Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2005


A Short Historical Narration of East Bengal and Aassam with special treatment of Dhaka (Revised and Enlarged Second Edition)


Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2005


"Fear not if the pearls are scattered unstrung; they only await to be re-strung in better order".



This edition was published in 1956 and should be read in that context



A Reminiscence (page 322 to page 331) ….


The history of the modern city of Dhaka will remain incomplete if the forgotten incidents connected with the ancestors of the present Nawab family of Dhaka are not left on records. Towards the end of the Nineteenth Century of the Christian Era Kashmiri and Persian merchants had thriving commercial relations with East Bengal especially with the districts of Dhaka, Sylhet and Bakergunj where they had extensive trade in salt and raw hides.

The war­den of the much of this house named Khajeh Abdul Wahab was one of those Kashmiri adventurers who migrated to Sylhet from Delhi in about 1756. That was the time of a great upheaval in Hindustan on account of the last attack upon Delhi by Ahmed Shah Durrany. In Sylhet Abdul Wahab established a prosperous trade on shawls, furs and hides. Sometimes after they started indigo trade in partner­ship with some Europeans. They were already rich merchants and this additional trade in indigo brought about a windfall to their fortune. Their residence in Sylhet occupied a por­tion of the area where now the Sylhet court buildings stand.


Towards the close of the Eighteenth Century two brothers of this family named Khajeh Hafizullah and Khajeh Ahsanullah moved down to Dhaka city and settled in the place called Purab Darwazeh, where the battered remains of their  walls could still be seen.


In about 1813 Khajeh Ahsanullah left for Mecca for pilgrimage after leaving his son Khajeh  Alimullah in charge of his uncle Khajeh Hafizullah. Ahsanullah died in Mecca. He was a very learned man and possessed a spiritual trend of mind. He had initiated many disciples in Dhaka. It was Khajeh Hafizullah who started investing his wealth by purchasing estates of some hereditary muslim zemindars of East Bengal who were then on the verge of collapse. Thereafter many other muslim nobilities of Bengal entrusted their wealth and wakf pro­perties to Alimullah, and made him the Mutwalli of their properties. All these estates spread over the districts of Dhaka, Mymensingh, Bakergunj, Tipperah and Pabna. His successor added some more estates to them. The gross income of these estates came to about 24 lacs of rupee per year. Khajeh Alimullah died in 1854. In about


1835 Khajeh Alimullah purchased the French factory buildings on the riverbank at Kumartuli which is now known as Ahsan Munzil. Before French people one Sheikh Inayet­uIlah, a luxurious zeminder of Jalaldi-Faridpur, had his palatial buildings on this site which was generally known as "Rung-Mahal" (i. e. palace of pleasue). Inayetullah's son Sheikh Mutiullah sold out this land to the French people. Inayetullah's tomb is also within the compound of this building. The big round shaped tank situated to the north-west of Ahsan Munzil was known as "Lewis Jalla” in French time. This was afterwards extended and brought to its present shape.


The western zenana block of Ahsun Munzil which was of oldest constructions, crashed down in the great tornado of 1889 (7th April at 7. 30 p. m.). The violence of this tornado was confined alone to the river ­bank area of this district. The writer's grandfather had informed him that he along with other gentries of this city took part in pulling out from the debris a prominent member of the Nawab family.

  Fortunately, the gentleman only got fainted and escaped with some slight injuries. Both Abdul Ghani and Ahsanullah narrowly escaped a disaster as the building fell down immediately after they ran out. Southern veranda and the street side Naobet Khana fell down in the earthquake of 1897. The time-honoured Naobet lastly chimed its tunes on the gateway at the request of Lord Curzon during 1905-1906. Soon after this incident all the European officials appeared on the scene and Nawab Abdul Ghani pre­sented them a cheque for 25 thousand rupees for immediate relief measures. The whole of Ahsan Munzil was recons­tructed and renovated in 1872 under the supervision of Nawah Abdul Ghani himself, who named the building after his favorite son Khajeh Ahsanullah. In the same year he contributed sixty thousand rupees towards building the Ahsanullah Female Ward in the Mitford Hospital.



 Foreign Agencies (page 25) …..


The English commercial agency was established in Dhaka in 1669 in some thatched houses in Tejgaon. At that time one Mr. Pratt was the English Agent. The officer served under Mirr Jumla on Rs. 500 per month. He was in charge of construction and supervision of war boats and equipments for Mir Jumla's Assam expedition and addi­tionally he also did the Company's work. Some years after, they built a pucca house in Tejgaon in order to protect the Company goods from repeated fires. Most of the Agency buildings in Tejgaon fell down in the earthquake that occurred on the 10th & 11th April, 1812. In 1830 the Company construc­ted a new building in the city itself which is at present occupied by the State Bank of Pakistan. Although the French people were the first to, come to Bengal for trade; but in Dhaka they started their factory in 1726 in Tejgoan. Later, they shifted to the city proper in Kumartuli on the river bank. When the British and French were at war the building was occupied by English people; but was soon after released under the treaty of 1783. Their factory and grounds were afterwards purchased by Khajeh Alimollah in about 1835 when they added more buildings to it which are now known as "Ahsen­Munzil." In 1740 the French people obtained per­mission from the then Nayeb-Nazim Nawazish Muhammed Khan to establish a 'Gunj' (market) in Dhaka. The area is now known as Farashgunj. French people till then mainly traded in Dhaka Muslins. ……



Nawab Gaziuddin Firoz Jung (Page 307)…


Nawab Gaziuddin Firoz Jung began to suffer from Gout and other dirty diseases and died childless of apoplexy in 1844,  .Nawab's properties were sold by public auction. The gorgeous state howdahs of the dynasty with heavy silver mounting upon scarlet bonnet, was purchased by the Basakh weavers of Dhaka who exhibited them in their Janmashtami processions. Many precious and unique jewelry of the house entered o several rich people's houses in Dhaka. A precious emerald called "Dariya-e- Noor" is said to have been purchased by Khajeh Alimullah, the ancestor o the present nawab.


The Husainy Dalan (page 161)……


It is said that in Shuja's time the famous Husainy Dalaan (House of morning for Hazrat Husain) was constructed in Dhaka in 1642 by one Mir Murad .Mir Murad is reported to have been the chief of the royal 'nawara' (fleet of boats). The Imambara is maintained out of an endowment administered by the government from which a yearly grant of Rs.2500 is ­paid on account of Muharram ceremonies to the darogha of the Dalan. Besides this sum the estate of the present Nawab of Dhaka contributes Rs. 1285 per year from their wakf fund for ceremonial functions. …

On the extinction of the Nawab-Nazems of Dhaka the late Khajeh Alimullah and his direct descendents became the Mutawalli of the Imambara. The building is now preserved under the Monument Preservation Act……..


Prominent people of Dhaka (page 341) ….


Mr.Aratoon was an Armenian and was popularly known as "'Shaoqeen Aratoon' and was entitled as Khajeh. He had a. big residential building in Farashgunj on the riverbank where he lived in great luxury. Cock-fighting, pigeon-flying and kite-flying were his favorite hobbies. He was a zemindar of perganah Husainshahi in Mymensingh. His descendants sold out the estates to Khajeh AlimuIIah. They spread out to Calcutta and lived there as big merchants. …


Armenaians in Dhaka (page 351, 352) ….


In rawhide trade Armenians, Iraians, and Kashmiri Khajehs were the pioneers in Bengal. Towards the close the Eighteenth century they started this trade in Bakergunj, a port town of Barisal district. When their business expanded they moved down to Dhaka and made this place important centre of hide-trade.


The Armenian Mr. Nekie Pagose Lived in the Wise House on the Wise Ghat road. When Pagose shif­ted to the "Nekie Sahib Kothi" in Armanitola one Mr. Wise a zemindar and an Indigo planter lived in this house and named it "Wise House". The famous antiquarian civil Sur­geon of Dhaka named Dr. J. P. Wise also lived in this house. After that it remained to be the residence of Nawab of Dhaka's Chief Manager. At present it is occupied by the Bul­Bul Academy of Fine Arts. ….


Trade Industry & Commerce (page 76 & 77)


Yet another highly profitable trade in Dhaka is the raw hide industry. The trade had maintained the monopoly of Muslims in as much as Hindus would not touch cow hides owing to religious prejudice.  Persians, Kashmiri Khajehs and some Armenians initiated its commerce in Bakargunj district towards the  close of the eighteenth century. They purchased raw hides and after preliminary treatment shipped them to many countries of the World. They afterwards started this business in Nalgola in Dhaka in the premises now occupied by Dada Ltd. Khajeh Alimollah and his son Khajieh Abdul Ghani, predecessors of the present Nawab family in company with some Persians conducted this business here. They sold their share to one .Haji Battu of Bangshal. …..

Muhammed Azam Shah Bahadur-The fortress of Aurangabad

(page197- 201)


Immediately on coming to Dhaka the prince started building the fortress palace of Aurangabad, better known as Lalbagh Qila in 1678. Correctly speaking it is not a fort but a palace-fortress with ramparts and bastions. It was perhaps the intention of Aurangzeb to permanently install one of the princes in far-flung Dhaka and to accommodate whom he ordered to build this palace. The prince would have left the building as a most imposing monument of the empire had he not been called away in the middle of its construction. It is said that at the time of his departure he requested Shaesta Khan who succeeded him to complete the work in a befitting way. …..


…. Prince Azam however stayed in the old fort in the Central Jail Compound where he held his durbar in the 'Forty-pillared Hall' (Dewan-e-Chihil-Satun) which was earlier built by Shaesta Khan. There is a square shaped reservoir with concrete edging measuring 236 x 235. The tank has been re-excava­ted by the Police Department and a modern landing ghat made towards its south. The hammam has now disappeared and the durbar hall has now been converted into a Police seargent's quarter. The whole fort enclosure measures 800 x 2000 feet. It was subse­quently made a wakf-endowment by Shaesta Khan. Later on, his heirs and representatives gave it over as a permanent lease to a local committee on a yearly rental of rupees sixty only. The deed was signed on the 2nd November 1844. It was witnessed by the follo­wing prominent * citizens of Dhaka and was executed by Mazherali Khan and Saliha Khanum daughter of Raushanali Khan. The witnesses were:- Mr. Wise, Capt. Chhawatmull, Dr. Taylor, Capt. Winston, Mr. Aratoon, Khajeh Alimullah, Mirza Ghulam Pir, Brajomohon Ray, Nundolal Dutta and Mritunjay Singh.




     Nawab Sir Khajeh Abdul Ghani, K. C. S. I. (page 322 to page 331)


 Khajeh Alimullah had two sons namely, Khajeh Abdul Hakim and Khajeh Abdul Ghani born of different wed­locks. Khajeh Abdul Hakim's son, Khajeh Abdul Alim, was born of Alimullah's first wife, and from his second wife Khajeh Abdul Ghani was born 1813. Having won affection and trust of Alimullah, Abdul Ghani was the head of the family on account of his honesty, and high popularity, He was a very learned man and patron of arts and letters. All the musical talents of both sexes and meritorious Persian and Urdu poets of this used to get allowances from his estate. On account of cordiality and liberal manners he drew respects and admiration from one and all. Although he was not a ruling prince yet the Viceroys and provincial magnates treated him like a ruling prince. In 1867 he became a member of the Vice­roy's Council. Bradly Birt has included the name of Nawab Abdul Ghani in his book entitled "Twelve men of Bengal".

In 1875 both Abdul Ghani and his son Ahsanullah were made Nawabs and in 1817 this title was made hereditary for the eldest male member of the line. In 1876 he was made a K. C. S. I.

He made several contributions towards beneficent and charitable works, not only in this city and elsewhere in Bengal, but also beyond India. He paid handsomely to­wards reconstruction of the Zubedunnahar of Mecca, and for relief of the sufferers of the Russo-Turkish War. Every year they paid free passage money to a large number of pilg­rims to Mecca as an act of virtue and often paid princely donations to flood and famine funds. In this way he stret­ched his helping hands to the needy, especially those who had seen heydays of life but had fallen to evil times.

The water works of Dhaka, foundation of which was laid by Lord Northbrook in 1875 have proved to be of lasting benefit to the people of Dhaka. As the result of this munificence the people will always bless his soul. In order to keep up the joys and cheers of the people he encouraged fetes and patronized sports and wrestling competitions.

The famous Dhaka races were introduced by them with the help of their Eng­lishman Manager, Mr. G. L. Garth, in which the horses of Calcutta Turf also took part. The writer remembers their famous jockeys named Ramshaw and Robinson, who took part in Dhaka races. On two occasions their ponies named "Dariyabaz" and "Shahin-Shah" had won - the Vice­roy's Cup in Calcutta. Those were not the ragged pony races of to-day. Abdul Ghani had a number of local wrestlers under his. employ, who entertained people of Dhaka by demonstration of their physical feats. From the 1st of January, 1877 onward, every New Year their delightful "Shah Bagh" garden wore a gala appearance where music and dancing by famous public women of Dhaka entertained the visitors. Abdul Ghani had a Chae-Khana (tea hall) on the riverbank where every morning from 8 to 10 he treated people with tea. He took advantage of this opportunity to hear grievances of the people, and took mea­sures to remedy them.

Abdul Ghani died in 1896 at the age of 82 years. The writer remembers to have accompanied his cortege which was followed by no less than one lac of people most of whom had tears in their eyes. The writer has a charming recollection of their lavish oriental tables, their smart cavalry guards (then called Turuk-Sawar) with drawn swords, and the pomp and glitter of their assemblies and liveries. Yet then everything looked silent, orderly and disciplined contrary to the present times when disorder and chaos seem to be the order of the time. Their delightfully laid out gardens at Shahbagh, Dilkusha, Motijheel and their country houses and hunting grounds in Narayangunj and Bai­gun bari with zoological sections and gushing fountains are now all withered, blighted and waste. They maintained a costly Portuguese Band Party, who entertained the guests on festive occasions with their European tunes. All of them were later on disbanded. The writer remembers his condescend­ing blue eyes which divulged benevolence and human sym­pathies.


The Muslins or Mull Mull of Dhaka (page 53) ….


Even in the year 1885 Nawab Sir Abdul Ghani of Dhaka, presented

to the then prince of Wales (afterwards Edward Ill) three thans of Muslins, specially made to order in  Dhaka. Each than contained 10 yards and weighed 9.5 tolas.


Education (page 34) ……


Another school was started in Dhaka by a Muslim donor. It was Abdul Ghany Free School. But owing to its bad Entrance results and equally bad administration it closed down after dragging on a ragged existence for 17 or 18 years.


Dhaka Municipality (page 21)……


On the first August, 1864 Dhaka Municipality was inaugurated with the Collector Mr. Skinner as its Chairman. Its members were nominated by government. Amongst its members were Khajeh Abddul Ghani and his son Khajeh Ahsenollah and Syed Abdullah (brother of Nawab Mir Muazzem Hussain of Shaestabad with a number of Hindu gentlemen mostly of the banker class of the city).


From 1884 the system of elected members with a non-official Chairman were introduced. Under this scheme Babu Ananda Chandra Ray the leading lawyer of Dhaka became its Chair­man. After Ananda Chandra Ray, Nawab Khajeh Muhammed Yousuf Khan Bahadur became its Chair­man. The Municipal office was first established in Wise Ghat road. District Board Office was established in anta-ghur maidan in the building of the Armenian Club-since demolished to widen the Victoria Park. Nawab Yousuf continued as Chairman till his death in 1923. ….


Mausoleum of Shah Ali Baghdadi (page 78 &79)….

In Mirpur, about 8 mmiles north-west of the city on the bend of Turag river (a tributary of Booriganga) is the mausoleum of Shah Ali Baghdadi. A 'urs' and a fair is held here in the month of Zil-hajj, where a large number of devotees attend. He was a cele­brated saint who died here in about 1577 after a chillah of 40 days and was buried here in the dilapidated mosque of Bengal's King .Sultan Fateh Shah's time. The Mausoleum was reconstructed by Sufi Shah Muhammedi of Mughbazar Khanqah in the time of Nawab Nusret Jung Nayib-Nazim of Dhaka. Tradition goes to say that the Shah was a prince of Baghdad who being disgusted of gay and glamorous life dedicated himself to the missionary services of  Islam. In course of his itinery he came to Mirpur and settled down there. …..Attached to the mausoleum are a mosque and a refectory constructed by the liberality of Nawb Sir Abdul Ghani of Dhaka


The tomb of Shah Ne'matullah Buthshiken (page 81-82)..


There is an old Pathan mosque in Dilkusha Garden of the Nawab of Dhaka.

This place was formerly known as Shahar Khilgaon. It was an old pre-Moghal site. River Kamalapur- a tributary of Lakhia, flowed down this place.On the northern side of the mosque there is the stepped tomb of Shah Ne'mat­ullah Buthshiken and in the same line there are two other stepped tombs of some saints of the same period. The tombs are caught up by huge banian trees. Tradi­tion says that when the Hindus carried their idols for breathing in the river the images automatically fell down and broke to pieces on account of the effect of the Sufi's spiritual power. The Sufi is there­fore known as 'Buthshiken' (iconoclast).


The Qadam Rasul Mosque (page 345 & page 346)…


Qadam Rasul is a pre-Moghal shrine in Dhaka district, situated on Lakhia river in the village called Nabigunj in perganah Rasulpur .Travellors would be attracted to the place by a colourful building standing upon a high ground (called Damdama). Like many such mausoleums in indo Pakistan the shrine contains a footprint upon a black stone which is said to be the foot-print or prophet Muhammed. In 1580 it was installed here by Masum Khan Kabuli, the general of Isa Khan's army. Islam Khan, Shah Jahan and other princes and umera used to pay their respect to shrine on their way to and from Dhaka city. Ihtemam Khan commander of the Moghal fleet of Islam Khan who, died in Sarail of Mymensingh district was buried in this place. There is a small mosque, a ruined hujra and a langerkhana (reflectory) here. Shah Shuja assigned 80 bigha of land in the vicinity of the shrine for the, upkeep of the mosque. Nawab Nusret Jung of Dhaka visited this mosque off and on and used to keep up his nights of vigil and devotion in this hujra (chamber). The Nawab took a goodd deal of interest for the upkeep of the shrine. The shrine was originally constructed, by Dewan Manawwer Khan, great grandson of Isa Khan Musnud-e-Ala. Formerly a big mela used to be held in the compound of the shrine in the month of Rabi-ul-awwal.


The estate of the present Nawab of Dhaka contributed yearly a good sum of money after its repairs and celebrations


The Mosque of Furrukhsiyar (page 227)…

Furrukhsiyar started building of the Jama mosque of Lalbagh situated within a few yards of the southern gateway of the fort. But its construction was left incomplete, especially its roof which remained covered by wooden planks. In about 1870 Nawab Sir Abdul Ghani of Dhaka (then called Ghani mian) contributed a large sum of money from his wakf fund for construction of its roof. This is the largest mosque in Dhaka which can accommodate 1500 devotees in three rows in its main hall. The mosque through massive has no architectural pretension.

In recent years there had been many structural additions to the mosque. On the ample courtyard of the mosque there are some tombs of respectable citizens of Dhaka of later times. A note about them will be found in the appendix of this book. In the year 1717 Nawab Murshid Quli allotted some neighboring lands with a grant of Rs. 22-8-0 per month for the upkeep of the mosque.


Nawab Sir Khajeh Ahsanullah Bahadur, K. C. I.E. (page 322 to page 331)..


Nawab Abdul Ghani's son, Nawab Sir Ahsanullah Balhadur scrupulously followed the footsteps of his father. Ahsan­ullah had a fair education in Persian, Arabic and Urdu and received good training in English under highly paid European teachers.

Lady Dufferin has given an interesting account of the father and the son in her book "Our Viceregal life in India". In acts of philanthropy the son always vied with the father. In 1896 he endowed sixty thousand rupees towards building and maintenance of the female ward of the Dacca Mitford Hospital. There is no mosque, mausoleum or im­portant public institution in Dhaka which does not bear the stamp of his munificence. The electric installations in Dha­ka (opened in 1901) for which he contributed four lacs of rupee, has been of abiding benefit to the people of this city. He was a member of the Governor Generals' Council in Calcutta where he maintained his dignity so jealously that he never traveled to attend meetings except by special trains or chartered steamers labeled as "Nawab's Special". Euro­peans of high rank took it as an honor to sign names in the elegantly bound gilt edged Visitors Book kept in the hall of the grand stairs of Ahsan Manzil. He was made a C. I. E. and a few years before his death were elevated to the Knight­hood. He was a good Urdu poet, and his poetical name as "Shaheen". He had a very dignified face with attracted res­pect and obedience. He died of heart failure on his barge in December, 1901 in the Ramzan month. Out of his three sons namely Khajeh Hafizullah (B. 1868) Khajeh Salimullah and Khajeh Atiqullah, the first named died in 1884. He was young and very promising. The European community of Dhaka raised a granite obelisk in his affectionate memory in the Victoria Park which is a landmark of this city.


Nawab Sir Khajeh Salimullah Bahadur, G. C. I. E. (page 322 to page 331)…



Khajeh Salimullah was born in 1871. He was not much liked by his father, perhaps on account of his extreme reli­gious proclivities. So he kept himself aloof from him, and the Government in consideration of his family prestige straightway appointed him a Deputy Magistrate in the senior rank. At the time of his father's death he was posted in Mymensingh. On receiving the death news of his father he rushed down to Dhaka on a special train and with the unanimous consent of all parties concerned occupied the place vacated by his father.


 He was a man of religious outlook; like his father was inclined to prodigal liberality. Soon after his installation he encouraged people to start mass education, in consequence of which several night schools were opened in Muslim Mahallas of this city. He observed the 12th of Rabiul Awwal, the Prophet's birthday with a great zeal and in: a very befitting manner, and encouraged town people to do so. On that day all Muslim localities of this city used to he tastefully decorated and illumined. In prob­lems of social and political importance he assembled the Mahalla Sardars of this city and explained to them their position. The Ahsanullah School of Engineering (now a College) is among others, a monument of his full handed bounty. He established Asmatannisa Ward in memory of his grandmother in the Mitford Hospital. Later on he contribu­ted five thousand rupees towards building the present King Edward Memorial ward. The Sir Salimullah Muslim Orphanage is another example of his abiding concern for the wellbeing of the Muslim orphans.


He was the acknowledged leader of the Musulmans of Bengal. During the days of the vicious movement against Lord Curzon's Partition of East Bengal and Assam, this nobleman along with some stalwarts of his party stood as a solid bulwark against the highly organized Hindu bands of India, who with bombs, revolvers and daggers tried to set aside the Partition. Against this Nawab Salimullah organized and addressed meetings in several places of Bengal. In this connection the writer recalls one memorable episode. The Nawab Bahadur was once invited by Nawab Hussian Hyder Choudhury to address a meeting in ComilIa town made elaborate arrangements for our reception. Syed Nawab Ali Choudhury (afterwards a Nawab Bahadur, C. I. E., and an Executive Counciller), Moulvi Abdul Huq of Salar, Moulvi Abdul Hamid Editor, Muslim Chronicle, Mr. Khalil Sabir Chowdhury Ghulam Sattar, Choudhury Ghulam Quddus, Mirza Faqir Muhammed, Fariduddin Ahmed Siddiqui and the writer formed the Nawab Bahadur's party when he visited Comilla. A huge crowd met us at the railway station with flags and placards. As our procession started towards our destination a disorderly and riotous scene was created by the Hindus of the town, and this continued for sometime in which one young Muslim worker was shot dead by a Hindu Sub-Inspector of Police. Two days after, on our way back on a special train as we neared Chandpur we felt a sharp jerk and our train skidded on our left; but it immediately resumed a very slow speed. After reaching Chandpur we learnt that some educated Hindu goondas made a diabolical attempt to derail our train in broad daylight. We thanked our stars for having escaped it major disaster.


The Nawab took a great interest in the progress of Muslim education. On two occasions he invited the All-India Muslim Educational Conference in Dhaka, and personally bore the whole expenses of the g

athering. He lavishly en­tertained the Muslim highlights of India in his Shahbagh garden which at that time had formed into a veritable city of tents. It was under his initiative that the All-India Muslim League took its birth in December 1906 in a meeting presided over by Nawab Viqarul-Mulk Bahadur. It was the first occasion that apart from the Muslim luminaries of Bengal, the writer had seen and moved among 80 many highlights of Muslim India, who gathered together and took part in this memorable deliberation. But alas! Almost all of them are now dead and gone, and their memories have re­mained only to inspire us. The writer hopes that it will be interesting to note below some of their names:


Nawab Muhsin-ul-Mulk, Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk, Nawab Faiazali Khan of Pahasu, Nawab Sir Sadeq Ali Khan (he was perhaps a Prime Minister of some native state), Messrs, Muhammed Ali and Shaukat Ali, Syed AIi Imam, Hasan Imam, Syed Ale Nabi, Haziq-ul-Mulk, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Raja Naoshad Ali, Sahibzadah Aftab Ahmed Khan, Syed Wazir Hasan, Dr. Ziauddin, Mr. Zaferullah Khan, Allama Shibli Numani, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, Shah Suleiman of Phulwari, Moulana Altaf Husain Hali, Justice Sir Shar­fuddin, Justice Shah Din, Shah Abdullah, Khajeh Ghula­mus-Saqlain and a host of others.


If the writer remembers correctly Mr. Abdur Rahman Siddiqui Was one of the prominent young volunteers on this occasion. He afterwards became our Governor in East Pakistan. Nawab Sir Shamsul Huda and Mr. A. K. Fuzlul Huq were the political advisers of the Nawab Bahadur.


In 1904 when Lord Curzon visited Dhaka and remained in Ahsan Munzil as the guest of the Nawab, the writer had observed the Nawab's remarkable power of organization and his profound influence upon the Mussulmans of Bengal. He was first made a Nawab Bahadur, and then made a C. I. E. In the Delhi Durbar of 1911 he was decorated with the insignia of Grand Commander of the Indian Empire (G. C. I.). 

            The British people very seldom awarded this title to people other than Feudatory Chiefs of India. He was a nobleman of high democratic spirit. He mixed freely with high and low alike and accosted them with his peals of laughter. The writer had the privilege to remain with him in many of his social and political activities. He can say with all emphasis that he never came across a more attractive personality. His heart always glowed if he could help a Muslim. He was very liberal in recommending cases of Muslims for some kind of employment. Once the writer pointed out to him that his indiscriminate recommendations might prejudice their value. The Nawab at once replied that "if out of these recommendations only one applicant becomes successful, I should think myself lucky that I have been successful in helping a  Muslim brother.”




This is the great man whose life-sketch I have given in the foregoing lines. Some months before his death the Nawab became intensely religious and grew long beards. The writer gives here an instance of his religious zeal. In a wintry Ramzan night he attended the "Shabinah Tarawih" (in which the whole of 30 chapters of the Quran are recited during the prayer). The writer along with several other enthusiasts followed the Nawab in this adventure in the Dilkusha garden Mosque. After standing behind the Nawab for about an hour, the writer lost his patience and quietly slipped away from the mosque while the Nawab remained standing like a colossuS imbued with all humility before his Creator. The Nawab died in Calcutta on the 16th January, 1916.



Next day his coffin was carried down to Dhaka on a special launch and was interred in his family graveyard of Purab Derwazeh Lane. He left behind some sons and daughters.


His eldest son Nawab Bahadur Khajeh Habibullah succeeded him. For a few years he was in London for training. In course of the First World War, he was in Mesopotemia as an honorary Lieutenant in the British Army; but soon after he G returned and occupied his father's guddi. He was an elected mem­ber of the Bengal Assembly, and on two occasions worked as Minister. He died in 1959.


His eldest son Nawab Bahadur Khajeh Hasan Asked has succeeded him. He became a Major in the Pakistan Army. Just at present he is one of the Ministers in the government of East Pakistan. Their vast estate, except their family Wakf has been absorbed un­der the State Acquisition Act. The ground floor area of their picturesque Ahsan Munzil is now nothing but a cluster of refugee hovels with jute-sack screens to cover the shame ;-


Tomb of Sheikh Malik Pir Yemeni (page 80)…


The tomb of Sheikh Malik Pir Yemeni is situated in Purana Paltan at the bend of the road towards the Provincial Secretariat. This great sage came to Bengal in the company of Sheikh Jalaluddin Tabrezi in early Fourteenth century and Sheikh Malik Pir settled in Dhaka. I may note here that the missionary activities of the great Sufis spread in Bengal in great intensity in the reigns of Khalji Sultans and it reached its zenith in the time of Sultan Alauddin Khalji. The mausoleum was constructed by Nawab Sir Khajeh Salimollah of Dhaka. ….


The Partition of East Bengal and Assam (Introduction page XXVII-XXIX)

From the 1st of October, 1905 as the result of Partition of Bengal and Assam by Lord Curzon, Dhaka once again came to limelight as the capital of East Bengal and Assam comprising Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi divisions and almost the whole of Assam with Shillong as the summer capital. Sir Bamfylde Fuller (who was the Chief Commissioner of Assam) was appointed the first Lt. Governor of this new pro­vince. This arrangement formed a homogeneous and overwhelmingly Muslim province and raised a bright prospect of our growth and progress. The Mussalmans saw in the Partition their social, political and economic emancipation. But the Hindu intelligentia could not allow the Muslims to thrive so easily at their cost; mainly because it was the agricultural wealth of East Bengal that contributed· to the prosperity of Calcutta where they played their ducks and drakes with the wealth of East Bengal. As their poc­kets were touched, their rank and file and their press set up a most rabid agitation in the garb of 'Indian Nationalism' throughout Hindu India in order to annul the Partition. This sinister movement was sponsored and conducted by Babus Surendranath Bane­rjee (afterwards Knighted) and Bepin Chandra Pal, the then leaders and demagogues of Hind~ youths. They started boycotting and burning of British-made goods on account of which the Mills of Lancashire were affected. The terrorist and their secret organizations began to harass the English people by the use of bombs and revolvers. Their educated gangsters started committing dacoities in order to create a sense of insecurity in the country and also to build up a 'Notional Fund' on the pattern of the historic Sanyasi marauders of Bengal. Consequently British people were compelled to 'Unsettle the settled fact' of the Partition of Bengal. The annulment was announced by the King­ Emperor George the Fifth, in his spectacular Durbar of Delhi in December 1911. As the result, the metropolis of British India was removed from Calcutta to Delhi. Bengal was given the status of Presidencies like Bombay, Madras, Bihar and Assam were each made a separate province. After spending about ten crores of rupees on buildings in Dhaka, East Bengal was again handed over to the 'Babus' of Calcutta for their exploitation, from the First of April, 1912. Poor Muslims were dumbfounded by the latest fraud played upon them by their so-called British friends. At that time the late lamented Nawab Sir Khajeh Salimullah* Bahadur of Dhaka was the accredited leader of the Mussulmans of Bengal. When on the occasion of the Delhi Durbar the sop (1) of a Grand Commander of the Indian Empire was bestowed on him in order to pacify him, the Nawab in a state of exasperation exclaimed ,'It is a halter of shame with which I have to hang myself." We remember with legitimate pride that it was this noblemen who, for the first time aroused in us our political consciousness. Before his time Muslim politics in Bengal consisted only in presenting a few respectfully worded valedictory addresses to viceroys and governors and in feting them. We however thank our non-Muslim politicians who by their antagonistic activities awoke in us our latent sense of right and dignity. This writer from his own experience of long years can say that from the time of Partition of Bengal there have been remarkable changes in our political outlook and in the habits, customs and usages of the Mussulmans of Bengal many of whom till then blindly imitated the non-Muslims of Bengal. In course of about two centuries of foreign domination we completely forgot that politically and culturally we were altogether a separate entity. Our conception of religion, our ideals of civilization, our traditions and our food and dress had nothing in common with our non-Muslim friends of India. In spite of that we always wanted to live in peace with them as friends and develop our own way of life. But they always put insurmountable difficulties in our way.

* See App.

1. Inorder further to appease Muslim sentiments, Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, the then Viceroy of India, came down to Dhaka in 1912 and announced the creation of the Dhaka University. The University began to function from 1920 and its classes actually stinted from 1st July 1921. On account of b,tter oppoistion of the Hindus, its affiliating jurisdiction was restricted within 5 miles radius of the University and this continued till 1'1"1'1'111 lillie when il was changed. For a long time afterwards the Hindu 1I11l1l1l1l1lly Inllll'l\ tld~ I luil"'I'Mily 11M lhl': "M"(Ta University."



Taifoor, Syed Muhammed (1885-1972) author, antiquarian, historian. Syed Muhammed Taifoor. born on 3 June 1885 in Dhaka. His father Syed Abdul Aziz and grandfather Mir Gholam Mustafa al-Hosieny were zamindars at sonargaon. Taifoor claimed his descent from the famous saint of Sonargaon, ibrahim danishmand. Eeducated at Madrasas in Dhaka and Calcutta and was well versed in Bangla, English, Urdu and Persian languages. In 1909  joined the government service as a Sub Registrar and worked all over what is now Bangladesh and retired as Registrar of Calcutta in 1942. In 1941 the British Government bestowed the title of 'Khan Shaheb'. In 1947 during the anti-British movement  renounced this title in protest.

Member Director of Eden College, member of the Dhaka Secondary and Intermediate Board, Director of Jagannath College and member of Dhaka Improvement Trust. He was closely associated with the Dhaka Museum since its beginning and was a member of the museum's Trustee Board. He donated a number of his collections to the museum: 209 ancient and Mughal coins, artefacts and armoury from eastern India. In addition he donated rare books, and Arabic and Persian manuscripts to the asiatic society of Pakistan (now Bangladesh), of which he was a founder member.