Monday, 1 October 2018

The Tomb of Alivardi Khan,Murshidabad - the early Nawab of Bengal

The town of Murshidabad, once the capital of  Bengal Nawabs centuries ago, has so many historical monuments and the growth and development of colonial rule had a close link with this part of Bengal. Among the monuments, the tomb of Alivardi Khan, the last Nawab of free India is an interesting one. 
Tomb of Alivardi Khan, Murshidabad, W.Bengal murshidabadtravel.blogspot.com
Tomb of Alivardi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, is a popular cemetery located in the Khushbagh area on the west bank
Tomb of Siraj-ud-dualah, W. Bengal. en.wikipedia.org
 of the Bhagirathi river. Also known as Khushbagh or Garden of Happiness,the tomb is just across Lalbagh and the tourists have to cross the river from Lalbagh area to access the tomb.  Besides Alivardi Khan, this place is also known to be the burial place of his mother, his grandson, Nawab Siraj-ud-Dulah and his grandson's wife Luff-un-nisa. The Tomb of Alivardi Khan hosts the graves of the rulers of Bengal who belong to the Afsar familyThough it is an ordinary tomb of the great Nawab Aliwardi, it is a big one  inside the old building.
Alivardi Khan tomb, Murshidbad, W.Bengal. astrolika.com
The garden, with walled enclosures  was built by the first Nawab of Bengal, Nawab Alivardi Khan. The outer walls had looped holes for musketry and used to be flanked by octagonal bastions. The graves are in the midst of  garden and the graves of Siraj ud-Daulah and Alivardi Khan  are inside a square, flat-roofed mausoleum surrounded by an arcade verandah.  Also located inside the garden is a mosque built by Nawab Alivardi Khan, on the model of Jama Masjid of Delhi. It stands  on a plinth of 2,675 square feet (248.5 m2) area.
Mushidabad, W.Bengal- Mosque.Aliwardi Khan tomb complex. . tippadvisor. com
It is said that upon  the death of Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, his wife Lutf-un-nisa fled to Dacca (present day Dhaka to avoid becoming  a woman in  Mir Jafar's harem. When time was ripe, she returned to Murshidabad. and  tended the grave and the 108 varieties of roses in the garden. She also spent money from her pocket to maintain  the Khushbagh for  several years. After her death in 1786 AD, she was buried near the grave of Siraj-ud-Daulah, her husband. The entire graveyard stands on a plot of  7.65 acres of land.  
A poignant fact associated with this grave yard is 32 of 34  people buried  here were murdered by Mir Zafar's son Miran. Except the grave of Dansa Fakir, all were the relatives of  Siraj including Alivardi, Siraj, Lutfa etc. When the East India company under Robert Clive wanted to control Bengal and it resources, they succeeded in setting Mir Zafar against  Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah who refused to toe the line of the British. After the war at Plassey (1757), Mir Zafar became a traitor and had Siraj and his loyal associates  killed, so that he could become the Nawab and enjoy all the trappings that the highest position would offer.  

The other graveyard - Jafarganj Cemetery has the graves of the later Nawabs, starting from Mir Jafar, who belonged to the Najafi dynasty and their family members
Portrait of Allahwerdi Khan en.wikipedia.org
Above image:  Alivardi Khan (1671- 9 April 1756) was the Nawab of Bengal during 1740–1756.  He succeeded in toppling the Nasiri Dynasty of  Nawabs and  and assumed vast powers as the Nawab. His father was an Arab - Shah Quli Khan (Mirza Muhammad Madani; an employee of Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb)) and his mother was the daughter of Nawab Aqil Khan Afshar (Mir Muhammad Askari) and hence came in the line of Mogul. Alivardi's birth name was Mirza Muhammad Ali.  Azam Shah also employed the sons of Mirza Muhammad. But after Azam Shah' death, the family became poor. His two sons Muhammad Ali and Mirza Ahmed later got a job under the Subahdar (Provincial governor) of Orissa, Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan. When Shuja-ud-Din became the Nawab of Bengal, the two brothers became powerful.  Shuja-ud-Din in 1728  Muhammad Ali Faujdar of Rajmahal and gave him the title 'Alivardi Khan'. In the battle of Giria in April 1740, Alivardi Khan defeated the Nawab of Bengal Sarfaraz khan and took control of Bengal and Bihar. Later in March 1741, he defeated the ruler of Orissa and took control over it. The Battle of Burdwan in 1747 was a major victory for Alivardi Khan against the mighty Maratha army led by Janoji Bhonsale. 
Alivardi Khan was a patron of  musical instruments such as Veena and Khol drums. He also patronised the Shahnameh - the world's largest epic poem in Persian written by a single poet - Persian Ferdowsi in the 10th to 11th century consisting of 50000 couplets.
He, also for the first time, put the artillery on large movable platforms driven by oxen. He died at a ripe age of 84 at Murshidabad and was born in the Deccan region.  
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alivardi_Khan
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g2287525-d3913055-r569883785-Tomb_of_Alivardi_Khan-Murshidabad_Murshidabad_District_West_Bengal.html#
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khushbagh