The Bourbons and Begums of Bhopal: The Forgotten History

Paper Type: | Size: 228mm x 152mm
All colour; 101 photographs and 3 maps; 236 pages; Hardback
ISBN-10: 93-86906-38-0 | ISBN-13: 978-93-86906-38-0


Magdaline Bourbon was a descendant of Jean Philippe de Bourbon, who arrived in India in the 1560s and was appointed a senior official by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, at his court in Delhi. Regarded as a son of the Bourbon royal family of France, Jean Philippe de Bourbon was known as the Raja of Shergarh and established a dynasty in India. In the late 1700s the family moved to Bhopal and played a crucial role in supporting the ruling Begums of the state.

The Bourbons’ bravery, administrative acumen and sound advice helped in the development of Bhopal, where their deeds are still remembered. The harmonious coexistence of different communities in Bhopal during the rule of the Begums, is also a valuable historical memory worth remembering. 

In this historical account with a personal flavour, Indira Iyengar, the daughter of Magdaline Bourbon, records her mother’s memories, traces the fascinating history of the Bourbons of Bhopal and reminds us of life in a romantic and swashbuckling time. 

Indira  Iyengar
Indira Iyengar

Indira Iyengar is a social activist and founder of Mahashakti Seva Kendra, an organization formed to help underprivileged women become economically independent. At present, it helps more than 5,000 women in Bhopal and across tribal areas in Madhya Pradesh. Previously, she had worked with Mother Teresa to establish the Missionaries of Charity’s first home for the destitute in Bhopal. She views this book as her tribute to the Bourbon legacy and their contribution to Bhopal state, as well as the fulfilment of a promise she made to her mother to record her family’s unique history.