Nawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad
|Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (1717-1880)
Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad (1882-1969)
Nawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad
"There is no cause for despair, never despair"
The Nawabs of Bengal ruled over the Provinces of Bengal, which included present day West Bengal, Tripura and Bangladesh and parts of Orissa, parts of present Bihar and also some parts of Jharkhand. Perhaps after the title of the Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa was abolished in 1880 the successors succeeded with the lesser title of Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad and ruled only over the present day city of Murshidabad. Shown here is the 1776 map of Bengal when the Nawabs ruled as the Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
|Historical era||British Raj
|-||Emergence of the Mughal Empire||1526|
|-||Established||29 April 1740|
|-||Expeditions in Bengal||1741–1748|
|-||Battle of Giria||1746 and 1763|
|-||Battle of Plassey||23 June 1757|
|-||Battle of Buxar||22 October 1764|
|-||Disestablished||20 November 1969|
|-||1901 est.||75 millions|
|Today part of|| India
|The Nawabs of Bengal ruled under the Mughal Empire but after 1757 when the British became a political power in Bengal they were puppets to the British. So it was a monarchy which ruled on the behalf of others.|
Gangaridai Kingdom, Varendra, Vanga Kingdom,
Pundravardhana, Suhma Kingdom,
Anga Kingdom, Harikela Kingdom, Samatata Kingdom
Sultanate of Bengal
Bakhtiyar Khilji, Raja Ganesha
Pratap Aditya, Raja Sitaram Ray
Principality of Bengal
Zamindari system, Bengal famine of 1770
Swami Vivekananda, Jagadish Chandra Bose,
Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose
1947 Partition of Bengal, Bangladesh Liberation War
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Jyoti Basu
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Bangladesh|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of modern India|
Nawabs of Bengal were the rulers of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa from 1740 until 1793. They were the hereditary Nazims or Subahdars (provincial governors) of the subah (province) of Bengal during the Mughal rule and later became the rulers of the province. Siraj ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal was betrayed in the Battle of Plassey by Mir Jafar. He lost to the British, who took over the charge of Bengal in 1757, installed Mir Jafar on the Masnad (throne) and established itself to a political power in Bengal.
In 1765 the system of Dual Government was established, in which the Nawabs ruled on behalf of the British and were mere puppets to the British. In 1772 the system was abolished and Bengal was brought under direct control of the British. In 1793, when the Nizamat (governorship) of the Nawab was also taken away from them, they remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company. The last Nawab of Bengal, Mansur Ali Khan abdicated on 1 November 1880 in favour of his eldest son.
Nawabs of Murshidabad succeeded the Nawabs of Bengal as Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad, following Mansur Ali Khan's abdication They got the title changed as the title of the Nawab of Bengal was abolished in 1880. They had little or no say in the share of the revenue collected and were ceased to use any force. After Indian Independence in 1947 it was declared that the princely states must accede to either India or Pakistan (East/West Pakistan). It is a fact that Murshidabad (the capital city) became a part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) for two days, as it had a Muslim majority. It became a part of India on 17 August 1947. The Pakistani flag was brought down from the Hazarduari Palace and the Indian tricolour was hoisted atop the palace. After merging with India, they had no power as the Government of India took over all the princely states in India. The house of the Nawabs came to end in 1969 with Waris Ali Mirza being the last Nawab. Although he left three sons and three daughters there has been no clear successor to the title since his death as he died without declaring one.
- 1 Bengal
- 2 History before the Nawabs' rule
- 3 History during the Nawabs' rule
- 4 List of the Nawabs of Bengal
- 5 List of the Nawabs of Murshidabad
- 6 Notes
- 7 External links
Modern Bengal is mainly divided between the sovereign land of Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. Some regions of the previous kingdoms of Bengal (during local monarchical regimes) are now part of the neighbouring Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura and Odisha (then Orissa).
During the partition of Bengal (1905–1911) under British Raj, a new province, Eastern Bengal and Assam was created as a Lieutenant-Governorship. In 1911, East Bengal (now Bangladesh) was reunited with Bengal, and the new provinces in the east became: Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The Nawab thus gained rule over Bihar and Orissa, which was earlier a part of Bengal. That is why the Nawabs of Bengal were also mentioned as "Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa" or "Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa" - where Nazim (or, Subahdar) means the provincial governor - as they ruled over three subahs while the Nawabs of Murshidabad were the local ruler of the city of Murshidabad. The majority of modern Bengal is inhabited by Bengali people who speak the Bengali language.
Modern Bengal includes the present day country of Bangladesh and the present day Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura (not highlighted in this picture)
1831 map of Hindustan showing the then Bengal in green in the north east
History before the Nawabs' rule
Rule over Bengal in BC
In the 3rd century BC, the broader region of Bengal was conquered by the emperor Ashoka. In the 4th century AD, it was absorbed into the Gupta Empire. In 1010 AD, the whole Bengal was under Rajendra Chola I of Chola Dynasty. The Cholas influence changed the agriculture and other traditions of the people from Bengal Cholas marched through Burma, Cambodia and conquering till Indonesia. From the 13th century onward, the region was ruled by several sultans, powerful Hindu states and Baro-Bhuyan landlords.
Ilyas Shahi dynasty
The early Sultans of Bengal ruled until 1282 which was followed by the rule of several successive dynasties. Ilyas Shah founder of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty, took complete charge of the then Bengal and the capital was shifted to Sonargaon (near present day, Dhaka in Bangladesh). He was one of the independent rulers of Bengal. His son, Sikandar Shah, who succeeded him, built the Adina Mosque at Pandua, near Gour, Adina Mosque in the medieval times, was considered to be the largest in undivided Bengal, as well as the entire Indian subcontinent.
The Mughal Empire emerged as a powerful Empire in northern India. Babur, who was related to two legendary warriors - Timur and Genghis Khan, invaded north India and defeated Ibrahim Lodi of the Lodi dynasty. Babur thus became the first Mughal emperor. He was succeeded by his son, Humayun. At the same time, Sher Shah Suri (alias Farid Khan) of the Suri dynasty rose to prominence and established himself as the ruler of the present day Bihar by defeating Ghiyashuddin Shah. But he lost to capture the kingdom because of sudden expedition of Humayun. In 1539, Sher Khan faced Humayun in the battle of Chausa. He forced Humayun out of India. Assuming the title Sher Shah, he ascended the throne of Delhi. He also captured Agra and established control from Bengal in the east until the Indus river in the west. After his death he was succeeded by his son, Islam Shah Suri. But in 1544 the Suris were torn apart by internal conflicts. Humayun took this advantage and captured Lahore and Delhi, but he died in 1556 AD. He was succeeded by Akbar, who defeated Daud Khan Karrani of Bengal's Karrani Dynasty (or, Karnani Dynasty). After this, the administration of the entire region of Bengal passed into the hands of governors appointed by the Mughal emperors, who ruled Bengal till 1716 AD.
There were several posts under the Mughal administrative system during Akbar's reign. Diwani was a system of provincial revenue administration under the Mughals. Nizamat (civil administration) and Diwani (revenue administration) were the two main branches of the provincial administration under the Mughals. A Subahdar (provincial viceroy or governor), also called a Nazim was in-charge of the Nizamat. There was a chain of subordinate officials under the Nazims on the executive side and under Diwans on the revenue and judicial side.
Emergence of the Nawab of Bengal
Murshid Quli Khan arrived as the governor of Bengal in 1717 AD. Before his arrival there were four Diwans. And, after his arrival, Azim-ush-Shan held the Nazim's office. Azim got into conflict with Murshid Quli Khan over imperial financial control. Considering the complaint of Khan, emperor Aurangzeb ordered Azim to move to Bihar. Upon his departure the two posts united in one and Murshid Quli Khan became the first Nazim cum Diwan of Bengal. Murshid Khan was appointed the "Nawab Nazim of Bengal" and he emerged as the ruler of Bengal under the Mughals. Murshidabad remained the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal until their rule.
History during the Nawabs' rule
The first dynasty, the Nasiri, ruled from 1717 until 1740. The founder of the Nasiri, Murshid Quli Khan, was born a poor Deccani Oriya Brahmin before being sold into slavery and bought by one Haji Shafi Isfahani, a Persian merchant from Isfahan who converted him to Islam. He entered the service of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and rose through the ranks before becoming the Nawab Nazim of Bengal in 1717, a post he held until his death in 1727. He in turn was succeeded by his son-in law, Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan. After Shuja-ud-Din's death in 1739 he was succeeded by his son, Sarfaraz Khan, who hold the rank, until he was killed in the Battle of Giria in 1741, and was succeeded by Alivardi Khan, former ruler of Patna, of the Afshar Dynasty in 1740.
The second dynasty, the Afshar, ruled from 1740 to 1757. Siraj ud-Daulah (Alivardi Khan's grandson), the last Afshar Nawab was killed in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. They were succeeded by the third and final dynasty to rule the whole Bengal, the Najafi.
Under the Mughals
Bengal (Bengal subah) was one of the wealthiest parts of the Mughal empire. As the Mughal empire began to decline, the Nawabs grew in power, although nominally sub-ordinate to the Mughal emperor. They wielded great power in their own right and ruled the subah as independent rulers for all practical purposes by the early 1700s.
Marathas undertook six expeditions in Bengal from 1741–1748. Maratha general, Raghunath Rao was able to annex Orissa to his kingdom permanently as he successfully exploited the chaotic conditions prevailing in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa after the death of Murshid Quli Khan in 1727. Constantly harassed by the Bhonsles, Orissa, Bengal and parts of Bihar were economically ruined. Alivardi Khan made peace with Raghunathrao in 1751 ceding in perpetuity Orrisa up to the river Suvarnarekha, and agreeing to pay 12 lacs annually in lieu of the Chauth of Bengal and Bihar.
The treaty included 20 lacs as Chauth for Bengal (includes both West Bengal and Bangladesh) and 12 lacs for Bihar(including Jharkhand). After this Maratha promised never to cross the boundary of the Nawab of Bengal's territory.
Thus Baji Rao is hailed as the greatest Maratha chief after Shivaji because of his success in subjecting Muslim rulers of east India in states such as Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the Maratha rule.
Under British Rule
After the Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah (the last independent ruler of Bengal) was defeated by the British forces of Sir Robert Clive in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the Nawabs became puppet rulers, being dependent on the British. Siraj-ud-daula was replaced by Mir Jafar. He was personally led to the throne by Robert Clive, after triumph of the British in the battle. He briefly tried to re-assert his power by allying with the Dutch, but this plan was ended by the Battle of Chinsurah. After the grant of the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa by the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, to the British East India Company in August 1765 and the appointment of Warren Hastings by the East India Company as their first Governor General of Bengal in 1771, the Nawabs were deprived of any real power. In 1765 the system of Dual Government was established, in which they rulecon the behalf of the British. In 1772 the system of Dual Government was abolished and Bengal was brought under direct control of the British. In 1793, when the Nizamat (governorship) was also taken away from them, they remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company.
Bangal came to be known as Bengal Province and it became a province of the British after the arrival of the British Raj after the Indian rebellion of 1857. The power to rule was passed over to the British Crown. Administrative control of India came under the prestigious Indian Civil Service which had administrative control over all districts outside the princely states.
Decline of the Nawab of Bengal
|Barisal and Khulna|
|Dhaka and Sylhet|
|Rajshahi and Rangpur|
|Puthia · Rajshahi (Natore) ·
Dighapatia · Singranatore
· Rangpur · Pabna
Mansur Ali Khan (alias: Feradun Jah) was the last Nawab of Bengal. During his reign the Nizamat at Murshidabad became involved in debts. The Government of India there involved it into an action of preventing further claims. The title of "Nawab of Bengal" was abolished in 1880.
Feradun Jah left Murshidabad in February 1869 and started living in England. He returned at Bombay in October 1881. But he spent most of his time pleading his case against orders of the Government of India. After it was not resolved the Nawab renounced his styles and titles of Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and abdicated in favour of his eldest son at St. Ives, Maidenhead, on November 1, 1880.
Emergence of the Nawab of Murshidabad
After Mansur Ali Khan's abdication, his son, Hassan Ali Mirza succeeded as the first Nawab of Murshidabad with the lesser title of Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad after the title of Nawab of Bengal was abolished in 1880. Nawabs of Murshidabad were the successors of the Nawabs of Bengal. After Lord Clive secured the Diwani of Bengal from Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II in 1765 for the East India Company they did not have any effective authority. So they lavishly enjoyed their title, privileges alongside with the honours they received. They had little or no say and ceased to control any significant force.
After Indian Independence in 1947 the princely states either had to accede to India or Pakistan (East/West Pakistan). As Murshidabad had a Muslim majority, it became a part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) for two days. However it became a part of and merged into India on 17 August 1947. After merging with India, the Nawabs had no power as the Government of India took charge over all the princely states in India.
The last Nawab of Murshidabad was Waris Ali Mirza. He left three sons and three daughters. According to the law, the eldest son of the Nawab succeeded him Waris Ali's eldest son, Wakif Ali Mirza Bahadur, was excluded from the succession by his father for contracting a non-Muslim marriage and for not professing the Muslim religion. He took no steps during his lifetime to establish his succession. Before declaring a successor Waris Ali died. Since then there has been no clear successor to the title of Nawab of Murshidabad.
List of the Nawabs of Bengal
The following is a list of all the Nawabs of Bengal. Sarfaraz Khan and Mir Muhammed Jafar Ali Khan Bahadur (Mir Jafar) were the only Nawabs to become the Nawab twice. The chronology started in 1717 with Murshid Quli Khan and ended in 1881 with Mansur Ali Khan's abdication.
|Portrait||Titular Name||Personal Name||Birth||Reign||Death|
|Jaafar Khan Bahadur Nasiri||Murshid Quli Khan||1665||1717– 1727||June 30, 1727|
|Ala-ud-Din Haidar Jang||Sarfaraz Khan Bahadur||?||1727-1727||April 29, 1740|
|Shuja ud-Daula||Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan||Around 1670 (date not available)||July, 1727 – August 26, 1739||August 26, 1739|
|Ala-ud-Din Haidar Jang||Sarfaraz Khan Bahadur||?||March 13, 1739 – April 1740||April 29, 1740|
|Hashim ud-Daula||Muhammad Alivardi Khan Bahadur||Before May 10, 1671||April 29, 1740 – April 9, 1756||April 9, 1756|
|Siraj ud-Daulah||Muhammad Siraj-ud-Daulah||1733||April 1756 – June 2, 1757||July 2, 1757|
|Ja'afar 'Ali Khan Bahadur||Mir Muhammed Jafar Ali Khan Bahadur||1691||June 1757 – October 1760||January 17, 1765|
|Itimad ud-Daulah||Mir Qasim Ali Khan Bahadur||?||October 20, 1760 – 1763||May 8, 1777|
|Ja'afar 'Ali Khan Bahadur||Mir Muhammed Jafar Ali Khan Bahadur||1691||July 25, 1763 – January 17, 1765||January 17, 1765|
|Nazam-ud-Daulah||Najimuddin Ali Khan Bahadur||1750||February 5, 1765 – May 8, 1766||May 8, 1766|
|Saif ud-Daulah||Najabut Ali Khan Bahadur||1749||May 22, 1766 – March 10, 1770||March 10, 1770|
|Mubarak ud-Daulah||Ashraf Ali Khan Bahadur||1759||March 21, 1770 – September 6, 1793||September 6, 1793|
|Azud ud-Daulah||Babar Ali Khan Bahadur||?||1793 – April 28, 1810||April 28, 1810|
|Ali Jah||Zain-ud-Din Ali Khan Bahadur||?||June 5, 1810 – August 6, 1821||August 6, 1821|
|Walla Jah||Ahmad Ali Khan Bahadur||?||1810 – October 30, 1824||October 30, 1824|
|Humayun Jah||Mubarak Ali Khan Bahadur||September 29, 1810||1824 – October 3, 1838||October 3, 1838|
|Feradun Jah||Mansur Ali Khan Bahadur||October 29, 1830||October 29, 1838 – November 1, 1880 (abdicated)||November 5, 1884|
List of the Nawabs of Murshidabad
The Nawabs of Murshidabd succeeded the Nawabs of Bengal after the abdication in 1881 and the abolition of the title of Nawab of Bengal in 1880. There were only three Nawabs of Murshidabad as follows:
|Picture||Titular Name||Personal Name||Birth||Reign||Death|
|Ali Kadir||Hassan Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur||August 25, 1846||February 17, 1882 – December 25, 1906||December 25, 1906|
|Amir ul-Omrah||Wasif Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur||January 7, 1875||December 1906–23 October 1959||October 23, 1959|
|Raes ud-Daulah||Waris Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur||November 14, 1901||1959 – November 20, 1969 ( no clear successor-post/title in dispute)||November 20, 1969|
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1907, p. 46
- Murdhidabad.net (8 May 2012). "The Nawabs ruled earlier under the Mughal and later under the British". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Chaudhury, S; Mohsin, KM. "Sirajuddaula". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Singh, Vipul (1 September 2009). Longman History & Civics (Dual Government in Bengal). Pearson Education India.
- Madhya Pradesh National Means-Cum-Merit Scholarship Exam (Warren Hasting's system of Dual Government). Upkar Prakashan. 1 January 2009.
- Murshidabad.net (May 8, 2012). "Decline of the Nawabs of Bengal". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Hassan Ali Mirza's succession". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Lumby 1954, p. 232
- "Murshidabad was a part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) for two days after which it became a part of India". 30-days.net. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "The last Nawab of Murshidabad, Waris Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- David Gilmour, The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj (2007) pp. 46, 135
- Sir James Bourdillon The Partition of Bengal (London: Society of Arts) 1905
- "History of Bangladesh". Bangladesh Student Association. Archived from the original on 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- "Britain Proposes Indian Partition". Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada: The Leader-Post. BUP. 2 June 1947.
- "Nawabs of Bengal were also known as Nawabs of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa". Murshidabad.nic.in. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "The Nawabs of Murshidabad ruled only over Murshidabad". Royal Ark. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Bengali language in Asiatic Society of Bangladesh 2003
- "Modern Bengal is mostly inhabited by Bengali who speak the Bengal language". Britannica. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- See Sastri, K. A. N., A History of South India, p166
- "Rule over Bengal in BC". Indian Tourist Guide (Website - indiantouristguide.in). Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). The Delhi Sultanate, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, p.197
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). The Delhi Sultanate, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, p.212
- Adina Mosque, from Banglapedia
- The Economist, "Babu, the First Moghul Emperor: Wine and Tulips in Kabul", 16 December 2010, pp. 80–82.
- "Sher Khan". Columbia Encyclopedia. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Biography of Islam Shah the Successor of Sher Shah".
- "Daud Khan Karrani's was defeat by Akbar". Banglapedia. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- The History of India: The Hindú and Mahometan Periods By Mountstuart Elphinstone, Edward Byles Cowell, Published by J. Murray, 1889,Public Domain
- Anjali Chatterjee, Azim-us-Shan, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-07-28
- "Emergence of the Nawab of Bengal with Murshid Quli khan being the first Nawab". Murshidabad.net. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- "Murshidabad remained the capital and headquarters of the Nawabs of Bengal, until their rule". Banglapedia. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- General Books LLC (20-Aug-2010). LLC Books, ed. Nawabs of Bengal: Siraj Ud-Daulah, Mir Jafar, Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim, Nawab Sayyid Wasif Ali Mirza Khan. General Books LLC.
- Chatterji, Joya (2002). Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932-1947 (South Asian Studies 57 and Volume 57 of Cambridge South Asian Studies) (illustrated, reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521523281. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (May 20, 2012). "Biography of Murshid Quli Khan". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (May 8, 2012). "Defeat of Sarfaraz Khan in the Battle of Giria". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "Defeat of Siraj ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey". Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (May 8, 2012). "Dynasties of The Nawabs". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "Bengal subah was one the richest subahs of the Mughal Empire". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- History Modern India - S. N. Sen - Google Books. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- SNHM. Vol. II, pp. 209, 224.
- Wernham, R. B. (01-Nov-1968). The New Cambridge Modern History: Volume 3, Counter-Reformation and Price Revolution, 1559-1610 (Maratha invasion of Bengal). CUP Archive. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Sarkar, Jadunath (01-Jan-1991). Fall Of The Mughal Empire- Vol. I (4Th Edn.) (Maratha Chauth from Bihar). Orient Blackswan. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- George Michell and Mark Zebrowski (10-Jun-1999). Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates, Volumes 1-7 (Maratha raids in Bihar). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (May 8, 2012). "Incidents during Mubarak ud-Daulah's reign". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (May 8, 2012). "Decline of the Nawabs of Bengal". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "The Nawabs of Murshidabad had little or no say". Royal Ark. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Murshidabad.net (May 24, 2012). "Decline of the Nawabs of Murshidabad". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "The Nawabs of Bengal (chronologically)". Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- The arrival of the Nawabs of Bengal and their decline
- Nawab Nazims of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and Nawab Bahadurs of Murshidabad
- Posts under the Nawabs