The Reign Of Nawab Shuja Uddin



Murshid Quli did not have any son. So, nominating a successor became complicated. According to the succession policy, this son-in-law and the Naeb (deputy) of Orissa Sujauddin (Shuja ud Din) was to become the next Nawab. But, as Murshid Quli was not on good terms with Sujauddin, he was reluctant to leave the throne in Sujauddin’s favour. Besides, Suja was not a strict ruler. So, Murshid Quli thought Suja would not be able to protect Bengal’s unity. Instead, influential courtiers and advisers would occupy the power. On the other hand, Sujauddin applied people- friendly policy in governance and gained public support rapidly in Orissa. Influential people of Murshid Quli’s court and of other places of Bengal were positive about Sujauddin. Whereas, Suja became worried when Murshid Quli announced Suja’s son Sorforaz Khan the next nawab. He was unwilling to compete with his own son.
 
At that time, Alibordi Khan was Sujauddin’s chief adviser. Initially he was the superintendent of Azam Shah’s elephant shade. But, he lost his job when Azam Shah was killed by Bahadur Shah. In that circumstance, his family faced grave problems. Alibordi went to Bengal with his family in search of a job in 1720. He tried to get a job under Bengal’s nawab Murshid Quli Khan. But Alibordi was Shujauddin’s relative. So, Murshid Quli did not accept Alibordi as he was dissatisfied with his son-in-law. After being turned down by Murshid Quli, Alibordi set out for Orissa and Orissa’s provincial governor Sujauddin granted him a job in the revenue department at 100 rupees monthly salary. Alibordi proved his efficiency within a short time. At one stage, Sujauddin appointed him both the general of Basantapur and the commander of 600 cavalry. Moreover, some of the zamindari (the system under which zamindars hold land) came under his control.
 
In the course of time, Sujauddin became so dependent on Alibordi that he did not take any important decision without consulting him. Using this opportunity Alibordi instigated Sujauddin against Murshid Quli in many ways because of his personal grudge. Though Suja did not intend to go to war with his son Sorforaz over the throne, Alibordi and his brother Mirza Ahmod reassured him that suja was worthier than Sarfaraz; if Sarfaraz ascended the throne; it could start rebellion in different parts of the province. Further, it was not decent for a father to work under his son. Finally, Sujauddin agreed to become the nawab. Afterwards, he sent messengers asking for the approval of the emperor in Delhi. The emperor gave Sujauddin permission as per the rule of succession. 

On the other hand, suddenly Murshid Quli Khan fell severely ill. Then Alibordi adviced Sujauddin that, if Suja attacked Murshidabad straight away, an ailing Murshid Quli would have no choice but to declare him as the nawab. Considering his opportunity Sujauddin advanced toward Murshidabad with his force. Sujauddin got the news of Murshid Quli’s death amid his journey. On the other hand, his mentally prepared son Sorforaz ascended the throne as the nawab. When Suja arrived at the main gate of Murshidabad with his army, he was obstructed by the soldiers loyal to Sorforaz. Consequently, Suja besieged Murshidabad. Some of the influential persons of Murshidabad supported Sujauddin also. As a result, the situation became serious and a war was about to break out between father and son. Apprehending the situation, Murshid Quli’s wife Nousheree Banu and daughter Azimunnesa explained to Sarfaraz that, if a war broke out, the power of the nawab family would be lessened because of the family feud and opposing power would arise. Secondly, if the father or the son died in the war, it would give rise to the averse idea in people’s mind about the nawab family and thus the nawab family would lose public support. Thirdly, as Sorforaz was Sujauddin’s eldest son, naturally he would be the nawab after Suja’s death. Following the advice of his grandmother and some of his commanders, Sorforaz gave up the plan of war. Subsequently, Sujauddin ascended to the throne of Murshidabad on July 1, 1727.

Right after ascending the throne, Sujauddin sent four millions in cash and many valuable gifts including elephants and horses to the emperor in Delhi, Mohammod Shah, showing his gratitude for giving him the authorization. The emperor being pleased gave Suja the title ‘Khan Bahadur Asad Jong (brave leader lion in war) as well as a mansab (military unit) of 7000 troopers, a royal Palanquin, an elephant and a horse, a robe, and a sword embedded with jewels.

Suja rewarded people who gave him military and moral support to acquire the throne of Murshidabad. He appointed the two brothers Haji Ahmod and Alibordi as the tax collectors of Orissa. Another well-wisher Fateh Chad received the title ‘Jogot Sheth’ (tycoon of the world). Alom Chad was given the title ‘Ray Rayan’ Plus a military unit of 500 cavalry and appointed as the tax collector of Bengal. But, after a few days, Suja brought changes in some of the important posts. Alom Chad was replaced by Suja’s eldest son Sorforaz as Bengal’s tax collector. His other son Muhammad Toki Khan was appointed as the deputy governor of Orissa and son-in-law Rustom Jong was appointed as the deputy governor of Dhaka. Besides, Suja chose Alibordi’s Brother Haji Ahmod as a courtier. Furthermore, Suja appointed Hazi’s eldest son Noujesh Mohammod Khan in the customs in Murshidabad, second son Sayed Ahmod as the fouzdar (chief of police) of Rangpur and the youngest son Joennuddin as the chief of police of Rajmahal. This Joynuddin was the father of the last independent nawab Siraj-Ud-Doulah. Apart from that, he was Alibordi’s son-in-law.

The members of the nawab family were instated in important posts by those sudden changes and those who were removed from those posts became aggrieved.
After obtaining the governorship of Bihar from the emperor in Delhi in 1733, Sujauddin became the paramount ruler of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The nawabs that followed by also maintained that authority.

Meanwhile, former prince of Tripura Jogotram Thakur was living in Dhaka under royel shelter. Jogotram’s uncle Dhormomanikko overthrew his father and occupied the power and Jogotram was declared expelled after he escaped to Dhaka. After the nawab gave him shelter, Dhormomanikko severed all ties with Bengal and turned into an enemy of Bengal. The existence of such an enemy state neighboring Bengal was a threat to it. 

So, Sujauddin ordered Dhaka’s deputy Governor Rustom Jong’s commander Mir Habib to attack Tripura. With prince Jogotram leading the way, Bengal’s force reached the outskirts of Chandigarh, Tripura’s capital. The unprepared king Dhormomanikko escaped and took shelter in a mountain. Then Mir Habib instated Jogotram on Tripura’s throne. After acquiring the throne, Jogotram gave plenty of riches and many elephants to Mir Habib and once again Bengal’s authority was established in Tripura.

Before returning to Dhaka, Mir Habib attacked and imprisoned Jalalpur’s unruly Zamindar Nurullah and brought lots of looted riches in Murshidabad. Nurullah was killed after that. Birvoom’s Afgan zamindar Bodi-uz-Zaman was owner of 1400,000 Bigha (1bigha=1/8 to 2/5 hector) land. As that region was surrounded by mountains and jungles, Bodi was sure about its security and refused to pay Sujauddin tax. 

With the nawab's permission, Sorforaz Khan sent Mir Shorfuddin and Khaza Bosonto against Bodi. Moreover, Bihar’s deputy governor Alibordi set off from Patna with his enormous force. Upon receiving the news Bodi-uz-Zaman surrendered. Bodi recovered his zamindari after promising to pay 300,000 silver rupees in revenue annually.

Towwards the end of Sujauddin’s rule, the zaminder of Dinajpur Raja Ramnath and the king of Cooch Behar Upendro Narayan jointly refused to pay taxes. On Sujauddin’s order, the commander of Ghoraghat-Rangpur and Alibordi’s son-in-law Sayed Ahmod ran military operations, suppressed them and seized a lot of accumulated riches. Protectorate Cooch Behar was included in Bengal at that time. For the security of his descendants from the powerful people, Sujauddin decided to build an army of 25,000 soldiers. This force comprised 1,000 cavalry and 15,000 infantry. These infantry soldiers were capable of using guns. By forming this force Bengal became one of the most powerful states in the Indian subcontinent.
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