Talpur (Sindhi: ٽالپور) (Urdu: تالپور) is a Sindhi Baloch tribe and is settled in Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. They are descendants of Mir Tala Khan they arrived in Sindh during the invasion of Nadir Shah, the Talpur's settled in northern Sindh, spoke the Sindhi language very soon their descendants and allies formed a confederacy against the Kalhora dynasty. Later, however, they enjoyed good relations with the Kalhoras and were invited by them to help organize unruly Baloch tribes living in Sindh. Although most of the Talpur's are basically Shia they were the founders of Sindhi unity. Talpur dynasty ruled Sindh, in present-day Pakistan, from 1783 to 1843 and were over thrown by the British East India Company led by General Charles James Napier.
With the defeat of the Kalhora forces by the Talpurs in the battle of Halani in 1783 under the command of Mir Fateh Ali Khan, Sindh came under the sway of Talpurs. Abdul Nabi Kalhora, true to his nature, did not sit idle but went to the Court of Kabul to secure the support of Taimur Shah who was more interested in procuring levy from Sindh. He ordered that Sindh be divided into two parts: one ruled by Mir Fateh Ali and the other by Abdul Nabi. He sent a huge force to have this implemented but the Baluchs under Mir Fateh Ali came out to resist the dismemberment at all costs and assembled at Rohri. When the forces of Kabul's Shah heard of the Mir’s determination, he decided to back off. The Shah then accepted Mir Fateh Ali Khan as the ruler of Sindh. He too had to pay a levy to the Kabul Court but not in the subservient way that the Kalhoras insisted on. The Kabul rulers had tasted the blades of Baluch swords and were not anxious to taste them again. Abdul Nabi continued his subversive activities till his death in the Derajat. Mir Fateh Ali, in spite of the heavy odds was able to consolidate Talpur rule in Sindh. Talpur rule in Sindh was unique because Mir Fateh Ali Khan and his three brothers ruled at Hyderabad. This was known as "The Chauyari," the rule of four friends. Fateh Ali was the Principal Amir and held the most important position. The other brothers also had responsibilities:
Mir Thara Khan ruled at Mirpur Khas and Mir Sohrab ruled at Khairpur. The critics consider this as contentious issue and malign the Talpurs. They fail to see that this was better than putting the pretenders to the sword and starting costly internecine wars. Abdul Majeed Jokhia, an eminent historian of that period says that Sindh was divided into seven districts, three were under Mir Fateh Ali and his brothers, (sons of Mir Sobdar), two were under Mir Sohrab, one under Mir Thara of Mirpur and one under Mir Mahmood, (their uncle) and sons of Mir Abdullah. Talpurs, who pardoned even their most inveterate enemies couldn't be expected to wield swords against their brethren. In cases where they had to, they were ruled by reason and showed great restraint. It was Mir Fateh Ali who made Hyderabad the seat of rule.
The Hyderabad Fort was built in the reign of Mian Ghulam Shah under the supervision of Mir Bahram Khan in 1184-85AH. Mir Fateh Ali ruled judiciously, providing prosperity and justice to the people of Sindh who had suffered terribly in the last days of Kalhora rule. He had a beautiful Palace built in the middle of a lake near Sakrand. He also had a new city built. The Talpur rulers, as well as their grandfathers had many canals built to bring goods to the people. Mir Shahdad Khan had the Marikh Wah extended all the way from Sakrand to beyond what is now Rokun Burira. It was he who established Shahdadpur and his son the Shahpur Chakar. The path of this canal still exists. His sons and grandsons dug minor canals from it.
Mir Fateh Ali Khan continued to rule till his death in 1801. The role of Principal Amir was passed on to his brother Mir Ghulam Ali Khan who followed his brother's way of governance but unfortunately a dispute arose between Mir Ghulam and Mir Thara Khan of Mirpur. Matters came to a head when the former rallied his supporters to fight it out. This was a delicate situation and needed to be dealt with carefully as an internal war could lead to disintegration. Mir Ghulam Ali asked his uncle, Mir Mahmood Khan to lead the forces against Mir Thara Khan. Mir Mahmood Khan was the only surviving son of Mir Bahram Khan. The Kalhoras had assassinated both his elder brothers, Mir Bijar Khan and Mir Sobdar Khan. He was very young at the time of the assassinations. Mirsahib led the forces and proved himself to be a brilliant military strategist. When he heard that Mir Thara Khan’s forces were entrenched near Wangi, he ordered his men to split into two sections, each attacking from a different side. This forced Mir Thara to come out in the open. In the fierce battle that followed 414 Baluchs were killed on both sides. Azeemudeen, Thatvi, and Abdul Majeed Jokhia have covered the subject in detail in their books. Mir Thara Khan was injured, but Mir Mahmood Khan made sure that he came to no further harm. He had him taken to his own tent and from there on to Hyderabad with all the respect due a relative and fellow ruler. Mir Sahib handled a potentially explosive situation with the wisdom that is required in such situations. Mir Thara Khan was nursed back to health and sent back to Mirpur to rule as he did before the battle. He could have been eliminated had this been the purpose. This event occurred in 1803.AD. Another reason he was not touched was that his, Mir Thara's, sister was wife of Mir Ghulam Ali and both were close relatives. In fact it was a conspiracy to sow seed of disunity amont Talpur Amirs of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas.
Mir Ghulam Ali died in 1811AD. His rule too was as glorious as Mir Fateh Ali's. They are both buried at Khudabad (the city was earlier founded by Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar, on empty land, around 1351 A.D.) near Hala. Mir Karam Ali Khan now assumed the role of Principal Amir. The British were now eyeing Sindh for its wealth and strategic position and were making inroads with new agreements aimed at increasing their influence. It should be remembered that most of India by this time was solidly under British rule, and 'The Great Game' was in full play. They had signed treaties with Mir Ghulam Ali.
When Mir Murad Ali the youngest of all brothers fell gravely ill, Mir Karam Ali requested the Governor in Bombay to send an able doctor. Dr.James Burnes came and cured him of the disease. Dr Burnes book "A Visit to the Court of Sinde" tells a lot about the state of the Court in 1827. The book dispels a lot of misconceptions regarding the Talpurs and their rule. He talks about the splendor of their Court and the decorum that was maintained. He says that Mir Mahmood Khan was a very handsome and a well-dressed person. Mir Karam Ali Khan was a poet of some repute and his 'Diwan e Karam' is accepted (even by Iranians!) as being of high quality. He died in 1828 AD. Mir Murad Ali was the last ruler of the first "Chauyari." He ruled with the advice of his sons and nephews. In 1832, a new agreement was signed with the British. They were slowly gaining a foothold. Mir Sahib, also a poet, ruled judiciously until his death in 1833 ended the first Chauyari.
The mantle now passed on to his eldest son Mir Noor Mohammad Khan who, following the path of his illustrious uncles and father, continued with the Chauyari form of rule, including his brother Mir Mohammad Naseer and cousins Mir Sobdar Khan and Mir Muhammad Khan in the ruling Council. Mir Noor Mohammad continued to rule judiciously. The British were slowly and gradually gaining influence by fanning discontent within the ranks of the Talpurs and were coming up with a succession of new treaties which were to their advantage alone. There have been attempts by various historians to present the Talpur era as one riddled with differences and consequent incompetence and malfeasance. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there were differences within the ranks they weren't allowed to fester. Attempts were made to resolve and accommodate the just demands. This is apparent from the fact that no Talpur or other Baluch was put to the sword for dissent during the two Chauyaris. There is a website on which some sections of Talpurs and some personalities have been praised to the detriment of others. This is not the right attitude as it is neither accurate nor does it reflect the tolerance practiced by the persons mentioned. The purpose of this site not to gloss over the differences and the drawbacks that were present then but to present them in the proper historical perspective, to see events in light of the times in which they events occurred, not to judge history by today's standards. The British, despite all assurances kept working for their own interests. In 1838 a new agreement was signed which was not at all in the interest of Sindh. Mir Noor Mohammad died in 1841. The rule now passed to Mir Mohammad Naseer Khan. In the same year Sir Charles Napier was sent to Sindh to achieve the ultimate goal of annexation of Sindh to the British Empire. Differences between the Talpurs began to crop up anew and the old grievances came to fore. There were differences between the sons of Mir Noor Mohammad. Mir Sobdar Khan in Hyderabad and Mir Ali Murad in Khairpur failed to realize that the English would eventually not be their friends either. The British presented new terms for a treaty and Mir Naseer Khan was an unwilling signatory as there were many unjust demands. The British wanted Karachi, Thatta and Bakhaar permanently. They wanted the Mint to be closed and no taxation for their traders. They wanted to replace Mir Rustam with his brother Mir Ali Murad and kept making unjust demands on him. Eastwick says that at one point Mir Rustam was so fed up with their demands that he said he couldn't accept them. After all, he was a Baluch. "A Glance at Sindh Before Napier " by Eastwick presents the true picture of those times. Napier forced Mir Rustam to go to Hyderabad. Mirsahib was old and ailing at that time. The Talpurs and other Baluchs were infuriated at this. To make the matters worse, Napier started his incursion towards Hyderabad to provoke the Baluchs. He confiscated Mir Rutam's possessions on flimsy pretexts in December 1842. Napier continued his provocations by words and deeds. The Baluchs knew for certain that Napier would use the logic of the wolf that is bent upon devouring the sheep and not relent even if all his demands were met. They decided to meet force with force. On the 5th of February Major Outram's post near Kotri was attacked but he embarked on the steamer and escaped. Napier had camped near Miani and the Baluchs assembled there to fight it out.
On 17 February the opposing forces met. The Baluchs surpassed all in valour and bravery. Mir Jan Mohammad Talpur charged into the English camp and attacked Outram who narrowly escaped his charge by jumping off his horse. Mir Jan Mohammad's grave is in Miani. One Baluch, bayoneted by a British soldier and unable to reach the opponent with his sword, pushed the bayonet and the rifle through his own body and killed the opponent. The British say their casualties were 62 killed and 194 wounded. The casualties on the Baluch side are estimated to be six times higher. The Baluchs were defeated and had to retreat. Valor alone has never been and can never on its own be the determining factor in the outcome of any battle. Discipline and planning played a much more important role and on February !7th 1843, won the day for the British. Had the outcome of the Battle at Miani been different it would have changed the history of the sub-continent. It could have been different if only the Talpurs had realized that the British would never abide by the agreements they were making. The next day Mir Naseer Khan surrendered to Charles Napier. He and others were then arrested and sent in exile to Calcutta and other places in India. The houses were looted even the ladies were not spared. Finally, the English had gotten Sindh. Mir Sher Mohammad of Mirpur tried to rally his forces. He fought against the English at Dabbo near Hyderabad on March 24 , 1843 to liberate Sindh but his forces too were defeated and no change could be brought to the state of things.
The British had wormed their way into Sindh through deceit and intrigues but conquered it through force of arms and that was the only recourse for them in sustaining their illegal rule here. They sowed dissension amongst the people here and ensured their rule. They exiled all those who could have acted as a symbol for resistance. To clarify one point, some over- enthusiastic Talpurs regardless of their own contribution to the fight against the British, conveniently accuse the Mahmoodanis of not having fought. While, Mahmoodanis may not have fought the British due to the differences within the Talpur family at that time, at no stage did they collaborate with England or any enemy of Sindh. Moreover the descendants of Mir Mahmood quite made up for their battlefield absence by resisting British Imperialism tooth and nail, when it was even a crime to utter a word against them, while their accusers enjoyed English patronage. It is no less than a miracle that the Talpurs have been able to preserve the books and artefacts that they still have in their possession. Mir Naseer Khan died in exile as did some others. His son and that of Mir Noor Mohammad among others later returned to Sindh. The English always felt threatened by the Talpurs. They did restore the possessions of the Talpurs but under strict conditions. Contrary to common belief the Talpurs were never given Jagirs (estates)by England. The only concession was that their original holdings were restored to them as is apparent from the Sanads still in possession of Talpur family. These lands were not taken away from anyone by the Talpurs but these were virgin lands which they had brought under cultivation by having new canals and waterways dug.
With the loss of rule to the British, the Talpur family's situation changed overnight. The former rulers were now the persecuted. Charles Napier went about his job with vindictiveness and spite. He incarcerated all the male members of the ruling family, leaving the ladies to fend for themselves. The households were looted and stripped of valuables. The arrested Mirs were sent to Calcutta and other places in India where many of them died, including Mir Sobdar, Mir Fateh Ali Khan and Mir Mohamad Naseer the last ruler of Sindh. This was a period of trials and tribulations for the entire Talpur Family. They passed it with fortitude and dignity, which added to their stature immensely. The basic reason for their survival was that their roots within the people of Sindh, whom they had served well. The influence of this family survived in spite of efforts of British to undermine it. Though it was no longer possible for the family to have a collective influence as it had enjoyed previously, different sections of the family retained influence in their respective regions. Their social influence over the people did not recede and they continued to play a very important role in keeping the people united. They still symbolised all the better things the people expected. This forced the English to restore the Jagirs (Estates) to the families they had belonged to in the first place. Even in their decline, The Talpurs continued their patronage of arts and literature as before.
Adversity did not diminish the family's brilliance and strength of character. Those who were incarcerated lived a very hard life in conditions they were not used to. They bore these hardships with great dignity. Mir Mohammad Naseer Khan's Son Mir Abbas Ali Khan married an English lady. Their son became one of the greatest poets of Sindh, Mir Abdul Hussain Khan Sangi, whose personal hand-written "Deewan" is still available with Talpur family. Mir Mohammad Hassan Ali was also a poet of stature. The works of these two poets are still included in the textbooks of educational institutions in Sindh. Mir Sobdar Khan, the son of Mir Fateh Ali Khan (the first ruler of Sindh) was also a poet. His works included "Judai Nama", "Odes of Separation." Pages from these can also be seen at one of the sites maintained by Talpur family. He died during exile in 1263 A.H. The Talpur family not only maintained its status but also extended its influence through involvement the in social and political affairs of the region. At no time did they abjectly accede to the demands of the British. This raised their stature in the eyes of the masses and was one of the reasons for their political ascendancy after loss of their rule.
The British considered four branches of the Talpur clan to be of major importance, the Shahdadani, Khanani, Mankani and Shahwani. The Shahdadani branch includes the Ruling Family, the Mahmoodanis, and the Bijaranis, all living in Hyderabad. The Khananis reside in and around Tando Jam, the Mankanis in the Mirpurkhas region, and The Shahowanis make their home in the district of Tando Mohammad Khan. They all were Jagirdars and the British regranted their estates. The Talpurs of Tando Bago and Tando Ghulam Ali were also Jagirdars. It should be noted that the ruling family were given grants and some agricultural land but not the Jagirs. The British probably hoped to limit their influence. The heads of the four major branches were formally invited to the Darbars and other special events held by The British Raj. It should be pointed out that the British had wilfully tried to deter the Talpur family from indulging in anti-colonial political movements by adding a clause in the re-grants of Jagirs in 1861 proscribing such involvement.
Mir Thara Khan (Mir Tharo) founded his state in South East with capital at Keti Mir Tharo. Later the capital was shifted to Mirpurkhas, by his, Mir Ali Murad Khan, who founded this city in 1806A.D. Next ruler of the State of Mirpurkhas was Mir Thara's younger son, Mir Ali Murad Khan. Mir Ali Murad Khan became the ruler with consent of his elder brother, Mir Ghulam Haider Khan. Mir Ali Murad was famous for his justice and fair-play. He was followed by Mir Sher Muhammad Khan, popularly known as "Sher-e-Sindh" (The Lion of Sindh). After the fall of Hyderabad at the hands of Charles Napier at the Battle of Miani, Mir Sher Muhammad tried to liberate Sindh and fought the battle of liberation at Dubbo. However, again, treachery and deception by Charles Napier's forces succeeded in suppressing Balochi forces led by Mir Sher Muhammad Khan.
Mir Sohrab Khan had founded his state in the north of Sindh soon after the fall of kalhoras. Mir Rustum Khan was the next Amir of Sohrabani State. After the takeover of Hyderabad by forces of British East India Company, Mir Ali Murad Sohrabai was able to establish and continue as head of the princely state of Khairpur under tutelage of the forces of the British East India Company.
In a recent study Dr.N.A.Baluch,an eminent historian,scholar and former Vice-Chancellor of Sindh University has proved that the contentions of biased historians against the Talpurs as baseless and malicious. He in his paper,read at the Pakistan History Conference Golden Jubilee Session held in October 2001 in Karachi, has proved with authentic documents that Talpurs were influential land holders even before the Kalhoras came into power. In fact Mir Shahdad Khan was instrumental in helping the Kalhoras come into power. He has established that the Talpurs were not the uncouth rustics as the British historians have tried to project. In an 1116A.H (1704 A.D.)document Mir Shahdad Khan is referred to as "Riffat Panah" meaning His Eminence. He also establishes that Mir Shahdad Khan founded Shahdadpur during the years 1125A.H.-1128A.H (1713-1715 AD). The document shows that Mir Shahdad Khan not only had barren lands cultivated but also provided security to the populace by ridding the region of dacoits (thieves). He established new norms for the sharing of produce between the owners and tillers. Mir Shahdad Khan had old canals and waterways renovated and also extended them. He had new canals dug as well and that was how he established the new settlement of Shahdadpur.
The learned Doctor at one point has eleborated thus, "In view of his prestige and popularity, Shahdad Khan was later on offered a land grant of a large area extending from Dung to Kotte Ratta in "the 4th year of the reign of King Muhammad Farrukh Siyar" in 1128A.H. The contents of the document show that Shahdad Khan had the ability to assemble a large number of tillers and farmers in a joint effort to bring more areas under cultivation. He was bestowed this grant to bring under cultivation entire unsettled areas (Ghair jama'ee) extending from Dung to Ratto Kotte. This was possibly located further north to Pingharo, in present Sakrand Taulkawhere the locality of Dung is well known to this day.
However Mir Shahdad had now his own terms of accepting the offer of the grant of theb unsettled areas of the government lands which were to be reclaimed for cultivation. He joined the tillers as co-sharers in the income acquired from the areas brought under cultivation. Accordingly, it was stipulated that the tillers shall be co-sharers, and it was guaranteed that there "shall be no alteration in these terms and conditions".
This study shows that Mir Shahdad Khan was a born leader of men and had the interests of the people near him very close to his heart. That he was "just ,sagacious and foresighted". It also shows that Talpurs were instrumental in bringing about prosperity in this primarily agricultural country. This was brought about by curbing lawlessness and opening up new areas to cultivation. The Talpurs today can really be proud of having an ancestor like Mir Shahdad Khan Talpur. Without him there probably would have been no Talpur rule in Sindh.
The Shahdadani Talpurs get their name from their illustrious Mir Shahdad Khan Talpur s/o Mir Hotak Khan Talpur. They migrated from Dera Ghazi Khan and made Sindh their home and served their new homeland with distinction, honour and valour.
Mir Shahdad Khan was instrumental in helping the Kalhoras become the rulers of Sindh. The governor of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb granted him land in year 1117AH/1705AD. He was an influential landowner even before that grant. He established the town of Shahdadpur and made it a prosperous center of agriculture, trade and learning. He died in 1147 AH/1734AD and is buried at Quba Shahdad near Shahpur Chakar. Three of his four sons rose to prominence. His eldest son Jam Nindo died in Mashad (Iran). His other son Mir Chakar is also buried at Quba Shahdad. Mir Chakar Khan was the father of Mir Sohrab Khan who established the Talpur rule in Khairpur and there the rest of his family are buried.
His youngest son Mir Bahram Khan rose to prominence as the commander of the army, the Chief Advisor and ally of the Kalhoras. helping them strengthen their power in Sindh despite Afghan meddling. He was repaid for his services by being assassinated along with his son Mir Sobdar Khan, on the instructions of Mian Sarfaraz Khan Kalhora in the year 1774AD/1188AH. Both are buried at Khudabad near Hala. Also buried there is his son Mir Bijar Khan Talpur who was assassinated in 1781AD/1196AH. at the behest of Mian Abdul Nabi Kalhora.
After the death of Mir Shahdad Khan, the Talpurs moved to Khudabad, and there they provided the Kalhoras with safe haven in their times of trouble. This was the de facto capital till Mir Fateh Ali Khan shifted it to Hyderabad after assuming the reins of power in 1783AD/1197AH. The attachment to the place remained as is apparent by the fact that Mir Fateh Ali, Mir Ghulam Ali and Mir Murad Ali are all buried here. Mir Fateh Ali Khan also had the tombs at Quba Shahdad repaired during his reign. There are mosques both at Quba Shahdad and Khudabad. Talpur ladies are buried there, as are other people of that era. Some of the tombs are made of high quality engraved stone, and the engravings on the inside are excellent.
Mir Karam Ali Khan was buried near Hyderabad in what is now known as Hirabad. The tomb was built in 1812AD/1277AH. Mir Nur Mohamad, Mir Nasir Khan (the last ruler of Sindh), Mir Shahdad, o Mir Ghulam Shah and Mir Fazal Ali of the Bijarani section of Shahdadanis are also buried here. Many tombs in this place which hold remains of Talpur Ladies and other people associated with the Talpurs. There has been aggressive encroachment in and around this area. People have built houses by the tombs, even in the places which previously held graves. There is a lone watchman from the Auqaf Dept. who is not knowledgeable about the people buried there and there are no signs indicating the names of those buried there. The people who have made houses there by encroaching dump garbage there with no respect for the dead, let alone history.
The tombs at all three places are excellent examples of Islamic architecture of this region. The tombs of Mir Shahdad Khan, Mir Bahram Khan, Mir Bijar Khan and Mir Sobdar Khan have clean, simple designs: engraved stone with an umbrella like structure covering them. The dome of Mir Bahram Khan and Mir Sobdar Khan's graves has collapsed and urgently needs repairs .The mosques at Quba Shahdad and Khudabad have beautiful motifs on the domes and walls that need expert restoration. The domes of tombs at Hyderabad also have excellent motifs. The glazed tiles used here and in Khudabad are of excellent quality and design. The pictures presented on the site amply describe the state of things on all these historical sites. It is also hoped that the pictures will also raise awareness that things of great value are being left to rot. Any repair work if carried out at all is done by people who have very little expertise in the area of older and does more damage than good to these buildings.
The graves of the other Mirs, viz. Mir Fatheh Ali Khan and others are housed in a mausoleum and are more elaborate. The mosque at Quba Shahdad was made by Jam Nindo's son and is now in a very shabby state. The mosque at Khudabad was built by Mir Fateh Ali in1799AD/1214AH. All these tombs are badly in need of repairs and if no attempt is made now they may be lost forever. There is no maintenance by the Department of Archaeology and people take away the beautifully engraved stones. People have also started burying their dead in those places and are slowly restricting the area by cultivating the adjoining lands at Quba Shahdad. The tombs at Khudabad are not in good shape either.
At all these sites it will be seen that some of the people who come to visit them deface the places by writing on the walls, some even cut their names into the walls thereby doing permanent damage. Maintaining Visitor's Books there could discourage this.
The Mahmoodanis have a simple graveyard located on the Ganjo Takar, in the now industrial area. It seems that Mahmoodani section has no elaborate tombs etc. because Janab Mir Mahmood Khan was a simple man though he held a very high position in the Talpur court not only due to being the only surviving paternal uncle of the Amirs of the First Chauyari but also because of his wisdom and influence among the Baluchs.
The elements and humans have joined hands to destroy these excellent masterpieces of architecture. The negligence by the Auqaf Department and the Department of Archaeology hasn't been reserved for the Tombs of Talpurs alone. The neglect is pervasive. The Hyderabad Fort built by Ghulam Shah Kalhora in the years before his death in 1186AH has been so aggressively encroached upon that ramparts mingle with the houses built on them and this has made them prone to collapse, and there have already been instances of this. The Necropolis of Makli near Thatta is also in a state of disrepair. People take away the engraved stones of the graves. There seems to be no one caring for this historical heritage that would have been preciously guarded had it been elsewhere.
It is hoped that the Government will awaken to its responsibilities and make a comprehensive plan to ensure proper care and maintenance of all the historical sites in the province of Sindh. These historical sites are not the legacy of Talpurs alone but of all the people.
The Talpur dynasty (Urdu: سلسله تالپور) (Sindhi: ٽالپور خاندان) was a dynasty of the Talpur tribe that conquered and ruled Sindh, and other parts of present-day Pakistan, from 1783 to 1843. The Talpur army defeated the Kalhora Dynasty in the Battle of Halani in 1783 to become rulers of Sindh. The Talpur dynasty was defeated by the British invaders in 1843 at the Battle of Miani.