• December 12, 2023

Mir Jafar: Wrongly Defamed General, Questioning The Historical Beliefs

Mir Jafar is hated throughout the Indian subcontinent for his treachery, and he is held responsible for opening the door to British conquests in the Indian subcontinent.

Mir Jafar was the general of the army of Nawab of Bengal Siraj u dullah.

He was later entitled as “Namak Haram General” People still express hatred at his tomb and his palace is called Namak Haram Deorhi.

Who was Mir Jafar?

Mir Jafar’s full name was Mir Syed Jafar Ali Khan Bahadur born in Dehli (1631-5 feb 1765) was of Arab descent, he was the Subedar of Bengal during the reign of Nawab Alivardi Khan. Nawab raised the rank of Mir Jaffar to Bakshi (position after the nawab) and married his half-sister (Shah Khanam) with him. 2

He established his reputation as a valor rescuing Shikawat Jhang in 1741 and also made a swift victory over Marathas by defeating them decisively in Medinpur in 1746. When ordered to make a stand against Maratha he left Medinpur and fled to Burdwan, (February 1747). 

After that, he plotted a conspiracy with the help of fojdar raj mahal to topple the throne of Nawab, but the scheme was unearthed and Nawab dismissed him.

After some time, With the support of Sirad ud Daullah, he returned to the court and with time held the seat of general. it is said that he is the reason behind the British victory in the Battle of Plassey.

After the British victory, Mir Jafar holds the throne and declare himself as Nawab of Bengal. But later the British were convinced, that he joined hands with rivals, Duch Ships were seen nearby the locality, and rumors of an agreement about his affiliations, made them believe. Dutch East India Company sent 1,400 men to support Nawab Mir Jafar, plotting against the British. With the consensus of Governor Robert Clive, Colonel Francis Forde attacked the invaders on the Hooghly between Chinsura and Chan- drenagore, seizing all seven Dutch ships (25 November 1759). 3  They overthrew him and appointed his nephew Mir Qasim but after the battle of Buxar for not providing the required trade facilities to the British. Mir Jafar was restored as Nawab again. 

file photo of Mir jaffar with his son Mir Miran
Mir Jafar with his son Mir Miran

How Mir Jafar died?

After regaining the throne in 1764, Mir Jafar died of natural causes on 5 February 1765 and buried in Murshidabad, Bengal.

History of Bengal on a broader Canvas

On a larger canvas, Murshid Quli Khan served as the first Nawab of Bengal (1660-1727), he nominated his grandson Sarfaraz Khan as direct hire of the throne in the absence of any direct hire.

On the death of Murshid Quli in 1727, Sarfaraz ascended to the throne of the Nawab.

Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan, at the time, was Subahdar of Orissa, arrived at Murshidabad, with a huge army, against his Son. After the involvement of family members mainly Dowager Begum, Sarfraz Khan steps down for his father and later again hold the throne after the death of Shuja ud din Muhammad Khan.

Shuja Ud Din Khan served as Nawab of Bengal (Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa) (1727-1739), he was known for his nobility in history.

Nawab Ali Wardri khan

Ali Wardi Khan served in Shuja-ud-Din’s military and In 1728, was promoted to a Fojdar followed by the ranks Naib Nazim of Bihar, Shuja ul-Mulk, Hassemm ud-Daula, and Mahabat Jang, and Paach Hazari Mansabdar.

The demise of Ali Wardi Khan marked a significant turning point in India’s history, as it resulted in the fall of Bengal, a powerful state during that era.


Road To Throne

Alivardi Khan, at that time holding a strong army, was aware of court conspiracies and leg-pulling in Nawab’s Darbar. He approached the Mughal Darbar and wrote secret letters to his friend Ishaq Khan an elite in the Mughal Darbar promising to send a gift of the whole wealth of Sarfaraz Khan with ten million for allowing Petent of three provinces.

As soon as he received the Patent from Darbar he matched on Murshidabad and pretend to pay homage to Nawab Shuja ud din Khan, but Defeated Nawab Sarfarz in the battle of Giria.
Nawab Sarfraz Khan served as Nawab for only 13 months. 4

Nawab Siraj UD dullah

Siraj ud Daullah was the last powerful Nawab of Bengal, but he was unable to smell conspiracies and hate for him in his subjects and courtesies.

Ascending the Throne

After the death of Alivardi Khan, Siraj ud Daulah ascended the throne facing nominal resistance from his maternal aunt Mehar un-Nisa Begum (Ghasseti Begum), Mir Jafar, Jagat Seth, Shaukat Jang, and some other elites, Ghaseti Begum attempted to crown Shaukat Jang, the son of her second sister Maimuna Begum.

Mehar un-Nisa Begum held significant influence due to her wealth, Siraj ud Daulah took action by seizing her wealth and Moti Jheel’s place and putting her under confinement. He also reformed his court by replacing Mir Jafar with Mir Madan and downgrading others.

Childhood and early training of Siraj ud Daullah

Siraj ud-Daulah was born in 1733, the same year Aliverdi Khan was appointed as the Governor, Siraj was considered a fortunate child and was raised and educated under the supervision of his grandfather, who intended to train him as a crown prince. Siraj received comprehensive education from Alivardi Khan himself.

Siraj Ud Daullah's Reign

Siraj ud Daullah’s reign over Bengal began at the young age of 23 in 1756. He lacked political wisdom and experience which led to an era of corruption, mismanagement, and oppression.

He made a series of mistakes in his court leading all the courtesies against him. Aliverdi Khan adopted a very balanced, neutral, and sensible way to manage the province, but Siraj was totally the opposite.

Gasseti Begum’s husband had died, and she had no children Nawab’s conduct was considered alarm in elites. and he let all others who supported her Stance in court. His relationship with Mir Jaffar was so tense, collectively the element of uncertainty dominated his era. 

This downfall of Siraj id Dullah serves as a reminder of the criticality of political experience and shrewdness in leadership, especially during tumultuous times.

Battle of Plassey

The battle of Plassey, a historic battle that took place between Nawab Siraj ud Daullah and Colonel Robert Clive, was a defining moment in Indian history. 

Background of the Battle of Plassey

Siraj ud Daullah smelled the British expansion and warned them, but the British ignored him because they were under threat of alliance, of Nawab with the French.

On 20 June 1756, Siraj led an army of 50,000 men to attack the British outpost at Calcutta, defended by 500 soldiers, resulting in a swift victory. without thinking consequences army looted brutally. Bengali army mis handeld the Pow and imprisend them in a small room resilting death of 123 and total was 146 prisioners.  This event is also called the “Black Hole of Calcutta”.1

In response, the East India Company formed an army of 2,400 troops, 900 of whom were British and 1,500 Indian, under Colonel Robert Clive. Clive’s intention was to recapture Calcutta and force the Nawab to pay compensation for the loss and damage. Clive reached Calcutta on 2 January 1757, a treaty was signed and the British were allowed to establish again but Nawab didn’t apologize or compensate so the British have to restore their reputation because other European nations were observing all incidents.

Turning Point of History: The Battle Day

On 14 June, Clive sent a formal declaration of war to Siraj ud Daullah, complaining about the last treaty. At that time East India Company consist of 613 Europeans and about 2100 Indians

Siraj ud Daulah moved his troops consisting of 50,000 men, of which 30,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalries. The army had 59 cannons: six of these were operated by French soldiers for a new alliance. The Ratio was 20/1

23 June 1757, was the historic day of battle. almost lunchtime, a brief but heavy rainstorm hit the battleground. the British were well prepared and Siraj’s army didn’t prepare for that. 

Their Gun powder Soaked and when the rain Stopped Mir Madan charged but the charge was answered by gunshots at point-blank range the charge was smashed back, and Mir Madan was critically injured, till this time Nawab Siraj ud Dullah didn’t leave his tent.

On receiving the news of Mir Madan’s fall, Siraj ud Dullah called Mir Jaffar, chief General to his tent and requested his loyalty. Mir Jafar swore by the Quran and then advised Siraj to withdraw the troops from the field and convinced him to fight the next morning. As he returned from Siraj’s tent, he sent a secret msg to Clive to finish the job. 

Ordered his troops to turn their backs on the battlefield.the field.

Battle of Plassy's Ground Map Map

No Chance for Bengalis

On this occasion, Major James Kilpatrick performed a brave and rather reckless action. With two companies almost 300 troops, he charged into the midst of the 50,000-strong Bengali army. The Bengalis were disheartened. 

While their gunpowder was wet and useless, and the British were under the shade of mangoes, Mir Madan the only loyal to Nawab, was injured to death and Mir Jaffar was not willing to battle, all these together were demoralizing the Bengali army.

The Battle That Never Fought

Historians often describe “battle that never fought” because there was no full fledge battle Siraj ud Daullah’s incompetence and reliance only on numbers was the main cause of defeat.  The casualty rates reflect the nature of the event, the Bengali army lost 500 out of 50,000 men, and the British 22 out of 3000.

Thus, this battle was not only a clash of armies but also a complex interplay of political and social factors that shaped Indian history for years to come.

The next day mir Jaffar met Clive who thanked and provoked Mir Jaffar to quickly hold onto the throne. Tempth

Shifting Power Dynamics in Bengal and the Nawabs

  • The first Nawab of Bengal was Murshid Quli Khan (1660 – 30 June 1727) he was appointed Dewan and then Subedar of Bengal but he declared himself independent Nawab and Mughal rulers were not in a condition to overthrow him and he also shows his submission to Dehli.
  • Shuja ud Din Khan (July 1727 – 26 August 1739) marched against his own son and he was the second Nawab.
  • Sarfraz Khan 3rd Nawab,(13 March 1739 – April 1740) was the son of Shuja ud Din Khan. Alivardi Khan killed Sarfaraz and became the 4th Nawab of Bengal.
  • After the death of Aliverdi Khan,(29 April 1740 – 16 April 1756) Siraj ud Daullah ascend the throne as the 4th Nawab.
  • Nawab siraj ud Daullah (April 1756 – 2 June 1757) was on number 5.
  • Mir Jafar tried to overthrow Alivardi but failed. He removed Siraj ud Daullah and declared himself Nawab instead, he was 6th Nawab. June (1757 – October 1760)
  • Mir Jaffar again conspired against the British, Mir Qasim nephew of Mir Jaffar joined hands with the British and forced Mir Jaffer to step down, 7th Nawab. (1760–1763)
  • Mir Qasim did the same and Mir Jaffar was reinstated. (25 July 1763 – 17 January 1765)

And the list goes on.

In particular, Only Mir Jafar was crowned with the title “Namak Haram,” which translates to “traitor.” 

What is your opinion about the remaining 6 Nawabs?

History Must Be Learnt In a Critical way

In order to gain a deeper understanding of Mir Jafar’s actions, it is important to consider the broader context of history at that time.

When forming an interpretation of historical events, it is important to take into account the context in which they occurred. This is because it is common for a historian’s own perspective and attitude to be reflected in their written work.

During the era in which these events took place, the Muslim population of the Indian subcontinent was struggling with incompetence, nepotism, and a general lack of strong leadership. 

Instead of adapting to changing circumstances and seeking innovative solutions, they were mired in petty disputes and lacked the ability to grasp the gravity of the situation.
This was a period marked by extreme uncertainty and widespread famine, with everyone clamoring to amass as much wealth as possible. 

Questioning the Historic Believes

Q: What happens if Mir Jaffer supports Nawab?

Nothing different, maybe Siraj ud Daullah survived in Plassy but in the end fate of the Subcontinent will be the same. because they didn’t improvise with time. 

Q: Was Mir Jaffer alone in overthrowing Siraj ud Daullah?

No, almost the whole darbar of Nawab was against Siraj ud Daullah, traders and bankers were afraid of Siraj’s policies and the way he confiscates Gasseti Begam’s wealth. It was established that there was no law. Mir Jaffer did what all the Nawabs did. That was normal in those times. 

Q: Who Gave the total Namak Haram to Mir Jaffar?

It’s unknown but if u try to understand the purpose of the term “Namak Haram” can conclude the answer.

Q: Why did only Mir Jaffar decliredNamak Haram?

Now this is the Right Question.

Birth of the term "Namak haram"

Some magical properties of salt are found in the subcontinent, and the term “Namk Haram” and “Namak Hilal” are forced implemented by society regardless of any division or difference.

Why is the term Namak haram introduced?

Since people of different religions live in India, each religion has a caste system. And there are more people from different caste communities with different religions.



Necessity is the mother of invention.



It was the need of the hour, a concept, irrespective of caste and religion, which empowers the individual and connects him to the ruler from the core of the heart.

Here the need may have given birth to such a concept that all the subjects will be subservient to the master, even thinking against the will of the master has become like a sense of sin, there is no courage to raise one’s head.

A way to keep a personal slave. This procedure guarantees that any personal employee, not subject to his own will or interest, The interest of the powerful is cherished, while there is a refusal to impose any responsibility on the powerful.

Namak Hilali or Loyalty

Namak Halali is always a word used by the upper class for the existing masses and the subjugated class. In Namak Harmi, there is no restriction on the superior person he changes his decision when he wants, but the inferior person does not have this authority.

It’s a routine in Hindustan, that Raje Maharaja was engaged in rebellion. But no one ever criticized them as Namak haram. instead, the word “Rebel” was used.

But if any of their generals deviated in the way of their interests, Namak Haram declared.

Until today, no one has used the word Namak Haram for the rebel king. Nor is it used against any powerful person. It is used exclusively by powerful and economically dominant people on the downtrodden.
In simple words, it is a way to enslave any person.

Namak Halali v/s Loyalty

Loyalty is seen as a good virtue for a person to go to any extent to be associated with a lord or king.

Loyalty is an invaluable and admirable trait that involves fulfilling commitments with integrity and honesty, regardless of any relationship or connection. It is not something that can be forced or coerced, but rather a nuanced emotion that is deeply meaningful. 

In contrast, the act of betrayal, or “Namak Harami,” is typically a result of societal pressures and influences, such as the fear of rejection from one’s peers or community. It is important to understand the distinction between these two concepts and recognize the value of loyalty in our personal and professional relationships.

Loyalty is invaluable but it has an expiry, it requires an investment of time and emotions.

Questions For historians?

  1. Why was only the role of Mir Jafar kept alive from this time, why was so much hatred associated with this name?
  2. Why and who cleared the names of the rest of the Generals and Courtiesse go?
  3. Why did the people who signed the agreement with the British forget?
  4. Why does no one talk about the bad relationship between Nawab and Mir Jafar?

From 1765 Mir Jafar to 1799 Mir Sadiq, the British won the whole of India. Was it all because of these two characters?

 or Namak Haram is also only a

Tool to rule the Fools

3-Shah, m. (2021, June 18). Mir Jafar Ali Khan -Banglapedia./Mir_Jafar_Ali_Khan

4-Jaques, Tony . 2007. “Dictionary of Battles and Sieges.” 0313335362, 9780313335365 I :240. Greenwood Press

[1]"Black Hole of Calcutta - Wikipedia," .
Avatar of Naveed


Related post