Located thirty nine kilometers north of Aligarh Pahasu is a small town of District Bulandshahr. During British era, the town was the center of some prominent Lalkhani Muslim families who owned the big zamindari estate in the district. Lalkhani’s were Muslim Rajput’s who belonged to the Bargujar clan or subdivision of Rajputs. The district Gazetteer of Bulandshahr (1875) by Atkinson gave a detailed description of Lalkhani Rajputs. Atkinson account of 1875 cited five major families among this tribe who hold large estates, Pahasu (31 villages), Chhatari (33 villages), Danpur (22 villages), Dharampur (28 villages), & Pindrawal (24 villages). Their patriarch Pratab Singh settled in this region during late 12th century by expelling Meos & Dors. Lal Singh, the eleventh descendant of Pratab Singh was one of the Akbar’s favorite who got the title of Lal Khan. This is how this branch Bargujar/ Badgujars got the appellation of Lalkhani. It was during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, the branch of Lalkhani Rajputs adopted Islam. By the time of Aurangzeb, the family lost prominence & finally regained their possessions during the days of Shah Alam when Nahar Ali Khan was granted Taluka of Pitampur. Nahar Ali Khan & his nephew Dundi Khan opposed French General Perron, the Maratha representative at Aligarh & later British in 1803. The larger shares of both of them were confiscated & awarded to Mardan Ali Khan in 1851, a close relative of Dundi Khan who sided with British. With judicial purchase & extension, he was able to create an estate of one hundred twenty four villages in Bulandshahr, & sixty in District Mathura & Aligarh. With his death, the estate was divide among his four sons, Danpur estate, Dharampur estate, Pahasu estate, & Chhatari estate. It was Murad Ali Khan, the third son of Mardan Ali Khan who got the share of Pahasu estate. During 1857, the Pahasu estate allied with British forces & afterward they were further awarded by the British Government.

Nawab Muhammad Faiz Ali Khan
Among five sons of Murad Ali Khan Nawab Muhammad Faiz Ali Khan was more prominent in the political & educational spheres. He was born on 26th August 1821 & completed his education that makes him proficient in Arabic & Persian languages. After assisting his father in managing their estate, Nawab Muhammad Faiz Ali Khan joined the services of Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur. While he was serving at Jaipur, the mutiny broke out & the British asked Maharaja of Jaipur for the help. Colonel Eden, the British resident collected one thousand trained force along with twelve pieces of artillery & Nawab Faiz Ali Khan was put in command of this force. He played a key in the rescual of some British officers from Gurgaon. It was during this time his father Murad Ali Khan passed away at Pahasu. In recognition for his services, he was bestowed with the title of “Khan Bahadur” & Khilat of six thousand Rupees by Lord Canning in Darbar held at Agra & Meerut. He was also appointed as an official head of Lalkhani family. With the help of British Government, he reoccupied villages of his paternal estate in Pahasu that was in the state of chaos due to the event of 1857. After his return to Jaipur, he was granted an additional Jagir by Maharaja that cost the revenue of twenty thousand annually. With death of Pandit Sheo Din 1863, he was appointed as Prime minister of Jaipur state. In 1869, he was bestowed with the honorary title of “Mumtazud Dawla” by Maharaja & later it was officially recognized as a hereditary title by British Government. In July 1870, he received an honorary title of “Companion of the start of India/ C.S.I” by Imperial Government. In 1873, he rendered an important role as a member for the commission appointed by the Imperial Government for Baroda state (Gujrat) & Kota state in Rajasthan. In 1875, he was awarded with K.C.S.I (Knight Commander of the Star of India), & 1877, he was appointed as an attache to the foreign office. In 1877, he took the responsibility as a member of Legislative council & served there for two and half years. During this period he was granted permission by Imperial Government to purchase the free hold his ancestral zamindari estate of Pahasu. His estate that worth 46000 INR as annual revenue was freed in an amount of 146000 INR that was paid by him to the Government. In 1880, he took the retirement & came back to Pahasu where he engaged himself for the philanthropic work. He was also appointed as an honorary fellow at Allahabad University. In 1894, he passed away at age of seventy three leaving behind revenue free estate of Pahasu & Jagirs at Jaipur. From the early days since the educational movement of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan centered at Aligarh, the Lalkhani zamindars of Aligarh & Bulandshahr were its earliest supporters. When the first campaign of fund raising was started by Sir Syed in 1873, Nawab Muhammad Faiz Ali Khan of Pahasu & his cousin Kunwar Luft Ali Khan of Chhatari gave generous donations. He was also one of the members of the scientific society established by Sir Syed. Maulvi Masud Ali Khan, one of the members of Lalkhani family from Danpur estate was the one of the seven members committee established by Sir Syed for the religious instructions at the MAO College. The address of Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College committee to Sir Fredrick Temple Blackwood of 20th November 1888 offers its thanks to Nawab Faiz Ali Khan in following words, “Among the large landed proprietors of this part of country, we gratefully mention the name of Raja Amir Hussian Khan of Mahmudabad in Oudh, of Nawab Sir Faiz Ali Khan, K.C.S.I, of Pahasu, of Rana Sir Shanker Baksh of Oudh, of Raja Bakar Ali of Pindarwal, of Kunwar Lutf Ali Khan“.

A picture of Nawab Faiyaz Ali Khan by Bourne & Shepherd, India, Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Nawab Sir Muhammad Faiz Ali Khan
After the death of Nawab Muhammad Faiz Ali Khan, the legacy was carried by his only son Nawab Muhammad Faiyaz Ali Khan who was born on 04th November 1851. He was believed to be the 22nd descendant of Raja Pratab Singh & 13th from Lal Singh. Like his father, he actively engaged himself in philanthropic & educational activities. As a generous leader, he allocated a huge amount of his estate income purely for the philanthropies. The dictionary of Indian Biography by C.E, Buckland, 1906 cited Nawab of Pahasu Muhammad Faiyaz Ali Khan as a generous man who devoted a large estate for charitable purposes & made huge donations for the cause of education. Within his estate, he was respected equally both by Hindus & Muslims. In 1903, he was awarded with title of Companion of the Order of Star of India (CSI) & then by Knight Commander of the Order of Star of India (KCSI) in 1907. For four years, he remained as member of legislative council in United Province from 1898 to 1902 & for two years as a member in Governor Generals legislative council. In 1902, he represented United provinces at Coronation ceremony of King Edward VIII at England. In addition he continued his ancestral affiliations with Jaipur state. He was appointed by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II as the member of the council that deals with the foreign affairs of the princely state. Following the footsteps of his father, he was great supporter of Sir Syed Ahmad Khans educational movement & remained affiliated with Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College. He was elected as the president of board of trustees of Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College. In 1899, he started an educational center at Pahasu with name of Rajput Anglo-Vernacular School. In 1901 when Lord Curzon visited MAO College, he had an honor of displaying his hospitality. In 1903 as a president of board of trustees , he requested Sir James Latouche, the Lieut. Governor of United Province to visit MAO College for laying foundation stone of a new hostel. Nawab Faiyaz Ali Khan himself made a generous donation 20,000 INR for the construction of boarding house. It named as Latouche- Mumtaz Hostel named after Governor of United Province & his hereditary title of “Mumtaz-ud-Daula“. On the opening ceremony of Sir Syed mosque in 1915 after its renovation, Nawab Sir Faiyaz Ali Khan gave a donation of 500 INR for its wooden doors. On 04th November 1922, he passed away at the age of seventy & buried in his ancestral village at Pahasu.
Faiz Gate close to the University circle with tablet in the name of Nawab Faiz Ali Khan father of Sir Faiyaz Ali Khan is one of the heritage remnants of Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College that bears the testimony of the Pahasu’s affiliation with Sir Syed educational movement.

Picture of the Faiz Gate at Aligarh Muslim University, Pic credit: Dr. Faisal Hassan

1. A Brief History of the House of Pahasu, Printed at Rajputana Mission Press, Ajmer, 1903.
2. Aftab Hall, a historical note. Retrieved from https://www.amu.ac.in/amuhalls.jsp?did=10079
3. Bulandshahr, A District Gazetteer, Vol V, of District Gazetteers of the United Provinces of Agra & Oudh, H.R. Nevill, Allahabad, 1903.
4. Dictionary of Indian Biography by C.E, Buckland, London, 1906.
5. Gazetteer of the North Western Province, Bulandshahr District, edited by Edwin T Atkinson, North Western Provinces & Oudh Government Press, Allahabad, 1875.
6. The Golden Book of India, by SIR ROPER LETHBRIDGE, K.C.I. E, London, Mc Millan & Co., 1893.
7. The Aligarh Movement, Basic Documents, 1864: 1898, Menakshi Prakashan, New Delhi.

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Rehan Asad is a medical doctor & currently working as an anatomy faculty. He has a penchant for writing people, food & culture stories.


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