Azim-us-Shan was appointed viceroy of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in 1697 by emperor Aurangzeb. Grandson of emperor aurangzeb and the second son of Prince Muazzam alias Shah Alam Bahadur Shah, his original name was Muhammad Azimuddin. Bahadur Shah conferred on him the title of Azim-us-Shan.
At the time of his appointment Azim-us-Shan was in the Deccan. He immediately proceeded towards Bihar through Oudh and Allahabad. He ordered the governor of Oudh to join his troops. Zabardast Khan, the son of his predecessor ibrahim khan, meanwhile had defeated rahim khan who fled and took the route to Murshidabad. Hearing the news of Zabardast Khan';s success Azim-us-Shan immediately left Bihar and advanced towards Burdwan through rajmahal. The prince was perhaps jealous of Zabardast Khan, who in dismay left for Delhi. As soon as Zabardast Khan left Bengal Rahim Khan again started plundering Nadia and Hughli districts and arrived near Burdwan. Azim-us-Shan tried to pacify him by negotiations. The Afghan Chief pretended to be desirous of negotiating and invited Azim';s minister and slew him in his camp. At this Azim sent his army against the rebels and defeated them near Chanderkona and beheaded their leader. It was a notable victory for the prince and his army gained considerable booty.
shobha singh';s revolt created a necessity for the European traders to organise their own defence in Bengal. They sought Azim';s permission to fortify their factories; which he accorded. The English east india company found the opportunity to fortify Calcutta. So did the Dutch and the French in Chinsura and Chandernagore respectively. The Mughals welcomed the establishment of fortified commercial settlements such as fort william in Calcutta, Fort Orleans in Chandernagore and Fort Gustavas in Chinsura.
Azim-us-Shan fixed his residence at Burdwan. He had little interest in administering the subah efficiently than amassing a fortune. He was interested in private trade, which he called sauda-i-khas. It implied purchasing goods forcibly and cheaply from the producers and selling them in the market at fancy prices. The emperor sharply rebuked the prince. His mansab was reduced from 10,000 to 9,000. Azim-us-Shan extracted eight crores of rupees from Bengal in nine years. The English Company applied to the Prince for the zamindari rights of the three villages - Govindapur, Sutanuti and Dihi Kalkatta. Thus in 1698 English agencies at Patna, Rajmahal and Balasore were closed and all trade was concentrated at Calcutta.
Kartalab Khan (murshid quli khan) was appointed diwan of Bengal and faujd'a'r of Maksusabad in 1700 AD. In the following year he became diwan of Orissa and faujdar of both Midnapore and Orissa. He was also appointed diwan of Prince Azim';s j'a'gir. As the finance department was under the diwan';s jurisdiction the Nazim had no power on it. But Azim-us-Shan';s sole aim was to amass money and he laid his hands on the state revenue. Karatalab Khan refused to let the Nazim interfere with imperial revenue matters. So dissension broke out between the Diwan and the Nazim who even conspired to murder the diwan. But because of Kartalab Khan';s courage and tact the conspiracy of the Prince failed. With due permission of the emperor the diwan removed the revenue office from Dhaka to Maksusabad and renamed the city murshidabad. Receiving a detailed report about the incident from Kartalab Khan, the emperor cancelled Prince Azim';s appointment. Instead he asked Kartalab Khan to take charge of the executive administration of Orissa. Aurangzeb ordered Azim to move to Bihar. Under the order of the emperor he transferred the capital in 1703 to Rajmahal and then to Patna. He was permitted to rename Patna 'Azimabad'; after his own name. farrukh siyar, his son, lived at Dhaka as his deputy. [Anjali Chatterjee] [Chatterjee, Anjali Kamala Nehru College, New Delhi]