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Nawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad

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Nawab Nizam of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (1717-1880)a
and
Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad (1882-1950)b
Nawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad
1717–1765
 

Coat of Arms of the Nawab Nizamm of Bengal, Bihar and  Orissa (top) and that of the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad (bottom)
Coat of arms

Motto
Nil Desparandum
"There is no cause for despair, never despair"
The Nawab Nizams of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa ruled over the Bengal subah and were subordinate to the Mughal empire, however after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and acquisition of the administration of the subah from the then Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II, by the British East India Company, the Bengal Presidency was established, which included the Bengal subah and surther, the system of dual government was established in 1772. Thus, the Nawabs became "puppet rulers" of the British, with very little real power and authority to exercise and lost even that little power when the Nizamat (power to exercise military power and criminal justice) of the Nawab was also taken away from them; the Nawabs remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company. After the Revolt of 1857, the regions under the Company rule came under the British Crown in 1858 which marked the beginning of the British Raj, and by now, the post/office of the Nawabs was just titular. They had no real power and authority. Further, after Indian independence, in 1947, the region first came under the rule of the Dominion of Pakistan for two days, and then the Dominion of India, followed by the Republic of India in 1950, and since then has remained under the rule of the republic. Shown here is a 1776 map of the Bengal Presidency, after it came under Company rule and prior to its takeover by the British Crown and the partition of Bengal.
The Nawab Nizams of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa ruled over the Bengal subah and were subordinate to the Mughal empire, however after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and acquisition of the administration of the subah from the then Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II, by the British East India Company, the Bengal Presidency was established, which included the Bengal subah and surther, the system of dual government was established in 1772. Thus, the Nawabs became "puppet rulers" of the British, with very little real power and authority to exercise and lost even that little power when the Nizamat (power to exercise military power and criminal justice) of the Nawab was also taken away from them; the Nawabs remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company. After the Revolt of 1857, the regions under the Company rule came under the British Crown, and by now, the post/office of the Nawabs was just titular. They had no real power and authority. Further, after Indian independence, in 1947, the region first came under the rule of the Dominion of Pakistan for two days, and then the Dominion of India, followed by the Republic of India in 1950, and since then has remained under the rule of the republic. Shown here is a 1776 map of the Bengal Presidency, after it came under Company rule and prior to its takeover by the British Crown and the partition of Bengal.
Capital Murshidabadc
Languages English

Persian
Bengali
Hindi
Urdu
Arabic

Government Monarchy
Historical era Mughal rule in India

Company rule in India
British Raj
Indian Independence movement
Indian Independence

 -  Emergence of the Mughal Empire 1526
 -  Established 1717
 -  Battle of Plassey 23 June 1757
 -  Battle of Buxar 22 October 1764
 -  Abolition of the title of Nawab of Bengal 1880
 -  Abdication of Mansoor Ali Khan, the last Nawab of Bengal 1 November 1880
 -  Emergence of the Nawab of Murshidabad 17 February 1882
 -  Disestablished 1765
Population
 -  1901 est. 75 million[1] 
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Chola dynasty
Gupta Empire
Bengal Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
Mughal Empire
Company rule in India
British Raj
Today part of  India
 Bangladesh
a. Title abolished in 1880
b.
After Indian independence in 1947, followed by the promulgation of the Indian Constitution on 26 January 1950, which marked the transformation of the Dominion of India into the Republic of India, the Article 18 of the Indian Constitution abolished all titles, except those given by the Government of India to those who have made their mark in military and academic fields. Thus the title of the "Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad" was officially, constitutionally and legally abolished.
c.
Murshidabad was the capital for both the Nawabs of Bengal and the Nawabs of Murshidabad.
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Nawabs of Bengal (full title, the Nawab Nizam of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) were the rulers of the then provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Between 1717 and 1765, they served as the rulers of the subah (or province) of Bengal. However, the Nawabs of Bengal were subordinate to the Mughal Empire. Murshid Quli Khan arrived as the Diwan of Bengal in 1717 AD. Before his arrival there were four Diwans. And, after his arrival, Azim-ush-Shan held the Nizam's office. Azim got into conflict with Murshid Quli Khan over imperial financial control. Considering the complaint of Khan, the then Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb ordered Azim to move to Bihar.[2] Upon his departure the two posts united in one and Murshid Quli Khan became the first Nizam cum Diwan of Bengal. Murshid Khan was appointed the "Nawab Nizam of Bengal" and he emerged as the ruler of Bengal under the Mughals.[3][4] Murshidabad remained the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal until their rule.[5] .[3] The Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah, was betrayed in the Battle of Plassey by Mir Jaffer. He lost to the British East India Company, who took installed Mir Jaffer on the Masnad (throne), as a "puppet ruler" and established itself to a political power in Bengal. While, Clive himself became the first British Governor of Bengal.[6]

In 1765, Robert Clive, of the British East India Company, secured in perpetuity for the Company the Diwani (revenue and civil justice) of the then Bengal subah from the then Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II and thus the system of Dual Government was established and the Bengal Presidency was formed. In 1772 the Dual Government system was abolished and Bengal was brought under direct control of the British. In 1793, when the Nizamat (military power and criminal justice) of the Nawab was also taken away from them, they remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company. After the Revolt of 1857, Company rule in India ended and the British Crown took over the territories which were under the direct rule of the British East India Company in 1858, which marked the beginning of the British Raj. These territories, including the territory of the Nawab Nazims came under the direct rule of the British Crwon and British Raj was established in India. Thus, the Nawab Nizams remained just the titular heads of their territory, which was now ruled by the British Crown, and they had no political or any other kind of control over the territory.[7][8] The last Nawab of Bengal, Mansoor Ali Khan abdicated on 1 November 1880 in favour of his eldest son.[9]

Nawabs of Murshidabad succeeded the Nawab Nizams of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa as Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad, following Mansoor Ali Khan's abdication[3][9][10] They got the title changed as the title of the Nawab of Bengal was abolished in 1880.[3] 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, all the non-princely states were subject to a test of religious majority in which the Muslim majority areas formed the Dominion of Pakistan, while the other regions formed the Dominion of India.[11] It is a fact that Murshidabad (the capital city for both, the Nawabs of Bengal as well as the Nawabs of Murshidabad) became a part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) for two days, as it had a Muslim majority. However, it became a part of India on 17 August 1947.[12] The Pakistani flag was brought down from the Hazarduari Palace and the Indian tricolour was hoisted atop the palace.[12] The Nawabs, after the takeover by the British had no actual power and after merging with India too, they had yielded power, as the Government of India took over control of all the areas that merged with India. Furthermore, with the promulgation of the Indian Constitution on 26 January 1950, the Dominion of India was transformed into the Republic of India, and the Article 18 of the Indian Constitution (which is a part of the Right to Equality, a fundamental right in India), titles were abolished. The Article prevents the state from confirming any title except those titles given by the Government to those who have made their mark in military and academic fields. Such titles and awards include the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Shri and the Padma Vibhushan (the Supreme Court of India, on 15 December 1995, upheld the validity of such awards). Thus, with the promulgation of the Constitution, the title of the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad was abolished. And although, the Nawab Waris Ali Meerza held titles such as Raes ud-Daulah, they were not officially or legally recognised.[11][13]

Waris Ali Meerza, the third Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad, died in 1969, and he took no steps during his lifetime to establish his succession. And before declaring his successor Waris Ali died. Since then there was no clear successor to Waris Ali and the titular office/post was in dispute, and a legal battle ensued. The case reached the Supreme Court and finally, the Supreme Court judges, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R K Agrawal, gave their judgement on 13 August 2014, declaring the then 72-year-old Abbas Ali Meerza (full name, Syed Mohammed Abbas Ali Meerza), who happened to be the son of the only daughter of Waris Ali’s father, Wasif Ali Meerza (the third Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad), the successor and the legal heir to the former Nawab of Murshidabad, Waris Ali Meerza, thus ending the dispute over the successor to the titular office, a dispute which had been on since Waris Ali's death in 1969. However, as titles have been abolished in India, the title of the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad no longer exists. However, Abbas Ali Meerza can now legally succeed Waris Ali Meerza's office legally, but his title of the fourth Nawab Bahadur of Murshidbad would be unofficial,as the title is not legally and officially recognised.[14][15][16]

Bengal[edit]

In present-day the region to which to refer to, the term "Bengal" is used is divided between the sovereign land of the country 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 (formerly known as Orissa). However, the boundaries of the then province of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, which the Nawab Nizams of Bengal ruled, have no similarities with the present-day boundaries of the Indian states of Bihar and Odisha and present-day Bengal. Although, the then province ruled by the Nawab Nizams of Bengal encompass parts of these states and regions, the boundaries of the then province and the present-day day boundaries aren't identical.

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.[17] The Nawab of Bengal’s territory however included the province of Bihar and Orissa, which was earlier a part of Bengal, and they were thus the Nawab Nizams of the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.[18][19][20] That is why the Nawabs of Bengal were also mentioned as "Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa" or "Nawab Nizam of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa"[21] - where Nizam (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.[22] The majority of modern Bengal is inhabited by Bengali people who speak the Bengali language.[23][24]

History before the Nawabs' rule[edit]

Rule over Bengal in BCE[edit]

Rasmancha in West Bengal
The Bishnupur terracotta temples show Gupta Empire's influence over Bengal

In the 3rd century BCE, 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.[25] From the 13th century onward, the region was ruled by several sultans, powerful Hindu states and Baro-Bhuyan landlords.[26]

Bengal Sultanate[edit]

Main article: Bengal Sultanate
The region which was under the rule of the Bengal Sultanate.

The early Sultans of Bengal ruled in two phases, first from 1342 to 1538 and then from 1554 to 1576. In between from 1538-1554, the region was under the rule of the Sur Empire. The Bengal Sultanate had several successive dynasties and it disintegrated at the end of the 16th-century and was absorbed into the pan-South Asian Mughal Empire and the Arakanese Kingdom of Mrauk U.

Ilyas Shah was the founder of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty, the first dynasty of the Bengal Sultanat. It took complete charge of the then Bengal[27] and the capital was shifted to Sonargaon (near present day, Dhaka in Bangladesh).[28] 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. In between there was also a brief rule by a Hindu ruler, Raja Ganesha, who ruled in two phases (first from 1414-1415, and then from 1416-1418), in both phases he was succeeded by his son, Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah, who has converted to Islam. Raja Ganesha founded the house of Raja Ganesha, the second dynasty of the Bengal Sultanate. This dynasty ruled till 1435 and saw three different rulers. The last dynasty of the Bengal Sultanate was the Karrani dynasty, which ruled till 1576, and saw four different rulers. The second Karrani ruler had accepted to be subordinate to the Mughal Empire, but the third (and the second last Karrani ruler) broke this allegiance. The last Karrani ruler, Daud Khan Karrani, annexed various parts and fought many battles, but finally after fought a series [29][30][31]

Mughal Empire[edit]

Babur
Babur was the first Mughal emperor

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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] 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.[3][35][36]

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.[3] A Subahdar (provincial viceroy or governor), also called a Nizam was in-charge of the Nizamat. There was a chain of subordinate officials under the Nizams on the executive side and under Diwans on the revenue and judicial side.[3]

Emergence of the Nawab Nizam of Bengal[edit]

Murshidabad was the capital of the Nawabs
Early nineteenth century view of Murshidabad, with the Katra Mosque in the backdrops.

Murshid Quli Khan arrived as the Diwan of the Mughal Empire's Bengal subah (then known as Bangalah) in 1717 AD. Before his arrival there were four Diwans. And, after his arrival, Azim-ush-Shan held the Nizam's office. Azim got into conflict with Murshid Quli Khan over imperial financial control. Considering the complaint of Khan, the then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Azim to move to the subah of Bihar.[2] Upon Azim's departure the two posts united in one and Murshid Quli Khan became the first Nizam cum Diwan of Bengal. Murshid Khan was appointed the "Nawab Nizam of Bengal" and he emerged as the ruler of Bengal under the Mughals.[3][4] Murshidabad, which was the capital of the Bengal subah since 1707, also remained the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal until the end of their rule.[5]

History during the Nawabs' rule[edit]

Dynasties[edit]

From 1717 until 1880, three successive Islamic dynasties – Nasiri, Afshar and Najafi – ruled what was then known as Bengal.[3][37][38]

The first dynasty, the Nasiri, ruled from 1717 until 1740. The founder of the Nasiri, Murshid Quli Khan, was born a poor Deccani Odia 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 Nizam 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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41] They were succeeded by the third and final dynasty to rule the whole Bengal, the Najafi.[42]

Under the Mughals[edit]

Bengal subah was one of the wealthiest parts of the Mughal empire.[43] As the Mughal empire began to decline, the Nawabs grew in power, although nominally sub-ordinate to the Mughal emperor.[3][44] They wielded great power in their own right and finally became independent rulers of the Bengal region, for all practical purposes, by the early 1700s.[44]

Maratha expeditions[edit]

Raghunath Rao was Peshwa of the Maratha Empire from 1773 to 1774.

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.[45] 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.[46]

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.[47]

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.[48]

The Nawabs of Bengal under British rule and their decline[edit]

Mir Jaffer meeting with Sir Robert Clive after the Battle of Plassey

The breakup of the centralized Mughal empire by 1750, led to the creation of a large number of semi-independent kingdoms (all provinces of the former Mughal empire). Each of them were in conflict with their neighbor. These kingdoms brought weapons from British-French East India company's to fuel their wars. Bengal was one such kingdom. British and French supported the princes whoever ensured their trading interest. Jafar was one such puppet who came to power with support of British East India company after Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah was defeated by the British forces of Sir Robert Clive in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. There after the Nawab of Bengal became a "puppet ruler" depending on military support from British East India company to secure their throne.[41] Siraj-ud-Daulah was replaced by Mir Jaffer. He was personally led to the throne by Robert Clive, after triumph of the British in the battle.[41] 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 defeat at Battle of Buxar and grant of the Diwani (revenue collection) of Bengal by the then 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 1773, the Nawabs authority became restricted. By 1773, British East India company asserted much authority and formed the Bengal Presidency over areas ruled by the Nawabs i.e. the Bengal subah, along with some other regions and abolished the system of Dual Government. In 1793 (during Nawab Mubarak ud-Daulah's reign), the Nizamat (military power,civil and criminal justice) was abolished, British East India company thus annexed this former Mughal province as part of their empire and took complete control of the region, and the Nawabs of Bengal became mere pensioners of the British East India Company. All the Diwan offices except the Diwan Ton were also abolished.[7][8][49]

The Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II on the Mughal imperial throne

After the Revolt of 1857, Company rule in India ended, and all the territories which were under the rule of the British East India Company came under the British Crown in 1858, which marked the beginning of the British Raj. And administrative control of India came under the Indian Civil Service, which had administrative control over all areas in India, except the Princely States.[17]

Mansoor Ali Khan (aka Feradun Jah) was the last Nawab of Bengal. During his reign the Nizamat at Murshidabad became involved in debts. The then Government of India involved it into an action of preventing further claims. Feradun Jah left Murshidabad in February 1869 and started living in England. The title of "Nawab of Bengal" was abolished in 1880.[50] He returned to Bombay in October 1880 but spent most of his time pleading his case against the orders of the Government of India. After it was not resolved the Nawab renounced his styles and titles of Nawab Nizam of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and abdicated in favour of his eldest son at St. Ives, Maidenhead, on 1 November 1880.[50]

Emergence of the Nawab of Murshidabad and the Nawabs post Indian independence[edit]

After Mansoor Ali Khan's abdication, his son, Hassan Ali Meerza 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.[42][50] 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.[3][51]

After Indian Independence in 1947 the British Supremacy over the Princely States ended and the states had the option of either acceding to India or to Pakistan or to remain independent. However, as Bengal, including Murshidabad, was under the direct rule of the British Raj, it was subject to partition or merger on the basis of religious majority.[11] 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.[12] And after merging with India, the Government of India took charge over all the British Indian territories and Princely States that merged with India. Although, the Nawab Bahadurs of Murshidabad had no political power the office continued to be held by the second Nawab Bahadur Syed Wasif Ali Meerza Khan Bahadur, who had held the office since 1906, and after his death in 1959, he was succeeded by his son, Syed Wasif Ali Meerza Khan Bahadur.[11] Waris Ali Meerza died in 1969, survived by his three sons and three daughters. According to the Nawab’s law, the eldest son of the Nawab succeeded him, however, Waris Ali's eldest son, Wakif Ali Meerza Bahadur, was excluded from the succession by his father for contracting a non-Muslim marriage and for not professing the Muslim religion. And Waris Ali took no steps during his lifetime to establish his succession. And before declaring his successor Waris Ali died. Since then there was no clear successor to Waris Ali.[52] And following this as the title was in dispute, a legal battle ensued. Abbas Ali Meerza claimed to be the legal heir of Waris Ali on the basis of being the son of the daughter of Waris Alis' father, the second Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad, Wasif Ali Meerza; while Sajid Ali Meerza claimed the same on the basis of being the son by mut‘ah marriage of Wasif Ali. Before this, Abbas's maternal uncle, Fateyab Ali Meerza (full brother of Waris Ali Meerza), had moved Calcutta High Court, challenging the Murshidabad Estate (Management of Properties) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1980. Though this law, the entire property of Murshidabad Estate (the Nawab of Bahadur Murshidabad's personal and private properties) was transferred to the state government of West Bengal. The High Court had ruled that Fateyab had no locus standi to file the case. Then the case reached the Supreme Court. And after Fateyab died in 1998, Abbas and Sajid started a case claiming to be the legal heir and successor to Waris Ali Meerza. The Supreme Court felt that Abbas also had a claim as he was the son of the only daughter of Wasif Ali. And finally the Supreme Court judges, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R K Agrawal, gave their judgement on 13 August 2014 declaring the then 72-year-old Abbas Ali Meerza (full name, Syed Mohammed Abbas Ali Meerza) the successor and legal heir to the former Nawab of Murshidabad, Waris Ali Meerza, thus ending the dispute over the office, a dispute which had been on since Waris Ali's death in 1969. And the Court directed Abbas Ali Meerza, son of Syed Md. Sadeque Ali Meerza, to be the direct descendant of Waris Ali Meerza. However, the case against the state's annexation of the Murshidabad Estate, which is worth several thousand crores, is still on, as of 2014.[15][16]

It is a fact that with the promulgation of the Indian Constitution on 26 January 1950, the Dominion of India was transformed into the Republic of India, and the Article 18 of the Indian Constitution (which is a part of the Right to Equality, a fundamental right in India), titles were abolished. The Article prevents the state from confirming any title except those titles given by the Government to those who have made their mark in military and academic fields. Such titles and awards include the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Shri and the Padma Vibhushan ((the Supreme Court, on 15 December 1995, upheld the validity of such awards)). Thus, with the promulgation of the Constitution, the title of the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad was abolished. And although, the Nawab Waris Ali Meerza held titles such as Raes ud-Daulah, they were not officially or legally recognised. However, as Abbas Ali Meerza has been declared to be the successor and legal heir to Waris Ali Meerza, he can now legally succeed Waris Ali Meerza's office, however the title of the fourth Nawab Bahadur of Murshidbad would be unofficial,as the title is not legally and officially recognised.[11][13]

List of the Nawabs of Bengal[edit]

The following is a list of all the Nawabs of Bengal. Sarfaraz Khan and Mir Mohammad Jaffer Ali Khan (Mir Jaffer) were the only Nawabs to become the Nawab twice.[53] The chronology started in 1717 with Murshid Quli Khan and ended in 1881 with Mansoor Ali Khan's abdication.[3][9][53]

Portrait Titular Name Personal Name Birth Reign Death
Nasiri Dynasty
Murshid Quli Jafar Khan.jpg Jaafar Khan Bahadur Nasiri Murshid Quli Khan 1665 1717– 1727 30 June 1727
Sarfaraz Khan.jpg Ala-ud-Din Haidar Jang Sarfaraz Khan Bahadur ? 1727-1727 29 April 1740
Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan.jpg Shuja ud-Daula Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan Around 1670 (date not available) July 1727 – 26 August 1739 26 August 1739
Sarfaraz Khan.jpg Ala-ud-Din Haidar Jang Sarfaraz Khan Bahadur ? 13 March 1739 – April 1740 29 April 1740
Afshar Dynasty
Alivardi Khan.jpg Hashim ud-Daula Muhammad Alivardi Khan Bahadur Before 10 May 1671 29 April 1740 – 9 April 1756 9 April 1756
Siraj ud-Daulah.jpg Siraj ud-Daulah Muhammad Siraj-ud-Daulah 1733 April 1756 – 2 June 1757 2 July 1757
Najafi Dynasty
Mir Jafar (left) and Mir Miran (right).jpg Ja'afar 'Ali Khan Bahadur Mir Mohammad Jaffer Ali Khan Bahadur 1691 June 1757 – October 1760 17 January 1765
Nawab Mir Qasim.jpg Itimad ud-Daulah Mir Qasim Ali Khan Bahadur ? 20 October 1760 – 1763 8 May 1777
Mir Jafar (left) and Mir Miran (right).jpg Ja'afar 'Ali Khan Bahadur Mir Mohammad Jaffer Ali Khan Bahadur 1691 25 July 1763 – 17 January 1765 17 January 1765
Nazam ud-Daulah.jpg Nazam-ud-Daulah Najimuddin Ali Khan Bahadur 1750 5 February 1765 – 8 May 1766 8 May 1766
Saif ud-Daulah.jpg Saif ud-Daulah Najabut Ali Khan Bahadur 1749 22 May 1766 – 10 March 1770 10 March 1770
Mubaraq ud-Daulah.jpg Mubarak ud-Daulah Ashraf Ali Khan Bahadur 1759 21 March 1770 – 6 September 1793 6 September 1793
Babar Ali.jpg Azud ud-Daulah Babar Ali Khan Bahadur ? 1793 – 28 April 1810 28 April 1810
Ali Jah.jpg Ali Jah Zain-ud-Din Ali Khan Bahadur ? 5 June 1810 – 6 August 1821 6 August 1821
Walla Jah.jpg Walla Jah Ahmad Ali Khan Bahadur ? 1810 – 30 October 1824 30 October 1824
Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah.jpg Humayun Jah Mubarak Ali Khan Bahadur 29 September 1810 1824 – 3 October 1838 3 October 1838
Feradun Jah.jpg Feradun Jah Syed Mansoor Ali Khan Bahadur 29 October 1830 29 October 1838 – 1 November 1880 (abdicated) 5 November 1884

List of the Nawabs of Murshidabad[edit]

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.[3][9] There have been four Nawabs of Murshidabad ,as of 2014, as follows:

Picture Titular Name Personal Name Birth Reign Death
Najafi Dynasty
Young Hassan Ali.jpg Ali Kadir Syed Hassan Ali Meerza Khan Bahadur 25 August 1846 17 February 1882 – 25 December 1906 25 December 1906
Wasif Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur.jpg Amir ul-Omrah Syed Wasif Ali Meerza Khan Bahadur 7 January 1875 December 1906 – 23 October 1959 23 October 1959
Waris Ali.jpg Raes ud-Daulah Syed Waris Ali Meerza Khan Bahadur 14 November 1901 1959 – 20 November 1969 20 November 1969
N/A N/A Disputed/In abeyance[15][16] N/A 20 November 1969 – 13 August 2014 N/A
Sin foto.svg N/A Syed Mohammed Abbas Ali Meerza Circa 1942 13 August 2014 – Present[15][16] Present

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1907, p. 46
  2. ^ a b Anjali Chatterjee, Azim-us-Shan, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-07-28
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Murdhidabad.net (8 May 2012). "The Nawabs ruled earlier under the Mughal and later under the British". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Emergence of the Nawab of Bengal with Murshid Quli khan being the first Nawab". Murshidabad.net. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Murshidabad remained the capital and headquarters of the Nawabs of Bengal, until their rule". Banglapedia. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Chaudhury, S; Mohsin, KM. "Sirajuddaula". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Singh, Vipul (1 September 2009). Longman History & Civics (Dual Government in Bengal). Pearson Education India. 
  8. ^ a b Madhya Pradesh National Means-Cum-Merit Scholarship Exam (Warren Hasting's system of Dual Government). Upkar Prakashan. 1 January 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c d Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Decline of the Nawabs of Bengal". Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Hassan Ali Meerza's succession". Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Lumby 1954, p. 232
  12. ^ a b c "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. 
  13. ^ a b "rticle 18 of Indian Constitution and Abolition of Titles http://www.gktoday.in/article-18-of-indian-constitution-and-abolition-of-titles/". GK Today. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "The last Nawab of Murshidabad, Waris Ali Meerza Khan Bahadur". Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d Mahato, Sukumar (20 August 2014). "Murshidabad gets a Nawab again, but fight for assets ahead". Times of India. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d TNN (22 August 2014). "Portrait of an accidental Nawab". Times of India. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  17. ^ a b David Gilmour, The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj (2007) pp. 46, 135
  18. ^ Sir James Bourdillon The Partition of Bengal (London: Society of Arts) 1905
  19. ^ "History of Bangladesh". Bangladesh Student Association. Archived from the original on 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  20. ^ "Britain Proposes Indian Partition". Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada: The Leader-Post. BUP. 2 June 1947. 
  21. ^ "Nawabs of Bengal were also known as Nawabs of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa". Murshidabad.nic.in. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "The Nawabs of Murshidabad ruled only over Murshidabad". Royal Ark. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  23. ^ Bengali language in Asiatic Society of Bangladesh 2003
  24. ^ "Modern Bengal is mostly inhabited by Bengali who speak the Bengal language". Britannica. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  25. ^ See Sastri, K. A. N., A History of South India, p166
  26. ^ "Rule over Bengal in BC". Indian Tourist Guide (Website - indiantouristguide.in). Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  27. ^ Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). The Delhi Sultanate, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, p.197
  28. ^ Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). The Delhi Sultanate, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, p.212
  29. ^ Adina Mosque, from Banglapedia
  30. ^ Hasan, Perween (2007). Sultans and Mosques: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bangladesh. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781845113810. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  31. ^ Bayazid Khan Karrani, from Banglapedia
  32. ^ The Economist, "Babu, the First Moghul Emperor: Wine and Tulips in Kabul", 16 December 2010, pp. 80–82.
  33. ^ "Sher Khan". Columbia Encyclopedia. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  34. ^ "Biography of Islam Shah the Successor of Sher Shah". 
  35. ^ "Daud Khan Karrani's was defeat by Akbar". Banglapedia. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  36. ^ The History of India: The Hindú and Mahometan Periods By Mountstuart Elphinstone, Edward Byles Cowell, Published by J. Murray, 1889,Public Domain
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ 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. 
  39. ^ Murshidabad.net (20 May 2012). "Biography of Murshid Quli Khan". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  40. ^ Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Defeat of Sarfaraz Khan in the Battle of Giria". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  41. ^ a b c "Defeat of Siraj ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  42. ^ a b Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Dynasties of The Nawabs". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  43. ^ "Bengal subah was one the richest subahs of the Mughal Empire". Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  44. ^ a b History Modern India - S. N. Sen - Google Books. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  45. ^ SNHM. Vol. II, pp. 209, 224.
  46. ^ Wernham, R. B. (1 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. 
  47. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1 Jan 1991). Fall Of The Mughal Empire- Vol. I (4Th Edn.) (Maratha Chauth from Bihar). Orient Blackswan. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  48. ^ 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. 
  49. ^ Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Incidents during Mubarak ud-Daulah's reign". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  50. ^ a b c Murshidabad.net (8 May 2012). "Decline of the Nawabs of Bengal". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  51. ^ "The Nawabs of Murshidabad had little or no say". Royal Ark. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  52. ^ Murshidabad.net (24 May 2012). "Decline of the Nawabs of Murshidabad". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  53. ^ a b "The Nawabs of Bengal (chronologically)". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 

External links[edit]