Royal and noble ranks in Iran, Turkey, Caucasus, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan
A sultan's turban helmet
Emperor: Caliph, Shahanshah, Padishah, Chakravarti, Khagan
High King: Sultan, Maharaja
King: Emir, Shah, Raja, Khan
Nawab, Wāli, Nizam
Crown Prince: Mirza, Yuvraj, Vali Ahd
Prince : Shahzada, Şehzade, Sahibzada, Nawabzada
Earl : Dewan Bahadur, Rao Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Khan Bahadur
Viscount: Khan Sahib, Baig, Begzada
Baron : Lala, Agha, Hazinedar

Nawab (Eastern Nagari: নবাব/নওয়াব, Sylheti Nagari: ꠘꠀꠣꠛ, ꠘꠛꠣꠛ, Devanagari: नवाब/नबाब, Perso-Arab: نواب) also spelt Nawaab, Navaab, Navab, Nowab, Nabob or Nobab, was an honorific title ratified and bestowed by the reigning Mughal emperor to semi-autonomous Muslim rulers of princely states in South Asia.

"Nawab" usually refers to males and literally means Viceroy; the female equivalent is "Begum" or "Nawab Begum". The primary duty of a Nawab was to uphold the sovereignty of the Mughal emperor along with the administration of a certain province.

The title of "nawabi" was also awarded as a personal distinction by the paramount power, similar to a British peerage, to persons and families who ruled a princely state for various services to the government of British India. In some cases, the titles were also accompanied by jagir grants, either in cash revenues and allowances or land-holdings. During the British Raj, some of the chiefs, or sardars, of large or important tribes were also given the title, in addition to traditional titles already held by virtue of chieftainship.

The term "zamindari" was originally used for the subahdar (provincial governor) or viceroy of a subah (province) or region of the Mughal empire.


Robert Clive, meeting with Nawab Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey, by Francis Hayman

It is a Hindustani term, used in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and many other North-Indian languages, borrowed via Persian from the Arabic, being the honorific plural of naib, or "deputy." In some areas, especially Bengal, the term is pronounced nobab. This later variation has also entered English and other foreign languages as nabob.

The winter diwan of a Mughal nawab

The term "Nawaab" is often used to refer to any Muslim ruler in north or south India while the term "nizam" is preferred for a senior official—it literally means "governor of region". The Nizam of Hyderabad had several nawabs under him: Nawabs of Cuddapah, Sira, Rajahmundry, Kurnool, Chicacole, et al. "Nizam" was his personal title, awarded by the Mughal Government and based on the term "Nazim" as meaning "senior officer". "Nazim" is still used for a district collector in many parts of India. The term "nawab" is still technically imprecise, as the title was also awarded to Hindus and Sikhs, as well, and large zamindars and not necessarily to all Muslim rulers. With the decline of that empire, the title, and the powers that went with it, became hereditary in the ruling families in the various provinces.

Under later British rule, nawabs continued to rule various princely states of Awadh, Amb, Bahawalpur, Balasinor, Baoni, Banganapalle, Bhopal, Cambay, Jaora, Junagadh, Kurnool (the main city of Deccan), Kurwai, Mamdot, Multan, Palanpur, Pataudi, Radhanpur, Rampur, Malerkotla, Sachin, Rajoli and Tonk. Other former rulers bearing the title, such as the nawabs of Bengal and Oudh, had been dispossessed by the British or others by the time the Mughal dynasty finally ended in 1857.

Some princes became Nawab by promotion, e.g. the ruler of Palanpur was "diwan" until 1910, then "nawab sahib". Other nawabs were promoted are restyled to another princely style, or to and back, e.g. in Rajgarh a single rawat (rajah) went by nawab.

The style for a nawab's queen is begum. Most of the nawab dynasties were male primogenitures, although several ruling Begums of Bhopal were a notable exception.

Before the incorporation of the Subcontinent into the British Empire, nawabs ruled the kingdoms of Awadh (or Oudh, encouraged by the British to shed the Mughal suzerainty and assume the imperial style of Badshah), Bengal, Arcot and Bhopal.

Other Languages
বাংলা: নবাব
български: Набаб
català: Nabab
Deutsch: Nawab
español: Nabab
français: Nawab
한국어: 나와브
हिन्दी: नवाब
Ido: Nabobo
Bahasa Indonesia: Naib
italiano: Nababbo
magyar: Naváb
മലയാളം: നവാബ്
मराठी: नवाब
Nederlands: Nawab
日本語: ナワーブ
norsk: Nawab
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਨਵਾਬ
polski: Nabab
português: Nababo
русский: Набоб
svenska: Nawab
татарча/tatarça: Nawab
Türkçe: Nevvab
українська: Набоб (правитель)
اردو: نواب
中文: 納瓦卜