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Daud Khan Karrani


Daud Khan Karrani (1573-1576) the younger brother of bayazid karrani and the last independent sultan of Bengal. When Bayazid was killed through the treachery of Hansu, Daud ascended the throne of Bengal with the help of the faithful nobles of sulaiman karrani and continued his brother's policy of independence. He, as a' marky of royalty, read the Khutbah and issued coins in his name.

Daud Khan Karrani inherited a strong army and an immense treasure. According to medieval historians, he is said to have had an infantry of 140,000 of different descriptions, 40,000 cavalry, 20,000 pieces of cannon of various calibre, 3,600 elephants and several hundred war-boats. These figures cannot be taken very seriously, because, a provincial ruler was not supposed to have resources enough to maintain such a vast armed forces. With a formidable force he thought himself powerful enough to contend with akbar. Taking advantage of Akbar's pre-occupation with the disturbing affairs in Gujarat and Rajputana, Daud Khan Karrani besieged Zamaniyah near Ghazipur. Akbar ordered munim khan, governor of Jaunpur, to proceed against Daud. Accordingly Munim Khan marched on Patna, but when he faced his friend Ludi Khan, the capable Prime Minister of Daud, he offered peace on generous terms. Neither Akbar nor Daud Karrani was pleased with the peace. Daud Karrani killed his principal minister Ludi Khan and confiscated his property. Akbar ordered Munim Khan to attack Bengal and Bihar again.

In 1573, Munim Khan attacked Bihar and in the battle that followed Daud Karrani retreated and took shelter in Patna. Munim Khan besieged Patna and appealed to Akbar for reinforcement. In 1574 the emperor marched against Daud Karrani taking with him generals like Todar Mall and Mansingh. He directed his attack first on Hajipur, a town on the opposite bank of the Ganges from which Patna drew its supplies. Hajipur and Patna were soon captured. At this juncture Akbar returned to the capital appointing Munim Khan governor of Bihar and Bengal and leaving Todar Mall to assist him. Before leaving for Agra he instructed the aged general to carry on the onslaught against Daud Karrani.

Munim Khan, as per the directive of the emperor, continued his march towards Bengal and captured Tandah and satgaon. Daud Karrani, offering a feeble resistance, retired towards Orissa. Munim Khan and Todar Mall followed him with determined tenacity. Daud Karrani dug trench in Haripur, built defensive wall and prepared for battle. The two armies met at Tukaroi, at present in the Midnapur district, on the bank of Subarnarekha on 3 March 1575. Here a fierce battle was fought. Initially victory seemed to be on the side of the Afghans. They killed Khan-i-Jahan and compelled Munim Khan to retreat to a considerable distance. Gujar Khan, the Afghan general, hotly pursued Munim Khan. But ultimately Daud Karrani was defeated and took shelter in the fort of Katak. Munim Khan prepared to siege the fort. Daud Karrani, unable to resist any more, sued for peace and met the Mughal general in his camp. Consequently the treaty of Katak was concluded in 1575. According to the terms of the treaty Daud Karrani ceded Bengal and Bihar to the Mughals and retained only Orissa as his possession.

Six months later, in October 1575, Munim Khan died. Seizing the opportunity, Daud Karrani came out of Orissa, marched into Bengal and advanced as far as teliagarhi and thus once again became the master of west and north Bengal together with Orissa. Akbar appointed Husain Quli Beg the governor of Bengal adorned with the title, 'Khan Jahan' and directed him to attack Daud. At the approach of the Mughal army under Khan Jahan, Daud Karrani posted about 3000 select Afghans at Teliagarhi to defend the pass and he himself took position in the Rajmahal hills with the rest of the forces. Khan Jahan met the Afghans at Teliagarhi and through a fierce fight took possession of the pass. He then marched against Daud Karrani at Rajmahal. In one skirmish, the Mughals were defeated. Akbar ordered Muzaffar Khan Turbati, governor of Bihar, to join Khan Jahan and directed other generals to join with boatloads of provisions and ammunitions. All the principal Afghan leaders like Junaid, Qutlu Khan and Kalapahar rallied round Daud Karrani. Finally, a decisive battle was fought at Rajmahal on 12 July 1576. Daud was ultimately defeated and executed. He was the last independent Muslim ruler in Bengal. [ABM Shamsuddin Ahmed]