Mir Jafar


Mir Jafar Ali Khan, commonly known as Mir Jafar, was the army chief (Bakhshi) of Alivardi Khan the Nawab of Bengal. In Battle of Plassey he ordered Bengal army not to fight against the British and thus Bengal fell under the British rule that lasted for next two hundred years. In the annals of history of Bengal, he is, therefore, notoriously recorded as a traitor.

Mir Jafar did not belong to a well off family. As a penniless person he started a job in the army of Nawab Alivardi Khan and ascended the ranks all the way to his confidant so much so that he married his sister and was raised him to the designation of Bakhshi (the army chief). Mir Jaffar was an ambitious man and he conspired with Ataullah (the faujdar of Rajmahal) to overthrow and murder Nawab Ali Vardi Khan; nonetheless the conspiracy was unsuccessful.

After the death of Ali Vardi Khan, Siraj-ud-Daulah became the Nawab of Bengal. Mir Jaffar culminated differences with Siraj due to his political and administrative decisions and became determined to overthrow him. Therefore, Mir Jaffar made a secret treaty on 1 May 1757 with the British Calcutta Council, who promised to place him on the throne of Bengal. William Watts, the chief of the British factory at Cossimbazar conducted the conspiracy with remarkable diplomatic skill and secrecy. On 5 June 1757 he personally visited Mir Jafar and obtained his oath of allegiance. Consequently in the battle of Plassy Mir Jaffar sided with the British and Siraj ud Daula was deposed and later executed. It was due to his conspiracy that not only Bengal but also the whole of India was occupied by the British.

After the death of Siraj, Mir Jafar became the puppet Nawab Bengal throne. When he realized that the demands of the British had reached beyond his expectations, he tried to emancipate himself from their hold with the help of the Dutch. The British defeated the Dutch at Chinsurah and replaced Mir Jafar with his son-in-law, Mir Qasim. Being unable to come to their terms, he was also overthrown after a fight with the British. Mir Jafar was shrewd enough to get the favor of the British again and he was appointed Nawab in 1763 and held the position until his death in 1765.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006