Mir Jumla II
|Mir Jumla II|
|Born||Mir Muhammad Saeed Ardestani
|Died||March 30, 1663
|Garo Hills, Meghalaya|
|Title||Mu'azzam Khan, Khan-i-Khanan, Sipahsalar and Yar-i-Wafahdar|
|Children||Muhammad Amin Khan|
Mir Jumla was the son of a poor oil merchant. In his early age Mir Jumla found a job of a clerk under a diamond merchant who had connections with the Kingdom of Golkonda in Southern India (near present day city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India). The region was famous for its diamond mines. Later he came to India and started his own diamond business. He got involved in maritime commercial endeavors and achieved success.
Mir Jumla entered the service of the Sultan of Golconda and rose to the position of Vizier (Prime Minister) of the kingdom. He met and befriended the French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier during this time. Tavernier was a pioneer of European trade with India and Mir Jumla is mentioned prominently in his book Les Six Voyages de J. B. Tavernier (1676).
Mughal maritime trade
Mir Jumla, who in the 1640s had his own ships and organized merchant fleets that sailed throughout Surat, Thatta, Arakan, Ayuthya, Balasore, Aceh, Melaka, Johore, Bantam, Makassar, Ceylon, Bandar Abbas, Mecca, Jeddah, Basra, Aden, Masqat, Mocha and the Maldives.
Career in the Mughal Imperial Court
Prince Aurangzeb, the Mughal viceroy in the Deccan (Southern India) forwarded his cause and he got the protection of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who honoured him with the title of Muazzam Khan, raised him to the rank of 6000 zat and 6000 sawar and appointed him the diwan-i-kul or the prime minister.
On his accession to the throne, Aurangzeb entrusted Mir Jumla with the task of dealing with Shah Shuja. Shuja was Auranzeb's brother and a contender to the Indian throne. He was defeated in the Battle of Khajwa and took to flight. Mir Jumla pursued Shuja from Khajwa to Tandah and from Tanda to Dhaka (capital of the present day Bangladesh), where he arrived on 9 May 1660. The latter, however, had already left Dhaka, crossed the eastern border and ultimately found shelter with the king of Arakan (modern day Myanmar).
Soon after his arrival at Dhaka, Mir Jumla received the imperial farman (decree) appointing him subahdar (governor) of Bengal. The emperor, in recognition of his services, honoured Mir Jumla with titles, rewards and increment of mansab (rank). He at once began reorganizing the administration, which had become slack in the absence of Shuja during the war of succession, and disobedience and refractoriness had become prevalent. Reversing the action of Shuja who had transferred the capital to Rajmahal, he restored Dhaka to its former glory. He then paid attention to the administration of justice, dismissed dishonest Qazis (clerics and judges) and Mir Adils and replaced them with honest persons.According to Niccolai Manucci, Shuja fled back to Tripura with his surviving middle son Buland Akhtar whom Tripura king Nakshatra Roy alias Chhatra Narayan helped to reach Manipur by supplying elephants and a few guards for fear of Aurangzeb's pursuing army and informers. Shuja reached ultimately Manipur (Mekhli) in 1662 starting from Daccca in 1660 via Arakan and Tripura, according to Dr. John Peter Wade (An Account of Assam, 1800, p. 297). Manipur king Khunjaoba received him in 1662 and kept him secret of his identity and also Aurangzeb sent a three man embassy (Ahaddis) to Manipur regarding the matter and Manipur king too reciprocated with a three man embassy to the Mughal Court (A. Hakim Shah Khullakpam, 2008, The Manipur Governance To the Meitei Pangal or Manipuri Muslims, Imphal: Pearl, p. 56). Shuja was hiding for sometime in Shujalok (Kairang in east of Imphal of Manipur) and in Ukhrul hill of the present state, and returned to the valley in 1679 (R.K. Sanahal Singh, 1989, Pangal Thorakpa, Imphal: Liberty Publication). Since Shuja arrived on elephant supplied by Tripura king, he was also known as Shuna-i-pil (Sunarphul), meaning "officer-in-charge of elephants", among Manipuri annalists and in the puya, Nongsamei.(Ibid). He died sometime in 1691 and was buried at Shujalok (Janab Khan, 1972, Manipuri Muslims, Imphal: Shanti Press). (see also: How Shuja, Brother of Aurangzeb Died at Ukhrul (sic); Manipuri Muslims Socially Speaking).
Mir Jumla's construction activities in Dhaka and its suburbs resulted in two roads, two bridges and a network of forts, which were necessary for public welfare, strategic purposes, and speedy dispatch of troops, equipment and ammunition. A fort at Tangi-Jamalpur guarded one of the roads connecting Dhaka with the northern districts; it is now known as the Mymensingh Road. The other road led eastward, connecting the capital city with Fatulla (old Dhapa), where there were two forts, and by extension the road could lead up to Khizrpur where two other forts were situated. The Pagla bridge lies on this road off Fatulla. Some parts of the roads and forts built by Mir Jumla are still extant.
North Eastern Frontier Expedition
The most important aspect of Mir Jumla's rule in Bengal was his northeastern frontier policy, by which he conquered the frontier kingdoms of Kamrup (Kamarupa) and Assam. Koch Behar was a vassal state, but Raja Pran Narayan took advantage of the war of succession and shook off his allegiance. The Ahom king of Assam, Jayadhvaja Singh, occupied a part of Kamrup, which had earlier been integrated with the Bengal subah.
Mir Jumla advanced with a large army and navy against the enemy; he sent the main body of the troops and the navy towards Kamrup, while he himself proceeded against Koch Behar. On his approach, Pran Narayan evacuated the country and fled towards the hills. Koch Behar was occupied in about one month and a half and making administrative arrangements there, Mir Jumla came to join the advance party towards Kamrup.
The king of Assam was prudent enough to evacuate Kamrup, but Mir Jumla decided to conquer Assam also. Mir Jumla took 12,000 cavalry, 30,000 infantry, and a fleet of 323 ships and boats up river towards Assam—the naval contingent comprised Portuguese, English, and Dutch sailors.
An account of the campaign and the life during the times was presented by the Venetian adventurer Niccolao Manucci in his memoirs Storia do Mogor. This book was a reference for the work of the French historian François Catrou who wrote the ‘Historic Generale de l’Empire du Mogol’ in 1715. Manucci also got acquainted with a Mughal Navy officer of British descent during the same period named Thomas Pratte. Pratte was appointed by Mir Jumla as an officer in the Mughal navy and used to collect war boats and procure gunpowder necessary for naval warfare.
Assam, in those days, was a big country and its physiography was much different from that of Bengal. But nothing daunted Mir Jumla. In less than six weeks' time, since his starting from Guwahati, Mir Jumla conquered up to Garhgaon, the capital of Assam.
Jungle Warfare and Counter-Insurgency campaign
Beyond that the country was full of high hills and mountains, inaccessible for horses and troops, where the Ahom king took shelter. During the rains, the Mughals were locked in a few raised grounds, the roads were submerged, the streams and even the nalahs (drains) swelled up to become big rivers. The Assamese harassed them from all sides by their habitual night attacks; the supply of rations from their base was also stopped, because they could not be sent due to inundation of roads.
There was very great shortage of food in the camps, both for men and beasts, soldiers began to slaughter furnished horses, and it was with great difficulty that the Mughals could save themselves from complete annihilation. Besides the shortage of food, pestilence broke out in the Mughal camps, due to bad and unhealthy air and water. As a result, Mir Jumla lost almost two-thirds of his army, and worst of all Mir Jumla himself became sick.
Many armies would have disintegrated under these circumstances but under Mir Jumla's magnificent leadership, the Mughal army held firm and remained on the offensive.
After the rains were over, both Mir Jumla and the king of Assam agreed to sign a peace treaty. The terms of treaty implied that the Ahom king would accept Mughal rule and also send two Ahom princesses to the court of the Indian Emperor as a sign of goodwill (one of whom was Romoni Gabhoru, who later became the daughter-in-law of Emperor Aurangzeb as Princess Rahmat Begum). The Ahoms also had to pay a war indemnity and an annual tribute of 20 elephants. They also had to cede the western half of their kingdom from Guwahati to Manas river.
Although the terms were favorable to the Mughals, the occupied Assamese territory was lost as soon as Mir Jumla retraced his steps.
Economics and Commerce policy
Mir Jumla, a successful businessman himself in his early career, was aware of the contribution of trade and traders in the economy of a country and looked after the interests of the traders.
During his time, the Portuguese trade had declined. But the Dutch and English companies had emerged to take their place. They dreaded his influence and courted his favor. He helped the foreign traders including the European companies to enjoy the trade privileges already granted to them by the imperial authority.
Death and legacy
Mir Jumla died on his way back from the Assamese territory on boat off Khizrpur on 30 March 1663. His tomb located on a small hillock has been maintained over the centuries near Garo Hills in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya. The tomb reflects a remarkably long grave and bears testimony to the tall height of Mir Jumla.
- Hyderabadi Muslims
- Hyderabad State
- Muslim culture of Hyderabad
- History of Hyderabad for a history of the city of Hyderabad.
- Hyderabad (India) for the city.
- Mughal empire
- Emperor of India
- List of rulers of Bengal
- History of Bengal
- History of Bangladesh
- History of India
- Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
- Abdul Karim, Mir Jumla, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-10-08
- Pearson, M. (2007). The Indian Ocean. Routledge. ISBN 9780415445382. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
- [Sir Jadunath Sarkar, 1972, History of Aurangzeb, vol. 2, London: Orient Longman]
- Banglapedia article on Mir Jumla
- The life of Mir Jumla, the general of Aurangzeb by Jagadish Narayan Sarkar 
- Travels in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Baron of Aubonne 
- Wikipedia article about the Venetian adventurer Niccolao Manucci
- Atan Buragohain and his times: A history of Assam, from the invasion of Nawab Mir Jumla in 1662–63, to the termination of Assam-Mogul conflicts in 1682 by Surya Kumar Bhuyan 
- The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India's Great Emperors by Abraham Eraly 
- The Mughal Empire (The New Cambridge History of India) by John Richards