Edited By Anas Khwaja
Tripura: Tripura also known as Hill Tippera during the British Raj period is a state in North-East India. It was formerly an independent Tripuri kingdom and merged with India in 1949.
Maulvi Khwaja Hafizulla (d1815) was the son of Khwaja Moulvi Abdullah and husband of Dhan Bibi. He was the first family member to acquire property in Tripura. (1)Three generations later Khwaja Nawab Abdul Ghani (1813-1896) further expanded the Dhaka Nawab Estate into many parganas there. His entire zamindari was split into 26 sub-circles of which, 4 were in Tripura. (2) Nawab Khwaja Salimullah served as the deputy magistrate of Tripura. (3) The following Tripura schedule of properties is quoted from Atikullah vs Habibullah case of 1915.
“…..Paragana Baldakhal, Hissaya 8g.2k.3 ¾ d. 4 dhurs, included in No.204 of the Collectorate Touji of District Tipperah. Station Muradnagar, Daudkandi and Gouripur, Sub registry Muradnagar and Brahmanberia, Saddar jama Rs. 4,317-7-6-1 kranti with all sorts of Hakiats thereunder.
…., Hissa 10 Gandas, included in No 204 of the Collectorate Touji of district Tipperah, station and subregistry ditto, Saddar Jama Rs. 4,999-149-1 kranti, with all sorts of Hakiats thereunder”. (4)
It is to be mentioned here that Bladakhal is also known as Bardakhat and is only 18 miles away from Comilla town.
Meghalay Shillong: Shillong (established 1864 at an altitude of 4,908 ft) is the capital of Meghalaya, remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner’s Province, it was chosen as the headquarters of the new administration.
Nawab Khwaja Salimullah was a member of East Bengal and Assam Legislative Council from 1906 to 1907 and had to visit the summer capital Shillong for legislative sessions.
People of Shillong; saw a motor car for the first time which was brought by the Nawab of Dhaka. (5) (6) .He also owned the estate at Lachumiere Hills. (6) (7) Lachumiere Mountain is adjacent to Dhankheti in north of Malki between garrison Ground (east) and St.Edmunds College (westThe Nawab of Dhaka also owned what was considered the best house in Shillong. (8a) (8b) The name of the palace was “Glass House”. (9)
Shahida Adel (grand daughter of Nawabzadi Meher Bano) recalls Nawab Khwaja Habibullah telling her that the DNF had some property in Shillong….these probably were a tea garden & houses / bungalows- where the Family-walas could go for vacation & relax. (10)
West Bengal, Kolkata: Kolkata was the political capital of the British India. The Dhaka Nawabs were not the zamindar of the West Bengal. They used to stay in Kolkata primarily for legislative duty, meet dignitaries or purely for entertainment.
As a member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly, both Nawab Abdul Ghani (1866) and Nawab Salimullah (1913-1915) had to visit Kolkata frequently to attend the assembly sessions. Membership of the Governor General’s Legislative Council also required Nawab Ghani’s (1867) and Nawab Ahsanullah’s (1890, 1899) presence in Kolkata.
The Nawabs alond with other power brokers met in the marble floor of the Council Chamber of the Government House (now known as Raj Bhavan) in Kolkata.
Nawab Ahsanullah was a member of the Asiatic Society and the Photographic Society in Kolkata (Park Street). This affililiation was a good reason for his Kolkata visit.
Nawab Ghani / Nawab Ahsanullah’s house in Ballygunge
Ballygunge is an upmarket and posh locality in South Kolkata.
Lady and Lord Dufferin the eighth Viceroy of India paid a visit to Nawab Abdul Ghani’s house here in Kolkata on 6ht of January 1887. In lady Dufferin’s own words “I rode for the first time with the children—such a family party of riders!—and Blanche drove with the Duchess. We all met at Ballygunge, where there was tea and polo. In the evening we went to a party at the Nawab of Dacca’s. He has taken a house here, and is giving entertainments almost every day. There had been a dinner party, but we only went to the native music and nautch after it. The Shamiana, which is joined on to the house, is beautifully arranged, with a nice wooden floor for dancing, and with curtains and furniture and chandeliers. (11)
Nawab Salimullah’s Palace at Chowringhee
Chowringhee is a neighbourhood in central Kolkata, Chowringhee Road (renamed to Jawaharlal Nehru Road) runs on its western side. A neighborhood steeped in history, it is a business district, as well as a shopper’s destination and entertainment-hotel centre.
Nawab Khwaja Salimullah the prince of Dhaka spent last few days of his life 16th Dec 1914 until his death on 15th of January 1915 at his two story palace in Chowringhee. (12)
Pari Manzil in Kolkata belonged to Nawabzadi Pari Bano frequently visited by the family members during the Christmas & Durga pooja holidays. (13) Among other family members Khwaja Rasool Bax also had vast property in Kolkata. (14)
Source:1 Bengal Under The Lieutenant-governors By C.E.Buckland page 1028
3 Dhaka Prokash 1895 17th March
4 Nawabzada Khajeh Atickulla and others vs Nawab Khajeh Habibullah Nos 34-62 Suit no 48 of 1915
5 The people of Meghalaya: study on the people and their religio-cultural life by B. S. Rana Rana – Page 28
6 Cultural profile of Shillong by B. B. Goswami – Page 150, Anthropological Survey of India
7 Hill cities of eastern Himalayas : ethnicity, land relations and urbanisation / edited by A.C. Sinha, Pariyaram M. Chacko & I.L. Aier Page 88
8a The Magic Mountains: Hill Stations and the British Raj by Dane Kennedy page 207
8b J.S.C Davis, commissioner of Kumaun Division, to Government of United Provinces, 16 Feb 1903, and F.J.Monahan, secretary to chief commissioner of Assam , to Government of India, 3 March 1903, nos. 35,34, Home dept.Proceeding public Branch (A), INA
9 Interview with K.M.Halim
10 Interview with Shahida Adel
11 Our Viceregal Life in India: Selections from My Journal, 1884-1888 by Harriot Georgina Blackwood Dufferin and Ava
12 Nawabzada Khwaja Atikullah by Dr.Mohammed Alamgir page 38
13 Interview with Shahida Adel
14 Interview with K.M.Halim