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Indian Heritage & Culture

Begum Sultan Jahan

  • 28 May 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the death anniversary of Begum Sultan Jahan was observed.

  • She was a Philanthropist, Prolific writer, Feminist, Symbol of Women Empowerment, First female Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.

Key Points

  • Birth: In 1858 (Bhopal).
  • Ruler of Bhopal:
    • She was the last Begum of Bhopal. Ruled from 1909 to 1926 after which she was succeeded by her son.
      • Fourth female ruler of Bhopal.
    • Set up the municipality system, introduced municipal elections and constructed a walled city and a palace for herself.
    • Took steps for improving public health, sanitation, and water supply in the walled city and implemented widespread vaccination drives for its residents.
  • Feminist Icon:
    • Her progressive policies for women, at a time when they were shackled by the forces of patriarchy, have made her a feminist icon even today.
    • Constructed a Meeting Hall for Ladies in Lahore in 1913.
    • Organised an exhibition called ‘Numaish Masunuaat e Hind’ in Bhopal to encourage women and promote handicrafts.
  • Philanthropist:
    • Established the Sultan Jahan Endowment Trust with a corpus of Rs three lakhs for helping needy students.
    • Funded a Madrasa in Deoband (UP), Nadwatul Uloom in Lucknow and even Madarsa Sultania in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
    • Institutions such as Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi and some renowned colleges in Bombay and Calcutta received generous grants from her.
  • Educationist:
    • Authored 41 books, translated a number of English books into Urdu.
    • Authored a book, Dars-e-Hayat, about the education and parenting of young girls.
    • Revamped the syllabus and added subjects such as English, Urdu, Arithmetic, Home Science and crafts of the Sultania School she started.
    • Started a nursing school called Lady Minto Nursing School.
    • She was the first women chancellor of AMU (Aligarh Muslim University).
      • During AMU’s centenary celebrations in December 2020, the Prime paid tribute to Begum Jahan and her contribution to the historic institution.
  • Death: 12th May 1930.

Source: IE

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