Naib a Persian word meaning a representative and technically a deputy or a subordinate officer who acts in place of another officer or is assigned to perform the duties, either in absence or on behalf of another officer. In the later Mughal period, an officer given to act on behalf of an absentee officer was called a Naib. Sometimes in Mughal administration the provincial governors used to assign a naib to rule the province on his behalf. This was generally done when a minor prince was appointed as governor. In such instances the prince was in training and the naib carried out all the duties of a governor. Sometimes a nazim (governor) used to appoint a naib to rule a particular area on his behalf while in absentia. The Mughal governors were all appointed with defined powers, but a naib acted as a dummy head of a province.
In Bengal a person appointed to act on behalf of an absentee Subahdar or Nazim, particularly from the beginning of the 18th century, was called a Naib. A derivative of Naib is nawab, the word being appended to the names of all subahdars since the time of murshid quli khan (1716-1727 AD) onward. [Abdul Karim]