Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are you a Mughal?

As I was browsing the internet, I came across an article that was published back in April in the Telegraph, about a trust being opened to bring back the remains of the last Mughal Emperor and for his descendants to be traced.

Dean Nelson writes:

'Calls for Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar's body to be returned to India and to be buried along with those of his royal ancestors have steadily grown since 2007's 150th anniversary of the Indian mutiny – when "sepoys" in British army regiments massacred their officers.

The rebellion was eventually put down with great brutality in a series of bloody battles and Bahadur Shah Zafar was sent into exile in Rangoon, Burma, where he died.

Although he has been described as the "Last Mughal", there have been numerous claims from alleged descendants that Zafar's lineage continues to this day. Now a powerful trust, including influential Muslim academics, businessmen and one of India's leading Urdu poets have joined forces to establish how many Mughals remain, and seek the return of the last emperor.

Professor Aslam Pervez, an historian of Zafar's reign and a founding member of the Mughal Trust, last night told The Daily Telegraph its main aim was not simply to reunite the remaining Mughal royals, but to bring back the last Mughal to Delhi.

"There is a move that we should bring back his last remains from Rangoon and make a grave for him here in Delhi, at Mehrauli, where his father and grandfather are buried.

"There are so many people who claim to be descended. The Mughals were scattered, many ran away from Delhi, to Hyderabad, after the mutiny and no-one knows who went where," he said.

Many are believed to have fled to Calcutta, where 70 descendants have been traced by the trust, and Aurangabad where a further 200 are believed to live. Others are believed to be living in Pakistan and Burma.'

I think it's a great idea but I'm unsure about the reasons of wanting to do this. Is it for historical purposes or just to find out who his descendants are so we can help them out? The article doesn't mention how the findings will be published so I'm not sure whether the public will be able to see this famous family tree. I imagine it's gonna be a difficult task of tracing descendants, perhaps they will be using new technology such as DNA.

Now I'm not claiming to be a desecendant here but my Dad is always telling us we are Meer Mughals so how does that fit in with this? I don't know but it's all very interesting.

What do you think about this? Do you have rumours of Mughal ancestry in your family?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remembering our shaheed..

I've been thinking about how the British commemorate and appreciate their soldiers whether they are veterans from World War I and World War II or even the most recent ones from Afghanistan and I feel that Pakistanis don't give enough credit or support to our servicemen. The ones that risk their lives for their country and it's people. I don't think we do enough to honour their lives and their sacrifice so that the future generations can be aware of the struggles that we endured for a better future.

Since this blog is about history and searching for your ancestors, I'm going to be announcing the
shahadat (martydom) of the Pakistan Army soldiers that have been reported in the media as best as I can. It's a small contribution to remember them and preserve their memory so that their descendants and indeed future Pakistanis may know of their heroes.

Monday 18th May 2009

Major Abid Majeed Malik embraced shahadat near Nazarabad village of the Swat valley. He left behind a wife and 2 children.
Burial: Cavalry Ground graveyard, Lahore

"Major Abid Majeed Malik, a third generation soldier embraced Shahadat during his heroic bid to evacuate his injured comrades in arm. The Shaheed was commissioned in the Punjab Regiment on October 12, 1997. He leaves behind a widow and two minor children.
Major Abid Majeed Malik was laid to rest besides the permanent abode of his late father Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Abdul Majeed.

Major Abid’s mother said her son had major her a proud. “My sons have saved the country from terrorists. One has adorned martyrdom, while the other is a Ghazi,” said the proud mother. Her son Major Khalid suffered injuries during the war with the terrorists.

Ishrat, wife of Major Abid, said her husband wanted to adorn Shahadat, and the Almighty had fulfilled his wish.

At the time of his funeral, people from different walks of life were also present. They were all praise for the family of Major Abid, which has rendered innumerable services for the country. People also went to the residence of the Major Abid and offered Fateha for the departed soul." (The Nation)

Friday 5th June 2009

5 Soldiers were killed in South Waziristan Agency:
The four slain soldiers were identified as
Sepoy Shahid Khan, Raza Mohammad, Naveed Khan and Sharifuddin. In a separate incident, an unnamed soldier lost his life near Angoor Adda - a border town between South Waziristan and Afghanistan's province, Paktika. (The News)

We should all pray for these men and their families and recognise their courage and sacrifice for their country.

Are you related to a servicemen? Do you have memories of a loved one dying? Leave me a comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Family Tree Website

So you have the makings of a family tree with you, your parents and grandparents and it's all on pieces of paper but you're looking to share it with others and present it an easy format. Now all you need is somewhere to display it which brings me to a great website thats FREE: . You can build your tree with ease and update it with photos, dates, events and use features that allow you to make reports and charts.

To start a family tree, click 'Register' and you will be taken to a page where you will need to fill in details such as your name, country and email address as well as a website ID that will become part of your website address. Choose the ID carefully as you will not be able to change this later! Click 'Signup now' and you should be on your way.

You can limit who can view your website by changing the settings on 'privacy' so that guests may only see certain information.

I created my family tree 3 years ago and have been happy with the site, however the site is pretty basic with less features than say In the following posts I'll be telling you about other popular websites where you can not only display family trees but also share information with other researchers.

Have you got a family tree that you want to share with others? Can you suggest a better website than Tribalpages? Please leave a comment.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pakistan National Census

I just read a news article that mentioned the national census which was planned to take place this year has been postponed to the end of the year due to problems in NWFP. Apparently this census has been postponed twice before so this is the third time. The displacement of so many people and the war against the Taliban mean it's just not possible to conduct a census within the country.

Hopefully we will get through this terrible time..

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Descendants of Mohammed Ali Jinnah

There has been a lot of confusion in the news lately about a supposed descendant of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Aslam Jinnah claims to be his grandson however according to Liaquat Merchant, the grand nephew of Jinnah, there is only one grandson and his name is Nusli Wadia.

1) Poonja Gokuldas Meghji
2) Jinnahbhai Poonja (1857–1901)
3) Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948)
4) Dina Jinnah (1919- )
5) Nusli Wadia
6) Ness Wadia (1970- )

The above is the ancestry of
Ness Wadia who is the great grandson of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Dina Jinnah who is married to Neville Wadia has 2 children, her son Nusli Wadia and a daughter.
Even if Dina Jinnah's daughter had children (I don't know if she does) their surname is not likely to be 'Jinnah'. Aslam Jinnah can not be a direct descendant of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. However he could be a distant relative but he would need to prove his ancestry to the government of Pakistan to claim any share.

Further information about the extended family:

Jinnahbhai Poonja had 2 brothers, Walji Poonja and Nathoo Poonja.
Descendants of Walji Poonja are Muhammad Ali, Jaffer Ali, Hussein Ali and Ghulam Ali.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah had 4 sisters and 2 brothers, Mariambai, Fatima Jinnah, Rehmatbai, Shirinbai and Bande Ali and Ahmed Jinnah.

Ness Wadia has a brother called Jehangir Wadia.

Are you related to anyone famous? Or do you know someone who has famous relatives? Tell me by leaving a comment.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Who do you think you are?

No, this isn't another post about identity - its the name of a British genealogy documentary series that follows celebritites in search of their roots. I've been watching this show for about a year now and its really interesting. Sometimes you get people on the show that you know really well and others well.. you don't know at all. Previously in February the sixth series was shown and now on July 22nd the seventh series will begin with Davina McCall (from Big Brother).

Well whats the Pakistani connection I hear you ask? There isn't one. It's just a really interesting show where you learn a few things!

Here's a clip from Youtube courtesy of the BBC:

Its on BBC One, probably at 9pm but not sure at the moment. And if you're not in the UK then other versions have been shown in various countries including Canada, Australia, Ireland and even Sweden and South Africa according to Wiki.

Updated 9 July: The new series is actually starting
15 July.