Mir Jafar

For the village in Iran, see Mir Jafar, Iran.
Mir Jafar
Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (Nawab of Bengal)
Shuja ul-Mulk (Hero of the country)
Hashim ud-Daulah (Sword of the state)
Ja'afar 'Ali Khan Bahadur
Mahabat Jang (Horror in War)

Mir Jafar (left) and his eldest son, Mir Miran (right).

2 June 1757 – 20 October 1760

25 July 1763 – 17 January 1765
Predecessor Siraj ud-Daulah
Successor Mir Qasim (after 1760) and Najimuddin Ali Khan (after 1765)
Born 1691
Died January 17, 1765 (aged 74)
Burial Jafarganj Cemetery, Murshidabad
  • Shah Khanum Sahiba (m. 1727, d. August 1779)
  • Munny Begum (m. 1746, d. January 10, 1813)
  • Rahat-un-nisa Begum (Mut'ah wife)
  • Babbu Begum (d. 1809)

Sadiq Ali Khan Bahadur (Mir Miran)
Najimuddin Ali Khan Bahadur
Najabut Ali Khan Bahadur (Mir Phulwari)
Ashraf Ali Khan Bahadur
Mubaraq Ali Khan Bahadur
Hadi Ali Khan Bahadur
Fatima Begum Sahiba
Misri Begum
Roshan-un-nisa Begum Sahiba (Nishani Begum)

Husaini Begum and 2 more daughters.
Full name
Mir Jafar Ali Khan Bahadaur
Dynasty Najafi
Father Sayyid Ahmed Najafi (Mirza Mirak)
Religion Islam

Mir Jafar Ali Khan Bahadur (c. 1691–February 5, 1765) was the first Nawab of Bengal with support from British East India Company. He was the second son of Sayyid Ahmad Najafi. His rule is widely considered the start of British imperialism in India and was a key step in the eventual British domination of vast areas of the subcontinent. Siraj ud-Daulah, the previous Nawab of Bengal along with his army were defeated and killed in the Battle of Plassey by the British due to the betrayal of the commander of Siraj ud-Daulah′s army, Mir Jafar, who betrayed Siraj ud-Daulah to become the next Nawab. Thus after helping the British defeat Siraj ud-Daulah he became the new Nawab of Bengal in 1757 with military support from the British East India Company as a reward for his betrayal. However, Jafar failed to satisfy constant British demands for money. In 1758, Robert Clive discovered that through his agent Khoja Wajid, Jafar had made a treaty with the Dutch at Chinsurah. Dutch ships of war were also seen in the River Hooghly. Circumstances led to the Battle of Chinsurah. British company official Henry Vansittart proposed that since Jafar was unable to cope with the difficulties, Mir Qasim, Jafar's son-in-law, should act as Deputy Subahdar. In October 1760, the company forced him to abdicate in favor of Qasim. However, Qasim's independent spirit and plan to force the East India company out of his dominion led to his overthrow, and Jafar was restored as the Nawab in 1763 with the support of the company. Mir Qasim however refused to accept this and went to war against the company. Jafar ruled until his death on January 17, 1765 and lies buried at the Jafarganj Cemetery in Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

Subedar of the Nawab of Bengal

In 1747 the Marathas led by Raghoji I Bhonsle, began to raid, pillage and annex the territories of the Alivardi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal. During the Maratha invasion of Odisha, its subedar Mir Jafar and Ataullah the faujdar of Rajmahal completely withdrew all forces until the arrival of Alivardi Khan and the Mughal Army at the Battle of Burdwan where Raghoji I Bhonsle and his Maratha forces were completely routed. The enraged Alivardi Khan then dismissed the shamed Mir Jafar.[1]

Nawab of Bengal

Mir Jafar and his son Miran delivering the Treaty of 1757 to William Watts

Mir Jafar pretended loyalty to Alivardi Khan's successor Siraj Ud Daulah, but betrayed him to the British in the battle of Palashi.[2] After Siraj Ud Daulah’s defeat and subsequent execution, Jafar achieved his long-pursued dream of gaining the throne, and was propped up by the British East India company as puppet Nawab. Jafar paid Rs. 17,700,000 as compensation for the attack on Calcutta to the company and traders of the city. In addition, he gave bribes to the officials of the company. Clive, for example received over two million rupees, Watts over one million[3] Soon, however, he realized that company's expectations were boundless and tried to wriggle out from under them; this time with the help of the Dutch. However, the British defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Chinsurah in November 1759 and retaliated by forcing him to abdicate in favor of his son-in-law Mir Qasim. However, Qasim proved to be both able and independent, strongly condemned the interference of East India company in the governing of his domain. Mir Qasim formed an alliance to force East India company out of East India. The Company soon went to war with him and his allies. The Battle of Buxar was fought on 22 October 1764 between the forces under the command of the British East India Company led by Hector Munro and the combined army of Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal: the Nawab of Awadh and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. With the defeat in Buxar, Mir Qasim was eventually overthrown. Mir Jafar managed to regain the good graces of the British; he was again installed Nawab in 1763 and held the position until his death in 1765.

Shah Alam II's attempts to overthrow Mir Jafar

Main article: Treaty of Allahabad
The Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, as a pensioner of the British East India Company, 1781

"Some ill-designing people had turned his brain, and carried him to the eastern part of the Mughal Empire, which would be the cause of much trouble and ruin to our regimes."

Imad-ul-Mulk's letter to Mir Jafar, after the escape of the Mughal crown prince Ali Gauhar.[4]

In the year 1760 after gaining control over Bihar, Odisha and some parts of the Bengal, the Mughal Crown Prince Ali Gauhar and his Mughal Army of 30,000 intended to overthrow Mir Jafar, Imad-ul-Mulk after they tried to capture or kill him by advancing towards Awadh and Patna in 1759. But the conflict soon involved the assertive British East India Company. The Mughals were led by Prince Ali Gauhar, who was accompanied by Muhammad Quli Khan, Hidayat Ali, Mir Afzal and Ghulam Husain Tabatabai. Their forces were reinforced by the forces of Shuja-ud-Daula and Najib-ud-Daula. The Mughals were also joined by Jean Law and 200 Frenchmen and waged a campaign against the British during the Seven Years' War.[5]

Although the French were eventually defeated, the conflict between the British East India Company and the Mughal Empire would continue to linger and ended in a draw, which eventually culminated during the Battle of Buxar.


Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, meeting with Mir Jafar after Plassey, by Francis Hayman.
Lord Clive receiving from the Nawab of Bengal a grant of money for disabled officers and soldiers

The breakup of the centralized Mughal empire by 1750, led to creation of a large number of independent kingdoms (all provinces of the former Mughal empire). Each of them were in conflict with their neighbor. These kingdoms brought weapons from British-French East India company's to fuel their wars. Bengal was one such kingdom. British and French supported the princes whoever ensured their trading interest. Jafar was one such puppet who came to power with support of British East India company. After the defeat of Sirajuddoula and later Mir Qasim the British strengthened their position in Bengal and in 1793 abolished Nizamat (Mughal suzerainty) and took complete control of the former Mughal province. Jafar is widely reviled by the people of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The word "mirjafar" in Bengali and the phrase "meer jafar" in Urdu, are used much as quisling is used in English, and Jaichand of Kannauj in Indian history. Allama Iqbal, in his poetry wrote about his treachery in these words, "Jaffar az Bengal, Sadiq az Deccan; nang-e-deen, nang-e-millat, nang-e-watan" which mean "Jafar(Mir) of Bengal and Sadiq(Mir) of Deccan are a disgrace to the faith, a disgrace to Nation, a disgrace to Country. British with the help of Jafar and Mir Sadiq were able to take control of Bengal and kingdom of Mysore (Sultanat-e-Khuda daad)."

Jafar's great-grandson Iskandar Mirza, who had joined Army in 1920 in Military Police, was appointed and served as the first President of Pakistan.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ "Riyazu-s-salatin", Ghulam Husain Salim - a reference to the appointment of Mohanlal can be found here
  2. ^ "Seir Muaqherin", Ghulam Husain Tabatabai - a reference to the conspiracy can be found here
  3. A website dedicated to Mir Jafar


  1. Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: A-E. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313335372.
  2. Mohammad Shah (2012), "Mir Jafar Ali Khan", in Sirajul Islam and Ahmed A. Jamal, Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.), Asiatic Society of Bangladesh
  3. Modern India by Dr. Bipin Chendra, a publication of National council of Educational Research and Training
  4. Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1852). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 13. University Press. pp. 123–.
  5. O`malley, L.S.S. Bihar And Orissa District Gazetteers Patna. Concept Publishing Company, 1924. ISBN 9788172681210.
  6. Ahsan, Syed Badrul (October 31, 2005). "Iskandar Mirza, Ayub Khan, and October 1958". New Age. Dhaka. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007.
  7. Buyers, Christopher. "Murshidabad family information". The Royal Ark. Archived from the original on 25 April 2006.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mir Jafar.
Mir Jafar
Born: 1691 Died: January 17, 1765
Preceded by
Siraj ud-Daulah (before 1757) and Mir Qasim (before 1763)
Nawab of Bengal
2 June 1757 – 20 October 1760

25 July 1763 – 17 January 1765

Succeeded by
Mir Qasim (after 1760) and Najimuddin Ali Khan (after 1765)
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