Properties in India owned by the Dhaka Nawab Family

July 17, 2009

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.
bird-s-eye-view Shlilong
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)
Lachumiere Hills Highlighted in Yellow on Shillong MapShahida 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)
Chowringhee Square-Old Calcutta
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


13 Responses to “Properties in India owned by the Dhaka Nawab Family”

  1. Anas Khwaja Says:

    1947 Partition
    The assets of British India were divided in the ratio of seventeen for India to five for Pakistan by decision of the Viceroy’s Council.Division was difficult to implement, however, and Pakistan complained of nondeliveries.
    Most of the assets of the Dhaka Nawab Family were under management of the court of wards during the partition of India. Most likely the court of ward or the erstwhile government of Pakistan did not take strong initiative to recover the property on the other side of the fence (properties in Shillong or Kolkata). It is not unwise to draw a similar conclusion for the properties in Tripura which from and an independent kingdom status joined India 2 years later through the Tripura Merger Agreement.
    1965 Enemy Property Act of India
    Soon after the 1965 war between India and Pakistan Enemy Properties Act was passed in India. The act empowered the government to set up a custodian to look after “enemy property”. The office of the Custodian are located in Bombay with a branch in Kolkata.
    The term “enemy” employed to confiscate all properties – whether movable (such as shares or bonds) or immovable (such as buildings, apartments or land) – that belonged to people who had chosen to move to Pakistan or Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). Anybody with any links to the enemy state had to be declared as an enemy.

    So, all properties across India which were owned by, or even managed on behalf of, Pakistani nationals between September 10, 1965 and September 26, 1977, are now vested with the custodian.
    1971 changes the ball game
    Bangladesh is neither a part nor a successor of Pakistan. It severed its ties with Pakistan through its liberation struggle and achieved independence 38 years back, neither Bangladesh nor India waged/declared war against each other. So logically Bangladesh is no longer an enemy of India. The context under which the “Enemy Property Act” emerged, ceases from the date of proclamation of Independence of Bangladesh in 1971, and there exists a Friendship Treaty with India. Therefore any property owned by the Bangladeshi nationals or Bangladesh government in India should not be subject to this Enemy Property Act.
    Action to take
    In the light of the above, there are two possible solutions to recover family properties or get just compensation. One, the bureaucrats of the two countries should settle this issue through negotiations- which off course is most unlikely to happen.

    Two, a list containing details (name, address, amount of land and other assets dispossessed by type and year of dispossession, dag, khatian, mouza, current status etc.) should be prepared with the help of the office of the court of wards and matched against that the file of the office of the Custodian in India. Then family member/s on their own can and should file class action lawsuit for compensation.

    Cases for referral
    Jinnah House ($60 million) located on Mount Pleasant Road in South Mumbai was the residence of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Indian government sources say that the claim by the Jinnah’s heirs (daughter Dina Wadiawill) be treated “sympathetically”,

    Other cases to refer are Indian Governments demand to bring back Kohinoor from the british crown or the govt of India’s acknowledgement of Naizam’s heirs right over Osman Ali Khan’s £30 million deposit in a London bank.

    Hopes keeps us alive
    US companies, which had their Cuban properties seized after the 1959 revolution, are now hopeful of a settlement with Castro in death bed.With the friendly government (Awami League) in power I believe this is the right time for filing the claim.

  2. Khawja Waqar Azim Says:

    These Indian Properties will be benefited only for 9share or for all the nawabbarians?


  3. Khawja Waqar Azim Says:

    I have visited Shillong in 2007 for holiday trip with my family. Shillong is the very beautiful place.

  4. Khawja Waqar Azim Says:

    Anas you can discuss with my Barrister Mama Tufailur Rahman through me re legal matters. FYI my mami is the cousin of Sheikh Hasina (PM).


  5. gupshup1 Says:

    The property discussed above belongs to the 9 sharer’s.

  6. Khawja Waqar Azim Says:

    Ok, Thanks

  7. Anas Nasarullah Says:

    I remember my father saying about most of his younghood stories in kolkata, where dada, Nawabzada Nasarullah was the deputy high commissioner. I also remember a road in kolkata was named after him.

  8. Anas Nasarullah Says:

    By the way this is a very good research work… good work Anas bhai! keep it up 🙂

  9. nihar sinha Says:

    we have not money received of second instalment of enemy property of bangladesh

  10. we have not money received of second instalment of enemy property of bangladesh and what about the news of receiving money of custodian enemy property of india in 2010

  11. Sudeep M Says:

    The write up was very good and in fact it helped me & my family tour Shillong and stay at the Lachumiere House for a night. Beautiful place and well maintained. The property is now a Meghalaya Tourism Hotel (rack rates INR 2900-3500/day, that includes breakfast), peaceful and away from humdrum, its a good property.
    Thanks for the information & research on the family properties.

  12. buy flats Says:

    You’re truly a just right webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a great task in this topic!

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