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Mansingh, Raja


Mansingh, Raja a mansabdar and a trusted general of akbar, and for sometime the subahdar of Bengal. The adopted son of Raja Bhagwan Das, Mansingh was born at Amber. He was known as Mirza Raja and Akbar conferred on him the title of Farzand (Son). When Bhagwan Das was appointed subahdar of the Punjab, Mansingh commanded the districts along the Indus. In 1585 AD, he was sent to Kabul to keep the country in order, and in 1588, was appointed Subahdar of Bihar. In 1590, Mansingh, hitherto known as Kunwar, was given the title of Raja and a mansab of five thousand. On 17 March 1594, he was appointed subahdar of Bengal and served for three terms: 1594-1598,1601-1605 and 1605-1606.

Raja Mansingh's main task in Bengal was to subjugate the Afghan chieftains and the Bhuiyans under isa khan. At Tanda, as preparatory measures he sent a few reconnoitering expeditions in all directions and transferred the capital from Tanda to Rajmahal on 7 November 1595, naming the new capital Akbarnagar. One of the reconnoitering expeditions under Mansinghson Himmatsingh captured the bhusna fort from Isa's ally kedar rai on 2 April 1595. From the new capital, Mansingh himself proceeded on 7 December 1595 to conquer Bhati from Isa Khan. At Mansingh's approach the latter retreated beyond the Brahmaputra. Mansingh encamped at Sherpur Murcha (in Bogra district) and built a mud fort there, which he named Salimnagar and spent the rainy season there. In the meantime, Isa's allies Khwajah Sulayman Khan Lohani and Kedar Rai recaptured Bhusna fort from the Mughals. Mansingh sent an expedition under his son durjansingh who, after a hard encounter, succeeded in recapturing the fort on 20 June 1596. Mansingh had encamped at Ghoraghat (Ghodaghat) during the rainy season of 1596. He fell ill but immediately on his recovery sent a detachment under Himmatsingh against Isa and his allies. At Himmat's approach Isa Khan repaired to egarasindhur.

In September 1597 Mansingh sent two large forces, by land as well as water, against Isa Khan. The Mughal army, under the command of Durjansingh, initially achieved some success and even attacked Isa's capital katrabo. But finally on 5 September a fierce naval engagement took place, 12 miles off vikramapura. This resulted in the death of Durjan and the ruination of the Mughal army. Thus Mansingh's expedition against Isa Khan ended in failure and the viceroy, a depressed man, left Bengal for Ajmer in 1598.

Early in 1601, Mansingh returned to Bengal on his second viceroyalty and defeated the Afghan rebels in the battle of Sherpur Atai on 12 February. Next year, he marched to Dhaka and tried to win Kedar Rai, the Zamindar of Shripur, over to the Mughal side. Mansingh sent his grandson Mahasingh from Ghoraghat against some Afghan chiefs like Jalal Khan and Qazi Mumin, who had raided north Bengal up to Malda. Mahasingh succeeded in driving out the Afghan leaders from that region. Meanwhile, Khwaja Usman Khan Lohani of Bukainagar drove back the Mughal thanadar Baz Bahadur Qalmaq of Mymensingh to Bhawal.

At this turn of events Mansingh hurried from Dhaka to Bhawal and inflicted an indecisive defeat upon Usman Khan. Shortly afterwards another indecisive encounter took place on the bank of the river Ichhamati between Mansingh and the combined forces of musa khan, Usman Khan and Kedar Rai. In 1603 Mansingh warded off with great difficulties the attack of the Magh pirates on the Mughal fort at Tri-Mohani. Kedar Rai, aided by the Maghs, attacked the Mughal outpost of Shrinagar. A great battle was fought on the outskirts of Vikrampur. Wounded and captured, Kedar Rai died within a short time. Mansingh turned back to Bhawal to deal with Usman Khan who, however, fled away. In February 1605, he left Bengal for Agra.

Mansingh stayed at Agra during the last days of Akbar and made an abortive attempt to place Khasrau, his nephew, on the throne. jahangir, on his accession to the throne, sent Mansingh to Bengal as viceroy for the third time. But his third viceroyalty was short and uneventful. He was finally recalled from Bengal in September 1606 and transferred to Bihar. Mansingh died in 1614 while he was in south India. [AA Sheikh Md Asrarul Hoque Chisti]