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Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah


Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1435-1459) sultan of Bengal. He was a descendant of Sultan Shamsuddin iliyas shah and ascended the throne of Bengal under the title of Nasiruddin Abul Muzaffar Mahmud Shah in 839 AH/1435 AD. His accession to the throne marks the restoration of the House of Iliyas Shah after a gap of about twenty three (1412-1435) years.

Nasiruddin Mahmud was a man of peaceful disposition. During his reign the Sharqi sultans of neighbouring Jaunpur, who had been in rivalry with the sultans of Bengal since the time of jalaluddin muhammAd shah, were involved in a deadly conflict with the Lodi sutlans of Delhi and hence neither the Sharqis nor the Ludis could turn their covetous eye to Bengal. This situation helped Nassiruddin Mahmud to devote his time and attention to the task of reconstruction and development. Nassiruddin Mahmud was also able to recover Bengal's military strength which he used in gaining certain military achievements.

During his reign, khan jahan conquered Khulna and Jessore. An Oriya grant reveals that Nasiruddin Mahmud suffered defeat in an engagement with Kapilendra Deva, the king of Orissa. But this assumption, based on a very vague expression, is purely conjectural. Nasiruddin Mahmud is ascribed to have marched upon Mithila which was, however, baffled by Bhairab Singh, the king of Mithila. The find spots of the inscription of Nasiruddin Mahmud and the mint-towns mentioned on his coins show that Nasiruddin Mahmud ruled over a vast kingdom bounded by the districts of Bhagalpur to the West, Mymensingh and Sylhet to the east, Gaur Pandua to the north and Hughli to the south.

The most important social development during Nasirudddin Mahmud's reign was a steady expansion of Muslim colonisation and settlement in different parts of Bengal. The leader of this process of Muslim settlements in south Bengal was Khan Jahan. He undertook a systematic work of settlement and colonisation by constructing mosques, excavating tanks and adopting similar other public measures. Similar expansion of Muslim settlement and colonisation were also in progress in other parts of the country as well.

Nasiruddin Mahmud was a great patron of art and architecture and during his reign a large number of mosques, khanqas, bridges and tombs were built. The important mosques of his reign were the imposing shatgumbad mosque erected by Khan Jahan at Bagerhat, two mosques built by Sarfaraz Khan at Jangipur in the district of Murshidabad (1443 AD), the mosque built by one Hilali in the neighbourhood of Gaur (1455 AD), the mosque built by Bakht Binat at Dhaka (1455 AD) and the mosque built by Khurshid Khan at Bhagalpur (1446 AD). The tomb of Khan Jahan at Bagerhat and the tomb of an allama at Hazrat Pandua were erected during his time. Nasiruddin Mahmud himself laid the foundations of the citadel and palace at Gaur and beautified the city with other architectural monuments. Of these, a five-arched stone-bridge, part of the massive walls of the fort and the kotwali darwaza are still extant. These works indicate the prevailing peace and prosperity of the reign.

Nizamuddin Ahmad and Firishtah praise Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah as an ideal sultan. Ghulam Husain Salim says that by his good administration the wounds of oppression inflicted by the previous Sultan shamsuddin ahmad shah were healed. This generous sultan after a peaceful reign of twenty-four years died in 864 AH/ 1459 AD. [ABM Shamsuddin Ahmed]