Eighth and present Prince of Arcot
Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali (1993 to present)
Born in the Royal House of Arcot, on the 9th August, 1951, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali is the eldest son of the Nawab Ghulam Mohammed Abdul Khader, the late Prince of Arcot and lives in the historic palace of his ancestors, 'Amir Mahal', in Royapettah in the city of Chennai (Madras), India.
The family traces its lineage from the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrath Omar Bin-Khattab. Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali succeeded his later father, and was recognised by His Excellency the President of India, as "HIS HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF ARCOT".
Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali continues to enjoy certain special privileges, honours and courtesies accorded to him by the Government to the Prince of Arcot since 1870. He was also been accorded a very high protocol by the Government in the Warrant of Precedence, under Article 15-A, and his rank is on par with State Cabinet Ministers.
He was the Sheriff of Madras for two separate terms, in the year 1984-85 and 1988. He is a well known committed social activist, involved in many social, cultural and religious institutions in the country. He is a non-political and non-communal person like his forefathers. The Prince is the Founder Secretary-General of 'Harmony India', a registered Association formed in 1990 to promote communal amity, secularism and national integration. He is the President of All India Muslim Educational Society (AIMES). The Prince is the head of the Carnatic Family Association.
The Hon'ble Prime Minister of India had nominated Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali as a Jury Member of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, an organisation established by the Central Government, Ministry of Home Affairs, along with His Excellency the Vice-President of India, the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, the Chairman of the University Grant Commission (U.G.C.), and the Union Home Secretary.
The Prince administers his ancestral Endowments, known as "The Prince of Arcot Endowments", and maintains several mosques in the State of Tamil Nadu. The administration of these Endowments is governed by the Madras Act II of 1923. He also manages the Wakfs in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, known as 'Arcot Wakf', which arranges the stay and arrangements of the pilgrims from our country, particularly the State of Tamil Nadu.
On many occasions, the Prince was the Royal Guest of His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia, during his visits to the Kingdom. He was nominated as the Deputy Leader of the Indian Goodwill Haj Delegation by the Hon'ble Prime Minister, in the years 1995, 1997 and 1998.
The State Governor and the Tamil Nadu Government have nominated Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali as a member in many high-level State committees. He is the Vice-Chairman, Tamil Nadu Government Urdu Academy. He is the State Chief Scout for Tamil Nadu Branch of the All India Boys Scouts Association and an active member of the Lions Club of Marina Beach, Lion's International District 324-AI. The Prince has been the recipient of many awards for this social service, including the National Unity Award from His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu on many occasions. He was the recipient of "For the Sake of Honour" award from the Rotary Club.
Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot, is a patron of music, art and literature and his hobbies are photography, gardening and reading books. He is married to Sayeeda Begum and blessed with two sons, Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali and Nawabzada Mohammed Naser Ali and daughters-in-law, Nawabzadi Seema Ahmed and Nawabzadi Aasia Zainab respectively.
The following is a reproduction of a report contained in the then Government's Gazette of April 1871:
Fort S1. George,
Fort St. George April 18, 1871
At 5.30 p.m., on the 12th April 1871, His Excellency the Governor held a Durbar in the Banqueting Hall, for the purpose of presenting to His Highness Prince Azim Jah Bahadur, the Letters Patent issued by Command of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, investing His Highness and his successors with the title and dignity of Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot, in India.
The Chief Justice of Madras, the Members of Council, the Provincial Commander-in-Chief, the principal Civil and Military officials of the Presidency, and a large number of residents of Madras were present on this occasion. One of the Governor's carriages, containing Aide-de-camp to His Excellency the Governor and the Under-Secretary started from Government House at 5 minutes to 5.00 p.m., for the purpose of conveying His Highness Prince Azim Jah from his residence, the Shadi Mahal, to the Durbar. A party of the Body Guard were in attendance. The sons and grandsons of His Highness and the gentleman of his suite followed in His Highness' own carriages in the rear of the Body Guard.
A Company from each of the corps in Garrison was present as a guard of honour.
On his Highness' arrival, a salute of 15 guns was fired and the guard of honour presented arms. On alighting, His Highness was received at the foot of the steps by the Chief Secretary to Government and by the Private Secretary to His Excellency who conducted him to the Hall. His Excellency the Governor met His Highness at the entrance of the Hall, and led him to a seat on the dais on His Excellency's right.
After His Highness' sons and grandson had been presented, His Excellency the Governor addressing Prince Azim Jah said:-
"Prince Azim Jah Bahadur,... I have the honour to deliver to your Highness the Letters Patent by which Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to invest you and your successors with the title of Prince of Arcot. In conferring this dignity upon your Highness, Her Majesty the Queen has borne in mind the ties which have united the fortunes of your family with the growth and ascendancy of British Power in the South of India. The name which you and your posterity will bear will serve to recall and commemorate the days when your ancestors and our predecessors cemented their alliance in triumphs over a common adversary, but Her Majesty the Queen blends with memory of the past gracious solicitude for the present and the future.
Her Majesty deshes to mark the esteem in which she holds your Highness personally as the representative of an ancient, friendly and loyal house. She desires to perpetuate her favour in your descendants, and to continue to them, in few forms of honour and with new guarantees of welfare, the means of serving their sovereign and their country. We are happy to see your Highness surrounded by two generations of your offspring, who will convey to after times the recollection of this auspicious day. Your Highness will know how to impress on them the duty of bearing themselves wisely and usefully in the high station in which they have been now confirmed.
Price of Arcot, - I deem myself fortunate in conveying to your Highness, in your venerable age these tokens of the goodwill of our august Sovereign. I trust that you may long live to enjoy the favour of the Queen, the regard of this Government, the affection of your family and the respect of the people of this Presidency."
VICTORIA by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, to all Viceroys, Governors-General, Governors and all others of our officers, Ministers and subjects whatsoever to whom these presents shall come greeting - know ye that we of our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion have advanced, preferred and created our right trusty and well beloved subject Azim Jah Ameer-ool-Omrah, Omdu-ool-Moolk, Seraj-ool-Omrah, Assud-ood-Oowlah, Zoolfakar Jung to the state degree dignity and honour of Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot in India and him the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot in India aforesaid do by these presents create advance and prefer and we have appointed given and granted and by these presents for us for heirs and successors do appoint give and grant unto him the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot for and during his natural life with remainder after his decease to his four sons Mohummud Baddee Collah styled Zaheer-ood-Dowlah Mohummed Buddee Oollah Khan Bahadur Titrut Jung, Ahmed Collah styled Moontuzun-ood-Dowlah Ahmed Collah Khan Bahadur Nubee Yar Jug Intizam-ool-Moolk, Noorullah Meyan styled Oomdut-ood-Oowlah Mohummad Noorullah Khan Bahadur Joorut Jung, Gholam Mohi-ood-Deen styled Monzu-ood-Dowlah Mohi-ood-Oeen Yar Khan Bahadur Haslnut Jung severally and successively one after the other for their respective natural lives in such order and succession as the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot shall by writing under his hand nominate and appoint and in default of such nomination and appointment or so far as the same shall not extend in such order and succession as we our heirs or successors, shall after the decease of the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot by warrant under the sign manual of us our heirs or our heirs or suggestors nominate and appoint with remainder from and after the deceased of the last surviving of them said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot and Mohummud Baddee Oollah, Ahmed Collah Bahadur, Noor Collah Meyan and Gholam Mohi-ood-Oeen to such out of the lawful grandsons in the male line of decent of the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot we our heirs or successors shall whether before or after the decease of such survivor by warrant under the Sign Manual of us or heirs or successors nominated and appoint and the heirs male of his body lawfully issued so as and in such manner that of Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot may devolve and descent as in an indivisable inheritance in a course of succession to the person who shall for the time being be the eldest lawful heir male in the line of the person last possessed of the said name, state, degree, style, dignity, title and honour who shall have left those existing lawful male issue in the male line so that an elder son and his issue male shall always be preferred to and take before a younger son and his issue male. Willing and by these presents granting for us our heirs and successors that the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot and his heirs male aforesaid and every of them successively as aforesaid may bear and have the name, state, degree, style, dignity, title and honour of Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot in India aforesaid and that they and every of them successively as aforesaid may be called and styled Ameer-i-Arcot or Prince of Arcot in India. Lastly we will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do grant to the said Azim Jah Ameer-i-Arcot or Prince of Arcot that these our Letters Patent or the Inrolement thereof shall be sufficient and effectual in the law of dignifying, investing and ennobling of him the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot or Prince of Arcot, and his heirs male aforesaid with the title, state, dignity and honour of Ameer-i-Arcot or Prince of Arcot in India aforesaid and this without any investitute rites, ornaments or ceremonies to us we could not in due manner do and perform. We will also and do by these presents grant to the said Azim Jah Ameer-e-Arcot that he may and shall have these our Letters Patent duly made and sealed under our great seal of our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland without fine or fee great or small to be for the same in any manner rendered done or paid to us in our Hanaper or elsewhere to our use. In witness thereof we have caused these our Letters to be made patent.
Witness ourselves at Westminister the second day of August in the thirty fourth year of our Reign.
By Warrant under the Queen's Sign Manual.
His Highness the Prince of Arcot acknowledged the reception of the Letters Patent in these words:-
"My Lord, - I have the honour to accept, with the highest respect, and with sentiments of the most profound gratitude, the Letters Patent of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, investing me and my successors with the title of Prince of Arcot.
My Lord, I can scarcely find language sufficiently expressive to convey to your Lordship the feeling by which I am at present animated towards Her Most Gracious Majesty for this signal and special honour and dignity conferred on me and my successors. It is scarcely necessary for me, My Lord, to assure your Lordship that this most gracious act of condescension on the part of Her Majesty will, at all times, tend to strengthen the loyalty and allegiance of the Prince of Arcot to the British ascendancy; and endear Her Majesty to the Mussulman population; and induce them to feel a deep sense of gratitude for the honour and dignity conferred on them through me. I shall not, my Lord, refer on the present occasion to the actions performed by my ancestors and predecessors in the early struggles of the British power in Southern India. These have been more than acknowledged by the ancestors of Her Most Gracious Majesty and her predecessors; but I shall only add, my Lord, that I look upon the honour and dignity conferred on me this evening as the crowning act; and I desire through your Lordship to convey to our Gracious Sovereign my heartfelt gratitude and profound thanks and to assure Her Majesty of my loyalty and allegiance towards her, and my earnest prayers for Her Majesty and all the members of the Royal family. As regards myself, my Lord, I have only to add that it is grateful to my feelings to have been spared thus to realise, as I have done this evening, the honour and dignity conferred on me; and now, my Lord, permit me to observe that I am entirely indebted to your Lordship's kind sympathy for the dynasty of the late Nawabs of the Carnatic, and your sense of justice to the members of the family, for which we shall, at all times, entertain a grateful and lively recollection. I know earnestly beg your Lordship's acceptance of my hearty thanks and gratitude for the handsome and kind manner in which you have been pleased to give effect to the desire and pleasure of Her Majesty, whose increased favour we hope to deserve and to enjoy, and whom my God protect and preserve, and may every blessing attend your Lordship and Lady Napier."
The Governor took leave of the Prince at the same point which His Excellency had received His Highness, who was conducted to the foot of the steps by the Chief Secretary to Government. On His Highness' depature, a salute of 15 guns was fired. The deputation which escorted His Highness to the Durbar accompanied him to his residence in the Shadi Mahal, and there took leave. The party of the Body Guard was in attendance on the return.
R.S. Ellies, Chief Secretary.
Heir Apparent and Dewan to the Prince of Arcot
Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali
Born in the House of Arcot on the 14th of June, Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali is the eldest son His Highness the Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, and lives in the historic home of his ancestors, ‘Amir Mahal’ in the city of Chennai (Madras), India. He is also the Dewan and Heir-Apparent to the present Prince. The family traces its lineage from the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrath Omar Bin-Khattab.
As the dewan to the Prince of Arcot the Heir-Apparent has several responsibilities to his title.
He is very active in several social and cultural activities in the city and also among the Arcot family members. He is also the deputy agent of the Prince of Arcot Endowments, and is working on several projects for the upkeep of the Endowment activities.
On many occasions, the Heir-Apparent was the Royal Guest of His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia, during his visits to the Kingdom, with the Prince of Arcot.
He is a patron member of the Carnatic Family Association. This association mainly works on helping the needy relatives of the Carnatic family, especially in the education sector.
As a businessman, he heading‘Foxtek India’, a Web Development form.
He is a member of the Madras Gymkhana Club and the Madras Club and takes part actively in many social, sports and cultural activities at the clubs.
He is a patron of music, art and literature and himself is a good musician and a sketch artist. As a hobby he has scored music for several Indian Pop albums, and enjoys composing music in his own studio at the palace. He is also a very sportsman and plays the state league cricket, apart from tennis, snooker, horse riding, reading, photography and organizing quiz events for schools, colleges and other organizations.