Nawab Saheb History | Nawabsaheb
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TALEY MOHAMMED KHAN

Nawab Shri Taley Mohammed Khan Bahadur of Palanpur, the 29th ruler of Palanpur was the last ruler of the state. He enjoyed a 13-gun salute. During British rule, a ruler received a maximum of a 21-gun salute (as in the case of the Nizam of Hyderabad) and minimum 7-gun salute.

Taley Mohammed Khan with his Sons The State of Palanpur was spread over an area of 4,582 sq km, and had a population of 2,36,694 in 1921. Nawab Taley Mohammed Khan ascended the throne in 1918 AD and ruled till the merger with the Indian Union after the Independence of India in 1947. He was addressed as "His Highness" as per the British order and was called "Zubd-tul-Mulk Diwan Mahakhan Nawab".

In 1920 he was awarded the title of "Sir" and KCIE i.e. Knight Commander of Indian Empire. In 1929 he thus became GCIE, KCVO, ADC i.e. Grand Commander of Indian Empire, Knight Commander of Victorian Order. He was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1912 and as ADC to the Prince of Wales in 1936.

While he was in power, Palanpur state witnessed rapid development in the fields of agriculture and industry. The cultivation of potatoes was carried out on a very large scale in Deesa. The "Grow More Food Campaign" was given an impetus. An experimental farm was opened at Deesa, where experiments were conducted and trials held for improved seeds of different crops. Groundnut and sugarcane seeds were imported and experimented with in different localities of the state. Better varieties of wheat seed were imported and distributed to cultivators in villages and improved ploughs, agricultural appliances and water-lifts were introduced in different localities of the state.

The government of India was persuaded to select Palanpur as the centre for a textile mill and a factory for the manufacture of vegetable ghee (fat).

Joan Falkiner The Nawab Saheb was also extremely sociable. The processions on Dushera and Id were two occasions when he freely mingled with the common people and exchanged pleasantries. Marriage ceremonies in the family used to be grand and memorable events.

The ruler was fond of games and invited several dignitaries to his state for hunting expeditions.

The Nawab’s wife was given the title "Her Highness Begum Saheba". Sir Taley Mohammed Khan married twice, the second time to an Australian lady.

There is a reference to the Nawab of Palanpur in the book 'Freedom at Midnight', written by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre in reference to the Begum.

' Lord Mountbatten and the Nawab of Palanpur had become fast friends during the Prince of Wales' tour. During a visit as Supreme Commander to the Nawab and his able, attractive, Australian wife, the Begum, in 1945, the Nawab’s British Resident, Sir William Croft, came to Mountbatten. The Nawab’s wife had become a Muslim, he said, she had adopted the sari and all other local customs, was performing wonderful social work, but the Nawab was heartbroken because the Viceroy would not accord her the title "Highness" as she was not an Indian.

Nawab Iqbal Mohammad Khan with his Children On returning to Delhi, Mountbatten had intervened personally with the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, but to no avail. The British government would not agree to a step which might start a wave of princes marrying Europeans and undermine the whole concept of the princely caste.

On one occasion as his aides assembled, Mountbatten announced his intentions to elevate the Begum of Palanpur to the dignity of "Highness".

"But", one protested, "you can’t do that!".

"Who says I can’t?" laughed Mountbatten. "I’m the Viceroy, aren’t I?" He ordered someone to go out in search of a paper scroll, then he had a secretary inscribe it with a few ringing phrases elevating the Nawab’s Australian Begum "by the grace of God", to the dignity of Highness. The result was placed on his desk at 11.58. A smile of the purest pleasure illuminating his face. Louis Mountbatten took his pen and performed the last official action to be exercised by a Viceroy of India.

Outside, at almost the same instant, his personal status as the Viceroy of India, a Union Jack emblazoned with the Star of India, came down the flagstaff of Viceroy’s House.'

After India’s independence in 1947, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel negotiated the unification of India with all erstwhile rulers. The Nawab of Palanpur was one of the first to sign.


Accession of Palanpur was signed on 10th June 1948. It became the capital of Banaskantha District in then state of Bombay.

Nawab Iqbal Mohammad Khan, 2008 Nawab Taley Mohammed Khan died in April 1957. His son, still respectfully addressed as "Nawab", Iqbal Mohammed Khanji resides in Mumbai. A member of Rajya Sabha between 1960 and 1964, he married HH Maqbul Jehan Begum of Dasada. He has two sons and a daughter namely Nawabzada Saheb Muzaffer Khan, Sahebzada YusufKhan and Sahebzadi Rafat Begum Saheba.

Tall and handsome even at 90 plus, he was the virtual ruler of Palanpur in the absence of his father from the state. He was allowed to take decisions on behalf of his father in consultation with the Chief Minister.

Even today, a little prompting makes him ruminate over his past.




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