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Ibrahim Khan Fath-i-Jang


Ibrahim Khan Fath-i-Jang alias Mirza Ibrahim Beg, Mughal Subahdar of Bengal (1617-1624). He was the son of Mirza Ghiyas Beg and brother of Empress Nur Jahan, and enjoyed the confidence and trust of Emperor Jahangir. Ibrahim Khan was a veteran of Akbar's time and held various important offices of trust and responsibility in the empire including those of Wakil-i-dar (Paymaster of the Royal household) and governor of Bihar, and had already evinced his administrative ability and military talents. In Bihar he had conquered the tract of Khokhara and acquired valuable diamond mines there, for which he was promoted to higher rank of mansab and was exalted with the title of Fath-i-Jang.

The new viceroy on his approach towards Dhaka faced vigorous obstruction from the dismissed viceroy qasim khan chisti who entered into bitter contest on the question of Islam Khan's escheat properties, but was ultimately worsted.

Ibrahim Khan's rule saw military exploits like the conquest of the kingdom of Tripura (1618), suppression of rebellion in Kamrupa, successful repulse of the Magh raids (1620) and crushing of the Hijli revolt (1621) of bahadur khan. Throughout his tenure in Bengal, the province remained immune from external aggression of any serious nature.

In regard to internal administration Ibrahim Khan initiated a new policy of political conciliation and release of political prisoners. On his recommendation to the emperor the sons of Raja Pratapaditya of Jessore, the Koch rajas Laksmi Narayan and Parikshit Narayan, were released and sent back to Bengal. The prominent zamindars headed by musa khan who had been kept under strict surveillance at Jahangirnagar since the days of Islam Khan, were restored to liberty (1618). The effect of this political clemency was that the Koch rajas and the zamindars rendered valuable services to the Mughal government in Bengal.

Peace and tranquillity mark the period of Ibrahim Khan's rule. He had honesty of purpose, a mastery of temper, a spirit of moderation, conciliation and compromise, and above all an innate nobility of character and dignity of bearing. All these endeared him to friends and foes alike. Agriculture and commerce were encouraged, and manufactures were carried to a degree of perfection. Dhaka muslin and Maldah silk attained the highest perfection in his time. During his rule, the English first appeared in Bengal as wayside peddlers and had a small settlement somewhere in Piplay, close to Balassore. He began the construction of a fort at Dhaka (on the present central jail compound).

The peace and tranquility in Bengal under Ibrahim Khan was broken by the entry of the rebel Prince Shahjahan (November 1623) who found safe asylum here after he was defeated and driven from Agra and the Deccan. Ibrahim Khan fell in an awkward situation, as it was a fight between the emperor and his son. Ibrahim of course remained with the emperor till his death. But he failed to take effective steps to check the advance of the rebel prince in Bengal, who had entered Midnapur and Burdwan unopposed. Ibrahim's confusion and virtually his inaction gave Shahjahan the opportunity to enter Akbarnagar. Ibrahim at last prepared to face the rebel. The superiority in numbers of the rebel forces ensured their triumph. Ibrahim Khan fought the enemies with a handful of followers till he was slain (20 April 1624). He was laid to rest in a mausoleum at Rajmahal. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]