Research: Soldier life of Nawab Habibullah

August 13, 2007



I am working on soldier life of Nawab Habibullah. Can any one of you help me giving information, photos, documents or any other thing regarding Habibullah for my research? I shall remain obliged. Stay well.

Allah Hafiz

Lt Col Muhammad Lutful Haq (retd)


During the First World War (1914-18), Nawab Habibullah volunteered and was granted an honorary commission as Lieutenant in the 49th Bengal Regiment and sent to Mesopotamia to serve with the British Indian Army there. (Dawn: (

As per Banglapedia he joined the British Army In 1918. (Banglapedia: The joining date mentioned above is wrong, as we know he had to assume the responsibility of Nawab of Dhaka on 10the of June, 1915.

He joined the 1st world war at the age of 19 in the year of 1914. He was posted in Baghdad and Mesopotamia. He spent some time at Kutul Amra (!) in this regard. (Daily Azad 22 Nov 1958 Editorial). He had earned fame as a fearless fighter to the Brithish authority. (Abuz Zoha Nur Ahmed, Ashwin/Kartik, 1373, page 669: Dhakar Koyek Jon Muslim Sudhi by Dr Mohammed Abdullah)

Muntasir Mamun in his “Dhaka Somogro-Part3” (page 129 and 130) has detailed some aspect s of Nawab habibullah’s military life. I have some reservations on couple of his assertions. At that time Habibullah was earning monthly rs 300 from his father’s property and rs 2,500 as a Motawalli. Due to economic hardship he joined the British Army as a private soldier. He was popular among the Bengali soldiers. Subedar M B Singh in his autobiography wrote “After finishing duty one afternoon while passing by Jamadar Nawab Sahib’s tent, I came across Subedar Bhupen Ghosal along with couple of officers and NCO. Each was carrying either new pair of socks, handkerchief, t-shirt, or cigarette cans. Bhupen told me that an auction is taking place inside the tent. After entering the tent I found out the reality. Nawab had received a parcel earlier. Sitting on the packing box he was disbursing the gifts among fellow soldiers. Almost every month he used to receive parcel and gave away the stuffs. (M.B.Singh, Soinik Bangali, Calcutta 1939, Dhaka Prokash)

After the 1st World the 49th Bengal Regiment was disbanded in 1920.

FYI, Nawab Khwaja Askari son of Nawab Khwaja Habibullah joined as commissioned officer in the Tank Brigade of the Indian army in 1944 and was posted in the Burma sector. Having been seriously wounded in a battle in Burma he left the service. After the partition of India in 1947 Askari joined the Pakistan army. On his retirement from service in 1961 he entered public politics.

Anas Khwaja


13 Responses to “Research: Soldier life of Nawab Habibullah”

  1. Iftekhar Hassan Says:

    I do not see Nawab Khwaja Habibullah as a great nawab when it comes to serving people like his father Nawab Sir Salimullah. Various search and research related to his military (DD)and civil life does not reveal any significant valor made or shown by him or contribution on his part toward public services or welfare.

    All I remember him was “once he was standing near “GHANTA PEHRA” and talking to older folks of nawab bari about the manager of the nawab state for cutting his monthly payments.

    Upon the death of Sir Salimullah, he was the nawab of Dhaka with considerable power and wealth. I think Nawab Habibullah had lots of opportunity in those days to lead and contribute positively for the welfare of family and Dhaka vasi. For example:-

    (1) He could have start a court battle against the government related to the appointment of court of wards.

    (2) Instead of moving to Shahbag he should have stayed in old dhaka to serve Dhaka Vasi.

    Honestly, if rated in a score of 1-10 Nawab Habibullah’s score can not be like Nawab Salimullah’s-10.

    Respectfully submitted

    Iftekhar Hassan

  2. Zainab Says:

    He was a good nawab but we should not comment on his bad habbits. As far as I know he used to help poor and needy

  3. Khawaja Saifullah Says:

    Dear Iftekar Mama,

    You may not accept Nawab Habibullah as a great Nawab, but people of this part does not even disrespect him for any such comments agreeing with Mohammaed Ali Jinnah on what shall be the National Language of East Pakistan .

    You know that who had said such comments and he is closely related to you and people of Bangladesh definatly does not accept him as National leader.

    Whatsover be, I think it is not wise toi make any comments that may hurt the feelings of other family member, I request the DNF team not to publish any comments of these types in GupShup.

    Sorry, if my comments hurts feeling of anyone.


    Khawaja Saifullah
    Grand son of Nawab Habibullah

  4. Iftekhar Hassan Says:


    I regret much, if I hurts someone feeling. However, it is healthy to debate a “PUBLIC FIGURE”(S) positive and or negative sides within the contex of such person(s)work related to public welfare.

    Furthermore, all open discussion foster independent thinking. I understand this is a family site, but family member is also a public figure, herein.

    Members of the DNF will be respected more, when one sees them as objective with “REASON” Most certainly, not lost in myth or hexogonal thinking.

    I appreciate and thank you for your comments and thus,I remain, dear jamai,

    Respectfully Submitted

    Iftekhar Hassan

  5. zainab Says:

    I think DNF members should take extra care for not letting outsiders post comment on Nawabs. If they are from Nawabbari then they would not post negative comment on Nawabs.

  6. Wayiz Hassan Says:

    Ms. Zainab

    I am grandson of Khawja Nural and my other Nana is the great Mehendi singer Khawja Putul Mia. Iftekhar Hassan is my uncle and I think he is 100% correct what he wrote.

    We need open discussion and open discussion is healthy. If we hide things we dont learn.

    Now let me know who are you in detail.

    Peace out……………and its time to RAP


    AKA The Bengali Rapper

  7. Khawaja Saifullah Says:

    Dear Mr. Wayiz – AKA the Bengali Rapper.

    Well said that we need to be be open. Well dont tell me that you started this situation of being open. As you are nephew of Mr.Ifteker ( I do not know paternal or maternal)You are aware that Mr, Iftekar’s mother is realted to late Khawaja Nazimuddin and therefore I presume that you are also related to Late Khawaja Nazimuddin.

    I would like to tell you if you want a a open discussion and if you think it is healthy then please first of all you do not have the right to use the word Bangali along with your name as a descendent of Nazimuddin, who basically opted for Urdu Langauage and went against the Bengali nation and how come you use the word Bangali.

    Nawab Habibullah did not do any such thing for which Bengali nation regrets or such deed for which we cannot express ourself as a member of Dhaka Nawab Family.

    Can you express and feel proud of yourself by letting know the proud Bengali nation that you are descendent of Khawaja Nazimuddin???

    At least Nawab Habibullah did not do any betrayle with Bengali nations, Nazimuddin is known to Benagli as BISHASGHATOK, not Habibullah.

    Want to play more….and open up. Khawaja Nazimuddin is my realtive, I did not want to say anything against him, whatever he did, may be wrong but still I respect him, so have courage to show respect to our past ansector, talking about Habibullah having many wife. Look around you and see how many of our realtives are having illegal and illicit affairs?

    I would now like to ask you, Nawabbarian are they all direct descendent of the Nawabs ? if not then what should we call them? Residents Nawab Bari ?? Tell me how you feel if some one says these things to you and say only real Nawabbarian allowed (Direct descendent) check out your geneolgy and see you have any royal lineage or not.

    Regards and sorry for hurting the your feeling, so as you said Peace out……..

    Saifullah — A non Nawabbarian

  8. M.A. Kayum Says:

    Nawab Khawja Habibullah served the British Crown as a junior army officer for a short period of time. I think he got into the army “just because he was a son of nawab”. I understand he was dispatch to England to study. (or it is a rumor?)

  9. Khawaja Ershad Moinuddin Says:

    First of all let me thank respected LT.Col Muhammad Lutful Haq for his time on researcing the soldier life of Habibullah chacchu,or Nawab Habibullah as he should be addressed as. We as family members or relatives could have come up with photos,information or any other matter related to his soldier life as per Lt.col haqs inquiry. Instead he is fed with all negative aspects on Nawab Habibullahs life. It is true that members of the nawab family those days were not inclined towards education. But that great contributions towards the field of education which I don’t need to mention. As far as marriage is concerned all my ancestors, starting from my father to my great great grandfather Khwaja Alimullah, were all married more than once. I am not boasting about it, but that was the way it was and no one can change its course. But if we are humilated by it, I guess we should take all their names e.g khwaja alimullah, nawab abdul ghani, nawab Ahsanullah, nawabzada atiqullah out from the family tree. Saifullah’s first outburst was removed from the website, as it seemed offensive to some. But we have to understand that his dadas reputation was being messed around with.Ihope these kind of bickering and controversies can be avoided in future. We need that besides family members,there are a lot of other people who browse on this website,as you know technology is far reaching. Any one wants to know who iam can check the genealogy…
    Allah hafez.

  10. Khawaja Ershad Moinuddin Says:

    Please note that some words shown in the last line of my comments,were typed in by mistake.Pardon some errors made with the spellings.
    Ershad MOINuddin Khawaja (Popsy)

  11. gupshup1 Says:

    Dear DNF members,

    We have edited some of the comments because of their offensive overtone. Healthy debate is good but refrain from criticizing family members who have passed away and focus on their positive attributes.

    Remember the deceased are not here to defend themselves.

    In the end we would like to point out that Nawab Habibullah was a gutsy, large-hearted person which some of us are not. Had Nawab Habibullah been alive to participate in our Gupshup, I’m sure he would have put us to shame because of all the bickering.

    Khwaja Nazimuddin on the other hand later regretted his comments about the Bengali language. After his death, he was later revered by the people of Bangladesh and was buried alongside Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haq and Shaheed Suhrwardy (another great Urdu speaking leader of Bengal whose children are settled in Karachi)in Dhaka. Shaheed Suhrwardy’s granddaughter is a famous barrister in Pakistan.

    – DNF Website Team

  12. May be we expected more from our ancestors! we like hearing our parents talk about how gutsy or how ‘superhero sort’ our ancestors were… or just arrogant etc… and my old father, Khwaja Masood Nasarullah, used to tell us about stories (‘dhada’) about children fighting over whos’ father is taller, stronger etc… and the story continued to a part that I cannot share here! haha… so all these discussion seemed like that… We the sons of Nawabs, the true blood bearers need to come out of the cave we live in… and start living in this real sphere!

  13. Khawja Mushahed Says:

    I am Khawja Mushahed son of K.Sayeed Grandson of late K.M Shahed.I agree with whatever Anas Bhai has said (he might not know me).It is true that our ancestors has done some bad deeds which is also forgivable but we should be thankful to them because the name they have given us for which we can proudly live. Whenever we come out and say that we r sons of Nawabs and we bear the name of original KHAWJA.we get a spcial treatment everywhere one name is enough for us.Thanks to all our ancestors who r no more in this world but for there good deeds we are respected.Not in dhaka only anywhere in the world if we say we are from this royal family we r respected.

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