Suja-ud-Daulla সুজা-উদ-দৌল্লা (1727-1739 AD)

S huja Khan or Suja-ud-Daulla or Suja-ud-din Muhammad Khan, ascended the masnad (throne) of Murshidabad after the death of his father-in-law Murshid Quli Khan. He was the son of Nawab Jan Muhammad Khan and was born in Burhanpur in Deccan, and came from the celebrated Turkish family of Khorasan, like Nadir Shah and Shah Jahan.

Shuja Khan was brought up by Murshid Quli Khan, who married to him his only daughter, Zainab-un-nisa Begum or Azim-un-nisa Begum and approved him Naib Dewan of Orissa and then Naib Nazim. Shuja Khan obtained the title of 'Motamul-ul-Mulk, Suja-ud-Daulla, Asad Jang (Guardian of the country, Hero of the State, Lion in War)', together with the insignia of rank, namely Hast Hazari (commander of eight thousand horses), with seven thousand troopers, besides a fringed Palki, together with the insignia of Mahi-Maratib and other honours like a Khillut consistiug of six pieces of robes, precious stones, a jewel-mounted sword, and a Royal elephant with a horse. Shuja-ud-Daulla is remembered as the most successful Nawab of Bengal in the 18th century. He was endowed with experience and tactic to handle a vast array of circumstances which was a policy he learned well from his father-in-law. Under his reign there began an era of secularism in Bengal as important position was given to the Hindus.
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Rise to Power

Murshid Quli Khan did not have a direct heir so he nominated his maternal grandson Sarfaraz Khan at the throne of Bengal. At that time Suja-ud-Daulla was the Subahdar of Orissa and Alivardi Khan was his deputy. Murshid Quli Khan was not pleased with the friendly policies that Suja-ud-Daulla adopted and thus bestowed the responsibility of Bengal on his grand son Sarfaraz Khan. But Suja-ud-Daulla was not quite pleased with the idea of being employed under his son. With encouragement from Alivardi Khan and his brother Haji Ahmed, Suja-ud-Daulla decided to take over the throne of his father-in-law. He also sought permission and support from Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah in Delhi, who readily agreed to help him. He made all due preparations and three days after Murshid Quli Khan's death Suja-ud-Daulla enthroned himself as the Nawab. Alivardi Khan supported him with his army. Suja-ud-Daulla or Suja-ud-din Muhammad Khan ascended the throne of Bengal by August, 1727 AD and  was recognised as the second Nawab of Bengal.
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Suja-ud-Daulla followed a policy of friendship towards the Zamindars and set free those who were imprisoned during the past regime. Collectors who were found guilty of harnessing land revenue by oppressive means were summarily dealt with and punished. Suja-ud-Daulla collected 1.50 crore taka from the Zamindars and sent the amount to the imperial treasury of Delhi through Fateh Chand. He conferred the office of Dewan upon his son Sarfaraz Khan, and the administration of Orissa upon his other son, Mohamed Taki; confirmed his son-in-law as Deputy Governor of Dacca and gave to the three sons of his chief counselor, Haji Ahmed brother of Alivardi Khan, Nawajesh Muhammad, Syud Ahmed and Zainuddin, the posts of pay master General, Faujdar ফৌজদার of Rangpore and Faujdar of Bengal respectively. In 1739 AD, the last year of his reign, he gave the Governorship of Patna to Alivardi Khan, and formally appointed, Sarfaraz Khan his successor, enjoining upon him to follow the advice of Haji Ahmed, Alam Chand and Jagat Seth.

Suja-ud-Daulla was an impartial and just ruler. He was kind and liberal to his officials - civil and military. Some administrative reorganisation took place during the time of Suja-ud-Daulla. In 1733 Bihar was added to the Bengal Subah. Nawab Suja-ud-Daulla divided the provinces into four divisions: (a) central division consisting of west Bengal, north Bengal and central Bengal; (b) Dhaka division consisting of east and south Bengal, a small portion of north Bengal and the districts of Sylhet and Chittagong; (c) Bihar and (d) Orissa. The central division was administered directly by the nawab who was assisted by a council of advisers. Other divisions were placed in charge of a Naib Nazim or naib Subahdar.

During the administration of Nawab Suja-ud-Daulla, the income from the revenue of the three Subahs was Rs 4,44,24,223; this accords with that collected by Nawab Murshid Kuli Khan; but there was an increase of Rs 2,17,295, on account of duties in 1738. This was exclusive of the stipends of the Nazim and other officers. The income of the stipends, that is jagir's, of the Omrahs was thus made up of :
From Bengal 5,82,08,500


  Orissa 2,38,25,300  
  Bihar 4,45,90,020  
  Fulwari of Rohtas 4,00,000  
Or Rs. 31,75,596 taking 40 Dams to the rupee.
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Lifestyle and Character

The new year's day, Mohamed's birthday, and the two Ids were celebrated with royal splendour, and on these occasions the Nawab was dressed in brocade set with valuable jewels, adorned with strings of pearls round his neck, and a surpeck or turban with "jigha" on his head; sitting in a "palki" with fringes, or on an elephant with golden howdah and brocade canopy. He was followed by "Jhapank" and "Nalki", field-officers, risaldars, tumandars, omrahs and grandees, slaves from Africa, Turkistan, Kurdistan, with flags of many colours; eunuchs, punkah pullers, "fistas" wavers, sword and shield bearers, Asaburdars, Sontaburdars, yasawals, jelodars, chaushans, tarrakoo goyans, horses of Arabia, Irrakia, with harness of gold, gold-worked saddles; elephants, beautiful and majestic, with golden letters on embroidered coverings, silken ropes, and golden rods to drive them; drum beaters, Kurnachians, Sarnachians, jalajul strikers, tury singers, flags, and other insignia; flag bearers, with gold and silver standards. Then came nowbat-nawazans, ramishgarans, singers, and kurtal, surnal, sherpanja, ektara, and brass cannons, every piece in its proper place both right and left, front and back, moving in measured paces, was the train that on festival days accompanied him.

The Subahdar distributed alms like showers of rain to the poor that flocked to him on all sides, unchecked. He answered the salams (bows) of the people with both hands. Surveyors with silken ropes measured the way, and at every mile shouted out the distance. All this was a sight of which the solemnity and grandeur can hardly be conceived or described. A corps of twenty-five thousand cavalry, and as many infantry, constantly moved with him wherever he went, and if a detachment of this force was deputed to any necessary duty, it had to return and take its place as soon as the work was over.

Rewards and favours were constantly distributed among the followers and their hearts gained; the troops were kept happy, and the officers and commanders constantly shared the bounties of the Nawab's plentiful table. His servants and dependants always received the benefit of his generosity, so much so that even the sweepers, fan bearers, and standard bearers received elephants as rewards. Of money, the lowest gift to the lowest menial would often amount to not less than five hundred rupees. To the learned and virtuous he was a warm friend, to the religious and godly he was respectful and generous. In justice he was impartial; to reward merit and punish the wicked he was ever ready. Morad and Nazir Ahmed were two men, the creatures of Murshid Kuli Khan, notorious for oppression and cruelty. Suja-ud-Daulla ordered their conduct to be closely investigated, and finding them guilty, condemned them to death and confiscated their property.
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Art & culture

Suja-ud-Daulla was a charitable, just and impartial ruler, and gave great encouragement to learning. He was also a patron of art and culture. On His death bed he asked forgiveness of his attendants and passed away in 1739 AD. Suja-ud-daulla destroyed the famous palace 'Chahel Setun' (means literally 'forty-pillared'. It was a large building, intended as a Public Audience Hall) built by his father-in-law, and built many famous buildings like Mahalsarai or harem, Tripolia Gate, Private Hall (Khilwat Khana), Mamo House, Rooh-af-za, Public Office, a Revenue Court ('The Dewan Khana' a building containing the office of Dewan or Finance Minister), a Court of Chancery (Khalisah Kacheri, the "Court of Exchequer", or the Revenue Court or Revenue Board in respect of Crown-land Affairs), a Court of Justice (Farmanbari)..etc and the magnificent garden Farah Bagh (garden of pleasure) on the banks of river Bhagirathi. After Executing Nazir Ahmed and Murad Farash, the employes of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, who were notorious, Suja-ud-Daulla confiscated their effects. Nazir Ahmed had laid the foundation of a Mosque with a garden at Dahapara on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. Suja-ud-Daulla tastefully embellished this garden by building therein grand palaces with reservoirs, canals and numerous fountains and named it Farah Bagh. Suja-ud-Daulla used to frequently resort for promenades and picnics in this paradise-like garden, and held there pleasure parties and other entertainments. Every year in that beautiful garden, he used to give a State Banquet to the educated section of his State Officers. It is said that there were around 140 varieties of mango trees planted here.

Myth about Farah Bagh

It is said that owing to the superb charmfulness of that garden, Fairies used to come down there for picnics and walks, and to bathe in its tanks. The guards on getting scent of this, informed Suja-ud-Daulla. Dreading mischief from the genii, the Nawab filled up the tanks with earth, and discontinued his picnics in that garden.
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Death and Succession

Roshni Bagh Tomb
Roshni Bagh
In 1732 (1144 A.H.), during the great perturbation caused by the approach of Nadir Shah, Suja-ud-Daulla fell ill, and feeling the near approach of death, sent Durdana Begum and her son, to Orissa. He then appointed his son Sarfaraz Khan his heir and successor, and enjoined him to regard Haji Ahmed, Roy Royan Alam Chand, and Jagat Seth as his steadfast counsellors. He was to follow their advice in all affairs of moment. Although Sarfaraz Khan bore no cordiality towards these men, yet for fear of offending his dying father he promised to obey his commands. Suja-ud-Daulla died in 26th August 1739 AD. He was buried at Roshni Bagh (garden of lights) near Farah Bagh.
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Family Tree :: Nasiri Dynasty

Shuja-ud-din Muhammad Khan [Mirza Deccani], son of Nawab Jan Muhammad Khan [Mirza Nur ud-din Muhammad] married (first) Zainab-un-nisa Begum Sahiba [Azim-un-nisa Begum] (d/o Murshid Quli Khan and Nasiri Banu Begum). Married (second) before 1712 Azmat-un-nisa Begum Sahiba [Zinat-un-nisa] (eldest d/o of Murshid Quli Khan and Nasiri Banu Begum). Married (third) Durdana Begum Sahiba. Shuja-ud-daulla died at Murshidabad on 26th August 1739 (burried at Roshni Bagh), having had issue, two sons and two daughters
  • Mirza Asadullah Khan, who succeeded as H.H. Motamad ul-Mulk, Ala ud-Daula, Nawab Sarfaraz Khan Bahadur, Haidar Jang, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (s/o Zainab-un-nisa)
  • Mirza Muhammad Taqi Khan Bahadur (s/o Durdana Begum). Faujdar of Balasore until 1727, Naib Subahdar of Orissa 1727-1734. Buried in Qadam Rasul building at Cuttack, which had been erected by Nawab Suja-ud-Daulla, when the latter was Nazim of Orissa.
  • Nafissa Begum Sahiba married to Nawab Syud Reza Khan Bahadur
Reference : Christopher Buyers, Murshidabad Genealogy, Royal Ark

Page Updated : November 25, 2016 03:04 pm