Wolverhampton BTW

Biddy Hasan ’Ali Mir

Hasan ’Ali Mir, Biddy née Timms, c.1781—1862

by Benjamin Colbert

Biddy Timms Hasan ’Ali Mir was from Addiscombe, Surrey, and raised as an Anglican. In 1812, she collaborated with a Muslim scholar, Mir Hasan ’Ali of Lucknow, India, on a translation of the Gospel of St Matthew into Hindustani. Mir Hasan ’Ali, an East India Company official, had come to England in September 1809, earning his living as an oriental-language teacher in the Company’s Military Seminary at Addiscombe. In March 1817, they married and together returned via Calcutta to Lucknow. For the next 12 years they resided in Lucknow and Kanauj in Northern India, but were subsequently separated.

Biddy Hasan ’Ali returned to England where she published her Observations. Previous to publication, she unsuccessfully sought financial support from the East India Company and was similarly unsuccessful in seeking its patronage for the book.

Unbound by monogamy, Mir Hasan ’Ali remarried and his children by these subsequent marriages continued to serve the East India Company. Biddy Hasan ’Ali, however, continued to style herself Mrs Mir Hasan ’Ali, appearing as such on a list of subscribers along with King and Queen towards a ‘New Parish Church, Upton-cum-Chalvey, near Eton, Bucks’ in 1833. She appears to have been granted a post at the court of Princess Augusta, sister to George III, and thereafter became a longstanding resident at Brighton. Notice of her death at Eton on 10 October 1862, aged 81, appeared in The Standard under the name of Mrs B. Meer.


Crooke, W. Introduction. Observations on the Mussulmauns of India […] By Mrs Meer Hassan Ali. 2nd ed. 1917. ProjectGutenberg eBook. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Dalrymple, William. ‘How the East Was Won’ [review of The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh, by Linda Colley]. New Statesman (9 July 2007). Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

‘Deaths’. The Standard, no. 11910 (Tues., 14 Oct. 1862): 7. Gale Databases: British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Fisher, Michael H. Counterflows to Colonialism: Indian Travellers and Settlers in Britain 1600-1857. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004. Print.

---. ‘Teaching Persian as an Imperial Language in India and in England during the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries’. Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and Social Order. Ed. Brian Spooner and William L. Hanaway. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. 328-59. Print.

‘New Parish Church’. The Morning Post, no. 19541 (Thurs., 25 July 1833): [1]. Gale Databases: British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.


Title Published
Observations on the Mussulmauns of India 1832

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