MURSHIDABAD

 

BRIEF HISTORY

The Nawabs of Murshidabad represent the former ruling house of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. They had long ceased exercising any effective authority after Lord Clive secured the Diwani of these provinces for the British East India Company, from the Mughal Em peror Shah Alam II in 1765. Thereafter, the Nawab Nazims enjoyed their titles, honours and privileges, largely by the grace of the Honourable Company. Although entitled to a significant share of the revenues collected within those provinces, they had litt le or no say in their collection or expenditure, and ceased to control any significant administrative, legal or military forces.

Following a long period of financial embarrassment, Nawab Mansur 'Ali Khan was forced to renounce all his rights in return for the liquidation of his debts and a generous annual pension. His son and successor, Sayyid Hasan 'Ali Mirza, did not succeed to his styles and titles or to retain his status as a ruling prince. He received the new title of Nawab of Mushidabad, together wit h the precedence, rank, dignity and privileges of premier noble of the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orrissa. All inheritable by his own lineal descendants, by right of male primogeniture, and subject to the approval of the Government of India.

SALUTE:
19-guns (personal and local).

ARMS:
A dolphin argent proper above a cheval regardant, also proper. Below the shield the monogram N.B.M. Supporters: Lion and unicorn. Crest: a zulfikhar (sword of the Khalif 'Ali) proper. Motto: "Nil Desperandum".

STYLES & TITLES:
The reigning prince: Amir ul-Umara, Ihtisham ul-Mulk, Rais ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid (personal name) Mirza Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jang, Nawab of Murshidabad, together with the style of His Highness.
The consort of the reigning prince: Nawab (personal name) Begum Sahiba, together with the style of Her Highness.
The mother of the reigning prince: Gadinashin Begum Sahiba, together with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Mushidzada Sayyid (personal name) Mirza Bahadur.
The other sons and male descendants of the reigning prince, in the male line: Sahibzada Sayyid (personal name) Mirza.
The daughters and female descendants of the reigning prince, in the male line: Sahibzadi (personal name) Begum.

RULES OF SUCCESSION:
Male primogeniture.

ORDERS & DECORATIONS:
None.

SOURCES:
Alphabetical List of Title-Holders in India, other than Ruling Chiefs, corrected to 31st December 1907 (with appendix). IOR (L/PS/20/H91/2), Oriental & India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
B.N. Banerjee. The Begums of Bengal. Calcutta, 1942.
Sanat Kumar Bose and A. Mitra  (eds.). Murshidabad: Letters Received, 1789-1803. West Bengal District Records, New Series (4). Sree Saraswaty Press, Calcutta, 1958.
Collection of Papers in the Office of the Superintendent of Political Pensions. IOR (V/27/71/1), Oriental & India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
J. Datta Gupta and Sanat Kumar Bose (eds.). Murshidabad Nizamut: Letters Received. Part I: 1793-1856, and Part II: 1807-1855. West Bengal District Records, New Series (6 &9). Office of the Superintendent of Census Operations, West Bengal & Sikkim, Calcutta, 1964-1969.
J. Datta Gupta and Sanat Kumar Bose (eds.). Murshidabad Nizamut: Letters Issued. West Bengal District Records, New Series (7 &8). Superintendent of Government Printing, West Bengal, Calcutta, 1965-1967.
Humayun Mirza. From Plassey to Pakistan: The Family History of Iskander Mirza, the First President of Pakistan. Revised Edition. University Press of America, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, USA, 2002.
Index to Titles (1798-1835), As Recorded in the Alqabnamas or Books of Titles and Forms of Address. National Archives of India, New Delhi, 1980.
P.C. Majumdar. The Musnud of Murshidabad, 1704-1904. Sarodar Ray, Mushidabad, 1905.
Khan Mohammad Mohsin. A Bengal district in transition: Murshidabad 1765-1793. The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dacca, 1973.
Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay. British Residents at the Darbar of Bengal Nawabs at Murshidabad, 1757-1772. Gian Pub. House, Delhi.
Aniruddha Ray, et al (comp.). Murshidabad Affairs, 1821-1850: Records of Berhampur Collectorate, West Bengal. K. P. Bagchi, Calcutta, 1995. 
S.M. Reza 'Ali Khan. The Murshidabad Guide (A brief historical survey of Murshidabad) from 1704 to 1969. Sk. Pear Muhammad and S. Kaiwan Jah, Calcutta, 1975.
Biswanath Roy. A Peep Through The Hazarduary Palace of Murshidabad. Baimela Publication, Berhampore, 1981.
Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar. Bengal Nawabs, containing Azad al-Husaini's Naubahar-i-Murshid Quli Khan, Karam Ali's Muzaffarnamah, and Yusuf 'Ali's Ahwal-i-Mahabat Jang. Sir William Jones Bicentenary Series, The Asiatic Society, Calcutta, 1952.
Major J.H. Tull Walsh (comp.). A History of the Murshidabad District (Bengal) with biographies of some of its noted families. Jarrold & Sons, London, 1902.

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
Dr. Morris Bierbrier, FSA.
S.M.A. Meerza.
Barrie Shepherd.
James Sinclair.
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