Bhopal: Saba Ali, the elder daughter of Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi would now become the first woman head of the Auqaf-e-Shahi, since the end of princely rule, to govern religious properties worth over Rs 500 crore including Bhopal's Jama Masajid.
Pataudi, who had been managing the Awqaf-e-Shahi, had nominated his less famous and jewellery designer daughter Saba as his successor in a letter to Bhopal authorities in 2007. Later at the Ahmedabad Palace in Bhopal, Pataudi again proposed Saba's name for the post of naib mutawalli or deputy chief trustee to the family's properties and was accepted.
"Auqaf-e-Shahi" refers to all those princely endowments or properties that are of religious or charitable significance and "mutawalli" is responsible for the upkeep of mosques, dargahs and Islamic shrines belonging to the erstwhile Bhopal princedom.
"I have been fulfilling my duties as mutawalli of Auqaf-e-Shahi, Bhopal. However, I feel the time has come to share my burden" reads the letter written in Urdu and signed by Pataudi, which is still in possession of the trustees.
"I, therefore, propose my elder daughter Saba, as naib mutawalli (deputy patron). As per the merger agreement between State of Bhopal and the state government, Saba may be appointed as my deputy so that she acquaints herself with the functioning of waqf during my lifetime." he wrote.
As Bhopal's Nawab sahib suggested Saba's name, it is just a formality to announce her name head of religious trusts and shrines. Her name was accepted unanimously. In March 06, Pataudi had also visited Bhopal and introduced Saba to prominent religious leaders and eminent citizens here.