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Anwar Khan


Anwar Khan zamindar of Baniachang, a territory comprising an area now included in Habiganj district. As described in the Baharistan-i-Ghayibi, he was the chief of the zamindars and was in no way less powerful than musa khan Masnad-i-Ala of Bhati.

Anwar Khan was in alliance with Musa Khan in his fight against the Mughals. He had a vital role in creating resistance to the Mughals from the forts of Jatrapur and Dakchhara of Musa Khan in 1611 AD. But with the fall of the two forts in the hands of the Mughal Subahdar Islam Khan, and Musa Khan's retreat towards Sonargaon for creating new resistance having Shitalakshya as his line of defence, Anwar Khan with his fleet of war-boats returned to Baniachang to create resistance there.

After the final defeat and surrender of Musa Khan along with other zamindars to the Mughals, Anwar Khan and his brothers voluntarily surrendered to Islam Khan at Jahangirnagar (1611). Anwar Khan promised the Viceroy of his active support against khwaja usman, the redoubtable champion of the Afghan cause in Bengal and the then main target of Islam Khan. He implored permission of the Viceroy to return to his territory and launch an attack on Usman's partisans in Sylhet, and especially on Taraf held by Usman's brothers and sons, thereby obstructing their advance to the help of Usman. Islam Khan permitted him to hold his territory in fief, and sent him with his fleet to carry out his promised attack.

Islam Khan having little confidence in the fidelity of Anwar Khan, placed Islam Quli Khan superseding Anwar as commander of the combined advancing army against Khwaja Usman. This seriously vexed Anwar Khan. As soon as Anwar reached Egarasindur on his way back from Dhaka, he entered into a secret plot with Mahmud Khan, brother of Musa Khan, and bahadur ghazi of Bhawal, who were in the imperial camp at Hasanpur. They conspired to make a combined attack, in alliance with Khwaja Usman, on the Mughal forces at Hasanpur and kill or capture them, while Anwar Khan would try at the same time to imprison the leading mansabdars and release Musa Khan, after which he would try to imprison Islam Khan at Dhaka.

The ambitious conspiracy attained little success. Though Anwar Khan invited a large number of imperial officers to a banquet, he could entrap only two of them, Islam Quli Khan in charge of the personal war-boats of Baz Bahadur Qalmaq, and Raja Rai, zamindar of Shahjadpur, with whom he fled to Baniachang. The more important part of the plot could not be carried into effect. The secret activities of Mahmud Khan and Bahadur Ghazi were soon detected and the whole conspiracy was divulged. They were put in fetters and kept under strict surveillance.

Islam Khan sent Raja Satrajit, vassal zamindar of Bhushana, and afterwards Mubariz Khan along with a few other zamindars to subdue Anwar. Anwar Khan fought hard, but was ultimately compelled to surrender to Islam Khan who put him in chains. Anwar Khan was later made blind and sent to Rhotas Fort as captive. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]