The British thus had put in place a system of dual control over the Bhopal throne of power. However within one year the British could sense the ills of having dual control over the state. Sikandar wrote to the Governor General stating that the public came to her seeking justice, but that she had no power to decide. The British recognized the strength of Sikandar’s argument, and accordingly Fauzdar Mohammad Khan resigned his regency, thus making Sikandar the sole regent and guardian of her daughter, Shahjehan.
In terms of progressive reform and advancement, Sikandar’s 21-year reign was unquestionably the golden period of Bhopal’s history. By force of her personality, by sheer diligent good governance and by her wise statecraft, Sikandar saw Bhopal emerge as one of the best governed, enlightened and stable princely states. In the administrative sector, Sikandar presided over a dynamic, reform-oriented regime. In the field of foreign affairs, Sikandar had the wisdom, against enormous internal pressures, to back the winning horse in the 1857 mutiny and reaped rich rewards afterwards. Probably the most important act performed by Sikandar Begum was to have Delhi’s famous Juma Masjid reopened after the British had closed it during the Mutiny. British closed the Juma Masjid, built by Emperor Shahjehan, during the Mutiny because they felt it provided a sanctuary for Muslim resistance. Not content to simply shut the gates, the British heaped insult on to injury by using the famous mosque as a stable. Sikandar Begum persuaded the British to reopen the Juma Masjid, washed the courtyard with her own hands and was the first person to pray in it since mutiny. Sikandar is described by most historians as possessing Amazonian power, and had a very masculine physique. Her steely gaze is said to have been enough for most of opponents to start trembling in their shoes.
However her daughter Shahjehan, turned out to be a petite, attractive and entirely feminine. Shahjehan was 16 years old and marriageable by 1854, much to the trouble of Sikandar. Sikandar was troubled by the memories of her own troubled marriage with Jahangir. The pledge made by Sikandar to the British was exactly the same as the one Qudsia made after Nazar’s death – that Shahjehan’s husband would become the Nawab of Bhopal. Dramatically, in 1854, the 36-year-old Sikandar, obviously after consulting her mother, summoned the loyal, grizzly 32-year-old Commander-in-chief of the Bhopal Army, Sardar Baqi Mohammad Khan, son of the legendary Bakshi Bahadur Mohammad Khan, and ordered him to marry her 16-year-old daughter Shahjehan! Baqi begged Sikandar not to insist because he was already twice married and had children Shahjehan’s age. Fixing General Baqi with her famous piercing glare, Sikandar told Baqi that the wedding would take place as soon as the British General approved of the same. The British approval came on 4th July 1855, and the marriage between an unenthusiastic 17-year-old Shahjehan and 33-year-old Baqi Mohammad Khan was solemnized on 18th July 1855.
Sardar Baqi Mohammad Khan, the younger son of the legendary Bakshi Bahdur Mohammad Khan was given the title of Umrao Doulah, a gun salute within the state and allotted a vast jagir, a palanquin and an elephant. Umrao Doulah was a man of phenomenal physical strength. He exercised for three hours before breakfast with dumb-bells weighing 20 kilos each. He then consumed an enormous breakfast consisting of six seers (a seer is two kilograms) of condensed milk. He could single handedly turn a water wheel which required two bullocks and was reported to be able to hold his breath under water for an hour. On 9th July 1858, almost three years after her marriage to Baqi, the 20-year-old Shahjehan gave birth to a daughter whom she named Sultan Jahan.
At this point of time, Sikandar Begum proceeded to Hajj. After returning almost after one year of pilgrimage, she found the marriage of her daughter on rocks. Shajehan was not only much younger than her husband but was also headstrong. No amount of pressure could make Shahjehan assume the role of a dutiful eastern wife. Ultimately Umrao Doulah could not take it any longer and proceeded on Hajj. Stopping on his way back in Egypt, he fell gravely ill, and died on June 1867 soon after his return, leaving Shahjehan at the age of 29, a distinctly happy widow. The following year, on 30th November 1868, Sikandar Begum died of a kidney ailment at the age of 50.