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Q1. How did the Nawabs of Bengal dynasty come up, though they maintained suzerainty to Delhi? Who founded it?
MURSHID QULI KHAN 1717 -1727 He was the founder of this Nawab dynasty ruling Bengal and Orissa. He was initially a diwan under Aurangazeb in 1700 and rose to the level of Governor of Bengal and Orissa by 1717. He transferred the capital from Dacca to Murshidabad. During his tenure, he made lot of financial and administrative reforms to improve trade and agriculture, besides keeping a strict vigil over foreign trading companies like the East India Co., Despite enjoying all these independence, he maintained the suzerainty to the Mughals of Delhi. He ruled upto 1727.
Q2. Who were the other Nawabs of Bengal to follow, until they came under the British East India Co?
SHUJA UD DIN 1727-1739 He was the son in law of Murshid Quli Khan. He continued the policies and reforms of Murshid. He was granted the Governorship of Bihar as well by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah in 1733 and therefrom the Nawabs of Bengal ruled over Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. He died in 1739.
SARFRAZ KHAN 1739-1740 He was the son of Shuja-ud-din. He was murdered by Alivardhi Khan, the deputy Governor of Bihar in 1740.
ALIVARDHI KHAN 1740 - 1756 His position as Governor and Nawab of Bengal was legalized by Muhammad Shah on certain financial payment. During his tenure, he was continuously attacked by the Marathas because of which he had to buy peace with the Marathas by ceding the revenues from Orissa to Raghuji Bhonsle and an annual payment of Rs.12 lakh as the Chauth of Bengal in 1751. He also prevented the English from misusing their privileges and prohibited them and the French from fortifying their factories at Calcutta and Chandernagore.He died in 1756.
SIRAJ UD DAULA 1756 -1757 He was the grand son of Alivardhi Khan. Although his rule was very short, was full of events and also the decider of India's future. He named Calcutta as Alinagar during his period. He wanted the Europeans to demolish all the fortifications in Calcutta and also warned them in supporting and encouraging some of his relatives to make Shaukat Jung (cousin of Siraj) to become the Nawab of Bengal. British refused to comply with his warning or orders. Upon this Siraj Ud Daula seized the English factory on June 4, 1756. Upon this the British escaped. Siraj left Calcutta by appointing Manik Chand to supervise. The most notable incident during his short tenure was the BLACK HOLE INCIDENT on 20th June 1756 at Calcutta in which 146 Englishmen were imprisoned and confined in a small room (dinghy) overnight, in which all but 23 died of suffocation when Siraj Ud Daula was not present in Calcutta. The British led by Robert Clive conspired and bought over some leading men of the Nawab's court like Mir Jafar the Bakshi, Manik Chand the officer of Calcutta, Omi Chand a merchant, Jagat Seth a banker, Rai Durlabh and Khadim Khan all nobles.
Calcutta was also recovered by the arrival of a strong contingent under admiral Watson in December 1756 and Calcutta was recovered without any serious opposition.
In February 1757 night, Robert Clive and his men, attacked Nawab's men and brought Calcutta completely under their control. This forced the Nawab to an understanding with the British and signed a treat of understanding called "Treaty of Alinagar" 1757, by which all trade privileges held earlier by the company, the English were authorized to fortify Calcutta against possible French attach and strike its own coins. The English in return promised goodwill and friendship.
However, the British violated the treaty and captured Chandernagore from the French in March 1957. Protesting Siraj Ud Dowla was forced into a battled with the British at Plassey in June 1757, called the Battle of Plassey. In the battle, Mir Jafar instead of offering help to the Nawab, misdirected the Nawab for a withdrawal for the day of battle. The Nawab while doing so, was attacked by British forces, and the Nawab's army already in the withdrawl mood, could not fight back in its full valour and succumbed to the British army. Thus Suraj ud Dawla was defeated and the entire east coast came under the control of the British. Following this, Siraj Ud Daula was captured by Mir Jafar's son Miran and executed.
Plassey is a place on the banks of river Bhagirathi, decided the future of India and this battle is an important one in the history of India.
Q3. Who were the other Nawabs to follow Siraj Ud Daula in Bengal?
MIR JAFFAR 1757-1760 1763-1765- Obviously, the immediate beneficiary of the treachery played against Siraj Ud Daula. He became the Nawab of Bengal immediately after Siraj Ud Daula's death. He was, by the force upon him,had to allow the British to have free trade in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and also paid a huge sum Rs.17.7 million as compensation for the attack of Calcutta. This was the beginning of the wealth drain from India. However,he took some efforts to replace the British by the Dutch, but the Dutch were defeated by English at Bedara, in 1759. He also conceded the 24 Parganas region Zamindari to the British.
MIR QASIM 1760-1763 He replaced Mir Jafar as Nawab of Bengal. While conceding the Zamindari of Burdwan, Midnapore and Chittagong and also huge amount, to the British, on the other hand he took steps to strengthen his position by making military reforms and revenue concessions for internal trade. He also curtailed some of the facilities extended to the British and the beginning of conflict between the Nawabs and the British. He was replaced by Mir Jafar again in 1763. In the meantime, Mir Qasim, managed to form an alliance with Shuja Ud Dawla of Awadh and Shah Alam II and fought a battle with the British, called the Battle of Buxar, in October 1763, and lost the battle, which was led by Major Hector Munro.
MIR JAFAR 1763-1765 Consequent on the strained relations, with Mir Qasim, the British made Mir Jafar the Nawab again and remained so until his death in 1765.
NAJM UD DAULA 1765-1772 Son of Mir Jafar, he was a mere puppet in the hands of the British, evident from the fact that the British introduced "Dual system of Government". Having gained control of the system and government, Najm ud Daula was pensioned off, thus Bengal came under the direct control of the British.