The death scene of James Achilles Kirkpatrick

An oil painting of Kirkpatrick's wife, Khair-un-Nissa, by George Chinnery. Circa 1805. Lieutenant Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatrick (1764 – 15 October 1805) was the British Resident at Hyderabad from 1798 to 1805. He also built the historic Koti Residency in Hyderabad, a landmark and major tourist attraction. He was known for one of the first interracial love affair between him (British) and an Indian noblewoman Khair-Un-Nissa.

Biography James Achilles Kirkpatrick was born in 1764 at Fort St. George, Madras, Tamil Nadu.He replaced his brother William and arrived as resident in Hyderabad in 1795 according to William Dalrymple as a "cocky young

imperialist intending to conquer India". There he became thoroughly enamored of Indo-Persian culture of Nizam's court, and gave up his English manner of dress in exchange for Persian costumes. Although a colonel in the British East India Company's army, Kirkpatrick wore Mughal-style costumes at home, smoked a hookah, chewed betelnut, enjoyed nautch parties, maintained a small harem in his zenanakhana, spoke fluent Hindustani and Persian and openly mingled with the elite of Hyderabad. Kirkpatrick was adopted by the Nizam of Hyderabad, who invested him with many titles: mutamin ul mulk (safeguard of the kingdom), hushmat jung (valiant in battle), nawab fakhr-ud-dowlah bahadur (governor, pride of the state, and hero). He converted to Islam (in particular Shi'ism) and married a local Hyderabadi noblewoman called Khair-un-Nissa, the teenage granddaughter of Nawab Mahmood Ali Khan, the prime minister of Hyderabad. Towards the end of autumn of 1801, a major scandal broke out in Calcutta over Kirkpatrick's behaviour at the Hyderabad court. It raised a major furore because of the interracial nature of the marriage. Kirkpatrick‘s downfall came with Lord Richard Wellesley‘s appointment as Governor-General of India. Wellesley was an imperialist determined to reduce the Nizam to subservience. He strongly disapproved of British-Indian liaisons. Kirkpatrick was summoned to Calcutta, only to be reprimanded and dismissed. [As per Dalrymple, Kirkpatrick was summoned to Calcutta by Lord Cornwallis who wanted to take his advice and he died in Calcutta due to ill health.] James Achilles Kirkpatrick died in Calcutta on October 15, 1805. After his death, Khair-un-Nissa returned to Hyderabad where she died on 22 September 1813 aged 27. Kirkpatrick and Khair-un-Nissa together had two children: a son, Mir Ghulam Ali Sahib Alam and a daughter, Noorun-Nissa Sahib Begum. After their father's death, they were later transported to England to live with their grandfather Colonel James Kirkpatrick, in London and leaving their mother in India. Popular culture

A large part of White Mughals, a book by the historian William Dalrymple, concerns Kirkpatrick's relationship with Khair-un-Nissa. Two centuries ago, liaisons and marriages between European adventurers and Indian women, mostly Muslim, were not uncommon. Among the most celebrated liaisons followed by a secret marriage ending in a painful separation was that of Begum Khairunnissa, niece of the prime minister of Hyderabad and a Scotsman, Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatrick British resident at the court of the Nizam. The story of the romance has been written before but never as thoroughly researched and as well-told as in William Dalrymple‘s White Mughals: Love’s Betrayal in Eighteenth Century India. I haven‘t read anything as gripping since his earlier novel on Delhi, City of Djinns. Kirkpatrick‘s fortunes declined with Lord Wellesley‘s appointment as governor-general of British possessions in India. Wellesley was an imperialist determined to expel the French, destroy Tipu Sultan, cut the Marathas to size and reduce the Nizam to subservience. He strongly disapproved of British-Indian liaisons. Though he was no paragon of virtue himself — he impregnated a married white woman in Capetown on his way to Calcutta — he summoned Kirkpatrick to Calcutta to be reprimanded and dismissed. Kirkpatrick, sick and broken-hearted, packed off his children to England and came to Calcutta as summoned. He died on October 15, 1805. He was only 41 year old. Khairunnissa was only 19. The grieving widow made her way to Calcutta to shed tears on her late husband‘s grave. She died on September 22, 1813. She was only 27. Dalrymple packs a in a lot of incidental information while relating the tragic life of Khairunnissa..

During the year 1805 the health condition of Kirk Patrick was began falling despite of many treatments were given to him in Hyderabad by high level health agencies but there was no improvement of his worse health condition and due to this reason the doctors have advised him to

shift to some good health resort to recover his worse health condition but during the above period of illness there was call for him from Calcutta from the Governor General of India Lord Wesley as he was thinking that Patrick was taking more care of the interests of Hyderabad State than the interests of the East India company. So for this reason Partick was started his preparation for his journey towards Calcutta and due to his illness Patrick was becoming weak and thin so for this reason some servants were also accompanied by him for his journey to Calcutta. At the time when all cargo of the journey was loaded on the cars then Partick was entering his bedroom to see his wife Khair-Unisa. Mr. Kirk Patrick who was a resident of the British East India company in Hyderabad State and who was converted to Islam and was married to a famous and wealthy and highly respected family‘s lovely and fairy like daughter Khair-Unisa. Partick saw Khair-Unisa and he has put his hands on her shoulders and Khair-Unisa‘s neck was down and she was very upset and in the sad condition so he has called her slowly ‗ Khairun ‘ but she did not raise her head so for this reason he lifted her chin and he has watched that there was flows of tears from her eyes. Patrick was watching his pictures in each and every tear and in the eyes of the picture he was found the eyes of the Khair-Unisa so he suddenly took her in the fold of his hands and told her ― My life : If you bid farewell in this way so I could not reach to the destination‖.Then Khari-Unisa told him ―To take her with him‖ and then Patrick told her that ― If there will be any delay there then he will call her there.I will promised you that you will soon come there to see me there.‖ Partick came out of the bedroom with Khair-Unisa in the drawing room and upon watching her he started to move towards the steps for his journey to Calcutta and the guards have paid farewell honours to Patrick . Khair-Unisa watched him with her eyes of tears that Partick was bidding her farewell to her by shaking his hands and he has left the residence. When Khair-Unisa came back to her bedroom he was very upset and she was very much worried upon watching the Imam Zamin (a green piece of string or cloth but for it there is not available any Islamic significance from Quran and saying of the prophet of Allah ) which was

left there on the table as she was forget to tie on his shoulder of Patrick as per old tradition of Hyderabad society and culture and she told ― O h : Allah help me for the good thing and what bad pediment was happened in this matter so every things should be happened well in this matter by help of Allah ‖. Upon reaching Masulipatam by the motor transport then Patrick was decided to travel the remaining journey by sea transport but the weather and sea condition were badly affected his health condition and on the morning of 15th October 1805 when his ship was near the seaport of Calcutta then Partick was becoming un-consciousness and in that condition there was some sound from his lips so the servant think that he needs something so he was reached near him and he was heard that Patrick was calling ― Khairun, Khairun where are you? ‘‘And then he was become silent and his neck was getting down on the bed and he was left from the world and the servant covered his body with the bedspread. The persons who came to the seashore were not expecting to welcome him in that condition and his dead body was taken to the headquarters of the East India company in Calcutta and Lord Wesley took his hat off and put flowers on his dead body and he said ― Kirk Partick I was calling you to just warn you. Oh : my son I will be always sorry with your father and children in this matter.‖ He was buried in the Calcutta grave yard. When the sad news of demise was reached in Hyderabad then in the city there was too much mourning in this matter as Partick was very famous and popular personality in the city of Hyderabad after his marriage with beautiful fairy lady Khair-Unisa . Khair-Unisa have reached in Calcutta along with her mother and some other relatives there and she was falling down on the grave of Patrick and she was becoming un-consciousness due to weeping in the grave yard and so for this reason she was lifted from the grave of Patric and the Imam Zamin (a green piece of string or cloth but for it there is not available any Islamic significance from Quran and saying of the prophet of Allah ) someone was left on the grave and she was observed that there was a familiar smell was there from the earth of the grave. After this even Khair-Unisa

was living only for a period of six years and upon her death it is not known clearly that where she was buried in Hyderabad city. But near the Begum‘s Rock in the English Resident building and which is now known in Hyderabad as the women's college building and as per some tradition and some references from the former girl students of the college that there is one tree near the Begum‘s Rock and from which there is always some special fragrance is available there. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Reference : From ‗Murraqa Hyderabad‘ by Aijaz Farq from Siasat Urdu news paper Hyderabad dated 15-9-2013. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Translated into English by Mohammed Abdul Hafeez, B.Com. Translator ‗ Muslim Saints and Mystics‘ (The Tadhkirah al-Awliya of Farid al-Din Attar) Email : hafeezanwar@yahoo.com ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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