The Bhopal reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Bhopāl is a city in central India. It is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal is also the name of a district in Madhya Pradesh with Bhopal city as its headquarters. Historically, Bhopal was also the name of a state of central India.

On December 3, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal leaked 40 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas, which killed more than 2,000 people outright and injured anywhere from 150,000 to 600,000 others, some 6,000 of whom would later die from their injuries. See Bhopal Disaster.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and government
3 Geography
4 Divisions
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Sites of interest
8 Colleges and universities
9 Sports teams
10 Notable natives
11 External links


Ancient period

Bhopal was founded by the Parmara King Bhoj (
10001055), who had his capital at Dhar. The city was originally known as Bhojpal after him. Bhoj is said to have constructed the Upper Lake of Bhopal.

Medival period

In medival India, the state of Bhopal was established by Afghan Sardar Dost Mohd. Khan, who was a commander in the Mughal army posted at Mangalgarh (which now lies to the north of modern Bhopal). Taking advantage of the disintegration of the Mughal empire, he usurped Mangalgarh and Berasia (now a tehsil of the Bhopal district). When Dost Mohd. Khan's nephew assassinated the Gond Queen Kamalapati's husband, he punished his own newphew to death and restored Queen's little kingdom back to her. The Queen gave him a princely sum of money and the Mouza village (which is situated near the modern Bhopal city). After the death of last Gond queen, Dost Mohd. Khan took the seized the little Gond Kingdom ad established his capital 10 km away from modern Bhopal, at Jagdishpur. He named his capital as Islam Nagar (meaning the city of Islam). He built a small fort and some palaces at Islamnagar, the ruins of which can be seen today. After few years, he built a bigger fort situated on the northern bank of the Upper Lake. He named this new fort as Fatehgarh (the fort of victory). Later the capital was shifted to the current city of Bhopal.

Although Dost Mohd. Khan was the virtual ruler of Bhopal, he still acknowledged the suzerainty of the declining Mughal Empire. His successors however, acquired the title of 'Nawab' and declared Bhopal an independent state. They fought wars with their neighbours to protect the small terrritory and also fought among themselves to take the control of the state. Subsequently, Nawab Wazir Mohammed Khan, a general, created a truly strong state after fighting several wars.

Nawab Jehangir Mohammed Khan established a cantonment at a distance of one mile from the fort. This was called Jehangirabad after him. He built gardens and barracks for British guests and soldiers in Jehangirabad.

Bhopal became a prominent Muslim state of Bhopal, apart from Hyderabad. In 1778, when the British General Thomas Goddard campaigned across India, Bhopal was one of the few states that remained friendly to the British. In 1809, General Close led a British expedition to Central India. The Nawab of Bhopal petitioned in vain to be received under British protection. In 1817, when the Pindari broke out, a treaty of dependence was signed between the British Government of India and the Nawab of Bhopal. Bhopal remained a friend of British Government during the British Raj in India.

In 1818, the Bhopal Agency was formed as an administrative section of central India, consisting the Bhopal state and some adjoining areas. It was administered by an agent to the British Governor General of India.

The rule of the Begums

An interesting turn came in the history of Bhopal, when in 1819, 18 year old Qudsia Begum (also known as Gohar Begum) took over the reigns after the assassination of her husband. She was the first female ruler of Bhopal. Although she was illiterate, she was brave and refused to follow the purdah tradition. She declared that her 2 year old daughter Sikander will follow her as the ruler. None of the male family members dared to challenge her decision. She cared very well for her subjects and took her dinners only after receiving the news every night that all her subjects had taken meals. She built the Jama Masjid of Bhopal. She also built her beautiful palace - 'Gohar Mahal'. She ruled till 1837.

In 1844, Sikander Begum succeeded her mother as the ruler of Bhopal. Her name means 'Alexander the Great' in Arabic. She was indeed, as brave her Greek namesake. She too, never observed purdah. She was trained in all the martial arts and she fought many battles. During the First War of Independence of 1857, she sided with the British and crushed all those who revolted against them. She did a lot of public welfare too - she built roads and reconstructed the fort. She also built the Moti Masjid (meaning the Pearl Mosque) and Moti Mahal (the Pearl Palace).

Her successor, Shah Jahan Begum was quite passionate about architecture like her Mughal namesake emperor Shah Jahan. She built a vast mini-city (called Shahjahanabad after her). She also built a new palace for herself - Taj Mahal (not to be confused with the famous Taj Mahal at Agra). She built a lot of other beautiful buildings as well - Ali Manzil, Amir Ganj, Barah Mahal, Ali Manzil, Be nazir Complex, Khawasoura, Mughalpura, Nematpua and Nawab Manzils. Today also, one can see the ruins of Taj Mahal and some of its glorious parts that have survived the tests of time. Barah Mahal and Nawab Manzil have also withstood the test of time. During her rule, in 1900, the complete failure of the monsoon rains led to a sever famine in Bhopal.

Sultan Jahan Begum, daughter of Shah Jahan Begum, succeeded her in 1901. She further advanced the emancipation of women and established a modern municipal system. She had her own palace Sardar Manzil (the present headquarters of Bhopal Municipal Corporation). But she preferred the quiet and serence enviornment at the outskirts of the city. She developed her own walled mini-city, named Ahmedabad after her late husband (not to be confused with Ahmedabad, Gujarat). This city was situated at Tekri Maulvee Zai-ud-din, which was at located a distance of a mile from the fort. She built a palace called Qaser-e-Sultani(now Saifia College). This area became a posh residency as royalty and elite moved here. The Begum installed the first water pump here and developed a garden called 'Zie-up-Abser'. She also constructed a new palace called 'Noor-us-Sabah', which has been converted into a heritage hotel.

The peaceful rule of Begums led to the rise of a unique mixed culture in Bhopal. The Hindus were given important administrative positions in the state. This led to communal peace and a cosmopolitan culture took its roots. Even the Pathans, famous for their roughness and soldier-like nature, acquired a taste of culture and indulged in poetry, arts and literature.

After independence of India

After India achieved Independence in 1947, Bhopal became an independent province of India. Sindhi refugees from Pakistan were accommodated in Bairagarh, a western suburb of Bhopal.

According to the Act of Reorganization of States in 1956, Bhopal was integrated into the state of Madhya Pradesh, and Bhopal was declared as its capital. The population of the city rose rapidly.

In December 1984 a cloud of methyl isocyanate was released while cleaning a storage tank. The cloud covered half of the city and killed many people, see Bhopal Disaster.

Law and government

Mayor or City Executive-- current, previous executives representative body?


Physical geography

Bhopal is a hilly area, situated between Vindhya and Satpuda ranges and the Malwa plateau. The summers are hot and winters cold. It rains moderately during rainy season.

It has two very beautiful lakes, collective known as Bhoj Wetland. These lakes are the Upper Lake (built by King Bhoj) and the Lower Lake. The catchment area of the Upper Lake 361 Km2 while that of the Lower Lake is 9.6 Km2.The Upper Lake drains into the Kolans River.

It is well connected to the rest of the country by railway, air and roads.

Major Parks

Bhopal has many public parks. Some of the major parks are: B.H.E.L. Park, Kilol Park, Jawaharlal Nehru Park, Chinar Park (famous for it's Bougainvillea varieties), the Rose Garden, Mayur Park etc.


Bhopal is divided into two parts - the old city and the New Bhopal (these are not the official names). The old city is the city built and developed by the Begums. New Bhopal was deveoped after Bhopal became the capital of Madhya Pradesh. It has modern residential localities like 1250 Quarters, Arera Colony, Malviya Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Tatya Tope Nagar (T.T. Nagar) and the indsutrial township called Maharana Pratap Nagar.


Major industries/products

BHEL etc.



The old city of Bhopal is pre-dominantly Muslim area, but the new Bhopal city is a demographically cosmopolitan area. The chief languages are Hindi, Urdu and English, but there are a substantial number of Marathi speakers as well.

Sites of interest

Colleges and universities

Sports teams

Notable natives

External links