Nawab of Bengal

Nawab of Bengal
Part of a series on the
History of Bengal
Ancient Bengal
 Vedic Period 
Ancient Bengali States
Gangaridai Kingdom, Vanga Kingdom,
Pundra Kingdom, Suhma Kingdom,
Anga Kingdom, Harikela Kingdom

Mauryan Period
Classical Bengal
The Classical Age
Age of Empires
Pala Empire, Sena Empire
Medieval Bengal
Arrival of Islam
Sultanate of Bengal, Deva Kingdom
Bakhtiyar Khilji, Raja Ganesha

Mughal Period
Pratap Aditya, Raja Sitaram Ray
Nawab of Bengal, Baro-Bhuyans

Modern Bengal
Company Raj
Zamindari system, Bengal famine of 1770
British Indian Empire
Bengal Renaissance
Brahmo Samaj
Swami Vivekananda, Jagadish Chandra Bose,
Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose

1947 Partition of Bengal, Bangladesh Liberation War
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Jyoti Basu

See Also
Bangladesh, West Bengal
Location of modern Bengal (Bangladesh and West Bengal.)

The Nawabs of Bengal were the hereditary nazims or subadars (provincial governors) of the subah (province) of Bengal during the Mughal rule and the de-facto rulers of the province.



From 1717 until 1880, three successive Islamic dynasties — the Nasiri, Afshar and Najafi — ruled Bengal:

The first dynasty, the Nasiri, ruled from 1717 until 1740. The founder of the Nasiri, Murshid Quli Jafar 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 the Emperor Aurangzeb and rose through the ranks before becoming Nazim of Bengal in 1717, a post he held until his death in 1727. He in turn was succeeded by his grandson and son-in law until his grandson was killed in battle and succeeded by Alivardi Khan of the Afshar Dynasty in 1740.

The second dynasty, the Afshar, ruled from 1740 to 1757. They were succeeded by the third and final dynasty to rule Bengal, the Najafi, when Siraj Ud Daula, the last of the Afshar rulers was killed at the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

Under the Mughals

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 1600s.

Defeat By Maratha

Maratha After defeating Mughals in Delhi now turn towards Bengal, the first invasion of Maratha on Bengal took place in 1742 under general Bhaskar Pant who was general in army of Bhonsale Maratha. Initial stages in which Maratha plundered the army of Ali Vardi Khan but reinforcements allow him to escape a humiliating defeat but till that time Maratha has captured Murshidabad, plunder Hugli and committed excess atrocities on the population of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa irrespective of their religion. The atrocities in Bengal is considered the worst atrocities ever by any Army in India which included arson, gang rape, damaging crops etc. The first invasion was expelled after the defeat of Raghuji Bhonsle Army was defeated in Katwa. Second invasion took place in 1743AD, the army of Maratha was much larger this time but the rivalry between Raghuji Bhonsle and Peshwa Baji Rao failed this invasion. Ali vardi khan promised Peshwa 20 lacs for driving Raghuji Bhonsle out in which Peshwa Army was successful. Raghuji Bhonsle wanted to establish independent empire apart from the Peshwa this was the main reason of rivalry between them. Ali Vardi Khan offered Peshwa the chauth of Bengal apart from the 20lacs as a tribute to Baji Rao. But soon maratha buried their differences Peshwa and Raghuji bhonsle signed the deal according to which Peshwa will get Malwa, Agra, Allahabad, Ajmer, and parts of Bihar and Raghuji will get rest of Oudh, Bihar and Orissa. Maratha continued their attacks and in 1751 Ali vardi khan surrender before Maratha.[1]

The treaty includes 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 Nawab of Bengal territory.[2] Baji Rao thus 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.[3]

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 at Palashi in 1757, the Nawabs became puppet rulers dependent on the British. The Nawab who replaced Siraj-ud-daula was Mir Jafar. He was personally led to the throne by Robert Clive after triumph of the British in 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 1765 and the appointment of Hastings by the East India Company as their first Governor General of Bengal in 1771, the Nawabs were deprived of any real power, and finally in 1793, when the nizamat (governorship) was also taken away from them, they remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company. In 1880, Mansur Ali Khan, the last Nawab of Bengal was forced to relinquish his title. His son, Nawab Sayyid Hassan Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur, who succeeded him, was given the lesser title of Nawab of Murshidabad by the British. Hassan's descendants continued the title until 1969 when the last Nawab of the dynasty died; since then the title has been in dispute.

The Nawabs of Bengal (1717-1880)

Murshidabad, the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal in the early 19th century
Nawab Reign
Nasiri dynasty 1717–1740
Murshid Quli Jafar Khan 1717–1727
Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan 1727–1739
Sarfaraz Khan 1739–1740
Afshar dynasty 1740–1757
Alivardi Khan 1740–1756
Siraj-ud-Daula 1756–1757
Najafi dynasty 1757–1880
Mir Jafar Ali Khan 1757–1760
Mir Qasim 1760–1763
Mir Jafar Ali Khan 1763–1765
Najimuddin Ali Khan 1765–1766
Najabut Ali Khan 1766–1770
Ashraf Ali Khan 1770–1770
Mubaraq Ali Khan 1770–1793
Baber Ali Khan 1793–1810
Zainul Abedin Ali Khan 1810–1821
Ahmad Ali Khan 1821–1824
Mubarak Ali Khan II 1824–1838
Mansur Ali Khan 1838–1880 (abdicated)

Nawabs of Murshidabad (Najafi) 1880-1969

Nawab Reign
Nawab Sayyid Hassan Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur 1880–1906
Nawab Sayyid Wasif Ali Mirza Khan 1906–1959
Nawab Sayyid Waris Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur 1959–1969


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