Posted on: 17 January 2015

A tiger hunt at Jhajjar, Delhi, ca.1855
By Ghulam Ali Khan
Delhi - 1855 ca.

A tiger hunt at Jhajjar, Punjab, is depicted. In the centre of the hunt can be seen Nawab Muhammad Abdul Rahman Khan on horseback spearing a tiger. On the horizon is a line of elephants carrying dead tigers and a deer. On the right and left are nobles on the elephants and troops in green jackets on horseback.

This watercolour is by Ghulam Ali Khan, who was working in Delhi from about 1820 and was the brother of another artist, Faiz Ali Khan. The painting depicts a tiger hunt at Jhajjar, Rohtak District, Panjab and dates to about 1855. Nearly all of the figures and some of the elephants are inscribed with their names in small Persian characters. In the centre of the hunt can be seen Nawab Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Khan (r. 1845-57) on horseback spearing a tiger, and on the horizon is a line of elephants carrying dead tigers and a deer. The nawab owned Jhajjar, Badli and Karaund. He rebelled during the so-called 'Indian Mutiny' (also known as the First War of Indian Independence) and was executed by the British in Delhi on 23 December, 1857.

Copyright: © V&A Images.

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Very nice!


Its sad to see so much focus on late-mughal art in India these days, without a focus on understanding any historical event apart from 1857. From a European perspective on Indian history, its understandable that 1857 remains the focus. From Dalrymple's point of view ( since he is married to Olivia Fraser, a descendant of William Fraser), an exploration of roots & glorifying Fraser album art, is to be expected. But its important to understand the battles of this Doab belt of Northern India leading upto 1857. From Sardana/Meerut of Begum Sumru to this Jhajjar/Rewari/Farrukhnagar belt, the battle of Bharatpur, is the turning point. Smaller battles at Jhajjar , Patpurgunj etc. follow, leading upto the fall of Delhi. Lord Lake's skullduggery put this Nawab family incharge of Jhajjar, Badli & Karaund. Rao Tula Ram of Rewari, Nawab Abdur Rehman Khan of Jhajjar, Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh and Nawab Ahmed Ali Khan of Farrukhnagar, finally came together in 1857, to support Bahadur Shah Zafar. The events between 1750 & 1857 are well documented in 2 books - Malleson's The Decisive battles of India 1746 to 1849 and C. Grey's European Adventurers of Northern India 1785 to 1849. As you drive in from Gurgaon , between Farrukhnagar & Jhajjar, there still stands a Chhatri ( Sethani ki Chhatri) with art on its walls, including a battle scene of Bharatpur. The artist has signed & dated his artworks too. No book on art/history/art-history includes these art works.

excellent painting.......Nawab M A Rahman Khan Jindabaad !!

Dear Ratnesh ji, I have studed the art in Chhatri in detail, which was way back in 1999 and through INTACH,even tried for its restoration.

Your concern is right but you might have seen it recently only. The Chhatri is in partial ruins nowadays and is located on the northern fringe of the town of Farrukhnagar.

I have been researching on the history of of the Nawab era in Jhajjar but it is so concealed in records that one get exhausted in unearthing small details. Thanks to RBSI for posting this rare paintings depicting a Shikar scene by the last Nawab of Jhajjar.

The HAHC ( haryana academy of history & culture) at Gurgaon, has a collection of rare documents & books on Jhajjar. You may find it useful to meet DR KC Yadav, who heads it & see the library collection, if you havent already.

Some paintings of Bamapada Bandyopadhyay needed. Is it possible to post at least one or two?