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Qasim Khan Jwini

Qasim Khan Jwini (1628-1632) subahdar of Bengal under shahjahan (1628-58), who on his accession to the throne had removed fidai khan. He was a son of Mir Murad who was appointed by akbar to train up Prince Khurram (Shahjahan) in archery and later was made Bakhshi of Lahore. Qasim Khan served in Bengal as Khajanchi during the viceroyalty of islam khan chisti. Later on Qasim Khan married Manijah Begum, Empress Nurjahan's sister. The most notable event of his viceroyalty in Bengal was the capture of hughli from the portuguese.

The Portuguese were the earliest European settlers in Bengal. During the anarchical conditions that prevailed in Bengal before the establishment of strong Mughal rule there, the Portuguese, whose main objectives were confined to trade and commerce, indulged in many other irregular and high-handed activities. Their atrocities and manifold misdeeds multiplied the sufferings of the local inhabitants. They continued their trading and other nefarious activities from their already established trading outposts in Hughli, Dhaka, Jessore and Chittagong. The Portuguese used to commit inhuman atrocities in lower Bengal by plundering wealth and riches and used to carry away men, women and children for selling them as slaves or forcibly convert them to Christianity.

Thus innocent people used to remain in constant fear of the 'Feringee' (Portuguese Pirates). The Portuguese activities in Bengal were so provocative that the Mughals had to take effective action against them under Qasim Khan. It was part of Emperor Shahjahan's wider policy of restricting the Portuguese highhandedness in Bengal.

Cabral, a Christian missionary who witnessed and participated in the defense of Hughli, was of the opinion that Shahjahan took action against the Portuguese because the latter did not give him support at the time of his rebellion against his father and also did not show proper respect to him when he became the emperor. However the expedition against them at Hughli was conducted in 1632. Qasim slowly prepared for launching the expedition and subsequently seized it for about three months. The resistance of the Portuguese was broken and they left the place after heavy losses of men and resources. Thus the Portuguese base for the slave trade and forceful conversion to Christianity was destroyed. Shortly after the capture of Hughli Qasim Khan died in 1632. [KM Karim]