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Bahawalpur 1/2 pice and the Fez

Started by Rangnath, June 16, 2008, 05:13:56 AM

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"Bahawalpur (also Bhawalpur or Bhawulpore) (Urdu: بہاولپور ) is a city of (1998 pop. 403,408) located in Bahawalpur District, Punjab Pakistan. Saraiki is the local language of the area. Urdu and English are also spoken by the people. Bahawalpur is located south of the Sutlej River and it lies in the Cholistan region. It is situated 90 km from Multan, 420 km from Lahore and about 700 km from the national capital Islamabad. It was the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur."

This one half pice of 1940, y12, is a inexpensive coin. It must be fairly common. The man on the obverse is Sadiq Muhammad Khan V And what a man he was.  His list of international honors is as long as his reign of 59 years. But I am fond of the coin because of the fez.
Who invented the fez?  I guess the Greeks can lay claim to that honor, though it became widely adopted in Turkey at one time.  "Following the foundation of the Turkish Republic after World War I, Mustafa Kemal regarded the fez - which Sultan Mahmud II had originally introduced to the Ottoman Empire's dress code in 1826 - as a symbol of feudalism. The fez was banned in 1925, and Turkish men were encouraged to wear European attire - thus, hats such as the fedora became popular." But while the Fez was out in Turkey, its history continued in India.
From wikipedia I also learned that "Among Muslims of South Asia, the fez is known as the Rumi Topi ("Movlana Rumi's cap"). It was a symbol of Islamic identity and showed the Indian Muslims support for the Caliphate, headed by the Ottoman Sultan. Later, it became associated with the Muslim League, the political party which eventually created the country of Pakistan. The late veteran Pakistani politician Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan was one of the few people in Pakistan who wore the fez until his death in 2003."  It seems likely that for the ruler of Bahawalpur, the fez was a significant political statement.

When I was 20, as part of Peace Corps training, I stayed in an Appalachian home in Eastern Kentucky, up the hill from Blaine's Trace, a small community about 10 kms. from the nearest paved road. To say that Blaine's Trace was rural would be an understatement.  The only airplane that the kids had ever seen was the small one engine plane that was on the look out for smoke from moonshine stills.
There was no running water apart from streams, no electricity, no in-door plumbing, no TVs, no toilet paper (pages of old catalogs were used), no health care facilities apart from local homemade salves and herbs.  When I asked the woman I stayed with where her ancestors came from I expected an answer of Scotland or England. But she said "my ancestors came from Virginia". 
Once, years before, this Appalachian woman visited Columbus, Ohio. It was the only city she had ever seen. There, she said, she saw a Jew convention.  This is getting dangerous, I said to myself.  And she described the gathering this way:  "the men were parading in fancy close and pants with gold and silver and they wore high hats with a small rope hanging down from one side and there was music, you know, a Jew convention. And what is your religion young fellow?  I immediately responded with "independent Christian".  Now was not the time for me to tell her that I was a Jew! 
I surmised that she had seen a Shriner's convention; the civic brotherhood members wear the Fez.  Whenever I see a fez, even the one on this coin, I think of the Grand Ol' Oprey and my brief life in Appalachia.


It's not just the fez, but also Al-haj (hey guys, I've been to Mecca!), Abbasi (my family's really old), the toughra combined with the star and crescent and the use of Arabic: this guy wants to leave absolutely no doubt where his sympathies are.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Good points Peter.  With that in mind, it is another case of coinage as propaganda; further the interests of the state.

BC Numismatics

Richie,I have got this coin & its big brother,the AH1359 (1940) 1/4 Anna.These coins almost never seem to turn up,yet I bought my pair for NZ$1 back in 2002!

Peter,the inscription on the reverse isn't Arabic,but Urdu,which is the main language that is spoken in Pakistan apart from English.The territory of what was the Amirate of Bahawalpur covers nearly half of what later became West Pakistan (now Pakistan).

Sir Sadiq Mohammed Khan V Abbasi was the only native Indian monarch who was titled 'Amir',which is where the title 'Emir' is derived from.He was like the northern Indian equivilant of the Nizam (the Hyderabadi monarch).



Aidan, what a long time! Nice to hear from you! How have you been?
Any chance you could post the 1/4 anna?


Pleasing to hear you're on the mend, Aidan.

Other "fez" coins much more readily found are those of King Fuad and King Farouk of Egypt, of course ...


BC Numismatics

  The Bahawalpuri monarchy remained autonomous within Pakistan until 1955 when the Pakistani Government decided to start the process of abolishing the local Pakistani monarchies.

  I think you will find that King Mohammed V of Morocco also wore a fez as well.