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12.21 History of India: Benares
(957 words)

In Volume 1-1: Qurʾānic Literature, History, and Biography | Section 2, History, Biography, etc.

previous chapter: 12.20 Jaunpūr

§ 921. G̲h̲ulām-Ḥusain K̲h̲ān b. M. Himmat K̲h̲ān (see p. 504 supra) was in the service of Rājah Balwand Sing’h and his son Rājah C̲h̲ait Sing’h.

A history of the Zamīndārs of Benares from the time of Rājah Mansā Rām to the deposition of Rājah C̲h̲ait Sing’h in 1195/1781, edited and published by the author’s grandson, Subḥān ʿAlī b. Ḥasan ʿAlī K̲h̲ān, with a dedication to Rājah Īsarī Pars̲h̲ād Narāyan (acc. 1835): Bānkīpūr vii 608.

§ 922. Nawwāb Amīn al-Daulah ʿAzīz al-Mulk ʿAlī Ibrāhīm K̲h̲ān “K̲h̲alīl”1 Naṣīr-Jang2 belonged to Paṭnah. He is described in the Siyar al-mutaʾak̲h̲k̲h̲irīn (Calcutta ed. ii p. 1739) as the grandson (nawah)3 of Maulawī M. Naṣīr and the son of a sister (hams̲h̲īrah-zādah) of Zāʾir Ḥusain K̲h̲ān [who is himself described on the same page as the son (k̲h̲alaf) of Maulawī M. Naṣīr]. His father’s name is not mentioned in the Siyar al-mutaʾak̲h̲k̲h̲irīn nor apparently in the prefaces to ʿAlī Ibrāhīm K̲h̲ān’s own works.

He was a close friend and trusted adviser of Mīr Qāsim K̲h̲ān, who on becoming Nawwāb-Nāẓim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in 1760 appointed him to examine the military accounts, and subsequently employed him to execute various important commissions. When Mīr Qāsim K̲h̲ān after his defeats in 1763 sought refuge with S̲h̲ujāʿ al-Daulah, the Nawwāb-Wazīr of Oudh, ʿAlī Ibrāhīm K̲h̲ān accompanied him but did not go with him on his further flight to Rohilkhand.

On M. Riḍā K̲h̲ān’s4 recommendation he was appointed Dīwān by Mubārak al-Daulah, who became Nāẓim of Bengal in 1183/1770. M. Riḍā K̲h̲ān dismissed him in 1191/1777, and he lived in seclusion for a time. It was apparently in 17815 that he was appointed Chief Magistrate6 at Benares, and it was there that he died in 1208/1793–4.

His friend and fellow-ʿAẓīmābādī, G̲h̲ulām-Husain K̲h̲ān Ṭabāṭabāʾī, often mentions him in the Siyar al-mutaʾak̲h̲k̲h̲irīn.

In addition to the account of C̲h̲ait Sing’h’s rebellion he wrote a history of the Marāṭ’hā wars (completed at Benares in 1201/1786–7. See p. 599 infra) and three tad̲h̲kirahs, the Gulzār i Ibrāhīm (Urdu poets, completed in 1198/1784. See Rieu i 375b, iii 1069a, Bānkīpūr viii 707, Bodleian 389), the K̲h̲ulāṣat al-kalām (writers of mat̲h̲nawīs, completed in the same year. See Lindesiana p. 177, Bodleian 390, Bānkīpūr viii 704–5, 706) and the Ṣuḥuf i Ibrāhīm (about 3,278 ancient and modern poets, completed at Benares in 1205/1790. See Berlin 663, Bānkīpūr viii 708).

Gulzār i Ibrāhīm (?),7 an account of the rebellion of Rājah C̲h̲ait Sing’h of Benares in 1195/1781: Rieu iii 1033b (circ. ad 1850).
“a declaration by ʿAli Ibrāhīm Khān, respecting the manner in which he had acquitted himself as governor of Benares, his maintenance of public order, his suppression of various abuses, and his impartial administration of justice,” accompanied by numerous testimonials with signatures and seals, ah 1198/1784 being the latest date on a seal affixed: Rieu Suppt. 405 (a paper roll undated).

[A few autobiographical statements in the prefaces to his works; Siyar al-mutaʾak̲h̲k̲h̲irīn, Calcutta ed. ii p. 1729 et passim; A translation of the Sëir mutaqherin [by Nota manus = Ḥājjī Muṣṭafā = Raymond] reprint, Calcutta 1926, vol. iii pp. 83 n., et passim (see the index under Aaly-Hibrahim-Qhan); Tad̲h̲kirah i Yūsuf ʿAlī K̲h̲ān (cf. Sprenger p. 194); Tad̲h̲kirah i S̲h̲ōris̲h̲; Tad̲h̲kirah i ʿIs̲h̲qī; Sprenger pp. 180, 194; Beale Oriental biographical dictionary p. 57; Buckland Dictionary of Indian biography p. 10.]

§ 923. Maulawī K̲h̲air al-Dīn Muḥammad Ilāhābādī died about 1827 (see pp. 409–410 supra). His Tuḥfah i tāzah was written at the request of Abraham Welland, Judge at Jaunpūr.

Tuḥfah i tāzah, or (Balwand-nāmah), a history of the Zamīndārs of Benares from the time of Rājah Mansā Rām to the deposition of Rājah C̲h̲ait Sing’h in 1195/1781 (chapters iv and v which the author intended to devote to Mahīpat Narāyan and Ūdīt Narāyan Sing’h having apparently never been written): Ivanow 204 (ah 1253/1837), Rieu iii 964b (circ. ad 1850), 965a (ad 1844), Bānkīpūr vii 607 (19th cent.), Ethé 483, 2842 (fragment of Bāb iii), i.o. 3894 (ad 1892), 3911 (ad 1879).

English translation: The Bulwuntnamah translated from the Tuhfa-i-Taza of Fakir Khair-ud-din-Khan, by R. Curwen, Allahabad 1875 (see Heffer’s Catalogue no. 94 (1912), item 1090).

next chapter: 12.22 G̲h̲āzīpūr


^ Back to text1. According to Sprenger “Yúsof ’alyy and Shórish mention him under Khalyl and ’ishqy under Ḥál”. The second tak̲h̲alluṣ mentioned by Sprenger is presumably a corruption of the former.

^ Back to text2. Sprenger writes Náçir-jang, but ʿAbd al-Muqtadir (Bānkīpūr viii p. 137) Naṣîr Jang.

^ Back to text3. According to Sprenger “his mother’s grandfather was the learned Mollá Moḥammad Naçyr”. If the facts given in the Siyar al-mutaʾak̲h̲k̲h̲irīn are correct, “mother’s grandfather” should be emended to “maternal grandfather”.

^ Back to text4. Cf. V.A. Smith Oxford history of India, p. 503: “Clive insisted on keeping up the fiction of the ‘double government’ and conducting the administration in the name of the Nawāb, whose authority was vested in two Nāibs or Deputies, Muhammad Razā Khān for Bengal, and a Hindu, Mahārājā Shitāb Rāi, for Bihār.”

^ Back to text5. See the Benares Gazetteer (1909) p. 204: “On the 28th of September Hastings returned to Benares and there formally installed as successor to Chet Singh the young Raja Mahip Narayan Singh, the son of Balwant Singh’s daughter. At the same time the revenue of the province was raised to forty lakhs, while an independent magistrate was appointed for the city of Benares, the first to hold this post being Ali Ibrahim Khan.”

^ Back to text6. According to Buckland he was “‘Daroga ’ [sic] of the Court at Benares, that is, President of the tribunal there”.

^ Back to text7. This title occurs in the subscription. Its correctness is doubtful, since it is the title of a tad̲h̲kirah of Urdu poets completed by ʿAlī Ibrāhīm K̲h̲ān in 1198/1784.

Cite this page
“12.21 History of India: Benares”, in: Storey Online, Charles Ambrose Storey. Consulted online on 03 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2021

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