Dhaka Nawab Family
The Dhaka Nawab family reigned in Dhaka from mid 19th century to mid 20th century, after the fall of the Naib Nazims. The hereditary title of Nawab, similar to the British peerage, was conferred upon the head of the Family by the British Raj as a recognition of their loyalty in the time of the Sepoy Mutiny. The Family is a legal entity, created by a Waqfnama back in 1854. The self-definition is a Family instead of an Estate due to certain legal considerations imposed by the East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act of 1950.
They were not sovereigns, but played an important role in the politics of South Asia. The family was owner of Dhaka Nawab Estate, and were seated at Ahsan Manzil. Nawab of Dhaka was the title of the head of family and estate. Khwaja Alimullah was the first Nawab of Dhaka instated by the British Raj. Khwaja Abdul Ghani was the first person in the family to wield that title as a statesman.
Considerable infighting within the Nawab family lead to the decline of the estate. In 1952 the East Pakistan Estates Acquisition Act formally abolished the estate. Khwaja Habibullah Khan Bahadur was the last reigning Nawab of Dhaka. Successive land reform in Pakistan and Bangladesh brought an end to the remaining landholdings of the Nawab family.
Pre-Nawabi heads of the family and the estate
- Khwaja Abdul Kader Kashmiri: (? – ?) First migrated to Bengal from Delhi. Father of the following.
- Khwaja Abdullah: (? – 1796) Settled in Dhaka.
- Khwaja Hafizullah: (? – 1795)
List of the Nawabs of Dhaka
- Nawab Khwaja Alimullah: (? – 1858) First to assume the title of Nawab.
- Nawab Sir Khwaja Abdul Ghani Mian KCSI: (1813–1896) First to assume the title of Nawab as hereditary. Second Nawab of the family.
- Nawab Sir Khwaja Ahsanullah KCIE: (1846–1901) Third Nawab of the family.
- Nawab Bahadur Sir Khwaja Salimullah GCIE, KCSI: (1871–1915) Fourth Nawab of the family.
- Nawab Bahadur Khwaja Habibullah: (1895–1958) Fifth Nawab of the family.
- Nawab Bahadur Khwaja Hassan Askari: (1920–1984) First inheritor of the estate after abolition of titles. Sixth Nawab of the family.
Palaces of the Nawabs
- Ahsan Manzil Palace
- Israt Manzil Palace
- Nishat Manzil Palace
- Shahbag Garden House
- Dilkusha Garden House
- Paribagh Garden House
- Baigunbari Park
- Company Bagan
- Farhat Manzil
- Hafiz Manzil
Other members of the family
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2007)|
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Extended kin of the Dhaka Nawab Family, mostly bearing the family name Khwaja, though not part of the direct lineage, featured prominently in the history of Bangladesh.
- Khwaja Hafizullah: (? – 1815) Son of Khwaja Abdullah. Real founder of the estate.
- Nawabzada Khwaja Atiqullah: (1882–1945) Third son of Khwaja Salimullah.
- Nawabzadi Meherbanu Khanam: (1902–1954) Daughter of Khwaja Ahsanullah.
- Nawabzadi Bilquis Bano Begum: (? – ?) Daughter of Khwaja Ahsanullah. Mother of Sir Khwaja Nazimuddin and Khwaja Shahabuddin.
- Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar was born in 1887. Her father was Hafez Mahmud Ali Khan Panni, the Zamindar of Korotia in Tangail district. And her mother came from the Royal Ottoman Family, and was the niece of Sultan Abdul Meccid. Raushan Akhtar was educated at home, and was taught Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English. Raushan Akhtar got married to Nawab Sir Salimullah in 1896. They had three children: Nawabzada Hafizullah, Nawabzada Nasarullah and Nawabzadi Ahmedi Bano Begum. Raushan Akhtar’s brother, Wajed Ali Khan Panni worked with and supported Nawab Sir Salimullah for the partition of Bengal, and the formation of Muslim League. In 1913, Wajed Ali Khan Panni held the Muslim Education Conference in Korotia, which Nawab Sir Salimullah chaired. Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar was widowed in 1915, at the young age of 28, yet never remarried, maintaining a dignified quiet, religious and simple lifestyle, in Purdah. After Independence of Pakistan in 1947, when Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Miss Fatima Jinnah visited Dhaka, Miss Fatima Jinnah called on Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar, who was the youngest and only surviving Begum of Nawab Salimullah. Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar, dressed simply in her usual plain white cotton sari, received Miss Fatima Jinnah in the Durbar Hall of the Ahsan Manzil Palace, where both of them sat on the gold and silver throne-chairs. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was received outside, in the gardens of Ahsan Manzil Palace, by her stepson, Nawab Bahadur Habibullah. Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar died in 1917 in Karachi, where she was visiting her granddaughter.
- Nawabzada Khwaja Nasarullah: (1907-1955) was the Son of Nawab Sir Salimullah and Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar (of Korotia, Tangail) was born on 11th July 1907. He was educated at St.Pauls School Darjeeling, Taluqdar College Lucknow, MAO College Delhi and Aligarh University. He married his first-cousin Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Syed Abdul Aziz Chowdhury and Nawabzadi Amena Bano Begum, in 1923. Nawabzada Nasarullah was the Vice Chairman of Dhaka Municipality. He Played a role of Police Commissioner in the first ever film of East Bengal "Last Kiss" (“Shukumari”), which was shot in Dilkusha Gardens, Dhaka. He was also a member of the censor board at that time and was involved in two other films named ‘Nazma’ and ‘Babul’. Khwaja Nasarullah was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary for Civil Supply under the Muslim League and Krishak Praja Party Coalition Government in Bengal during 1937-1943. In 1943 he was made the Governor of Calcutta. On the insistence of Nawabzada Nasarullah the British Government agreed to hand back the Dariya-e-Noor diamond to the Dhaka Nawab Family in 1948. Nawabzada Nasarullah guarded and accompanied by Indian Army soldiers up till the border with East Pakistan brought back the diamond to Dhaka. Nawabzada Khwaja Nasarullah invited Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Maulana Abdul Khan Bhashani ot his house in Dilkusha Gardens in 1948, where they sat together in a political discussion. He Served as Chief Whip from 1947 to 1953. In 1953, Nawabzada Nasarullah was appointed Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner in Calcutta. Nawabzada Khwaja Nasarullah died in Calcutta in June 1955, aged 45 years. Nawabzada Nasarullah had five sons namely, Khwaja Reshad Nasarullah, Khwaja Khalid Nasarullah, Khwaja Shoib Nasarullah, Khwaja Zaid Nasarullah, and Khwaja Masood Nasarullah.
- Nawabzada Khwaja Ahsanullah: (1915–1981)
- Nawab Khwaja Yusuf Jan, Khan Bahadur: (1850–1923) Builder of modern sewerage system in Dhaka, founder of the Mohammedan Association, and a leading agitator in favor of Partition of Bengal. A member of the Dhaka Municipality (1884–1923), Chairman of Dhaka Municipality (1897–1901; 1905–1916) and Vice-Chairman (1901–1905) of Dhaka Municipality. Chairman (1921–1923) and Vice-Chairman (1897–1905) of Dhaka District Board. Member of the East Bengal Legislative Assembly since 1907, as a representative of the municipalities of Dhaka Division. Honorary Magistrate of Dhaka for 28 years. He was awarded by the British government a Certificate of Honour (1903) and the titles of Khan Bahadur (1904) and Nawab (1910).
- Khwaja Muhammad Afzal: (1875–?) Son of Khwaja Yusuf and disciple of noted poet Mahmud Azad, Khwaja Muahammad adopted the pen name Afzal to write diwans in Persian and ghazals in Urdu. His best known work is Gam-e-ma-Paikar, a three volume chronicle in verses.
- Khwaja Haider Jan Shayek: (?-?) Son of Khwaja Khalilullah, an influential member of the family, Khwaja Fayezuddin adopted the pen name Shayek to write diwans in Urdu. His correspondence with Mirza Ghalib, where Ghalib addressed him as the Parrot of Bengal, is compiled under the title of Inshaye Shayek.
- Khwaja Asadullah Kaukab: (?-?) A relative of the Nawabs, Personal munshi of Khwaja Abdul Gafur and disciple of Shah Najibullah, the eminent mystic of Bihar, Khwaja Asadullah adopted the pen name Kaukab to write diwans in Persian. His best known work is Durbeen, a collection of Persian devotional poems.
- Sir Khwaja Nazimuddin: Politician/Statemsman
- Khwaja Shahabuddin: Politician/Statemsman
- Khwaja Khairuddin: Politician/Statemsman
- Khwaja Waliullah (1930-2005) Politician/Statemsman
- Khwaja Nuruddin: (1900–1968) Son of Khwaja Mohammad Ashraf, publisher of Morning News, the first English daily newspaper in Dhaka, member of the Council of the Bengal Provincial League (1921), and alderman in the Calcutta Corporation.
- Khwaja Abdul Halim: (1921–2006)Son of Khwaja Abdul Gafoor He joined the erstwhile East Pakistan Civil Service. He worked as a Magistrate in Moulvibazar, Sylhet. He also served in Chuadanga as an ASDO (Additional Sub-Divisional Officer) and in Pabna as a SDO (Sub-Divisional Officer). After the independence of Bangladesh, he was placed as a Section Officer in the Ministry of Commerce. Subsequently, he was also promoted to the level of Deputy-Secretary of the Local Govt & Rural Development Ministry. In 1973, he was ADC of Dinajpur and also held the charge of Deputy Commissioner there. In 1976, he joined Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) as Secretary and served there until his retirement in 1979. During the rule of President Ziaur Rahman, he was called back from retirement and was assigned Special Magistrate of Joydevpur. He was a good hockey player and played for Dhaka University. He also worked for East Pakistan Radio.
- Farooq Sobhan: (1940– ) Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, High-Commissioner of Bangladesh to India (1992–95).
- Khwaja Sharjil Hassan: (1946–2005), Acting Foreign Secretary, Bangladeshi Consul General to the US, UAE and Saudi Arabia, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Uzbekistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
- Khwaja Moinul Hassan: Poet/educationist.
- Khawaja Abdur Rahman: (1946–2004),Joint Secretary,Ministry of Foods, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. Secretary, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh.
- Khwaja Saifullah: Son of late Nawabzada Khwaja Hafizullah & Grandson of Late Nawab Habibullah Bahadur, Nawab of Dhaka is working as Social compliance & Environmental Advisor in the Clothing Industry Working in GTZ: GERMAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION a Project of BMZ Germany Federal Ministry of Economics Cooperation & development with Ministry of Commerce Bangladesh Promoting social and environmental standards in clothing Industry.
- Khan Bahadur Khwaja Ismail Zabih (1885–1959)
- Khan Bahadur Khwaja Muhammed Azam
- Khan Bahadur Khwaja Mu'azzam
- Khwaja Abul Hasan Mumtaz (?-1964)
- Abdus Salim (1905–1967)
- Khwaja Zakiuddin (1918–2003)
- Khwaja Wasiuddin (1921–1992)
- Dr. Khwaja Alqama
- Khwaja Mohammad Ibrahim:(1971 - ) Son of late Khwaja Abdur Rahim & Grandson of Late Khwaja Abdul Gafur , Currently is the Deputy Director of Bangladesh Bank's Foreign Exchange Department.
Extended kin of the Dhaka Nawab Family played a vital role in the history of Urdu-Persian literature in Bengal. Khwaja Haider Jan Shayek, Khwaja Asaduddin Kawkab, Khwaja Atiqullah Sayeda, Khwaja Muhammad Afzal and Khwaja Nazimuddin and others contributed considerably to Urdu and Persian literature in the 19th and 20th centuries. The family maintained close connection with literary figures like Mahmud Azad and Hakim Habibur Rahman.
- Khwaja Muhammad Azam wrote Islami Panchayet Dhaka (1911) in Urdu. His son, Khwaja Muhammad Adel, co-edited Jadu, a monthly journal with Hakim Habibur Rahman.
- Khwaja Abdur Rahim Saba (d 1871) wrote Urdu poems. His manuscript, Daste Saba is preserved in the Dhaka University Library.
- Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah wrote Urdu poems by his pen-name Shaheen collected in Kulliat-e-Shaheen, and a history of his family collected in Tawarikh-e-Khandan-e-Kashmirian. He was also a composer and lyricist of thumri songs, and a finacer of Ahsanul Kasas (15 February 1884), an Urdu weekly magazine of Dhaka.
It was in the later part of the 19th century that the art of photography got its momentum in Dhaka under the patronage of Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah and his son Nawab Khwaja Salimullah. Khwaja Ahsanullah joined the Calcutta based Photographic Society of India in 1888.
- A. K. Fazlul Huq
- Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
- Hakim Habibur Rahman
- Photographic Society of Bengal
- Asiatic Society of Bangladesh
- Chisti Behesti's Tomb
- Khilafat Movement
- United Bengal Movement
- Language Movement
- Christophe Jaffrelot and Gillian Beaumont, A History of Pakistan and Its Origins, page 39, Anthem Press, 2004
- Sharif Uddin Ahmed, Dacca: A Study in Urban History and Development, page 52, Riverdale, 1986
- Muzaffar Ahmed Chaudhuri, Government and Politics in Pakistan, page 257, Puthighar, Dhaka, 1968
- Ghose, Loknath The Modern History of Indian Chiefs, Rajas & Zaminders, Calcutta,1879
- Buckland, C.T. Sketches of Social Life in India, London, 1884