ZOBEIR RAHAMA (1830-1913), Egyptain pasha and Sudanese governor whose name is mentioned in connection with the campaign for the restoration of Maharaja Duleep Singh to the throne of the Punjab, was a member of a family which claimed descent from the Quraish tribe through Abbas, uncle of Muhammad. He was a leading ivory and slave trader on the White Nile. Nominally a subject of Egypt, he raised an army of several thousand well armed blacks and became a dangerous rival to the Egyptian authorities. He participated on the side of the Turks in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877. Because of the influence he commanded in international affairs, Maharaja Duleep Singh on his return to Europe from Aden in 1886 sought to enlist his support.
His agent, Abdul Rasul Kashmiri, met Zobeir in Cairo.Zobeir attracted the notice of the Government of India who in 1888 sent two of its agents Munshi Aziz ud-Din and Jasvant Singh called “father of the turban” by Zobeir on account of his unwieldy turban to Cairo posing as friends of the Maharaja. That was the time of the decline of Zobeir. All his property had been confiscated and he was living in a house near the railway station in Cairo. Though allowed personal freedom he was carefully watched and his movements restricted.
The only names from among Duleep Singh\’s friends in India he remembered were those of Baba Khem Singh Bedi and some chiefs near Firozpur (presumably the Raja of Faridkot).
1. Ganda Singh, ed., History of the Freedom Movement in the Panjab (Maharaja Duleep Singh Correspondence). Patiala, 1972