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Ali, Mir Ashraf


Ali, Mir Ashraf a contemporary and courtier of Nawab Nusrat Jang (1785-1822) and Nawab Shamsuddaula (1822-1831), Naib Nazims of Dhaka. Mir Ashraf Ali came to Dhaka from Shiraz, Iran. His father's name was Mir Ali Mahdi.

Mir Ashraf Ali was the biggest landlord and as such the wealthiest person of East Bengal. He had huge landed properties in Dhaka, Tripura (Comilla), Bakerganj (Barisal), Mymensingh and Chittagong districts. The monthly income from that property at that time was Taka twenty thousand. Hundreds of farmers used to work under him and many people in Dhaka city had been benefited by his donations.

Ashraf Ali's zamindari (estate) was in Baldakhad of Comilla district. His house at Muradnagar Upazila is in ruins now. His permanent residence was near the Ramna Racecourse (todays Suhrawardi Udyan), near Phulbaria, in between Babupura Police station and Dhaka Hall extension. He had several beautiful buildings at this place.

Mir Ashraf Ali was a Shia Muslim. When Shah Abdul Aziz (1746-1824) wrote Tuhfa-e-Ithna A'sharia in refutation of the Shiates, he sent Rs ten thousand to an organisation in Iraq, to write a reply.

Ashraf Ali was a loyal to the east india company. In the First of Tripura wars (1824-26) he supplied provisions to the British army and went to the Tripura frontiers to join the British war effort with thousands of soldiers. When the company wanted to pay for it he refused to take anything. When they wanted to give him the title of Khan Bahadur, he regretted and asked that his sons be given the title. Accordingly the Company government conferred the title on his sons Syed Ali Mahdi and Syed Ali Hasan in the third decade of the nineteenth century and they were given the right to use the silver mace.

Mir Asraf Ali died in Dhaka in 1829. One of his successors Syed Ali Ahmed (1965) identified his grave in front of the Pharmacy Department of the University of Dhaka and a nameplate was put there in 1965. [Kaniz-e-Batool]