Home » Uncategorized » On the Sena Rajas of Bengal, III

On the Sena Rajas of Bengal, III

Naib-Nazim of Dhaka

The position of Naib-Nazim (Deputy Governor) was created to administer Dhaka Niabat since 1717. They were appointed by the Governors until Sirajuddaula, the last independent Governor of Bengal, lost control to the British in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Here is a partial list of Naib-Nazims of Dhaka:

Khan Muhammad Ali Khan (1717),

Itisam Khan (1723 – 1726),

A son of Itisam Khan (1726 – 1727),

Mirza Lutfullah Tabrizi (a grandson-in-law of Murshid Quli Khan) (1728 – 1734),

Sarfaraz Khan 1734-1739,

Galib Ali Khan (1734-1738),

Murad Ali Khan (1738-1739),

Abdul Fattah Khan (1739-1740),

Nowazish Mohammad Khan (1740-1754),

Hossain Quli Khan (1740-1754),

Murad Dowlat (1754-1755),

Jasarat Khan (1755-1762 and again 1765-1778),

Mohammed Ali (1762-1762),

Mohammed Reza Khan (1763-1765),

Ghaziuddin Haider (1834 – 1843).

The office of Naib Nazim of Dhaka was officially abolished in 1843.
By Babu Rajendralala Mitra

Transcript and Translation of an Inscription from RdjashdM. — By C. T. Metcalfe, Esq., C. S.

——–

Victory be to the mouths of Shambhu (Shiva), who laughed on looking through the light of the moon at the shame-contracted face of Debi who, for fear of the removal of her breast-cloth, turned aside her head, the garland of which drowned the light of the candle in the hymeneal chamber.

——–

We bow down before the idol of Harihara (Vishnu and Shiva), known under the name of Pradyumneshwara, where the Bebis, fearing lest they should no longer enjoy the embrace of their husbands, went inside (the idol) ; and became an obstacle to the amalgamation of the two deities.

[When Hari and Hara intended to amalgamate themselves into one form, their wives, being afraid of not recognising their husbands, became an obstacle to executing their purpose, and the deities instead of being able to assume a new form, retained half of each.]

——–

Victory be to the first king moon, who sits enthroned on the matted hair (Jata) of Shiva, fanned by a chauri having drops of Granges water; the white expanded hood of the serpents which adorn the head of Shiva, became the covering of his chatta (umbrella), and the serpents, its handle.

[Here the moon is represented as a king, who has the matted hair of Shiva for his throne, and the hood of the serpent’s for his umbrella.]

In his race, who enjoyed the companionship of the celestial maidens, and the virtuous deeds of which race were celebrated in honied verses by Vyasa for the satisfaction of the universe, were born king Vira Sena and others, who were Dakhinatyas[1] and famous everywhere.

——–

In that Sena family was born Samanta Sena, the destroyer of hundreds of the enemy’s champions. He was a worshipper of Brahma and a garland for the head of the race of the noblest Kshetriyas ; and verses celebrating his heroic deeds were sung by the celestial maidens on the border of the dam cooled by the agitated waves of the ocean, in a manner which might even excite the envy of Rama, the son of Dasharatha.

——–

He did in the field of battle play with his hands his serpent-like swords, where the noise of his battle-drums depressed the spirit of his enemies, and the pearls which fell from the globe over the head of his enemies’ elephants, unseamed by his sword, are still to be found scat- tered in the shape of heavy kouries.

——–

His fame mounting the backs of his enemies’ Avives, did travel from house to house, from city to city, from forest to forest, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean.

——–

He did extirpate the enemies who plundered the riches of the Carnatic, and the marrow, flesh and bones, (of the dead bodies of his enemies’ troops) to be found in abundance there, has caused Yama not to leave the southern quarters up to the present time, becoming himself gladly an inhabitant of the place.

[Yama is lord of the Pretas, a kind of evil spirits or demons, who live upon human flesh and blood.]

——–

In his old age he settled himself in the sacred groves of the hilly forests situated on the hank of the Granges, where the smoke of the incense offerings reached to the skies, and young deer sucked the milk of the wives of the moonies (saints) ; where parrots have got hy rote the Veclas ; and where the slopes of the mountains are filled up hy the saints who resort there on approach of death.

From this king, in his manhood, when he had not devoted himself to the contemplation of Gfod, was horn Hemanta Sena, who was famous for killing his enemies proud of their strength, and who did acquire from his birth all the pure and virtuous qualities possessed hy his ancestors.

He did bear on his head the dust of Shiva’s feet, had truth on his throat (i. e. spoke truth), had the Vedas in his ear, (i. e. heard the Vedas,) had the hairs of his enemies under his feet, (i. e. received ho- mage from his enemies), and had the scars of bow-strings on his arms. Such were his ornaments, while the pearl flowers, ear-rings and golden bracelets formed the ornaments of his dancing girls,

[This sloke is so full of participles that it is difficult to translate it clearly.]

——–

The breasts of the heroes, who on account of their fall in bat- tle with him, being pierced by his spears, which were spiritedly played by his arms, assumed celestial forms, and were embraced by the celestial maidens, whose breasts were reddened by good- smelling red powders, were looked with terror by the Shiddhas, a spe- cies of celestial inhabitants, (for, on account of their breasts being reddened by their embracing the celestial maidens, the Shiddhas were reminded of the time when they fell in battle, their breasts being then besmeared with blood, pierced by his spear).

[It is represented in Hindu mythology, that heroes, after their fall in battle, assume celestial forms and ascend to heaven.]

——–

His arms and his swords could both assume diverse aspects, the one in acts of benevolence, and the other when killing his foes, both were ingen- iously employed. One intended destruction to his enemies, and the other blessing to his friends ; one adorned his friends with garlands, and the other his enemies with wounds.

——–

His queen was of the name of Yasho Debia, who possessed a delightful figure, was a treasure to her husband, was famous for per- forming ceremonial rites, and the path of her feet was adorned by the rays of the pearls stuck on the crest of the diadem of her friends and enemies’ wives.

——–

From this king of the world and the queen, was born Vijaya Sena, the emperor of the earth, .who diverted his youthful clays by destroying* the strength of his enemies, and extended his conquests to the end of the four oceans* which girdle the world like bracelets.

——–

Who -can count the number of kings daily killed or conquered by him ? The moon, being his first progenitor could only retain the title of Raja before him in this world.

[That is, he defeated or destroyed all the Rajas of this earth, and acquired its possession.]

——–

As he, being armed only with a sword and with no other assistance, obtained the undisputed dominion of the earth girdled by the seven oceans, can we compare him to Rama, the leader of innumerable monkey forces? or to Partha (Arjuna) the generalissimo of the Pandava forces?

[In conquering the earth, Rama and Partha had advantages of large armies, while he had none.

Partha the third son of Pandu was a famous warrior. In the war of the Kurus and Pandavas, he was the general of the Pandavas. His heroic deeds are celebrated in the Mahabharat.

” Monkey forces.” This mention of monkey forces, appears to me to agree curiously with the scenes in Homer II. iii. 6. When speaking of India, he writes —

——–

and he goes on to say. (I forget the remaining lines,) that the king of India kept an army of 3000 of them as guards.]

——–

Of the (three) qualities of the Deity, which manifest themselves singly, without discrimination, one destroys the universe, the other preserves, and the third creates it. But this king resembled the Deity, on account of his having these eminent qualities, and employing them with discretion, for he destroyed his enemies, preserved the virtuous, and made his subjects happy by destroying their foes.

——–

He assigned heaven for the residence of his opponent kings, and took upon himself the dominion of the earth ; his sword decked with heroes’ blood, fulfilled this contract. Had it been otherwise, then why did the descendants of his enemies, fly from the field of battle, where he chal- lenged them with his sword?

——–

“Thou hast no hero to conquer” said the bards. On hearing it, through a misconception (the words being susceptible of the meaning ” thou hast conquered no hero,”) a deep anger rose and assailed the king of G-auda who overcame the king of Kamrupa, and forthwith con- quered him of Kalinga.[2]

——–

O Raghava, O Aswineya, O Vardhana, do you boast, calling yourself a hero? away with your boasting, stop your pride. The cries that arose day and night among the captive kings prevented the guards of the prison-house from sleeping (at any time).

——–

The fleet which he equipped for conquering the western countries, went up the stream of the Granges, and one of the ships became stuck in the ashes which are on the forehead of Shiva, and which have been changed into mud by constant mixture with the water of the Granges, and being left there, shines as the moon.

[The Hindu Shasters affirm that the Ganges proceeds from the Jata (matted hair of Shiva), and hence this sloka means, that this king having resolved to conquer up to the source of this river, one of his ships going up the stream became stuck on the forehead oi Shiva, where it shines like the moon.]

——–

Through his favour the wives of the rich Brahmins learned to make diamonds from cotton seeds, black diamonds from grass leaves, silver from the flower of long gourds, pearls from brittle cavities of pome- granates, and gold from flowers of gourd-creepers and euphorbia.

——–

Though on account of this age, the praise of his virtue is one-legged, yet, through his power, it has travelled over the world, holding the sacrificial posts continuously erected hy him (on the earth).

[The import of the sloka is, that he was constantly engaged in per- forming sacrifices, on which occasion posts are erected on the spot where the ceremony is performed.

Among the Hindus, there are four ages ; Satya Yuga is the age of purity, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. In the first, virtue is supposed to he four-legged, in the second, three-legged, in the third two-legged, and in the last one-legged ; therehy showing that the world is gradually “becom- ing sinful. This is Kali Yuga, and is said to have commenced from the latter part of the reign of Yudhisthir, king of Hastinapura, the modern Delhi.]

——–

Having invited the gods from Meru, which was infested hy enemies, this sacrificer made the inhabitants of the heaven and earth to change their places ; and by digging deep ponds[3] and erecting lofty temples, he made the heaven and the earth to resemble each other.

[It is supposed that the peaks of Meru are inhabited by the gods. When any sacrifice is performed, they are suffered to come clown to the earth to partake of the offerings.]

This king of the earth erected a temple to Pradyumneshwar, which was girdled by the oceans and contained inside the whole ethereal firmament. It extended to all directions in space, and vied in lofti- ness with Meru, round which the sun, moon and the stars move. It became the mid-day mountain of the sun who rises and sets in the eastern and western mountains.

——–

O sun ! in vain have you obliged Agastya to remain in the southern quarter ; look, this lofty temple has obstructed the passage of your horses.[4] Let Agastya go in any direction he likes, and let Vindya increase its heights as much as it can, but it shall never be able to attain the loftiness of this temple.

[According to the Purans, the sun is represented as moving round Sumeru, a mountain supposed to be situated in the middle of the earth. This particular honour paid to it, excited the jealousy of Vin- dhya, another mountain, (the mountains are supposed to possess animal life), and he worshipped Shiva and obtained the power of increasing his body as high as he wished. Vinclhya did so, and obstructed the passage of the sun which doomed the half of the earth to darkness. The gods, having perceived this, were alarmed and prevailed upon Agastya, a moonie and spiritual guide of Vindhya, to leave Kashi (Benares) and to prevent his increase. Agastya acceded to their wishes, and went to Vindhya who, seeing his guru, prostrated himself on the ground. Agastya, thereupon in order to serve the purposes of the gods, ordered him to remain in that posture till his return from the southern quarters, where he is supposed still to reside.]

——–

If Brahma, making the earth as a potter’s wheel builds a pot, taking as much mud as the Sumeru is in weight, then that pot can bear resemblance to the golden one placed by this king on the summit of this temple.

——–

Before the temple of Shiva, he dug a pond in which reflected the rays of the pearls stuck in the diadem of the crest of the female ser- pent and to which the black bees are attracted by the sweet scent of the musks applied to the breasts of the maidens who go to bathe there.

[The snakes are supposed to reside in Patal, a region below this earth. He dug his pond to such a depth, to cause the rays of the dia- monds over the heads of the female snakes to pierce, through its waters.]

——–

This descendant of the Sena family did wisely provide for the poor, inasmuch as he clothed Digambar (naked) with coloured dresses, adorned his body with golden ornaments, erected a palace for him, as he used to live in Shashana (a place where dead bodies are burnt,) and made him rich, as he maintained himself by begging.

[In the Hindu mythology, Shiva is represented as naked, living in Shashana, and maintaining himself by begging. He is ornamented, with serpents.]

——–

This king dressed Shiva at his own choice in the shape of Kalpa Kapalika, replacing his (Shiva’s) tiger’s hide by coloured silken clothes, his serpents by bulky garlands pendent over his breasts, his ashes by sandal wood powders, his rosary by blue pearls, and his human bones by gems.

[A Kalpa is a period of 4,320,000,000 of years (constituting a day and night of Brahma), after which period the universe is supposed to be destroyed by Shiva, who assumes on the occasion the form of Kapalika, having a tiger’s hide for his dress, serpents round his neck, ashes over his body, and a rosary of human bones in his hand.

The carpenter in Marryat’s ” Midshipman Easy” was evidently ac- quainted with the Kalpa theory.]

——–

He acquired by his arms the government of the world, and gained what was good for him in earth by his own powers. He has nothing to ask for in this world ; but, Shiva, who hast the half-moon on thy crest, bless him and give him in the end final absorption into yourself.

——–

It is Valmika and Vyasa who are able awhile to do justice to his life; Ave have tried this only to purify our words by emerging in the holy river of his fame.

[Valmika, a saint, is the author of the Ramayana, a famous and beautiful historical poem, containing a life of Rama.

I believe Rama to be Bacchus, or rather Bacchus to be Rama. I have no authority for this idea beyond a curious similarity between the fables of this country and the fables as told by the Greeks.

——–

 

As long as the Granges will purify the heaven, the earth, and the Patala, (a region under the earth, Purgatory), as long as the moon will become an ornament of Shiva, and as long as the three Vedas (Rig, Yajus and Shama) impart true knowledge to the virtuous, so long may his fame, becoming their friends, elo similar duties which are done by them !

——–

This garland of praises, consisting of the gems of the pure Sena family kings, has been constructed by Oomapatidhar, a poet, whose under- standing has been refined by study of words and their meanings, (i. e. by the study of literature).

——–

This praise has been inscribed (dug) by humble Shulapani, the head of the Barendra artists, son of Brihaspati, grandson of Manadasa and great-grandson of Dharma.

Footnotes:

[1] The word Bdkshincltya Jcslmunindra may moan ” a king of the Southern country” Dekkan, or ” a king of the Southern race,” in the same way in which paschdtya, Sdraswat, Drdbula, indicate racea. R. M.

[2] The latter part of the s’loka may mean that the king (not the anger) assailed the king of Gonr, subjugated the king of Kamrupa and quickly conquered him of Kalinga ; or, he assailed the king of Gour who had subjugated the king of Kamarupa, and quickly conquered him of Kalinga ; or he quickly conquered the king of Kalinga who had overcome the king of Kamarupa without the interven- tion of the king’ of Gour. R. M.

[3] The Burrin or high land of Rajashahi is covered with the most enormous tanks that astonish every body. I do not know of ever hearing of any other dis- trict with the same number of tanks as this. It is no exaggeration to say, that there is a tank measuring 200 to 500 yards in the north of this district, and some most extensive and beautiful.

[4] The mythological story of Phoebus and his horses.

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