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Murshid Quli Khan II

Murshid Quli Khan II son-in-law of Nawab shujauddin muhammad khan, was at first the naib-nazim of Jahangirnagar (Dhaka) and then of Orissa. Also known as Rustum Jang he was a man of fine taste, endowed with poetic talents and had interests in calligraphy. His poetic name was 'Makhmur'.

In the field of administration Murshid Quli Khan II got the assistance of Mir Habib, an able and faithful officer, who enforced economy in managing state flotilla, artillery and military departments. He amassed wealth by granting monopolies to traders in certain articles of trade and seizing wealth of refractory zamindars. Mir Habib led an incursion into the kingdom of Tippera in collusion with Aga Sadeq, the zamindar of Patpasar. The disgruntled and expelled nephew of the Raja helped the invaders in this respect. The Raja, taken by surprise, fled from his kingdom, which eventually fell into the hands of the invaders and the nephew was placed on the throne. Aga Sadeq was appointed the Faujdar of the place and Mir Habib returned to Dhaka with huge war booty. The nawab was informed of the conquest and Tippera was renamed Raushanabad.

Murshid Quli Khan II was transferred from Jahangirnagar to Orissa after the death of Taqi Khan, a stepbrother of sarfaraz khan. It is not known whether he rendered Sarfaz any tangible support in his fight against the rebel forces of alivardi khan. The defeat of Sarfaraz at Ghiria in 1740 made Alivardi the ruler of Bengal and Bihar. But Orissa still remained unsubdued. At the inspiration of his wife Durdana Begum, Rustum Jang refused to accept Alivardi's authority. He made a bid for the throne of Bengal and proceeded with his army form Cuttack to Balasore. To encounter him, Alivardi Khan also moved with his forces from his capital. He could win the support of the zamindars of Medinipur on the way but many others of Orissa were hostile to him. In such circumstances, Alivardi Khan thought of giving up the hostility. But the military engagements were inevitable. Mirza Baqar, the son-in-law of Murshid Quli Khan II, took the offensive and in the battle that followed, he was defeated and severely wounded at Phulwari in 1741. Rustum Jang left the battlefield and fled to Masulipatam with his wounded son-in-law. The zamindar of Khurda, a friend of Rustum Jang, saved the family of Mirza Baqar from being captured by Alivardi Khan's men.

Alivardi Khan stayed in Orissa for a mouth. Meanwhile he appointed his nephew and son-in-law sayed ahmed khan Saulat Jang as the naib- nazim of Orissa and returned to Murshidabad.

Mirza Baqar soon recovered and with the help of the Marathas fell upon inexperienced Sayed Ahmed's men. It was a severe defeat on the part of Sayed Ahmed who along with his family was captured by the enemy and kept under strict confinement. Medinipur and Hijli were also lost to the nawab of Bengal.

The disaster dealt a severe blow to Alivardi Khan's newly established authority in Orissa and also undermined his prestige as a ruler. In order to secure the release of his son-in-law and his family he made a bid for recovering Orissa from Mirza Baqar. This time also Mirza Baqar was defeated in December 1741. He again sought refuge in the Deccan with his Maratha allies. Sayed Ahmed and the members of his family were rescued and sent to Murshidabad. Alivardi Khan stayed in Orissa for three months, appointed his friend Sheikh Masum the naib-nazim of Orissa and returned to Murshidabad. However, Alivardi's authority did not go unchallenged even after this. The Maratha continued their attack upon Alivardi's territories almost annually for several years.

Nothing is heard of Murshid Quli Khan II after his defeat at the hands of Alivardi Khan. He might have died as a fugitive in the Deccan while his able officer Mir Habib and his son-in-law Mirza Baqar tried in vain their best to recover the lost power. [KM Karim]