Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The marriage between Captain Robert Warburton and Shah Jahan Begum [allegedly a Durrani princess and a niece of Amir Dost Muhammad Khan]

“The First Afghan War also gave rise to the marriage between Captain Robert Warburton and the Afghan Durrani princess Shah Jehan Begum. However, this was a forced marriage engineered by Warburton.

“Captain Robert Warburton married Shah Jehan Begum and she was reputed to be one of the most beautiful women in Kabul. Authors have praised Warburton for being an honourable man. However, Shah Jehan Begum had previously been married to an Afghan by whom she had twin daughters and a boy. The Begum’s divorce from her husband was due to Warburton’s actions. During the absence of her Afghan husband Warburton, employed a bribed messenger to deliver a message to the Begum. The messenger claimed that that her husband had sent an urgent and secret letter to a certain Mullah. The Begum was requested to go to the house of the Mullah and obtain the letter in question without telling her relatives where she was going. Accompanied by her son the Begum went in her palanquin to the house and was locked in a room after being abandoned by her palanquin bearers. As she drew the curtain of her palanquin aside she found herself confronted by Warburton, who was pointing a musket at her. Warburton told the Begum that she had no option but to marry him, since her Afghan husband would assume that she had eloped with him and would divorce her. [“Hostage in Afghanistan”, Peter Collister, 1999, pp-21-22]

Excerpt from "Afghanistan in the age of empires" by Farrukh Husain, p-223

Shah Jehan begum seated between two of her servants. Source

Jan Dad Khan, the son of Shah Jehan Begum from her Afghan husband, was adopted by Warburton as "John Paul". Children of "John Paul" were also baptized as Christian.

Photo of eldest daughter of Jan Dad Khan/John Paul :-

Minna Warburton Wimberley. Source 

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