SEARCHING FOR AN INTELLECTUAL AND AESTHETIC COMPATIBILITY;
INTELLECTUAL WOMEN OF REGION AND RABIA SULTANI BABUPURI.
There is a unique background of extraordinary women of this region, with no access to persons of their picked-up standards, searching for compatible relations with other extraordinary men. A beautiful example is of Lady Hijab of Hyderabad Deccan, who admired the intellectualness of Imtiaz Ali Taj and used to write to him, letters of appreciation. It naturally ended in a meeting and marriage. But this problem dates centuries back. Even the daughter of Iltutmish, Princess Razia passed through same issues and found consideration with a slave. Same applied to the Princesses of Mughal household. The chance meeting of Princess Zebunnisa with the poet, and like a scion of Royalty, she rewarded him for his recited poem, but had him expelled from India. Our is not to list such historical facts, ours is to explore the Princess of Oudh, Rabia Sultana Babupuri, of Lucknow, with residence in the Jahangirabad Palace, Lucknow.
Jahangirabad Palace is reputed to be a place, once visited by Emperor Jahangeer , and the last Nawab of Oudh, Wajid Ali Shah, had a desire to create the ultimate palace of Hindustan, and he was himself responsible for the design of same. Built between 1848 and 1850, elements of rebellion were found here, and the Nawab exiled to Calcutta. The Princesses were offering resistance too, so the palace was systematically destroyed by the British. The estate at present was owned by Raja Muhammed Jamal Rasul Khan, who has now converted it into as first-class hotel.
In our archives are a number of letters in Urdu written to the artist Abdur Rahman Chughtai, and roughly the letters start from 1947, and move on to at least 1960. There are a number of them. The first one is a request to the artist to dedicate some book or article of his to the lady. The lady in question has a watermark special seal on her letter pad, and she addresses herself as Miss Rabia Sultani Babupuri, Lucknow. Babupur is a district in Sitapur, also known as Mahmudabad, and the Raja of Mahmudabad was at one time a great supporter of Quaid e Azam and the idea of Pakistan, and that is a separate history. The address also states that Jahangirabad Palace is situated on Laxmi Bai Marg, which is a road, on which it is situated. There is also mention of an Asmat Manzil in it.
The letters contain many things. Regrets over illness of family members. Shock over death of brother and sister. Condolence on death of aunt (Khala) Maharani of Jahangirabad. Appreciation for receipt of copy of Murraqqa e Chughtai. Decoration of her room with prints of Chughtai Sahib. An ardent request for an original painting of the artist. Regrets about not extending an invitation to the artist to visit Babupur because of lack of proper facility for same. Enquiry about the artists proposed visit to Delhi in the 1950s. In short, she shares everything, personal and nonpersonal. She echoes her emotional state of life, but there is not word of any romantic overture. On some letters Chughtai Sahib has written replied to letter. But letters received are many more than letters sent. She seems to find an emotional rapport by exchanging things about her personal life. But in one letter. She talks about the position of women in the Indian region. And that is really something to remember her by. We print that letter in original for others to read. A Rani speaking about the things never said from the harem. Sharing after seven decades or more. Perhaps by reading this people will point out who she was and is remembered for her articles in books and magazines, and in that respect found the company of Chughtai sahib interesting for her development, intellectual and emotional. An episode in the life of Chughtai artist.