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From the Depth of Memories - A Family saga by Rabab Zamin . Royal families of Jaunpur.

Khan Bahadur Syed Ali Zamin, MBE  from  Kajgaon Jaunpur. Most awaited book from the Depth of Memories - A Family saga  ,Published  ...

Khan Bahadur Syed Ali Zamin, MBE 
from  Kajgaon Jaunpur.
Most awaited book from the Depth of Memories - A Family saga ,Published by Rabab Zamin. Thanks to Rabab Zamin for her efforts. This book contains a lot of Information about Deewan kashi Naresh, Syed ali zamin and places like Kajgaon, Jaunpur ,Moradabad, Banaras . 

This book is a daughter’s tribute to her father... ....Rabab Zamin.

Rabab Zamin is Daughter of Khan Bahadur Deewan Kashi Naresh Syed Ali Zamin MBE. on page 29 of  the book she writes....

We called our father, Baba. This tradition has continued till this day in some way in our family.  Both of my younger brothers, Mohammed and Ahmed, are married to Canadian girls. Instead of being called daddy by their children, they choose to be called Baba.


Baba was conferred with two titles by the British Government:  Khan Bahadur in 1939 and MBE (Member of the British Empire) in 1944.  He began his career in the administrative service of the British Indian Government and rose to the position of Deputy Collector. It used to be the highest post an Indian could aspire for at the time, except those who went to England and passed the Indian Civil Service Exam.  Before his retirement from government service, he was offered the position of the Chief Secretary of Benares State in 1939 by the then Maharaja Aditya Narayan Singh.

The Maharaja passed away shortly after Baba had taken up his new position.In his unpublished memoir, My Nostalgic Journey, my cousin, Syed Naqi Hasan, writes that on his deathbed Maharaja Aditya Narayan Singh summoned Baba and his adopted son and placed the hand of his son in Baba’s hand and said, “Syed Sahib, I am placing my son under your protection. Please protect him as well as the throne for him.” There were many claiments to the throne. Against all odds, Baba had Vibhuti Narayan Singh perform the funeral rites as required by the Hindu religion to establish his claim to the throne.

Maharaj Kumar Vibhuti Narayan Singh, a minor, became the maharaja under regency. A Council of Administration was formed and C.R. Peters Esq was appointed its President and Baba as the Chief Minister was next in line of authority. Peters had to return to England in 1944 after a sudden illness, and Baba was named to act as President of the Council of Administration. His confirmation in the position of president was not without controversy. The British Government had to make the difficult decision whether the position could be held by a non-European person.  In consideration of Baba’s experience and past performance it was decided that indeed he was the best choice for the position.

On Feb 7, 1946, Lt Col H.M. Poulton , CIE, Resident at Gwalior and for the States of Rampur and Benares wrote to J.S.H. Shattock Esq, MBE, ICS, Deputy Secretary, Political Department, New Delhi, “Benares is a particularly difficult place and Ali Zamin’s experience is a valuable asset which, I feel, cannot be lightly dispensed with; there is also continuity to be considered and this is particularly important towards the end of a minority  administration.” (D.O.No. 165 – S/2-B/44)

On May 4, 1946, Sd. A.N. Bhanot-Nisar, Political Department, New Delhi, wrote to Lt Col H.M.Poulton, “…the Crown Representative approves your proposal to confirm KB Saiyad Ali Zamin as President of the Council of Administration.” (D.O.No.D.3070-P/46)

Despite, Baba’s experience and performance, the British Government did not approve the same salary for him that was drawn by Peters. His salary was quite a bit less.

Maharaja Vibhuti Narayan Singh succeeded to the throne in July 1947 after becoming an adult, a month before India’s independence. The Council of Administration was dissolved after his ascension and the position of President was abolished. Baba became the Dewan.

The princely states were not directly governed by the British, but their rulers were subject to the suzerainty of the British Crown.  The Indian Independence Act terminated the suzerainty of the British Crown over the princely states in 1947. The princely states were free to accede to India or Pakistan. Maharaja Vibuti Narayan Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India in Oct 1947, and Benares State was merged with the United Provinces now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Baba’s departure from Benares State was unexpected and sad. In 1948, he suffered a heart attack while addressing a meeting in Ramnagar, the capital of Benares State, and had to be carried home on a stretcher. He took voluntary retirement from his position as Dewan because of ill health, and decided to settle down in Moradabad.

As the article in the weekly Alhadi of Jaunpur states, in Benares State many employees in high positions were from our family because they were known for their integrity, honesty and loyalty.

 Benares State had more than one Dewan from our family. Baba’s father, that is my grandfather, Syed Mohammed Najmuddin, was the Naib Dewan (Deputy Dewan) in Benares State.  Before that my great-great-grandfather, Maulana Syed Gulshan Ali, was also the Dewan. There were others from the extended family who enjoyed the position of Dewan in Benares State.

Upon Baba’s retirement the weekly Alhadi wrote:

Jaunpur, Sept 16, 1948.

Although Benares State is a Hindu Princely State its Dewans have been mostly from the Muslim Syed Family of Jaunpur [Kajgaon is in the district of Jaunpur]   because Muslims have served the State with distinction and unswerving loyalty and have substantially contributed to its stability and betterment. The Maharajas of Benares always appreciated the services of the Syed Family and appointed them to high positions. Now along with the rest of India, Benares State has also been affected by the radical political changes in India [India’s independence from the British Raj] and has been subjected to the wave of democracy. It can be said that that the old traditions of Benares State are coming to an end. Amongst the reminder of the passing era is its well-known and respected Dewan Syed Ali Zamin Sahib MBE who has taken voluntary retirement. His acuity of mind and dedicated service is appreciated by the Maharaja and the general public alike. This is the reason why the various departments of the State are holding farewell parties for him in which heartfelt feelings are being expressed regarding his departure.  One such farewell party was held on Aug 27, 1948 in Ramnagar at which His Highness Maharaja Benares was present. Maulvi Syed Irtiza Hussain Sahib Natiq, Head Maulvi, Sutton School, Ramnagar, recited the following poem from which one can gauge the feelings of the poet and all those present on the occasion:

Presented to Khan Bahadur Syed Ali Zamin Sahib, Dewan Benares State.

It is raining sadness, the horizon is dark
Who’s he, leaving us today
Hope this heavy rain does not become a storm
The skies are overcast, so are our hearts
May Allah protect this flotilla of our love
The wind is against us the river is high
The intensity of our love may not be known to the world
Take control, oh Patience be by my side
Do not give in to emotion oh parting one
Hearts of all of us are heavy too
Ali was the zamin  pillar of safety [Zamin in the name of Ali Zamin means protector of safety]
State, now Khuda is your protector
Dewans are made by rajas magnates
Everyone has heard or seen that
But to make a raja a raja [Maharaj Vibhuti Narayan Singh was a minor, he grew up under Syed Ali Zamin’s supervision]
Could’ve been done only by you
You carried on the family tradition so well [There was more than one Dewan from Syed Ali Zamin’s family]
That loyalty’d be proud of you service
Congratulation on leaving with honour
You are leaving, someone is stopping you
Where can you find such loyalty in this world
Maharaj’s appreciation of you is well deserved
And do not feel you are alone
A caravan of good wishes is with you
Why make a new home elsewhere
Your place is in the heart of the Maharaja
This world actually is an inn, says Natiq
Nobody has lived forever and nobody ever will
If the connoisseur is leaving the gathering
This is the last song that I will ever say

(Translated from the original version in Urdu)



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Voice of the Jaunpur: From the Depth of Memories - A Family saga by Rabab Zamin . Royal families of Jaunpur.
From the Depth of Memories - A Family saga by Rabab Zamin . Royal families of Jaunpur.
Voice of the Jaunpur
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