Mirza Najaf Khan
Mirza Najaf Khan (1723– April 26, 1782) was a Baloch adventurer in the court of Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. He had royal lineage, having been a Baloch prince, when that dynasty was deposed by Nader Shah in 1736. He came to India around 1740 and may even have come a year earlier with the Baloch. His sister married into the family of the Nawab of Awadh. He also held the title of Deputy Wazir of Awadh. He served during the Battle of Buxar and his main contribution in history was as the highest commander of the Mughal army from 1772 till his death in April 1782.
New Mughal Army
The Mughal Army he created on the European model backed by traditional Mughal cavalry. Historian H. G. Keene in his "The Fall of the Moghul Empire of Hindustan" says that in 1781 the army of Mirza Najaf Khan was the most formidable military force in India aside from the British army in Bengal.
The new Mughal Army created by Mirza Najaf Khan was based on sound principles of order and administration, qualities he tried to enforce in the corrupted Mughal kingdom. The Mughal soldiers were paid a premium salary in order to get the best and oddly for the times they were paid regularly and on time. The whole army had no more than 85,000 to 90,000 soldiers with a large train of artillery consisting of almost 250 cannons. As with many other Indian states, French adventurers found their way into this army as well and their expertise welcomed. At a time of over weaning ambition and corruption, Mirza Najaf Khan was a man determined to serve his sovereign and realm to the best of his abilities.
His army had to face threats from the Rohillas, the Jats, the Marathas and especially the Sikhs whose raids against their opponents, the Mughals included the plunder of Delhi, were causing the Mughal kingdom much grief at the time. He is known to have fought and commanded the Mughal infantry honorably during the Battle of Buxar. After a series of defeats suffered by Mughal commanders and Sikh victories, Mirza Najaf Khan personally took the field he decisively defeated the Sikhs and their Rohilla ally Zabita Khan, in 1779. Part of the problem faced by the Mughals against any enemy were the constant intrigues against the kingdom by treacherous as well as treasonous wazirs. In the year 1739 Shah Alam II's rebellious adversary Nawab Majad-ud-Daulah was known to have been an informant for the Sikh leaders who constantly sought to weaken the Mughal Army, which was commanded by Mirza Najaf Khan.
Mirza Najaf Khan died on April 26, 1782 in India. He left behind an adopted son Najaf Quli Khan, who had converted from Hinduism. Within 6 years of his death, the Mughal army ceased to exist and Mughal emperor rendered powerless. His tomb is near Safdarjung's tomb in Delhi.
Najafgarh town, Delhi, India
Najafgarh (Hindi: नजफ़गढ़, Urdu: نجف گڑھ) is located at the outskirts of the southwestern part of New Delhi, India. It has a mixture of Rural and Urban population from New Delhi and Haryana. Najafgarh was named after the Kiledar (Fort Administrator) Nazaf Khan Korai Baloch of the Mughal Dynasty during the 16th century, a powerful noble of the later Mughal court, Mirza Najaf Khan Baloch (1733–1782), whose country seat in the suburbs beyond the capital city later became a fortified stronghold of Rohilla Afghan chieftain Zabita Khan (b. 1785).[dead link] A small settlement of the mughal troops settled here in its infancy. It is now one of the most populous electoral regions in the National Capital Region of India. Najafgarh is surrounded by 70 villages bordering Haryana. Borders are 10 to 15 Kilometers from main Najafgarh Market.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mirza Najaf Khan.|
- Delhi Govt Website
- Strategy Framework for Delhi beyond the Commonwealth Games 2010, BY DANNY CHERIAN, 2004