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Hindu son of Siraj ud-daula, where are his descendants now?

15 November, 2021 16:41:19
Hindu son of Siraj ud-daula, where are his descendants now?

Part 1: Siraj falls in love with Heera, the sister of Mohanlal, his general and a son is born 

BLocated on the west bank of the Bhagirathi River, about a mile upstream from Murshidabad, the former capital of undivided Bengal, lies Khushbagh (literally the ‘Garden of Happiness’) , the garden-cemetery of the Nawabs of Bengal. The serene and somber garden is the final resting place of the rulers of the Afshar dynasty and their family members. It is a big garden, divided into several architectural styles where blooming flowers and foliage reign. The place looks and feels out of the world where you can only hear the birds chirping and leaves rustling.

Entombed here are Nawab Alivardi Khan, the first Nawab of Bengal as well as his grandson and successor, Mirza Muhammad Siraj ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of the subah of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. Behind him is the grave of his brother, and at his feet are two graves, one of his wife, Lutf-un-nisa or Lutfa and the other of his lover, Heera, whom he later married and she was re-christened Aleya Begum. Not much is known of Heera except that she was the sister of Mohanlal. 

Siraj fought against the British Army led by Robert Clive and was routed at the Battle of Plassey on June 23, 1757, mainly because of betrayal by his commander Mir Jafar. Out of the 34 people buried in Khushbagh, 32 were killed in the battle. Only Alivardi Khan and Siraj ud-Daulah’s wife Lutfa died naturally. His defeat marked the beginning of British rule in India. Close to three centuries after Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah was dethroned, his legacy is still shrouded in mystery. Historians have been trying to trace his descendants and they have unearthed evidence that reveal how a branch of his lineage became Hindus. 

Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah’s close associates and confidantes included Mir Jafar, Mir Madan, Khwaja Haadi and Mohanlal. At one point of time, Mir Jafar was replaced by Mir Madan as Bakshi (paymaster of the army) and the decision enraged Mir Jafar. Mohanlal was Siraj’s trusted friend and official who had migrated to Bengal from Kashmir. Siraj elevated him to the rank of peshkar (court clerk) of Dewan-khane, that gave Mohanlal ample power and he exercised great influence in the administration. Mohanlal had a sister named Madhavi aka Heera. Siraj fell in love with Heera and they had a son. But Siraj feared his grandfather, Alivardi Khan’s fury and the very prospect of encountering him made Siraj take a very rash decision. In a bid to shake off his responsibilities, Siraj impulsively did something unimaginable -- he tied his infant son to a saddle fastened to a horse’s back and then let off the horse from the stable. As the horse ran blindly, he hit an arrow and injured the horse’s hind leg. This further aggravated the injured animal and it galloped in fear and pain. The baby’s fate hung in the balance. When Heera got this news, she rushed to her brother pleading him to save the baby. Mohanlal immediately cantered in the direction of the injured horse and managed to stop it and rescue the infant. 

Mohanlal was shocked and enraged by Siraj’s action and decided to leave Murshidabad with his family for good. When Alivardi Khan heard this news, he decided to investigate and find out the reason why Mohanlal was all set to leave his kingdom and soon enough, the cat was out of the bag! But Alivardi was a shrewd man and he knew Mohanlal was loyal, trustworthy and an asset for the kingdom. So, he decided to stall his decision at any cost. He discussed the issue with the Imam and they unanimously announced that if Heera was willing to convert to Islam, she would be married to Siraj. She agreed and they were married. She became Aleya Begum. Alivardi Khan entrusted the responsibility of Aleya and Siraj’s infant son with Mohanlal. 

After the battle of Plassey Siraj was captured and executed. Mohanlal realized Murshidabad was no longer safe for Siraj’s son and his nephew. Taking advantage of the anarchy that reigned the capital, he stealthily left with the six-year-old boy and two of his trusted companions, Basudev and Harananda. They crossed the Padma River and headed for Bekainagar Fort in Myemenshingha. When Mohanlal got information that both Clive and Mir Jafar were hunting for Siraj’s son, he asked Basudev to speak to his uncle, Binod Roy and arrange for a temporary shelter for Siraj’s son at his residence at Amhati village. The boy stayed at Amhati. Meanwhile, Mohanlal spoke to Srikrishna Chowdhury, the zamindar (landlord) of Myemenshingha and offered him to adopt Siraj’s son. Chowdhury gladly consented. 

Mohanlal’s life was also at risk, so disguised as a sadhu, he left with his companions for Rangpur. After spending some time there, they returned to Myemenshingha and he went to meet Srikrishna Chowdhury only to learn that Chowdhury had died. Mohanlal discussed about the adoption of the boy with Chowdhury’s elder son, Krishnakishore, who knew about his father’s decision and consented gladly. His younger brother Krishnagopal had married twice but did not have any progeny. Both the brothers were unaware that the boy their father had adopted was Siraj’s kin. They were told he was the younger son of Binod Roy. A grand ceremony was held to adopt Siraj’s son into the family. He was named Jugalkishore Roy Chowdhury. This is how Nawab Siraj’s son was brought up as a Hindu. 

To be continued

(Source: Professor Dr Amalendu De, legendary historian and former President of Asiatic Society and Indian History Congress. Dr De is considered an authority on history of pre-Independent India with many books to his credit. After 50 years of careful and meticulous research, Professor De not only found out Siraj’s descendants — many of whom are still living and part of well-known families -- but also gave details and chronology as to how the last Nawab’s bloodline followed till date in his book, ‘Sirajer ‘Putro-O-Bangshadharder Sandhane’) 

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