Prithimpassa Family

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Pritim Pasha Nawab Family is the aristocratic family of Pritim Pasha, Kulaura Upazila, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Descended from the Royal House of Bengal (Nawabs of Bengal), the family was of the erstwhile feudal nobility of East Bengal. Prithimpassa Nawab Bari is a place of tourist attraction. The family played important roles at 1857 anti-British revolution, at 1948 when Pakistan became independent from India and later when Sylhet merged with East Pakistan through referendum and in 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh. Sakhi Salamat is the founder of the family who settled here from Persia in 1499. His son was Ismail Khan Lodhi. Ismail Khan was, during the reign of Sulaiman Shah, made governor of Orissa and was given the title Khanja Khan. Later Daud Shah, son of Sulaiman Shah also confirmed him as governor of Orissa at 1573 AD.


Seventeenth century[edit]

During the reign of Akbar Ismail Khan was given Jagirs and was under the Mughal. In the reign of Jahangir in 1612 AD Eastern Bengal was conquered and during that period all the Umaras under the Bengal King were brought under the Mughal Monarch and were settled in the area with assurances to live peacefully under the Moghul ruler. Shamsui-Din was the son of Amir-ul-Umara Nawab Ismail Khan Lodhi who lived from 1624 to 1682 A.D. His son was Maulvi Mohammad Rabi Khan titled Danishmand was an erudite person and a highly respected and revered scholar of that time. He was the teacher of the children of Nawab Nazim Ul Dawla of Bengal, Nawab Sarfaraz Khan and Nawab Shahamat Jang and others. He obtained jagirs under sanad(negotiation) from Bengal King Nawab Sarfaraz Khan and Nawab Ali Vardi Khan, Mahabat Jung's nephew, Nawab Nawazish Muhammad Khan Shahamat Jang who was Naeb Subedhar of Dhaka. He obtained a Jagir from Nazim of Bengal Nawab Qasim Ali Khan, also under a sanad and these sanads(negotiation papers) are still in the family in original. Maulavi Rabi according to history emerges as a figure of considerable charismatic authority and organizational ability. He commanded considerable manpower to carry out his work. He received sanad from Moghul emperor Alamgir II. He also obtained Jagir by sanad from Nazim of Bengal Nawab Qasim Khan.[1][2]

Eighteenth century[edit]

Maulvi Mohammad Rabi Khan had gained the confidence and respect of the Nawab Nazim of Bengal in the State of Murshidabad. He received jagirs in 1141 BS and 1156 BS. In 1756 he established Rabir Bazar, the town of modern Moulvibazar. The Nazim of Bengal in recognition of his intellect and erudition gave Danishmand tiltle to him. There was even a calendar in his honour in the reign of Nazims of Bengal.

Moulvi Mohammad Ali Khan, great grandfather of Moulvi Nawab Ali Amjad Khan was the son of Moulvi Mohammad Rabi Khan was the assistant Qazi of Sylhet district in 1773 and afterwards became a Qazi of Taraf. In 1793 he strongly put down the rebellion of Naga and Koki tribes. For this, he obtained a Jagir and some authority of keeping troops and other honours from the British Government. In 1819 the Jagirs were made permanent with the Nawab family.

Nineteenth century (Indian Rebellion of 1857)[edit]

In the anti-British sepoy mutiny of 1857, the family sided with the mutineers. Some 300 sepoys who revolted against the British looted the Chittagong Treasury and took shelter with Nawab Gaus Ali Khan the zamindar of Prithimpassa.

Prithimpassa estate 02.JPG

Ghaus Ali Khan was the son of Maulvi Mohammad Ali Khan. His son was Ali Ahmad Khan who in 1869 (1275 Bengali Year) helped the British Government in the battle of Loshai. The British Government thanked him and as a reward of its gratitude and appreciation exempted him from Arms Act. During his period the Nawab Estates revenue reached its peak and the powers and authorities of the Estate grew enormously. Nawab Ali Ahmed Khan constructed the river port Chandni Ghat at Sylhet on Surma River. Nawab Ali Ahmed Khan died in 1874. His son was Nawab Ali Amjad Khan and daughter Latifa Banu. In 3rd Agrahan, 1278 Bengali Year, 1871 AD Nawab Ali Amjad Khan was born in Prithimpassa in the family Estate. His mother was Umraonissa Khatun. Nawab Ali Amjad Khan was very successful in increasing the revenue of the Estate many fold. In 1304 Bengali Year, 12 July 1897 AD, there was a cataclysmic earthquake in Sylhet. It caused colossal damage to the region and the Estate. The physiography of the region was seriously changed due to the earthquake.

Nawab Ali Amjad Khan was an expert hunter and undertook many hunting expeditions in which he usually invited other rulers from as far away as Murshidabad and Rampur in India. According to record he alone shot 43 tigers from his own jungle and other forests of Assam and Tripura. He also won trophies for marksmanship. He was one of the pioneers in Tea cultivation. Among many achievements one was the establishment of Rungicherra Tea Estate. He established Ali Amjad Girls' High School. He was always in the forefront in this area. He sanctioned stipends and scholarships to many schools of Karimganj, Assam and Chittagong. He presented gold medals to outstanding students and offered financial assistance to poor and deserving students. He was the member of The Aligarh University Committee. He received citations and accolades from the British government in recognition of his contribution towards the development of education in Sylhet. In Prithimpassa apart from his contribution towards the area's development in various fields he established Ali Amjad High School, which is one of the earliest co-education institutions in Bengal. At the myriad areas he contributed with finance and logistics communication, postal system, medical etc. For his contributions to the region, in various areas, the British in recognition declared Nawab Ali Amjad Khan Honorary Magistrate. In 1901 Lord Curzon who was the Governor General of British India visited Silchar and Nawab Ali Amjad Khan played a prominent role during the visit.

In 1301 Bengali (1895 AD) Chaitra he visited Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad Wasif Ali Mirza Khan who was his close friend. They had a very successful tiger hunt in the hills near Bahadurpur Station in Assam. Nawab Ali Amjad Khan was an expert horse rider, Polo player and sharp shooter. The Sylhet tower clock popularly known as Ali Amjad's Ghari was presented by his father Nawab Ali Ahmed Khan which he later constructed and completed during his lifetime which is working till now.

During his trip to Kolkata in 1312 Bengali Year, 14 Ashin (1905 AD) Ali Amjad Khan was struck with Enteric fever and on 10th. Agrahan, 1312 Bengali Year (1905 AD) he died. He was aged 34 years.

Shia Mosque at Prithimpassa Estate

His sons were Nawab Ali Haider Khan and Nawab Ali Asghar Khan. Nawab Ali Haider Khan was born in 1900 AD (Maagh 29, 1306 Bengali Year) and died on 30 June 1963 AD. He and his brother married the daughters of the Honourable Ihtisham-ul- Mulk, Rais-ul-Dowla, Amir-ul-Omrah, Nawab Asef Kudr Wasif Ali Mirza Khan, Khan Bahadur, KCSI, KCVO. Mahabut Jung; Premiere noble of Bengal, Behar and Orissa; he was 38th in descent to the Prophet of Islam Hazrat Mohammad (SM). Nawab Ali Haider Khan was a minister in the cabinet of Sir Syed Muhammad Sadullah who was Premier of Assam from 1937 to 1938; again from 1939 to 1941. He was also a minister in the G. Bardalai's cabinet. Nawab Ali Haider Khan was the leader of the Independent Muslim Party. In 1945 he was, in the Parliamentary Board which was formed with Assam Congress Coalition and Independent Muslim Parliamentary Party of which he was the leader, along with Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (who later became the President of India), and Gopinath Bordoloi. (Muslims in Assam Politics by M. Kar 1990, Pg. 251). After partition he continued in politics as leader of Muslim League and contested elections. The library of Prithimpassa Estate was established in 1921.

Twentieth century (emergence of Pakistan)[edit]

In 1950 the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi visited Prithimpassa Estate and stayed for four days at the palace of the Nawabs and went to wild life hunting in the Estate forests. Then Governor General of Pakistan Khwaja Nazimuddin accompanied him in this trip. While, officer Ayub Khan served as security in charge.

His children were Nawab Ali Safdar Khan, Sahebzadi Syedatunnessa Begum and Nawab Ali Sarwar Khan. Nawab Ali Safdar Khan popularly known as Raja Saheb was the eldest son born in 1917 in the Murshidabad Palace of his maternal grandfather. He died in 1974 on 16 July at Dhaka. He was a leader in Ballisara peasant movement of the 1960s. In 1971 he led the liberation war of Bangladesh as commander of regiment from the Tripura borders.

Sahebzadi Sayeedunnessa Begum, the only daughter was born in 1923 in Kolkata, died in 6 December 1999. She was married to Prince Wahid Ali Mirza, direct descendant and heir apparent of ruler of Oudh Wajid Ali Shah. The couple had a son Sahebzada Asif Ali Mirza, the great grandson of Prince Qamar Qadr and great greatson of Wajid Ali Shah, the ruler of the Royal House of Awadh. After the premature death of Wahid Ali Mirza, she married a very successful and honourable Police Officer of India Syed Amanat Hossain, who was a Barah Syed, the lineal descendant of the Prophet of Islam. He was superintendent of Special Police Department controlled by the Federal Government in Islamabad and was in charge of East Pakistan.

Nawab Ali Sarwar Khan was the youngest child born on 15th. May 1924 at Kolkata, at Sylhet House. He died in 1995, 21 July, at Dhaka. He was elected member of Provincial Assembly, which later became Constituent Assembly following the independence of Bangladesh, on 9 December. 1970. In 1973 he contested the election again and was elected Member of Parliament by a landslide. He was a freedom fighter. He was at the Tripura front.

Nawab Ali Asghar Khan(1903 – May 1984 AD) was the second son of Nawab Ali Amjad Khan. He was MLC from Muslim League in British India. His son was Nawab Ali Yeawar Khan was MPA from 1958 to 1968 during the regime of Ayub Khan.[3][4]


  • 1. Sakhi Salamat Circa, 1499 AD
  • 2. Nawab Ismail Khan Lodhi, Khan e Jahan Khan
  • 3. Nawab Shamsuddin Mohammad, 1624
  • 4. Nawab Mohammad Rabi Khan
  • 5. Nawab Mohammad Ali Khan
  • 6. Nawab Gaus Ali Khan
  • 7. Nawab Moulvi Ali Ahmad Khan, 1840–1874
  • 8. Nawab Moulvi Ali Amjad Khan, 1871–1905 and Latifa Banu
  • 9. Nawab Ali Haider Khan, 1900
  • – Nawab Ali Safdar Khan, 1917
    -Nawab Ali Abbas Khan
    -Nawab Ali Mehadi Khan
    -Nawab Ali Naki Khan
    -Nawab Ali Taki Khan
    -Nawab ali Hassan Khan
  • – Sahebzadi Begum Sayedunnessa, 1923–1990
  • – Nawab Ali Sarwar Khan, 1924–1995

Wife: Nawabzadi Syedatunnisa Begum Children: Nawab Ali Anwer Khan

              Nawab Ali Wasif Khan 
              Nawab Ali Hamid Khan
              Nawab Ali Arshad Khan 
              Sahebzadi Niffer Haider 
              Nawab Ali Wajid Khan 
              Nawab Ali Waris Khan 
  • – Nawab Ali Dawar Khan,
  • 10. Nawab Ali Asghar Khan, 1903
  • – Nawab Ali Yeawar Khan, 1925–2003

Further reading[edit]

  • The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760. Richard M. Eaton.
  • History of Bengal, Blochman, Akbarnama pg 177.
  • Riyaz-ul-Salatin pg 180.
  • Ain-I-Akbari pg 520.
  • Tazak-I-Jahangiri pg 104.


  1. ^ The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760. Richard M. Eaton
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Prithimpassa Estate, Ali Hamid Khan