Begum Samru

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Begum Sombre (ca 1753–1836), popularly known as Begum Samru, (also known as Farzana Zeb un-Nissa and Joanna after baptism) started her career as a Nautch girl in 18th Century India, and eventually became the ruler of Sardhana, a principality near Meerut . Later on, she played a key role in the politics and power struggle in 18th and 19th century India.

She was the head of a professionally trained mercenary army, inherited from her European mercenary husband, Walter Reinhardt. This mercenary army consisted of Europeans and Indians. She is also regarded as the only Catholic Ruler in India, as she ruled the Principality of Sardhana in 18th and 19th century India. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 22, p. 105..

She died immensely rich. Her inheritance was assessed as approximately 55.5 Million Gold Mark in 1923 and 18 Billion Deutsch Mark in 1953. Her inheritance continues to be disputed to this day.

Begam Samru's career

Begam Samru/sumroo was of slight stature, of fair complexion, distinguished by exceptional leadership abilities of uncommon order. More than once, she headed her own troops in action. She was of Kashmiri descent. "She was originally said to be a Kashmiri dancing girl named Farzana Zeb...
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