Mir (title)

Mir (title)

Mir is a title which is derived from the Arabic title Emir or Amir (Arabic: أمير). It was adopted in many languages under Islamic influence, such as Persian (مير), Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, meaning leader of a group or tribe in Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.



In Iran, mir has also been formally used as a high title of nobility and honor. This title is also used widely in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several other countries of Asia.

Amongst Muslims, mir/meer has become an interchangeable synonym of sayyid (or syed), meaning "relative of prophet Muhammad".

(The last name Mirpourian is a present day example of sayyid, a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad.)

In Muslim princely states very few formal mirs have actually reached the level of salute state, notably in present Pakistan, where only two of the six have been entitled to a gun salute and the attached His Highness. The highest-ranking are the Amir of Bahawalpur), the Mir of Khairpur (17 guns) and the Mir of Hunza (15 guns).

In Balochistan, mir is a title give to a sardar son or brother. The twelve mirs make one sardar. When a mir has twelve mirs under him he becomes a sardar. It is given as well to people in religion. Sayyid sons or brothers remain as such until they fulfill the complete Islam requirement and hold the title of mir instead of sayyid.

The title mir was also used by members of the chief clans of the Soomro and Talpur tribe before and after they became rulers of Sindh. Today, it is still used by their descendants.

Compound titles

On the Indian subcontinent, since the Mughal period, various compounds were used in Urdu including:

  • combined Indian princely styles, notably Sahibzada mir
  • Mīr-tuzak or tǒzak: Marshal, in the sense of an officer who maintains order in a march or procession; master of the ceremonies
  • Mīr-dah, or Mīr-daha: Commander, or superintendent, of ten: decurion; a Tithing-man
  • Mīr-sāmān: Head steward
  • Mīr-shikār: Master of the hunt, chief huntsman; also Grand Falconer; hence bird-catcher, and (metaphorically) a pimp
  • Mīr-ě-ātash, or Mīr-ātish: Chief of the fireworks; also Commandant of artillery, Master of the ordnance
  • Mīr-ě-majlis, shortened Mīr-majlis: Master of the ceremonies or president, chairman of a majlis (assembly)
  • Mīr-mahalla: Headman of a mahal(la), i.e. quarter (of a town)
  • Mīr-ě-manzil, shortened Mīr-manzil: Overseer of the halting-places; Quartermaster-general
  • Mīr-munshī: Chief secretary; Head (native) clerk of a (colonial) office.

In the Hindu kingdom of Nepal:

  • Mir Munshi, from the Arabic Amir-i-Munshi, 'commander of the secretaries', is the Chief Secretary of the Foreign Office.
  • Mir Umrao, from the Arabic Amir ul-Umara, 'commander of commanders': a senior military officer ranking below a Sardar and charged with the command of a fort and surrounding territories, the training and equipment of soldiers and the supply of materiel.

See also

  • There are several cities and towns in Pakistan named after this very princely title. These include Mirpur, in Kashmir, and Mirpurkhas, in Sindh.
  • In the tribal societies of South Asia, many people used this word with or as rather as part of their names eg Mir Murtaza Bhutto, as happens with many titles (especially khan), not only those holding a position as tribal or other leader.
  • Mir is a tribe in Pakistan.
  • Mir of Hunza

Sources and External links

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