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Odisha-Murshidabad conflict during the reign of Nawab Alibordi Khan
After ousting Rustam Jong from Odisha Alibordi Instated Sayed Ahmad in Odisha's throne. But people revolted against Sayed and Bakir Khan took control...
Riches accumulated by Sarfaraz Khan’s father and grandfather came under Alibordi’s control. From these wealth Alibordi sent 100 millions of silver coins, jewel ornaments, dishes, silk clothing and other valuable objects equivalent of 7 million rupees as gift to the emperor in Delhi, Mohammad khan and his ministers. In return for his obedience and fealty the emperor gave him a military unit of 7,000 cavalry and adorned him with the titles - ‘Suja-ul-Mulk’ and ‘Hisam-ud-Daulah’. The emperor adorned Alibordi’s three son-in-law with honorary titles also. Eldest son-in-law Nawazesh Muhammad was given the title- ‘sehamat Jong’, second son-in-law sayed Ahmad was given the title –‘Shoulat Jang’ and the youngest one, Zain-ud-Din was given the title ’Shawlat Jong’. To honour these titles Alibordi appointed Nawazesh Muhammad as the ruler of Dhaka and included sylhat,Tripura and Chottogram with it. He permitted to govern these regions with representatives. Siraj ud-Dowlah’s father Zain ud-Din was given the permanent governorship of Bihar. Other son-in-law Sayed Ahmed was promised the governorship of Odisha once it was occupied. Alibordi employed his relatives and obedient persons in various positions. Besides, he gave away a lot of money. After all these arrangements Alibordi viewed his dominion well-established. Then he heard the news that the emperor had sent an employee named Murid Khan as he deemed the assets of Sarfaraz sent by Alibordi were inadequate. He wanted all of the dead nawab’s wealth as well as Bengal-Bihar-Odisha’s revenue of 2 years. Tactful Alibordi in a letter told Murid Khan that he need not to come all the way to Bengal, rather Alibordi himself would meet with him in Rajmahal and submit the rest of Sarfaraz’s wealth to him. Alibordi arrived in Rajmahal with a few lakh rupees, jewel ornaments, many objects made of silver and gold, some expensive cloths, some elephants and horses and handed these over to Murid Khan. He convinced Murid Khan by giving him a few valuable gifts. Giving a receipt for those things Murid Khan returned to Delhi without solving the matter of due revenue.
Alibordi’s second mattter of concern was to seize Orissa’s power from Sarfaraz’s brother-in-law Rustom Jong. But showing his deference to Alibordi, Jong sent a messenger in Alibordi’s court for settlement. But unable to trust this openness of Jong, nawab Alibordi told the messenger that he was not hostile toward Jong and he did not want to harm him in any way, but Alibordi ‘requested’ Jong to leave Odisha with all his wealth and go anywhere else he wished to. Jong was eager to accept Alibordi’s proposal but his daughter and courtiers was against that. So Jong sent a letter to Alibordi expressing his willingness to go on war with him. Alibordi accept this invitation instantly. He took 12,000 soldiers from his army and left for Odisha, giving his brother Hazi Ahmad the responsibility of Murshidabad.
Upon hearing the news of Alibordi’s advancement, Jong called his relatives and ministers for a meeting. He kept a sword in front of him and asked for everyone’s help describing Alibordi’s betrayal and how unlawfully he occupied power. He asked everyone to fight in the war against Alibordi; otherwise he wanted to go somewhere safe with his family. But everyone present in that meeting unanimously promised that they were loyal to him and ready to fight. then, Jong sent his family and riches in the Barbati fort and set out for the war from Cuttack. After crossing Baleshwar, Jong set up his camp in a place surrounded with Jungle and river. He deployed 300 cannons to protect the camp.
On the other hand, Alibordi took position within a few miles of that river . Though many days had passed Alibordi could not displace the enemy from their secure position. As a result, his camp suffered from food crisis. Another reason of that was the local Zamindar. He was loyal to Jong, so he was looting the foodstuff sent for Alibordi’s camp. As a result, chaos and indiscipline ensued among Alibordi’s soldiers. To take advantage of the situation Mirza Bakir Khan advanced to engage despite Rustom Jong’s objection, Alibordi responded gladly. Finally war broke out. Many people died. Eventually Alibordi won. Rustom Jong along with his son-in-law and main employees took shelter in Baleshwar. From there by sea Jong arrived at the Masulipatnam port near the Coromandel coast. Local fauzdar Anwar uddin khan accepted Jong. On the other hand, hearing the news of Jong’s escapade, the king of Ratanpur (adjacent to Odisha) rescued Jong’s family and riches from Cuttack.
On the other hand, after reaching in Cuttack Alibordi assured the inhabitants of Orissa that they would not be fined or money would not be extorted from them. He returned to Murshidabad giving his son-in-law sayed Ahmed the power to rule orissa. But this regime was short-lived. Sayed Ahmads oppression caused severe disturbance in people’s life. Sayed reduced the number of soldiers given to him by Alibordi. He also reduced the salary of the soldiers who were working in the fortress in half. As a result, many soldiers left the job and these posts were filled with local people. Sayed Ahmad’s oppression towards the subjects increased day by day. As a result, they invited their former ruler to occupy orissa. Rustom Jong refused their invitation. The common people captured Sayed Ahmad and handed over the control to Bakir khan.
Upon hearing the news Alibordi began to prepare for war. But his brother Hazi Ahmad afraid for his Sons life asked Alibordi to recognize Bakir khan as the ruler of Odisha. But, without listening to Ahmad, Alibordi set out for Orissa along with an army of 20,000 soldiers. He declared to give 100,000 gold coins to whoever set sayed Ahmad free.
Hearing the news of the nawab’s advancement, Bakir khan set up his camp on the bank of the Mahanadi river. Thinking that winning against such an enormous army world be impossible Bakir sent his family and a lot of riches to southern India.
Sayed Ahmad was imprisoned in a chariot covered in cloth and was guarded by two watchmen. They were ordered to kill him, If Bakir were to be defeated.
Alibordi attacked Bakir’s camp. Bakir’s solders began to flee in fear. Then, Bakir sent a cavalry troop to kill Sayed Ahmad. One of sayed’s guard was killed by a spear. He fell upon the chariot. The other guard was also injured. He released Sayed in fear and fled.
Alibordi regained control over Odisha by this easy win. He handed over the responsibility of Odisha to an experienced commander named Masum Khan.