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Zainuddin Ahmad Khan


Zainuddin Ahmad Khan naib nazim (deputy governor) of Bihar under Nawab alivardi khan and Father of Nawab Sirajuddaula. He was the youngest son of Haji Ahmad, elder brother of Alivardi Khan. His real name was Mirza Muhammad Hashim. He was invested with the title of 'Khan' during the time of Nawab shujauddin khan. Like his brothers nawazish muhammad khan and sayed ahmed khan, he contributed much in strengthening and infusing efficiency in administration and worked harmoniously with Alivardi Khan. Zainuddin married Alivardi's youngest daughter amina begum (mother of sirajuddaula), and after Alivardi's assumption of office as the nawab of Bengal, he was raised to the post of naib nazim of Bihar and was given the title of Haibat Jang.

During the time of Nawab Alivardi Khan, the Marathas conducted repeated raids and pillaged and sacked vast tracts of land in Bihar and Bengal. There was a large number of Afghans serving in the nawab's army. When the Marathas invaded in 1744 under Bhaskar Pandit, Alivardi Khan, in collusion with Mustafa Khan, the Afghan general in the Bengal army, treacherously killed Bhaskar along with most of his followers. The remaining Maratha army fled away for safety. After this Mustafa Khan expected that he would be remunerated by the nawab for his gallantry with the post of governorship of Bihar. When he was deprived of it, he revolted and an armed conflict became imminent. The revolted general stormed Mongyer and then made an assault on Patna. At the first instance Zainuddin defended the capital and put down the revolt. Subsequently Nawab Alivardi Khan arrived there with a huge army and chased the rebels out of Bihar.

Mustafa Khan again invaded Bihar and also instigated Raghuji Bhonsle to make an attack on Bengal. Zainuddin promptly repulsed the Afghan attack. Mustafa Khan was shot and killed. Raghuji next entered Burdwan and passed through Birbhum. His troops looted and plundered whatever they found on their way. Although Raghuji was driven back, his follower Mir Habib got a chance of entering Murshidabad and continued their plundering there. Finally Alivardi Khan was successful in pushing them back.

In 1748, in the wake of Ahmad Shah Durrani's invasion of the subcontinent, the Afghans were inspired to establish their rule in the eastern provinces by overthrowing Alivardi Khan. The Afghan ex-soldiers revolted, took the control of Patna city in their hand and murdered Zainuddin Ahmad in 1748. On hearing this heart-rending news, Alivardi Khan moved against them, crushed the insurgents with iron-hand and rescued Amina Begum, the widow of Zainuddin, with her two sons. [KM Karim]