I) Conquest of Bakhtiar Khilji: The Turk Afghan rule 

In AD 1201 the Turkish General Ikhtiar-ud-Din Bin Bakhtiar Khilji wrested Nadia from Lakshmana Sena, the last of the great Sena kings. The old king left for the Eastern Bengal. This event sowed the seeds of the Turk Afghan rule in Bengal. 
In AD 1206 Bakhtiar conducted an expedition to Lakshmanabali (near Gour of district Malda). It can be safely presumed that he passed and plundered through the Radha region of this district and also plundered it. 

II) The Independent Sultanate of Gour

This district was under the Turk-Afghan rule from their early days.           
After the death of Bahram Khan, Bengal became a Sultanate under Fakir-Ud-Din Mubarak Shah (1338 1349), and the Sultanate continued for a long time under different dynasties. In between was the brief interregnum of the rule of Raja Ganesha, who occupied the throne by overthrowing Sultan Gias-Ud-Din Azan Shah in 1417.

The greatest of the Sultans of Gour was Hussein Shah (1493-1519). He had spent his early days in Chandpara village of this district. He did not forget Murshidabad as the Sultan and built the Badshahi Sadak, which ran from Gour to Orissa.

III) The Afghan Era

Sher Shah established Afghan rule in Bengal by killing Mahmud Shah in 1538 and occupying the throne. Sher Shah later proceeded to become the emperor of India by defeating the Mughal monarch Humayun.

IV) The Mughal Era

Different Afghan rulers continued until Dayud Khan, the last Afghan Sultan of Bengal was defeated and killed by the Mughals. But it took some 20 more years before the Mughals could establish their reign well in Bengal.

Between 1653 and 1688 the Dutch, the British, the Armenians and the French established their trading settlements in the district. These trading activities gave rise to a powerful Indian business class consisting of local Hindu traders, traders immigrating from the Northern India and the Mughal merchants. In 1696 Shobha Singh, the zamindar of Chandrakona (Midnapore), and his aide Rahim Shah occupied Maksudabad (the name by which Murshidabad was known at that time). The new Subedar Azim-Us-Shah crushed the rebellion the following year. But the rebellion showed the weakness of the Mughal reign. Taking the opportunity the British, the French and the Dutch strengthened military fortifications. 

In 1700 Dewan Kartalab Khan (later Murshid Quli Khan) shifted Dewankhana from Dhaka to Maksudabad. In 1704 he renamed Maksudabad as Murshidabad.

V) The Nawabs of Bengal 

Murshid Quli KhanMurshid Quli Khan (1706-1725 AD), the first of the Nawabs, became the Subedar of Bengal in 1717; he reigned over Bengal, Bihar and Orissa from his capital Murshidabad (Moor-shi-da-bad) with only a nominal allegiance to the Mughal Emperor. He also opened a mint and  introduced the "Zurbe Murshidabad"  coin. He secured the imperial title of "Motamul-ul-Mulk Alauddowla Jaffer Khan Noseri Nasir Jang ( Guardian of the country, promoter of the State, Helper in War, the Defender )". Murshid Quli Khan had  built the magnificent Katra Masjid. After his death in 1725 AD he was buried below the steps of the Katra Masjid.

Suja-ud-DinSuja-ud-Din (1725-1739 AD) alias Suja Khan son-in-law of Murshid Quli Khan succeeded after Murshid Quli Khan's death. Shuja Khan was a charitable, just and impartial ruler, and gave great encouragement to learning.  He was also a patron of art and culture. After his death in 1739 AD he was buried in Roshni Bagh ( garden of lights ) near Farah Bagh. Suja-ud-Din died in 1739 and his son
Sarafraj Khan ascended the throne. 

Sarafraz KhanSarafraz Khan (1739-1740 AD) was a man of valour and of religion temperament. He received the imperial title of "Motamul-ul-Mulk, Alauddowla, Hyder Jang ( Guardian of the country, promoter of the State, Lion in War )". His short career ended in 1740 AD only after 13 months of reign when he was defeated at the battle of Giria on 9th April 1740 AD by Alivardi Khan.

Alivardi KhanAlivardi Khan (1740-1756), then the Governor of Patna, got the Sanad as Subedar of Sube Bangla and became the Nawab by defeating and killing Sarfaraz in 1740 and ruled for 16 years thereafter. Though an efficient ruler, he had to face continual attacks by the Maratha and rebellion by the Afghans. He had to buy peace from the Maratha by allowing concessions. He maintained good relationships with the Europeans but did not allow them to increase their military power. Alivardi received the imperial title of
"Suja-ul-mulk, Hasem-ud-daulla, Mahabat Jang ( Hero of the Country, Sword of the State, Horror in War )" .

Siraj-ud-DoulaRobert CliveSiraj-ud-Doula (1756-57), the favourite grandson of Alivardi, ascended the throne on the death of Alivardi. The young Sultan faced the two-pronged trouble of the ambitions of the increasingly powerful British and the intrigue of his disgruntled relatives and bureaucrats. 

He tried to encounter these by first robbing his intriguing aunt, Begum Ghasiti, of her wealth and reducing the rank of the Commander-in-Chief (Bakshi) of the royal army, Mir-Jafar. On the 24 May 1756 Siraj occupied the Cossimbazar factory of the British. Then he went on to occupy Calcutta in June 1756. But then he had to go to Purnea, Bihar to quench the rebellion of cousin Shaukat Jang, a claimant to the throne. Taking advantage of this situation the British amassed forces and re-conquered Calcutta in February 1757 and then struck a secret treaty with Mir-Jafar. The British captured The French factory at Chandernagore. The French sought asylum from the Nawab. The Nawab and the British army, under Robert Clive, met for the final round at Plassey. In an act of great betrayal by Mir-Jafar, Siraj was defeated on the 23rd June 1757, and killed. Mir-Jafar ascended the throne of Bengal.

Mir-JafarMir QasimMir-Jafar (1757-1760 AD and 1763-1765 AD) was incompetent ruler even as a puppet. The British replaced him with his son-in-law Mir-Qasim in 1760 on account of non-payment of dues. Mir-Qasim paid the dues off but started to show signs of independence. He shifted his capital to Monghyr in Bihar and tried to reorganise his own army. The British did not approve of this and defeated Mir-Qasim in the Battle of Buxar in 1764.
Mir-Qasim  was a man of strong passions as well as of resolution. He received the title of "Nasir-ul-Mulk, Etmaz-ud-Daulla, Ali Jah, Nasrut Jang ( Victor of the Country, Politician of the State, of high rank, Victorious in War )"  Mir-Jafar regained the crown. He died the following year. This was followed by a number of Nawabs in succession who were merely puppets.

Najam-ud-Doula (1756-1766 AD): After the death of Mir-Jafar, "Shuja-ul-Mulk, Najam-ud-Daulla, Mahabat Jang ( Hero of the Country, Star of the State, Horror in War )" Nawab Najam-ud-Doula the son of Mir-Jafar became the Nawab of Bengal, only at the age of 15. He used to get a pension of Rs 53, 86, 161 per annum. On the 8th of May of the 1766 AD Najam-ud-Doula died of fever caught at a party given in honor of Clive on his way through Murshidabad to Lucknow,  and was buried in Jafarganj Mokbara on the west of Mir Jafar's grave.

Saif-ud-DoulaSaif-ud-Doula (1766-1770 AD): After the death of Najam-ud-daulla, his younger brother "Syef-ul-Mulk, Shuja-ud-Daulla, Shahmat Jang ( Sword of the Country, Hero of the the State, Arrow in War )" Nawab Saif-ud-Doula was placed on the Throne at an age of 17 years. He used to get a pension of Rs 41,86,131 per annum. In 1769, a great epidemic of small pox raged in Murshidabad and one of the victims being Nawab Saif-ud-Doula himself. His mortal remains lie in Jafarganj Cemetery.

after the death of Saif-ud-Doula Mubarak-ud-Doula another son of Mir-Jafar ascended the throne at the age of 17 only. He died  in 1793 AD and was succeeded by his son Babar-Ali who reigned till 1810 AD. He received the imperial title of "Nasir-ul-Mulk, Azud-ud-Daulla, Delar Jang ( Helper of the Country, Arrow of the State, Brave in War )". after Babar-Ali his eldest son Zainuddin Ali Khan, known as Ali Jah became the nawab.  On 6th August 1821 Ali-Jah died after prolonged illness. Syud Ahmed Ali Khan, known as Wala Jah, second son of Babar Ali, succeeded  the Throne on the death of his brother, Ali Jah, in 1821 AD.

Humayun JahHumayun Jah (1824-1838 AD) : Mubarak Ali Khan, better known as Humayun Jah, ascended the Throne of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa after the death of his father, Wala Jah, in 1824 AD. He received the imperial title of "Shuja-ul-Mulk, Ihtisham-ud-Daulla, Humayun Jah, Feroze Jang ( Hero of the Country, Dignifier of the Country, of auspicious rank, Victor in War )". The present Palace of Hazarduari was erected during his reign, and miniature of it in ivory, prepared by Sagore Mistri, together with portraits of His Highness and his son and other presents were sent to King William IV, who honored the Nawab with the present full size portrait of His Majesty and an autograph latter and conferred upon him the badge and insignia of the Royal Guelphic and Hanoverian order, still preserved in the Palace. Humayun Jah died on the 3rd October, 1838 AD, leaving behind him his son, Mansur Ali Khan alias Feradun Jah and his Daughter Sultana Ghetiara Begam.

Feradun JahFeradun Jah (1838-1881 AD): Syud Mansur Ali Khan, known as Feradun Jah,  succeeded his father, Humayun Jah, while yet a minor and only eight years old, on 1838 AD. Feradun Jah founded the Nizamat School and the Nizamat College, now known as the Nawabs high School and the Nawabs Madrassa, respectively. He died on the 5th of  November, 1884 AD. Nawab Ali Kadr Syud Hassan Ali Meerza Bahadur who succeeded his father, Feradun Jah, the last Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, on his retirement in 1880 AD, was born on the 25th of August 1846 AD.

VI) The British Era

In 1765 the East India Company obtained the Dewani of Sube Bangla from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam. From now on the Nawabs remained as mere pensioners of the British. 

The indiscriminate collection of revenue by the British resulted in the devastating famine (also known as Chhiyattorer Mannantar) of 1770. A third of the population of Bengal perished. Gradually the seat of power was shifted to Calcutta from Murshidabad. 

On 24th February 1857 the Sepoys of the 19th Regiment Native Infantry at Berhampore Cantonment Revolted. Though the revolt was quickly suppressed this triggered off the great Sepoy Mutiny, arguably the First War for Independence against the Company oppressions.



Previous/Next Page..

Story of Murshidabad  |Political History  | Ancient History| Medieval History | Modern Age  | Eminent Personalities| Milestones