Titular Nawwâbs of Bengal

Nawwâbs of Bengal
Najimuddin Ali Khan, Najm ud-Dawlah1765-1766
Diwani of Bengal
taken by East India Company, 1765
Najabut Ali Khan, Saif ud-Dawlah1766-1770
Ashraf Ali Khan1770
Mubaraq Ali Khan1770-1793
Nizamat of Bengal
taken by East India Company, 1793
Baber Ali Khan1793-1810
Zainul Abedin Ali Khan1810-1821
Ahmad Ali Khan1821-1824
Mubarak Ali Khan II1824-1838
Mansur Ali Khan1838-1880,
Nawwâbs of Murshidabad
Hassan Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur1880-1906
Wasif Ali Mirza Khan1906-1959
Waris Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur1959-1969
In 1765, Robert Clive obtained from the Moghul Emperor Shâh 'Âlam II, who was a fugitive in British care, a grant of the Diwani, or revenue responsiblity for the province of Bengal. This made the British East India Company, as the Diwan of Bengal, part of the consitutional order of the Moghul Empire, and is often considered the beginning of British Rule, the "Râj," in India. However, Clive had no intention of replacing the Nawwâbs, and the Company intended to leave local officials in place to collect the actual revenues of Bengal.

The next step occurred in 1772, when Warren Hastings, as the first British Governor General of India, moved to take over in all its details the functions of the Diwani. At the same time, the British informally took over the Nizamat, the criminal and police administration of Bengal, including the courts, leaving the Nawwâb with no remaining public duties. He was, however, left unmolested with his pension at the capital of Murshidabad. The Nizamat was not formally assumed by the Company until 1793.

The Nawwâb at least remained so in name until 1880, when Mansur Ali Khan, the last Nawwâb of Bengal, was deposed. His son, however, Hassan Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur, succeeded with the title Nawwâb of Murshidabad. This line of Nawwâbs continued until 1969, when the main line died out and the succession was left in dispute.

The first President of Pakistan in 1956, Iskander Mirza, was the son of Mohammad Fateh Ali, the grandson of Bahadur Syed Iskander Ali, and the great grandson of no less than the Nawwâb Mansur Ali Khan.

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Copyright (c) 2009 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved