"Murshidabad, The Erstwhile Capital of Bengal" Murshidabad by goutammitra

Murshidabad Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 21 photos

The Battle of Palassey Made India Slave Again!

Mushidabad , a town and district of British India, in the Presidency division of Bengal. The administrative headquarters of the district are at Berhampur. The town of Murshidabad is on the left bank of the Bhagirathi or old sacred channel of the Ganges. Pop. (1901), 15,168. The city of Murshidabad was the latest capital of Bengal before British era. In 1704 the nawab Murshid Quli Khan changed the seat of government from Dhaka to Maksudabad, which he called after his own name. The family of Jagat Seth maintained their position as state bankers at Murshidabad from generation to generation. Even after the conquest of Bengal by the British, Murshidabad remained for some time the seat of administration. Warren Hastings removed the supreme civil and criminal courts to Calcutta in 1772, but in 1 775 the latter court was brought back to Murshidabad again. In 1790, under Lord Cornwallis, the entire revenue and judicial staffs were fixed at Calcutta. The town is still the residence of the nawab, who ranks as the first nobleman of the province with the style of Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad, instead of Nawab Nazim of Bengal. The Murshidabad palace, dating from 1837, is a magnificent building in Italian style. The city still bears memories of Nawabs with other palaces, mosques, tombs, and gardens, and retains such industries as carving in ivory, gold and silver embroidery, and silk-weaving. An educational institution is named after Nawab family.

Last Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daula!

Siraj ud-Daulah (1729 ? July 2, 1757), was the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The end of his reign marks the start of British East India Company rule over Bengal and later almost all of South Asia. Siraj's father Zain-ud-din was the ruler of Bihar and his mother Amina Begum was the youngest daughter of Nawab Ali Vardi Khan. Since Ali Vardi had no son, Siraj, as his grandson, became very close to him and since his childhood was seen by many as successor to the throne of Murshidabad. Accordingly, he was raised at the nawab's palace with all necessary education and training suitable for a future nawab. Young Siraj also accompanied Ali Vardi in his military ventures against the Marathas in 1746.

Ali Vardi Khan in 1752 officially declared his grandson Crown Prince and successor to the throne, creating no small amount of division in the family and the royal court.
He, as the direct political disciple of his grandfather, was aware of the global British interest in colonization and hence, resented the British politico-military presence in Bengal represented by the British East India Company. He was annoyed at the company's alleged involvement with and instigation of some members of his own court in a conspiracy to oust him. His charges against the company were mainly threefold. Firstly, that they strengthened the fortification around the Fort William without any intimation and approval; secondly, that they grossly abused the trade privileges granted to them by the Mughal rulers, which caused heavy loss of customs duties for the government; and thirdly, that they gave shelter to some of his officers, for example Krishnadas, son of Rajballav, who fled Dhaka after misappropriating government funds. Hence, when the East India Company started further enhancement of military preparedness at Fort William in Calcutta, Siraj asked them to stop. The Company did not heed his directives, so Siraj-Ud-Daulah retaliated and captured Kolkata (Shortly renamed as Alinagar) from the British in June 1756. During this time, he is alleged to have put 146 British subjects in a 20 by 20 foot chamber, known as the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta; only 23 were said to have survived the overnight ordeal. The real facts around the incident are disputed by later historians, but at that time the lurid account of this incident by one survivor ? Holwell ? obtained wide circulation in England and helped gain support for the East India Company's continued conquest of India.

Battle of Plassey, changed the History of India

The Battle of Plassey (or Palashi) is widely considered the turning point in the history of India, and opened the way to eventual British domination. After Siraj-Ud-Daulah's conquest of Calcutta, the British sent fresh troops from Madras to recapture the fort and avenge the attack. A retreating Siraj-Ud-Daulah met the British at Plassey. Siraj-ud-Daulah had to make camp 27 miles away from Murshidabad. On 23 June 1757 Siraj-Ud-Daulah called on Mir Jafar because he was saddened by the sudden fall of Mir Madan who was a very dear companion of Siraj in battles. The Nawab asked for help from Mir Jafar. Mir Jafar advised Siraj to retreat for that day. The Nawab made the blunder in giving the order to stop the war. Following his command, the soldiers of the Nawab were returning to their camps. At that time, Robert Clive attacked the soldiers with his army. At such a sudden attack, the army of Siraj became in disciplined and could think of no way to fight. So all fled away in such a situation. Betrayed by a conspiracy hatched by Jagat Seth, Mir Jafar, Krishna Chandra, Umi Chand etc., he lost the battle and had to escape. He went first to Murshidabad and then to Patna by boat, but was eventually arrested by Mir Jafar's soldiers. Siraj-Ud-Daulah was executed on July 2, 1757 by Mohammad Ali Beg under orders from Mir Miran, son of Mir Jafar.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great Historical Background of the place!
  • Cons:Could not capitalise the opportunity to develop at Tourist Centre !
  • Last visit to Murshidabad: Apr 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    what a nice coverage. i really liked your description of Mir Jaffar the traitor. i did not know he is called Ghaddar -e-Abrrar. we just call him Mir Jaffar the traitor.


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