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Qasim Khan Chisti


Qasim Khan Chisti (1614-1617) subahdar of Bengal under emperor jahangir. He was entitled Muhtashim Khan and was the younger brother of islam khan chisti. Though appointed in 1613, Qasim Khan in fact took charge of the province in May 1614. He lacked the courage, energy, honesty and diligence of Islam Khan. He was also autocratic and arrogant and lacked decorum and dignity in his dealings with the officials.

Qasim Khan ruled Bengal for about three years (May 1614-April 1617 AD) without any substantial gain. He quarreled with Mirza Husain Beg, the Diwan and alienated the Bakhshi and waqianavis by his imprudent behaviour. He wounded the sentiments of Laksmi Narayan and Pariksit Narayan, the kings of Kuchbihar and kamarupa respectively, by putting them under arrest. A formidable revolt broke out in Kuchbihar and Kamrup against this action of the Mughal governor. Qasim Khan led an expedition against Kachhar and it ended in failure. The next punitive campaign was launched against Bir Hamir, Shams Khan, bahadur khan and Birbahu, the zamindars of Birbhum, Pachet, Hijli and Chandrakona respectively.

Qasim Khan next faced the first and most formidable foreign invasion during his rule. Mang Khamaung (Hasain Khan), the King of arakan and the Portuguese freelancer Sebastian Gonzales made a combined attack on the Mughal frontier thana of Bengal. Initially the Arakan king and the Portuguese invaders gained success. Their combined forces crossed the big Feni and the little Feni rivers and occupied Bhulua and plundered and looted the inland territories and marched northward. When total defeat was imminent for the Mughals, suddenly the tide of fortune turned in their favour. There was a rift between the Arakanese and the Portuguese forces and it caused the collapse of their alliance. In the midst of their mutual fighting the Mughals turned against the Arakanese who retreated from the occupied territories. The Arakanese made a second attempt to penetrate into Mughal territory but again they failed to do so. The Arakan King and his nephew were surrounded by Mughal troops and were compelled to sign an ignominious treaty in return for the assurance of being allowed to retreat unhurt.

Qasim Khan invaded Assam but it also ended in disaster. The losses in men and material were huge. The Mughal naval forces fared badly in the expedition. Qasim Khan made another bid to fight the Arakanese with Chittagong as the first objective. But the Mughal attempt ended in failure. For his successive military failures the emperor withdrew Qasim Khan from Bengal and sent ibrahim khan to fill the vacant post. [KM Karim]