Family Tree Shajra of Sadat e Nehtaur: A Case Study of Compilation of Social History

Sadat e Nehtaur Shajra Compilation Effort
Syed Mohammad Khurshid Alam Zaidi

Khursheed Alam Zaidi in his keynote address at a get together of Sadat-e-Nehtaur on 7th May 2017 related the impressive history of compilation of “shajra” of Sadat-e-Nehtaur. The shajra documents their history in India from around 1175 AD when the ancestors moved from Tirmiz to Kaithal and later settled in Nehtaur

جب شہاب الدین غوری ہندوستان پر حملہ کرنے کیلئے افغانستان میں آئے تو ان کی ملاقات *جناب میر سید کمال الدین ترمزی* سے ہوئی جو *بہ ارادہ تبلیغ* اپنے اہل و عیال کے ساتھ ہندوستان جا رہے تھے ‫. *شہاب الدین غوری* نے *میر صاحب* کو اپنے زیرِ حفاظت سفر کرنے کی پیشکش کی جسے *میر صاحب* نے یہ کہ کر قبول نہیں کیا کہ *ہم دونوں کے مقاصد مختلف ہیں‫. تم ِہندوستان پر حملہ کرنے جارہے ہو اور میں تبلیغِ کے لئے*‫. مگر میر صاحب نے اپنے ہمراہ *گیارہ میں سے ایک بیٹے (میر سید ابراہیم شاہ)* کو شہاب الدین کے سپرد کر دیا *(جو بعد میں ہانسی قلعے پر حملہ کے دوران شہید ہو کر وہیں مدفون ہیں)*.

میر کمال الدین کے ایک صاحبزادے *میر جلال الدین* کے عیال میں سے ایک صاحب *جناب میر سید حسن (نہٹوری)* نے ہمارے خاندانی قصبہ (نہٹور) میں نقلِ مکانی کی‫. ہمارا موجودہ خاندانِ *ساداتِ نہٹور انہی کی عیال پر مشتمل ہے.

Hassaan’s (b. 1991) nasab nama extends by  
two entries the nasab nama printed on  
Syed Ahsan Hyder’s (1916-2003)
 valima card in 1952.

The family ancestry as seen from lineage on the right starts from the prophet’s daughter Hazrat Fatima and Hazrat Ali. The 10th descendent is Syed Husain Muhadith who had moved to Tirmiz (current Uzbekistan). The 18th descendent is Syed Kamaluddin Tirmizi who moved from Tirmiz to Kaithal in India. From Jalaluddin Ghazi in Mamra (#19) eventually to Syed Hasan (#25) who came and settled down in Nehtaur from where the family derives the current suffix. Entry at #36 indicates that the descendant Ahsan Hyder had migrated and settled in Pakistan. The extract of shajra in the form of a lineage (nasab nama) used to be circulated in written form at the time of marriage arrangements. In the 20th century it was often printed and circulated with the valima cards. The tradition was rekindled as seen in the nasab nama on the right which was printed and sent along with the valima invitation in 2014 at the time of marriage of grandson of Ahsan Hyder (2016-2003). This print extended the nasab nama printed on the valima invitation card of Ahsan Hyder at the time of his marriage in 1952, which I still have in my possession. Note that Ahsan Hyder’s great grand father was Bundeh Ali at #33.

Please also see another valima card image which is that of Waheeduddin Hyder who is a cousin of Hassaan Hyder. Please note that his lineage at #33 is from Ahmed Ali who was brother of Bundeh Ali at #33 in the lineage of Hassaan Hyder. These lineages are put together in a Shajra that combines the lineages of the family members in the form of family tree. Each generation multiplies the number of descendants and this explosion of descendants can no longer be maintained through traditional pen and paper methods which brings us to the great effort of Khurshid Bhai:

Shajra Compilation Effort of SMKA Zaidi:

Here are the salient points from the keynote address of Syed Mohammad Khurshid Alam Zaidi (SMKA Zaidi) detailing his effort in the compilation, extension and computerization of the shajra. 

  • He started the effort after his retirement in early 1980s and has spent the better part of the last 30+ years in this effort. 
  • He took the 1950s published Shajra as the base document. 
  • During the late 1980s during his visit to Hong Kong he found a family tree software in a book store that he procure. Using this PC based software he started computerization of data, 
  • His mother, phuppo Raazia merhooma on seeing his interest gave him a list of 1500 names and their relationships from her memory that he started incorporating them in the shajra. These were the names and the relationships of those buzurgs many of whom were no longer alive then  or were too old. 
  • Since those days he has been individually contacting and exhorting family members to send updated information. 
  • The computerized version is now available along with software. Anyone can send him the request and he would happily send him the datafile and also the software to help them browse or even update. 
  • One of the big breaks came when he learned about brother of Tanzeem Zaidi Chacha who has been safeguarding an old detailed manuscript of the shajra. The manucript was being jealously guarded but he graciously shared after seeing SMKA’s drive, enthusiasm n commitment during repeated visits. These visits took place in India (Nehtaur) and finally convinced him to share the copies. 
  • The manuscript was in 7 volumes and was hand written in Persian using the script called khat e shikasta. 
  • Repeated pouring over the Persian manuscript required that he had to brush up his rudimentary Persian. It took several years of painstaking learning of Persian to come to a position to read it. 
  • The other difficulty was to decipher khat e shikasta which is a special script in which the writer is not supposed to pick up the pen while writing a word. Hence, there are no “nuqtas” or “dandas of kaaf” and other embelishments that make it easy for us to read. Deciphering the script was also a challenge that had to be overcome, 
  • Data from these volumes was incorporated and was found to corroborate the names n relationships related by Phuppo Razia from her memory. 
  • Distinctiveness of and the uniqueness of shajra is that it for the first time included the names of the females. Shajras traditionally do not have female names. But, this updated shajra now has the names of all the females. 
  • It is no longer “a” shajra (tree), it is a forest of interconnected trees spread over 5 continents, 
  • It currently contains over 11000 names of people residing in scores of countries 
  • It is annotated with dates of birth, date of death, date of marriage and other profile data that is being provided by the family members. 
  • He related the history of the start of Sadaat e Nehtaur from Syed Hasan Tirmizi during Ghauri 1175 invasion as mentioned above. 
  • Quratul Ain Hyder has also captured the family saga of the settlement of the Sadat e Nehtaur  in her epic history “Kaar e Jehan Daraz Hai” in 3 volumes which has now been published in a single volume by Sange Meel publishers. The first 40-60 pages trace the history in a wonderful manner and goes to the interesting incident of the war of independence of 1857 with details of the brothers Bande Ali (at no 33 in the list above) and Ahmed Ali. 

  • Later the book goes on to relate in detail the history of the descendants of Ahmed Ali and their migration and settlement in post-partition subcontinent.   
  • He also explained the contribution of Matanat sb in converting the shajra into printable form which is now available on order from his brother Salman sb, 
  • He also explained why this is not published in a book by him because when he tried a few times earlier he found out that it becomes obsolete the moment one starts compiling it in a book form. ….. …………………………………………………. 

After this introduction whose points are introduced above, I had the opportunity to address the gathering.

  • I think Khurshid Bhai’s effort is worth a PhD degree if someone sits down and writes the process down formally with him and extract the unique contributions of the compilation effort in a formal manner. 
  • This is a great contribution to social history. Several PhDs can come out. Any young generation person who is interested can be supervised by me,
  • There is a need for family members to send 1-2 page profiles of their buzurgs history/achievements to khusheed bhai. He has graciously offered to add this additional information. 
  • We should not that all family letters are precious social history and must be preserved. We are ready to safeguard and archive if they can’t be safely kept for future.

Thanks to all the organizers of Gul e Rana get together. It was a wonderful event. Keep it up. Just do it, again! N again! Mashalah

[Related from memory, without assistance from any notes. Hence dates and duration may need further precision]

See Also: 

Here I list some of my posts that describe the role models and their guidance:

Personal examples of strive for excellence from my father: 
How to teach love for language and culture:
How to search for role models around you; my father, phuppa, uncle and mother:

How my grandmother (nani) and others provided a taste of our traditions and culture:
Learning interpersonal interactions and spreading happiness and laughter around:
    Strive for Excellence from my teacher


    1. Thank you for a comprehensive coverage in such a condensed manner.

    2. Your work is invaluable. It needs to be further spread.

    3. Anonymous Avatar

      It has been spread. Please check out 'Genealogy of Syeds of Bijnaur' by Imran Matanat Husain.

    4. Please send the link

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. Anonymous Avatar

      Salam SMKAZ sahib I need your contact number if u can …my cell number is 03216027374 Syed Muntazim Rizvi

    7. how to get a copy of (shujra) family Tree?

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    13. slaam
      sir sadaat e Ajradari ki kuch maloomat darkaar hain
      agar ap se rabta karna ho to

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