Muhammad Khan Bangash

Nawab Ghazanfar-Jang,[1] Bangash Khan (1665 – 1743) was the first Nawab of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, India. He was a "Bawan Hazari Sardar" (Commander of 52,000 men strong force) in the Mughal Army. He served as governor of Malwa and Allahabad provinces of the Mughal empire.[2][3][page needed][4] He was also viceroy of Assam from 1735-1743. Although regarded as rude and illiterate,[4] not understanding a single word of Persian or Pashto,[5][4][6] he was well regarded for his loyalty,[2] and it is believed that had fortune sided with him he would have been able to establish a kingdom rivalling those in the Deccan or Awadh.[5]

Nawab Muhammad Khan Bangash
Nawab of Farrukhabad
Nawab Of Allahbad
Nawab Of Malwa
Viceroy of Assam
Sardar Ghazanfar Jang
Nawab Muhammad Khan Bangash, ca 1730, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.jpg
Khan entertained by women
Nawab of Farrukhabad
Reign1713 – 1743
PredecessorPosition established
SuccessorNawab Qaim Khan Bangash
Nawab Of Allahabad
Reign1725 – August 1729
1735 – 1736
PredecessorSarbuland Khan
SuccessorSarbuland Khan
Nawab Of Malwa
Reign26 January 1731 – 25 October 1732
PredecessorGirdhar Bahadur
SuccessorJai Singh of Amber
BornMuhammad Khan
FatherAin Khan Bangash
OccupationMughal Ispahsalar


The first immigrants to Mau were the descendants of the Khwaja Bayazid Ansari, the ethnic Ormur leader and founder of the Roshaniyya movement who had settled in Mau and Shamsabad. Muhammad Khan's father, Ain Khan Bangash, who belonged Karlani Khaghzai clan[7] of the Pashtun Bangash tribe had migrated from his native lands in the time of Aurangzeb and settled in Mau Rashidabad, gained service under the descendants of the Ansaris, married in Mau and had left two sons.[8] His son, Muhammad Khan, gained a reputation as one of the most powerful of the Indo-Afghan mercenaries who inhabited that part of Hindustan, and eventually came to establish the territories that were consolidated into the state of Farrukhabad. He was rewarded the jagir of Farrukhabad area and part of Bundelkhand.[7][9] In India they were referred to as qaum-i-bangash which became a wider and more diffused label.

Being few in number, the bulk of Muhammad Khan's soldiers were elite slaves known as 'disciples', who played a significant role as a kind of artificial family in-group attached to their patron. These were primarily former Hindu Rajputs and sometimes Brahmins who were adopted, converted to Islam, given a new name and submitted to a regime of religious, literary and military training which was focused on the transformation of the recruit's identity. Hence the natural sons of Muhammad Khan were to be considered the brothers of the adopted sons, who were referred to as 'atfal-i-sarkar' or children of the state.[10] Before Muhammad Khan's death, the separation between the various tribes and castes broke down, forming a homogenous group, so that Muhammad Khan had founded his own Indian Muslim tribe or caste. To increase his independence from his nobles further, he continued to encourage immigration from the northwest.[11]

The state of Farrukhabad was named after Muhammad Khan's patron the Emperor Farrukhsiyar.[7][1][12] In 1713, he was appointed a courtier by Emperor Farrukhsiyar and founded the town of Farrukhabad in 1714. [2] He founded the town of Mohammadabad after his name and the town of Qaimganj after his son Qaim Khan's name.[7] During Saadat Khan's journey to Awadh, he stayed at Farrukhabad. Muhammad Khan Bangash gave him information about the strength, pride and resources of Shaikhzadas (a community which ruled Lucknow).[13] He advised Khan to befriend the sheikhs of Kakori, adversaries of the Shaikhzadas, before entering Lucknow. Bangash became Saadat Khan's closest ally. However, Saadat Khan began to go out of his ways to curry favour with the emperor. This obsession annoyed other nawabs and subahdars. Among them was Bangash himself, who was angry at the latter for backing Chhatrasal and instigating him.[7]

He served in the campaign led by the Sayyid Brothers against the Jat leader Churaman (October 1722 - September 1723) and Ajit Singh of Marwar.[14] In 1730, emperor Muhammad Shah appointed him as the Subahdar of Malwa. However, he was unable to cope with the repeated Maratha incursions and was removed from the post in 1732. He was appointed Subahdar of Allahabad for the admirable job he did against Chhatrasal the first time.[7] On account of his failure in Bundelkhand against Chhatrasal the second time, he was removed from the governorship of Allahabad as well.[1]

At his death his dominions included the entire Doab from Koil in the North, to Kora in the South, including all of Farrukhabad and parts of Cawnpore, Shahjahanpur, Budaun and Aligarh.[15][2] His brother Himmat Khan Bangash was the father of Nawab Murtaza Khan of Jahangirabad, and the grandfather of the Urdu poet Nawab Mustafa Khan Shefta.[16]

Later Mughal-Maratha WarsEdit

In Bundelkhand, Chhatrasal had rebelled against the Mughal Empire and established an independent kingdom. In December 1728, a Mughal force led by the distinguished commander Muhammad Khan Bangash attacked him, and besieged his fort with his family. Chhatrasal had repeatedly sought Peshwa Baji Rao's assistance, but the latter was busy in Malwa at that time.

In March 1729, the Peshwa Baji Rao I finally responded to Chhatrasal's request and marched towards Bundelkhand. Chhatrasal also escaped his captivity and joined the Maratha forces. After they marched to Jaitpur, as a result Bangash was defeated in the battle and retreat from Bundelkhand. Chhatrasal's position as the ruler of Bundelkhand was restored.[17]


Muhammad Khan Bangash was illiterate and could not understand a single word of Persian due to which he had to be accompanied by one of his sons.[5][4] He was also unable to understand either Turki or Pashto.[18] Contemporaries were amazed by the discrepancy between his great wealth & power and his simple personal habits. However, this roughness and general lack of adab could be rather embarrassing, especially during audiences at the imperial Mughal court. His descendants were more fully accommodated to the royal nawabi lifestyle and the etiquette of an Indo-Persian court.[4]

Muhammad Khan practised the Indian custom of Utara, the act of dismounting, tying the tunics together and fighting on foot to the death, a peculiarity of Indian Muslims horsemen of which they were very proud, which William Irvine says specially affected Indians such as the Barha Sayyids. This was something boasted by the Hindustani Muslims to be proof of exceptional courage.[19] He had his soldiers dismount and tie the skirts of their heavy plaited coats (Jamaah) to fight to the death when in crisis.[20][21]


Muhammad Khan Bangash was succeeded by his eldest son Qaim Khan in 1743.[22][7] Qaim Khan was later succeeded by Ahmad Khan Bangash, his younger brother and Muhammad Khan Bangash's second son.[2][4][1]


These were the following Nawabs of Farrukhabad-[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Beale, Thomas William (1894). An Oriental Biographical Dictionary. W.H. Allen. ISBN 978-1-4047-0648-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mahajan, V. D. (2020). Modern Indian History. S. Chand Publishing. ISBN 978-93-5283-619-2.
  3. ^ A history of the Bangash nawabs of Farrukhabad, from 1713 to 1771 A.D. by Jos J. L. Gommans
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gommans, Jos J. L. (1995). The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire: C. 1710-1780. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-10109-8.
  5. ^ a b c Irvine, William (1879). A History of the Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad: From 1713 to 1771 A.D. G.H. Rouse.
  6. ^ Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal:Volume 47. Asiatic Society (Kolkata, India), Asiatic Society of Bengal. p. 331. Muhammad Khan, being a mere soldier, did not understand a single word of Persian, Turki or Pushtu
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Bhasin, Rakesh (21 May 2018). Dastan-e-Awadh: A Momentous Journey from Faizabad to Lucknow. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-64249-882-0.
  8. ^ Jos Gommans (2017). The Indian Frontier: Horse and Warband in the Making of Empires.
  9. ^ Nile Green · (2012). Sufism:A Global History. p. 144.
  10. ^ Jos Gommans (2017). The Indian Frontier: Horse and Warband in the Making of Empires.
  11. ^ C. A. Bayly (1988). Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars:North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770-1870. p. 119.
  12. ^ The Cambridge History of India Vol.IV. p. 353.
  13. ^ Srivastava 1954, p. 32.
  14. ^ Gupta, Bhagavānadāsa (1980). Life and Times of Maharaja Chhatrasal Bundela. Radiant.
  15. ^ "Mohammad Khan Bangash".
  16. ^ "Ain Khan Bangash".
  17. ^ G.S.Chhabra (1 January 2005). Advance Study in the History of Modern India (Volume-1: 1707-1803). Lotus Press. pp. 19–28. ISBN 978-81-89093-06-8.
  18. ^ Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal:Volume 47. Asiatic Society (Kolkata, India), Asiatic Society of Bengal. p. 331. Muhammad Khan, being a mere soldier, did not understand a single word of Persian, Turki or Pushtu
  19. ^ William Irvine (1971). Later Mughal. Atlantic Publishers & Distri. p. 31.
  20. ^ William Irvine (1903). The Army of the Indian Moghuls: Its Organization and Administration.
  21. ^ Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 1832. p. 63.
  22. ^ Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Soc. 1878.