Sunday, Jun 26, 2022
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Rajasthan: nawabs of tonk

Who Goes There?.... The Wind

Tonk’s nawabs are almost done with history. A Rs 100 pension only goes so far.

Who Goes There?.... The Wind
Who Goes There?.... The Wind
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Tonk. No, that’s no metallic Martian settlement invented for a science fiction bestseller; it is but a dusty district capital in Rajasthan. Alienation, however, has always come easy to the town’s inhabitants. Two centuries ago, the Tonk district was the only Muslim princely state to have been part of the 23-state-strong Rajputana agency, but lately the riches-to-rags story of Tonk’s nawabs has come to seem significantly starker than that of their many Hindu counterparts. Their havelis now wear a paint-peeling, derelict look, once-opulent chandeliers play host to nesting birds and the unusually large pillows they like to lean on are as tattered as the sprawling mattresses on which they are spread.

The most telling evidence of their fall from grace is perhaps the protracted legal battle that Tonk’s former royals have had to fight. Embittered by the uncharitable disposition of many a state government, some 570 nawabi descendants have pursued a single court case since 1989 to get themselves a respectable khandani stipend. In July this year, victory finally came their way—the Supreme Court decreed that each legitimate member of the Anjuman Khandaan-e-Ameria (a registered society in Tonk comprising all individuals with nawabi blood) be given an allowance. A princely sum of Rs 100 per month.

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