Siraj ud-Daulah
Nawab of Bengal
Siraj ud-Daulah
Mirza Muhammad Siraj ud-Daulah, more commonly known as Siraj ud-Daulah, was the last independent Nawab of Bengal. The end of his reign marked the start of British East India Company rule over Bengal and later almost all of South Asia. He was sometimes called, and his name rendered, "Sir Roger Dowler" or "Sir Roger Dowlah" by some of his British contemporaries, and "Sau Raja Dowla" by John Holwell.
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  • 1757
    Age 24
    Died in 1757.
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    Siraj-ud-Daulah was executed on July 2, 1757 by Mohammad Ali Beg under orders from Mir Miran, son of Mir Jafar in Namak Haram Deorhi as part of the agreement between Mir Jafar and the British East India Company.
    More Details Hide Details Siraj-ud-Daulah's tomb can be found at Khushbagh, Murshidabad. It is marked with a simple but elegant one-storied mausoleum, surrounded by gardens. Siraj ud-Daulah is usually seen as a freedom fighter in modern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for his opposition to the beginning of British rule over India. As a teenager, he led a reckless life, which came to the notice of his grandfather. But keeping a promise he made to his grandfather on his deathbed, he gave up gambling and drinking alcohol completely after taking the title Nawab of Bengal. Young Siraj ud-Daulah was of olive skin complexion, he was slim and tall and kept shoulder-length black hair, he wore the finest silk and cotton, Kaftans and Sherwanis; he is known to have been hostile to his most devoted advisers, he blindly trusted very few people and often insulted and defamed his foes and rivals including the British.
    On 23 June 1757 Siraj-ud-Daulah called on Mir Jafar because he was saddened by the sudden fall of Mir Mardan who was a very dear companion of Siraj in battles.
    More Details Hide Details The Nawab asked for help from Mir Jafar. Mir Jafar advised Siraj to retreat for that day. The Nawab made the blunder in giving the order to stop the fight. Following his command, the soldiers of the Nawab were returning to their camps. At that time, Robert Clive attacked the soldiers with his army. At such a sudden attack, the army of Siraj became indisciplined and could think of no way to fight. So all fled away in such a situation. Betrayed by a conspiracy plotted by Jagat Seth, Mir Jafar, Krishna Chandra, Umi Chand etc., he lost the battle and had to escape. He went first to Murshidabad and then to Patna by boat, but was eventually arrested by Mir Jafar's soldiers.
    Betrayed by Mir Jafar, then commander of Nawab's army, Siraj lost the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757.
    More Details Hide Details The forces of the East India Company under Robert Clive invaded and the administration of Bengal fell into the hands of the Company.
  • 1756
    Age 23
    The Company did not heed his directives, so Siraj-ud Daulah retaliated and captured Kolkata (Shortly renamed as Alinagar) from the British in June 1756.The Nawab gathered his forces together and took Fort William.
    More Details Hide Details The captives numbered 64 to 69 people, and they were placed in the cell as a temporary holding by a local commander. But there was confusion in the Indian chain of command, and the captives were unintentionally left there overnight. No more than 43 of the garrison at Fort William was unaccounted for afterwards; therefore, at most 43 people died in the Black Hole. The British—at the very least Holwell and other East India Company officials who knew the truth—did overstate what happened, exaggerating the number of casualties and the motivations of the Indians. On the other hand, the Indians did force over five dozen people into a cell that was designed to hold maybe six, and then promptly, though accidentally, forgot about them and let them swelter and starve. Sir William Meredith, during the Parliamentary inquiry into Robert Clive's actions in India, vindicated Siraj ud-Daulah of any charges surrounding the Black Hole incident: A peace was however agreed upon with Siraj ud -Dowlah, who generously condoned and pardoned the aggressive excesses of the officials and subordinates of the British East India Company, towards the authority and power of the Nawab Of Bengal, and the persons who went as ambassadors to confirm that peace, formed a conspiracy, by which he was deprived of his kingdom and his life.
    Siraj succeeded Alivardi Khan as the Nawab in April 1756 at the age of 23, under the titles of Mansur-ul-Mulk (Victory of the Country), Siraj ud (Light of the State) and Hybut Jang (Horror in War).
    More Details Hide Details Siraj-ud-Daulah's nomination to the Nawabship aroused the jealousy and enmity of his maternal aunt, Ghaseti Begum (Mehar-un-nisa Begum), Mir Jafar and Shaukat Jung (Siraj's cousin). Ghaseti Begum possessed huge wealth, which was the source of her influence and strength. Apprehending serious opposition from her, Siraj ud-Daulah seized her wealth from Motijheel Palace and placed her under confinement. The Nawab also made changes in high government positions giving them his own favourites. Mir Mardan was appointed Bakshi (Paymaster of the army) in place of Mir Jafar. Mohanlal was elevated to the rank of peshkar of his Dewan Khana and he exercised great influence in the administration. Eventually Siraj suppressed Shaukat Jang, governor of Purnia, who was killed in a clash. Siraj, as the direct political disciple of his grandfather, was aware of the global British interest in colonization and hence, resented the British politico-military presence in Bengal represented by the British East India Company. He was annoyed at the company's alleged involvement with and instigation of some members of his own court in a conspiracy to oust him. His charges against the company were mainly threefold. Firstly, that they strengthened the fortification around the Fort William without any intimation and approval; secondly, that they grossly abused the trade privileges granted to them by the Mughal rulers, which caused heavy loss of customs duties for the government; and thirdly, that they gave shelter to some of his officers, for example Krishnadas, son of Rajballav, who fled Dhaka after misappropriating government funds.
  • 1752
    Age 19
    In May 1752, Alivardi Khan declared Siraj as his successor.
    More Details Hide Details Alivardi Khan's died on 10 April 1756 at the age of eighty.
  • 1746
    Age 13
    Young Siraj also accompanied Alivardi on his military ventures against the Marathas in 1746.
    More Details Hide Details Siraj was regarded as the "fortune child" of the family. Since birth Siraj, had special affection from his grandfather.
  • 1733
    Age 0
    Siraj was born to Zain ud-Din Ahmed Khan and Amina Begum in 1733, and soon after his birth, Siraj's maternal grandfather, was appointed the Deputy Governor of Bihar.
    More Details Hide Details Accordingly, he was raised at the Nawab's palace with all necessary education and training suitable for a future Nawab.
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