Jan-e-Nisari(Volunteer Corps Medal): instituted by Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan VAbbasi to recognise he services of members of the volunteer andauxiliary forces. Awarded in two classes (1. First Class in silver toofficers, 2. Second Class in bronze to other ranks) and three degreesdesignated by a bar (1. Bravery, 2. Good Conduct, and 3. DistinguishedService).

Thanks,

Hugh

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Good points. As to why anyone would refer to Bahawalpur as Indian I can only speak for myself,it is out of habit and going by others who have more knowledge about this issue than me. That is why I asked. Taking only one point of view as the only point of view can be misleading. Thanks again for your fast reply.

Hi Brian,

One would have hoped that some of those knowledgeable folk would noticed that two of the medals have ribbons with the Pakistan colours, one of which is entitled the "Pakistan" Allaince Medal and has an engraving of the Pakistan flag. Both are just about the most commonly available medals from any of the princely states.

I agree that it would be quite nice to see other collections of these interesting medals since there are so many variations in ribbons and types

Cheers,

James

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Hi James,

I thought I'd pull my drawer of Bahawalpur material out of the cabinet and post it here, just to keep the post "alive" a little longer.

The first photo is of the whole collection, as modest as it is. I'll break it down into closer pictures of the material for clairity. I won't photograph the reverse as anyone interested can access the links you have so kindly provided.

Regards

Brian

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Here is a nice postcard commemorating 100 years of service, 1834 to 1934 of the 1st Bahawalpur Infantry. It shows the two uniforms quite well and lests the battle hounors. This may not be too clear so I'll list them below.

1st Kabul War 1837

Multan Campaign 1848

Mutiny 1857

2nd Kabul War 1879

The Great War 1914 - 15

East Africa 1915

Suez Canal, Egypt 1915 - 17

Waziristan 1917

Ghaza "Magiddo" 1917

Nablus 1917 - 18

Palistine 1918

Jordan Valley 1918

Marri Field Force 1918

Persian Gulf 1918

Afghanistan 1919

Kot Sabezal 1930

An impressive list for such a small country.

Regards

Brian

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Here are the closeups of the medals. I won't describe each one as the card with each medal covers that aspect. The 1st type bronze star WW I came with a ribbon that was very fragile so I just tacked (single stitched) the medal to the ribon and kept the ribbon flat. Anyone who has collected Bahawalpur will know that quite often the ribbon is much harder to find than the medal itself. This is why some are missing their's.

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Here are a couple missing their ribbons. The Northwest Frontier medal is sometimes called the Camel Corps medal. Note the finger prints on this medal; that's why you don't touch your medals with bare hands :banger: (this one arrived in that condition).

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To wrap up this session I have posted the 1947 Alliance with Pakistan medal.

The other medal is actually the Pakistan Independence Medal but I have included it with this part of my collection as it is named to a member of the Bahawalpur Regiment. Since this is the Independence Medal Sepoy Mohd Inayat would have been serving in the Bahawalpur forces at the time of Independence. I think it also wraps up the history of this Princely State quite well.

I offer this not by way of a defence for putting this medal in this part of my collection but rather to explain my thinking.

I like my collection to show a progression of history rather than just row after row of gongs. :D

Thanks for looking.

Regards

Brian

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To wrap up this session I have posted the 1947 Alliance with Pakistan medal.

The other medal is actually the Pakistan Independence Medal but I have included it with this part of my collection as it is named to a member of the Bahawalpur Regiment. Since this is the Independence Medal Sepoy Mohd Inayat would have been serving in the Bahawalpur forces at the time of Independence. I think it also wraps up the history of this Princely State quite well.

I offer this not by way of a defence for putting this medal in this part of my collection but rather to explain my thinking.

I like my collection to show a progression of history rather than just row after row of gongs. biggrin.gif

Thanks for looking.

Hello Brian,

Thanks for posting your wonderful Bahawalpur collection.

No, I had not even imagined that the Jubilee ribbon was a 'cut and paste' job.

I have a lineage of the 1st Bahawalpur Infantry which takes it through to the post amalgamation period in 1956. Shall try to find and post it for you.

You may like to consider changing some of your medal designations and dates. Some of the designations, though commonly seen are pure invention plucked out of thin air. The words "Merit Medal" when seen in a catalogue or reference book are usually a sure sign that the medal dealer or writer has no idea what the medal is called. I think it was a sort of 'catch all' when in doubt, invented by some genius at OMSA during the middle of the last century.

The "Camel Corps" is again invention, simply because of the relief on the reverse and for no other reason; someone did not know what it was called, saw camels on the back and hey presto invented the term. There is no evidence of use of either name in the Bahawalpur or British-India records of the period. The Bahawalpur forces of all arms relieved British regiments that had been posted to India, taking over their largely garrison durties and border patrol activities and thus freeing them up to be posted overseas during WWI. The medal was awarded to those who performed those duties in several parts of North and Western India and also those who served on the North West Frontier, particularly in the 1919 Afghan War.

The Nawab was a Major-General by the end of WWII, promoted Lieutenant-General on his Jubilee in 1949 and full General at his Golden Jubilee in 1955. So it may be a little misleading to show him as an unreconstructed lowly Major all the way through. I think (??) The Royal Ark has the exact dates of his various military appointments unde his biographical entry in the genealogical section.

The 1947 Alliance Medal ribbon is the wrong way round. Again, commonly seen the way you have the ribbon in most dealer catalogues. However, the Pakistan colours represented by that half of the ribbon in black with white stripe down the centre should come first, then the Bahawalpur colours which were, in the correct order: red/yellow/black. Earlier, the Bahawalpur colours were red/yellow/green.

Hope this helps.

With best wishes,

James

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Quote - Anyone who has collected Bahawalpur will know that quite often the ribbon is much harder to find than the medal itself. Unquote

I've seen references to a dealer (manufacturer?) in Birmingham, UK, who is selling fakes with new ribbon. Does anyone know who he is? Perhaps he could supply ribbon?

Hugh

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Hello James,

I shall make the change on the ribbon right away and check my tags against the links you have provided. Much of my information did come from such sources as the OMSA and others. Research material is rather thin and that makes a forum such as this a valuable research tool indeed.

I was not suggesting that the "Camel Corps" was the correct name, only that is is sometimes called such. As an after thought it would probably have been best not to have included that information. It only serves to cloud the facts.

Thanks again for the information.

Regards

Brian

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I've actually been to Bahawalpur some years ago. We were demonstrating night sights to the Pakistani Army, with a plan to install them in their M48 and T59 tanks. We did a demo in Rawalpindi, and were asked to go out to an operational battalion in the field. We decamped to Karachi to await instructions, and cooled our heels for a few days. One day, while walking through the bazaar, we saw that the locals were very agitated, running in the streets and shouting excitedly. Mindful of the fact that they had burned the US Embassy there some years before, we retired to the hotel to await clarification. We learned that Indira Ghandi had been assasinated that day, and that night we got a call to move to Bahawalpur the next morning. Our technical support guys took off for the airport and left for home that night, and another marketing guy and I were left to go down and do the installation!

We had a nice drive through Hyderabad and Sindh Province the next morning, and with the very competent help of the Pakistani Army's 33rd Cavalry technicians, got the sight into an M48 and began operations. We were quartered in an old dak bungalow built in 1857 (the Mutiny year), with no running water and one electric light bulb in the ceiling. It was inside an old fort built by Aurangzeb. One of the mess orderlies appeared each morning, dressed in crisp white tunic with scarlet plastron and the regimental badge embroidered in gold an the chest. He wore a towering starched turah, and brought hot water for shaving. As we shaved, he prepared a delicious breakfast, with magnificent naan, on which we gorged.

We patrolled the border that night and for about two weeks afterward, watching the Indian tanks on the other side, roaring up and down the border. We think they could hear us but not see us, but we could see them clearly with the night sight. It would not have been a fair fight. During the day, we briefed on the equipment and demonstrated operations. During one of these training sessions, I was demonstrating the train and elevation functions, and suddenly found myself with the command handle hanging loose in my hand. I had broken the tank! We had chai breaks in the morning and afternoons, taking refuge from the broiling sun in the officer's mess tent, where we were served biscuits and langar chai, the hyper-strength Army tea, laced with evaporated milk and loads of sugar. I've never had such good tea anywhere else in the world.

Eventually the political situation cooled down, and we left the equipment with them for field trials. They kept it for some months, but never bought a thing!

Hugh

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I'm quoting below from Mr. Buyers notations on the Volunteer Corps medal. My question - does anyone know about / have pictures of the three bars mentioned below?

Tamgha-e-Jan-e-Nisari(Volunteer Corps Medal): instituted by Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan VAbbasi to recognise he services of members of the volunteer andauxiliary forces. Awarded in two classes (1. First Class in silver toofficers, 2. Second Class in bronze to other ranks) and three degreesdesignated by a bar (1. Bravery, 2. Good Conduct, and 3. DistinguishedService).

Hugh,

I found this second class Volunteer Corps Medal in an old Spinks catalogue. However, I cannot read Urdu so cannot identify which bar corresponds to which designation. Indeed, there are four bars altogether, three in silver and one in bronze. Consequently, what the fourth bar stands for remains just as mysterious.

Cheers,

James

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  • 3 months later...

Here is a nice postcard commemorating 100 years of service, 1834 to 1934 of the 1st Bahawalpur Infantry. It shows the two uniforms quite well and lests the battle hounors. This may not be too clear so I'll list them below.

1st Kabul War 1837

Multan Campaign 1848

Mutiny 1857

2nd Kabul War 1879

The Great War 1914 - 15

East Africa 1915

Suez Canal, Egypt 1915 - 17

Waziristan 1917

Ghaza "Magiddo" 1917

Nablus 1917 - 18

Palistine 1918

Jordan Valley 1918

Marri Field Force 1918

Persian Gulf 1918

Afghanistan 1919

Kot Sabezal 1930

An impressive list for such a small country.

Regards

Brian

May I ask if this postcard is official i.e. issued by Bahawalpur state or a private one like Tucks or any other private publisher? Actually, I have been collecting on British India (includes area before India and Pakistan Independence) WWI and WWII related postal and non-postal items for last couple of years. Recently, someone offered me this postcard for USD$25. Even though, it shows participation in WWI, I was not sure if this was official postcard or private one. As, I have more inclination towards official ones.

Edited by chikil2000
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May I ask if this postcard is official i.e. issued by Bahawalpur state or a private one like Tucks or any other private publisher? Actually, I have been collecting on British India (includes area before India and Pakistan Independence) WWI and WWII related postal and non-postal items for last couple of years. Recently, someone offered me this postcard for USD$25. Even though, it shows participation in WWI, I was not sure if this was official postcard or private one. As, I have more inclination towards official ones.

Hello,

There is nothing on the back of the card with the exception of the words, POST CARD. I would guess it is a private publisher.

Regards

Brian

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Hello,

There is nothing on the back of the card with the exception of the words, POST CARD. I would guess it is a private publisher.

Regards

Brian

OK. Thanks! I could find this link which shows a postal history of Bahawalpur which shows soldiers in similar attire though they have been placed on reverse side than what is shown in postcard. Still, as you said if postcard doesn't mention anything on back then there is no authenticity that it is official one.

http://www.fdc4all.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=58&products_id=566&zenid=f5f649071f3000b5608a90ab362b0342

Thanks for help!

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