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Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur (1867–1919)[1] was an Indian politician who served as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1913 at Karachi conference. He was the third Muslim to hold this position after Badruddin Tyabji and Rahimtulla M. Sayani.

Nawab Syed Muhammad was born in Calcutta as the son of Mir Humayun Jah Bahadur, one of the wealthiest Muslims of South India. Humayun Jah was the son of Shahzadi Shah Rukh Begum, daughter of Sultan Yasin, the fourth son of Tipu Sultan.[1] He had helped the Indian National Congress in its early stages by giving both financial and intellectual support. When the third Indian National Congress was held in 1887, Humayun Bahadur gave monetary help to the Congress leaders. [2]

Nawab Syed Muhammad joined the Indian National Congress in 1894 and became an active member of the organization. In all his speeches and addresses Syed Muhammad convincingly maintained that the Muslims and the Hindus must live like brothers and their different religions must not separate them but bind them together. He sincerely believed that the main aim of the Indian National Congress was to unite the peoples of India into a strong nation.

He was the first Muslim Sheriff of Madras and was appointed as such in 1896. He was nominated to the Madras Legislative Council, in 1900. He was nominated to the Imperial Legislative Council on 19 December 1903 as a non-official member representing the Madras Provinces.[3] Syed Muhammad was awarded the title of "Nawab" in 1897 by the British Government when he attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of Queen Victoria.

He died on 12 February 1919.

The present family now stays in Bangalore. Nawab Syed Mansoor, the son of Syed Asgher. Syed Ahmed, grandson of Nawab Syed Mohammed, was settled in Kolar in 1950. Sahebzada Syed Mansoor married Sahebzadi Raheemunissa, granddaughter of Tipu Sultan from Calcutta. Sahebzada Mansoor Ali started tehreek e khudadad.

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Aurangzeb died in 1707 Aurangzeb died in 1707 A 100 years later Mughal Sultanate had disintegrated The fight for political power in India was on Haider AN and his son Tipu Sultan in the South The Marathas in central, western and northern parts of India even outsiders like the English and French were part of the fray. The English profited after defeating the French The English Governor Clive prepared the ground by forgery and treason At the Battle of Plassey in 1757 Clive defeated Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah of Bengal This was a small battle but it had far-reaching results After the Battle of Buxar in 1764 even the Emperor at Delhi submitted to them and became their pensioner The power of the British in Bengal and Bihar was now unchallenged The representatives of the East India Company The Resident Samuel Middleton and John Johnson of the Calcutta Council We have a message from the Calcutta Council Were the Nawab's assurances communicated to the Council? Yes, of course! However, I regret to inform you that the Council does not recognize your accession How can that be, Sir? The Nawab has assured the Company that he will abide by all the treaties signed between the Company and his late father Nawab Mir Jafar Besides, his accession is perfectly valid since the late Nawab himself crowned him True, but the Company does not recognise it! Is this because the Company wishes to place my nephew Mir Saidu on the throne? Sorry! We are not allowed to discuss that However, I may inform His Excellency that Mir Saidu has many supporters in the Council The outcome depends a great deal on your response Please be open with us What does the Council want from us? How can we convince it? The Council wishes you to sign a new treaty If you wish to receive its continued support Are we not bound by the earlier treaty? The new treaty has a few additional clauses What are they? You will allow the Company to trade without the payment of duty No one else will be allowed to trade in this manner We will only pay a duty of 2.5 per cent on salt How can that be? We tax our people and spare the Company? That does not concern Okay! That‘s not difficult! What else? On the Council's advice you will appoint a Naib Suba who will be the chief officer of the state He will be responsible for the collection of revenue The Treasury is my responsibility We believe that revenue is inefficiently collected This prevents the State from repaying the Company's loans Whom will the Council recommend as Naib Suba The present Naib of Dacca Mohammad Raza Khan That's impossible! We cannot accept him! Raja Nandkumar! Let me make it very clear Raza Khan has the approval of the Council! The man is corrupt! He owes the state Rs.16 lakhs from the Dacca revenue We have a document to prove it Sir! We do not wish to appoint Raza Khan That's the main clause in the new treaty The Council also insists that Its approval be sought before you appoint or dismiss any officer of the State That's impossible! Raja Nandkumar! You are advised to co-opearte The Council has begun hearing charges of your activities against the interest of the Company If these clauses do not suit you then We will reach an understanding with Mir Saidu Please don't misunderstand, We'll do what you say In that case, please send for Raza Khan at once He'll not come to Murshidabad till you order him to and without him you cannot be installed and without him you cannot be installed you are, therefore, ordered to present yourself in our court here in Murshidabad Raja Nandkumar did not try to prevent this? He did, but he had to accept defeat You can proceed to Murshidabad without fear and take up the post of Naib Suba Raja Nandkumar has been discredited It is easier said than done! Raja Nandkumar has pursued me since my early days He turned the late Nawab Mir Jafar against me and forced me to sign that document which proves I stole Rs.16 lakhs from the State Do you think he'll let me go that easily? I am caught in a quandary If I accept, my life and honour is threatened If I don't I'll never be able to leave Dacca again It's a delicate situation I'll have to balance between the State and the Company How can you work with the English traders? Why not? It's possible! You haven't seen the days of Nawab Alivardi Khan Bengal was a well-to-do province then The people were happy The landlords firm but not oppressive Trade was flourishing But all this began to change The nobles began to fight each other Then the English traders and their middlemen Began to loot and ravage the people The States discipline was ruined But none was concerned about it! The situation today is worse I thought if I took on the position I could restore the order of Nawab Alivardi’s days I hesitate because of enemies like Raja Nandkumar who cannot see beyond personal gains But the English support you To what extent? Will they accept my advice? What will I have to lose to get what I want? You will never know till you go to Murshidabad Shall I arrange for your going? The installation is held because of you What is the hurry? The Nawab has promised to Pay the Governor and the Council a lot of money It is said Lord Clive is returning to India with much greater powers than before The Council fears he may go against their decision Lord Clive is returning to India? Raja Nandkumar was once his clerk That is bad news indeed! I go to Murshidabad with a sense of foreboding The English became the Nawab makers of Bengal They had no responsibility for Government That was the poor Nawab's job The job of the English was to get rich quickly There was a shameless scramble for riches The dishonesty and greed of the Company officials passed all bounds They have both taken hefty amounts and imposed Raza Khan to spy on us It is best that you meet Lord Clive at your earliest We have had good relations with him All right! Tell Raza Khan Tarn going to Calcutta Don't make that mistake Our plans will be ruined Nothing is filled in properly here Half the columns are empty What's going on? The figures are not available How can I give the Company’s last year’s accounts? Sir Where are the expenses concerning the campaign against Mir Qasim Raja Nandkumar was in charge of the accounts Raja Nandkumar? What about the Bihar collections? Raja Nandkumar's clerks refuse to co-operate We can't get any figures from them They say a cow ate the account books And the zamindari accounts were lost in the fire? Sly cheat! Did Nandkumar set fire to his own office? How can I say that? Quli Sahab! Please come here! Send a letter to the Counci Say it is impossible for me to function if Raja Nandkumar obstructs me at every step Yes sir! Things are getting worse day day Here we are labouring over the accounts and The man who should be co-operating with us is in Calcutta poisoning Clive's mind against me The Calcutta Council is pressing me for the accounts How can I work like this? I suggest you, too, proceed to Calcutta and lay your case before Lord Clive It's a week since Clive sent for you The tone of the letter worries me He admonishes me for not coming to Calcutta with the Nawab How could I when the Nawab had refused me permission? Now this mess! I think you should leave at once Perhaps you are right Clive has immense powers If the State has to retain its dignity he must be convinced first But I wonder how he'll receive me? But I wonder how he'll receive me? My respects, your excellency! Greetings! Please sit! There are many complaints against you From the Nawab, Raja Nandkumar and members of the Council What do they say? The Nawab says he has a document which proves you owe the state Rs.16 lakhs There is such a document But I was forced to sign it Raja Nandkumar misled Nawab Mir Jafar who kept me under guard I was afraid for my life and so I signed the document But it has no significance Maybe! The Council tells me that you bribed the ex-Governor and several members to secure this position That's a false charge! Who told you that? Is it true or false? My honour is at stake I am forced to tell you that I did not offer any bribe but one member did ask for a large amount Johnson? How did you know? I can smell money, especially ill-gotten wealth How much did you pay him? He settled for Rs.4.75 lakhs after some bargaining Will you give me a signed statement? If you say so! Good! Let me tell you of my plans The Mughal Emperor will grant the Company the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa You'll be the Naib Diwani since you are good at revenue management You'll be the link between the Company and the State The First Noble of the State! What do you say? Thank you for the honour If I am to run the administration I'll restore the discipline of the Alivardi days I'll also need the freedom to choose my own men Of course! I know who you mean Raja Nandkumar is efficient but he interferes too much I have seen the Governor's memo on him cunning man How can you stop him? He's the Nawab's confidante King Nandkumar has been asked to stay on in Calcutta No need to go to Murshidabad! Thank you! An indication was enough for you I take your leave Not so soon Raza Khan! In return you have to increase the revenue I, too, have enemies who are waiting for a chance I give you functional freedom you give me an increase in revenue I understand, Sir! I can go to Shuja-ud-Daula's court with an easy mind So, your cock has defeated mine! One more fight! No, I admit defeat As penalty, we are returning Avadh What did you say? I said that the Company will return your state to you How can I ever thank you? But you'll have to bear the cost of the last war Of course! You will not give refuge to any enemy of the Company Thank you for your graciousness What can we give you as a reward? We'll give you anything you ask for Your happiness is my reward But we need the Emperor's approval Leave that to me May you be successful! At this auspicious moment we issue this royal order which requires full obedience In recognition of its sen/ices I, the Emperor of India, grant the noblest of the noble and our faithful servant the English Company the Diwani of the provinces of Orissa, Bihar and Bengal from the harvest of Rabi crop of the Bengal year 1172 as a free gift for all generations in perpetuity Are you satisfied now, Lord Clive? Eminently so, Your Excellency The Emperor is unhappy with the tribute to be paid for the Diwani Perhaps a compromise No, your excellency Rs. 26 lakhs annually is a fair amount The provinces have been devastated by war More revenue cannot be collected without oppression I suggest the amount be incorporated in the order I hope His Excellency is being well looked after If His Excellency needs anything we can get it for him We are prepared to fulfill your every wish The years of wandering after the downfall of Nawab Mir Qasim have not done my bones any good It is almost time to go, Raza Khan You are still young, AN Ibrahim May Allah grant you a long life? Our troubles are now over! No, Raza Khan! My enemies still hound me I took a risk returning Murshidabad Even you were unhappy with me Do not embarrass me further I, too, had my problems! Now it is different You are the Naib Suba The first noble Lord Clive's confidante! I am happy for you! Why don't you accept a post in my administration? No! No! I am too old! I need your experience I want to bring back the discipline of the past That's why I agreed to see you Very good! Which means you agree? Yes! But will you listen to an old man? Of course! The revenue rates are too high Rs.68 lakhs for Bihar, isn't it? Your officers will never collect that much You are right! A higher return will secure Lord Clive's position Though I know it's difficult to collect so much Any shortfall in the amount has always been written off by then, Lord Clive's task here will be over and he will have returned home Returned home? I know it sounds good but don't ever trust these Englishmen They want increased revenues but cannot stop their agents from looting the people They force the peasants to sell cheap and make them buy at higher prices! the poor peasants run from their villages who can collect revenue from an abandoned village? You are right! I'll think of a solution I am happy that you are with me! Why are you worried? The problem of middlemen will be solved You are doing good work Keep the revenue at this level, that's all! You understand the way we work But Mr. Sykes does not understand anything He keeps asking me to reduce expenses I have done whatever is possible but remember many families depend on the system How can I take away their bread? This affects the morale You must work with Sykes The Company hopes to earn Rs.2 crores this year If possible, the success will be yours Why do you worry? Before I return home I shall get the Council to pass a vote of thanks to you Thank you very much but what happens after you leave? Mr. Sykes does not respect the old order, like you do Mr. Verelast will be the Governor. He'll help you Don't feel dejected Just carry on with the good work Later Clive's dual system of government declined In 1766 Najm-ud-Daulah died and his son Saif-ud-Saulah was crowned Clive left for home soon after, and the attacks on the administration began Resident Sir! I did not understand your order Should I arrest my officers at Purnea and Dinazpur? I have just returned from those districts Your officers are cheating the Company They'll never do that They are! Your men take bribes I asked them repeatedly to remit the revenue But they made excuses about the poverty But I saw the districts were flourishing These men are liars That's not true! There is a genuine problem Suchit Rai of Purnea has even borrowed money to remit the revenue How much? Less than half! Do you know the rate at Purnea? Rs.25 lakhs That's too high In Alivardi's days Purnea yielded only Rs.4 lakhs The district will be ruined We did not decide the amount off-hand We consulted you That's true I had purposely kept high rates in a few district to get a true idea of the revenue I didn't expect to collect the full amount You have provided for your officers corruption That's why you say all this! Let me make it clear that I'll do my very best to ensure that the full amount is collected or else I'll wipe out the old system You get revenue only under this system I'll change all that I'll seek the Council's approval to appoint our own english officers to collect revenue That is unacceptable! Lord Clive had said that none would interfere with the administration By appointing its own men does the Company wants to replace the Nizam rule? I have always consulted you though it was not necessary I have secured monopolies for your own enrichment Now you cannot change the system which I have built up after years of hard work Even you are not convinced by all this If you don't listen to me I'll go to the Governor I won't allow you to trample on the administration That's up to you! Come, Raza Khan! How are you? My respects, Sir This is Mr. Becker who takes over from Mr. Sykes Pleased to meet you, How can I tell you how upset I am I know! On account of Sykes, isn't it? Don't worry! The Council will reject his proposal How many times did I tell Mr. Sykes to stop the Company's agents from taking bribes If they don't, how will we collect the revenue? Write to the Council on this matter Only then can I take it Becker will also help you We, too, need your help I am with you! Some senior members of the Council are worried that the cotton from Avadh is bringing down the prices our profits are also being seriously affected we want you to impose a customs duty On the cotton being brought into the area I am ready but your junior officers are importing the cotton you must protect our interests Of course! Thank God you are safe Why did you have to attend office today? There's a lot of work The forces are gathering against me The accounts must be perfect The Company's servants are using you The senior officers use you to obstruct their juniors The juniors try to get back at them by attacking you The truth is that both the groups want to exploit the people for their own gains They'll slowly chip away at your powers One day you'll be the Naib Diwani without authority The administration will be finished My system is a bulwark against the Company I think the system is rotting It will not last long in the face of their greed Their greed knows no bounds They'll sacrifice anything to satisfy it! Yet, I'll not give up! Stand by me in this hour! In 1769 a severe drought in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, wiped out one third of the population Arrangements were made to distribute cheap rice but the Company servants cornered the stocks and made a fortune In spite of the famine, the revenue was collected When there was shortfall the officers demanded English supervisors The Administration was on its last legs So, the rats have left the sinking ships This ship hasn't sunk yet! In which world do you live? Your days are numbered The Company's directors have not okayed the scheme of english supervisors the board of directors has been reconstituted Lord Clive's worst enemies are on the new board How does it concern me? I always felt you were the wrong man for the job You haven't understood the forces at play Who cares about you? Do you think they are attacking you? It is an attack on Clive and his system You are its representative so, you must be removed I went along with Lord Clive because he understood my vision of the administration Clive understands only his self-interest That's why he is under trial in his own country Clive's men will be removed! Governor Verelast and you Clive's enemies now control the junior officers It is only matter of time How do you know all this? It pays to look beyond Benga I have an agent in London. The news he has sent is not particularly good What do you mean? The document you signed in Dacca admitting embezzlement of Rs.16 lakhs is in their hands The company will sue you for embezzlement I can prove that I am innocent I am helping the company in its investigations Have you come to gloat over my misfortune? No! We should come to an understanding I know what kind of an understanding you want You are nothing but an opportunist Sometimes with the English! Sometimes against them! You are only interested in your gain The administration and people can go to hell I can never ally myself with you What you say about me may be true But, I know how to survive No! I'll survive if Allah wills it! You will be hanged You are a fool, Raza Khan You will be humiliated and imprisoned Your family will be ruined If Allah wills it! I have nothing to fear! Let the Company know that my accounts are ready There is no misaccounting like yours Raza Khan! The administration that you dream of will be ruined! Idiot! The new Governor Warren Hastings arrested Raza Khan on several charges The trial was deliberately dragged for two years so as to implement the supervisor scheme and render the post of Naib Diwani obsolete Despite Nandkumar's testimony Raza Khan was found innocent Later, he was reinstated in other, smaller posts He died a natural death in 1791 Nandkumar crossed swords with Hastings again and was hanged for forgery The East India Company was established for trade Its military forces were meant to protect its trade Gradually, and unnoticed by others it extended the territory under its control chiefly by helping one rival against the other The company extracted heavy payment for this help People looked upon these troops as mercenaries to be hired By the time it was realised that the British wanted to dominate India politically they had established themselves firmly in India


"The reluctance to revive the old village organisation and to establish village panchayats is particularly pronounced in some Provinces, while a degree of tardiness in considering proposals for the expansion of local and municipal administration coupled with the oft-repeated desire to hedge further advance with over-cautious restriction, is noticeable among all grades of administrative authorities in India."— From the Presidential Address, I.N.C., 1913, Karachi


  1. ^ a b Descendants of Tipu Sultan
  2. ^ "Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur". Indian National Congress. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  3. ^ India List and India Office List for 1905. Harrison and Sons, London. 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 3 February 2012. central provinces and berar.


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This page was last edited on 18 February 2020, at 23:30
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