Prithimpassa family

The Prithimpassa family, also known as the Nawabs of Longla,[1][2] are an aristocratic family from the Prithimpassa Union, Kulaura Upazila, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Bangladesh. The family was of the erstwhile feudal nobility of East Bengal. They played important roles in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Partition of India and Sylhet referendum in 1947, and the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

পৃত্থিমপাশা জমিদার বাড়ি.JPG
Prithimpassa Imambara
Current regionKulaura, Moulvibazar, Sylhet
EtymologyPrithim pasha
Place of originIsfahan, Iran
FounderSakhi Salamat
MembersNawab Ali Haider Khan, Nawab Ali Abbas Khan
Connected familiesMurshidabad, Awadh
Estate(s)Prithimpassa Estate
Shia Mosque at Prithimpassa Estate


The family was founded by Sakhi Salamat, a Persian nobleman who had arrived in the Indian subcontinent at the end of the 15th century. After initially residing at the court of the Lodi sultans of Delhi, he later moved to Sylhet, where he was granted land in the Prithimpassa mouza (located in the pargana of Longla) and first married the daughter of Birchandra Narayan, a Hindu prince of the Ita royal family in Rajnagar mouza. Dev Bhallav, a Brahmin Shiqdar of Longla, was on a pilgrimage when he needed money, and so he borrowed fifteen gold coins from Salamat. On another occasion, Salamat visited Bhallav's home and Bhallav's daughter appeared in front of them out of curiosity. Salamat arbitrarily spat and the saliva fell on Bhallav's daughters body. In reaction, Bhallav deemed that both of their Brahmin status had been lost and thus married her off to Salamat, and then migrated to Kashidham. Salamat had one son whose name was Ismail Khan, who had a son named Shams ad-Din Muhammad Khan (1624-1682).[3]

Ismail's grandson was Muhammad Rabi Khan (d. 1774), who grew to become a respected maulvi and scholar of Persian at the court of the Nawab of Bengal Alivardi Khan in Murshidabad as well as the Naib Nazim of Dhaka. He became a teacher to several children of the ruling Nawab family which included Sarfaraz Khan, Zain ud-Din Ahmed Khan and Nawazish Muhammad Khan. On one occasion, a scorpion entered into his jama without Rabi noticing, whilst he was assembled at the Nawab's court. A while later, the scorpion bit into Rabi, burning his skin and turning him red-faced. Intending to maintain his professionalism at the court, Rabi strived to keep his posture and not react loudly. However, those close to him including Nawab Alivardi Khan noticed something was wrong and asked him what the problem was to which Rabi explained. Impressed by how much respect Rabi showed to him, Alivardi Khan subsequently granted him the title of Danishmand (learned one in Persian) for his wisdom as well as large jagirs. Rabi returned to Prithimpassa after Alivardi's death and also received land-grants from the likes of Nawab Mir Qasim and Emperor Alamgir II. There was even a calendar in his honour at the palaces of the Nawabs in Murshidabad.[4] In 1756, he founded a bazaar near the family estate known as Rabir Bazar (Rabi's market) which remains in existence today in the Kulaura Upazila.[5]

Rabi Khan's son was Muhammad Ali Khan. Muhammad served as the Assistant Qadi of Sylhet in 1773 and later served as the Qadi of Taraf. He assisted the British forces against the rebellious Naga and Kuki tribes in 1793 and as a reward received his own troops and a jagir.[citation needed]

Gaus Ali Khan was Muhammad's son and he was notable for sheltering 300 insurgent sepoys who had looted the Chittagong Treasury during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[6] His son, Ali Ahmad Khan (1840-1874), assisted the British during the Lushai Expedition against the Mizos and as a reward, he was excused from the Arms Act, 1959. During Ahmad's time, the revenue of the estate rapidly increased. Ahmad established Chandni ghat in Sylhet town along the banks of the Surma River. In 1872, he constructed a clock tower in Sylhet which would be completed and named after his son, Ali Amjad Khan. Ahmad's wife was Umara an-Nisa Khatun and they also had a daughter named Latifa Banu.[citation needed]

Ali Amjad Khan (17 November 1871 - 24 November 1905), an Honorary Magistrate and educationist, had hobbies of horse riding, polo and hunting. He was known to have single-handedly shot 43 tigers.[7] During his tenure, the family had become the wealthiest in Sylhet.[8] He founded the Rangirchhara Tea Estate, the largest native-run tea garden in Bengal.[9] The estate library was opened in 1921. In 1932, he established the Ali Amjad Government Girls' High School in Moulvibazar. He gave out scholarships to schools across Assam and Chittagong, awarded gold medals to students in Tripura, financially assisted needy students and joined the Aligarh Muslim University Committee. In 1901, he accompanied Lord Curzon to Silchar. He gifted a poor boy in his area with one of his own elephants. During a trip to Calcutta, he got typhoid fever and died. Amjad's wife was Fatima Banu, and he had two sons; Ali Haider and Ali Asghar.[citation needed]

Ali Haider Khan (1900 - 30 June 1963) was politically active throughout the early 20th century. His work included serving as Minister of Agriculture in the cabinet of Muhammed Saadulah, serving as Minister of Power and Water Development in the cabinet of Gopinath Bordoloi, leading the Independent Muslim Party and playing a prominent role in the 1947 Sylhet referendum.[10] In 1950, he hosted Reza Shah of Iran and Khwaja Nazimuddin at his estate for four days and went hunting with them. He married Husna Ara Begum, the daughter of Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza of Murshidabad and had four children; Ali Safdar Khan, Syedatunnisa Begum and Ali Sarwar Khan.[citation needed]

Ali Asghar Khan (1903-1984) was a politician. He had a son called Ali Yeawar Khan who was born in Calcutta in 1925. Yeawar was a Member of the Provincial Assembly from 1958 to 1968 and was the first chairman of Prithimpasha Union.[citation needed]

Ali Safdar Khan (1917-1974), popularly known as Raja Saheb, was the eldest son of Haider and born in the Hazarduari Palace at Murshidabad. He was a leftist political leader of the Ballisara peasant movement of the 1960s. He and his brother Ali Sarwar Khan (15 May 1924 - 21 July 1995) took part in the Bangladesh Liberation War as commanders of a regiment from the Tripura borders. Sarwar later died in Dhaka. Safdar's own son, Ali Abbas Khan was a politician, educationist and social worker. Safdar's other son, Ali Naqi Khan, was a chairman of Prithimpasha Union Parishad.[4]

Syedatunnisa Begum (1923- 6 December 1999), daughter of Haider, was born in Calcutta. She married Wahid Ali Mirza, grandson of the Nawab of Awadh Birjis Qadr. They had a son named Asif Ali Mirza. Wahid later died, and Begum then married Syed Amanat Husayn, superintendent of the Special Police Department of East Pakistan.[citation needed]


The 12 Prithimpassa Nawab's are:

Name Birth Ascension Children Death Claim
Sakhī Salāmat Isfahānī
سخی سلامت اصفهانی
সখী সলামৎ ইস্ফহানী
? 1499 Ismail Khan Lodhi ? Jagir grant from Akbar
Nawāb Ismaʿīl Khān-e-Jahān Khān Amīr-al-Umarā Lodī
نواب اسماعیل خان جهان خان امیر الامراء لودی
নবাব ইসমাঈল খাঞ্জা খাঁন আমীরুল উমারা লোদী
? ? Shams ad-Din Muhammad 1624 First son
Nawāb Shams ad-Dīn Muḥammad
نواب شمس الدین محمد
নবাব শমস উদ্দীন মুহম্মদ
? 1624 Rabi Khan 1682 First son
Nawāb Dānishmand Mawlawī Muḥammad Rabīʿ Khān
نواب دانشمند مولوی محمد ربیع خان
নবাব দানিশমন্দ মৌলভী মুহম্মদ রবী খাঁন
? 1682 Muhammad Ali Khan 1774 First son
Nawāb Qāḍī Muḥammad ʿAlī Khān
نواب قاضی محمد علی خان
নবাব কাজী মুহম্মদ আলী খাঁন
? ? Gaus Ali Khan ? First son
Nawāb Ghawth ʿAlī Khān
نواب غوث علی خان
নবাব গৌছ আলী খাঁন
? ? Ali Ahmed Khan ? First son
Nawāb Mawlawī ʿAlī Aḥmad Khān
نواب مولوی علی احمد خان
নবাব মৌলভী আলী আহমদ খাঁন
1840 ? Ali Amjad Khan 1874 First son
Nawāb Mawlawī ʿAlī Amjad Khān
نواب مولوی علی امجد خان
নবাব মৌলভী আলী আমজদ খাঁন
1871 1874 Ali Haider and Ali Asghar 1905 First son
Nawāb ʿAlī Ḥaydar Khān
نواب علی حیدر خان
নবাব আলী হায়দর খাঁন
1900 1905 Safdar, Syedunnesa, Sarwar 1963 First son of Amjad
Nawāb ʿAlī Aṣghar Khān
نواب علی اصغر خان
নবাব আলী আসগর খাঁন
1903 1963 Ali Yeawar Khan 1984 Second son of Amjad
Nawāb ʿAlī Ṣafdar Khān
نواب علی صفدر خان
নবাব আলী সফদর খাঁন
1917 1974 Ali Abbas Khan 1995 First Son of Ali Haider
Nawāb ʿAlī Sarwār Khan
نواب علی سروار خان
নবাব আলী সরওয়ার খাঁন
1917 1974 1995 Second Son of Ali Haider
Manônīyô Shôngshôd Shôdosshô Nawāb ʿAlī ʿAbbās Khān
ماننیه سنگسد سدسیه نواب علی عباس خان
মাননীয় সংসদ সদস্য নবাব আলী আব্বাস খাঁন
1958 1995 present Son of Nawab Ali Safdar


  1. ^ Kaniz-e-Butool. "Urdu". Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  2. ^ Jobrul Alom Shumon (25 August 2015). ইতিহাস ঐতিহ্যে আমাদের সিলেট-পর্ব ০৫ (in Bengali). Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  3. ^ Choudhury (2006), p. 218.
  4. ^ a b "Brief History of the Family". Prithimpassa Estate. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011.
  5. ^ Choudhury (2006), p. 267.
  6. ^ Samir Uddin Ahmed (2012). "Kulaura Upazila". In Islam, Sirajul; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  7. ^ Abdul Kadir Jibon (11 September 2018). "Ali Amjad's Tower Clock". Daily Sun. Dhaka. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  8. ^ B. C.Allen (1905). Assam District Gazetteers. II. Calcutta: Caledonian Steam Printing Works. p. 93.
  9. ^ Ashfaque Hossain (2012). "Tea Industry". In Islam, Sirajul; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  10. ^ Ali Hamid Khan (21 July 2004). "Lest we forget". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2 December 2017.

Further readingEdit

  • Choudhury, Achyut Charan (2006) [1917], Srihatter Itibritta: Uttarrangsho (in Bengali), Kolkata: Basanti Press
  • The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760. Richard M. Eaton.
  • History of Bengal, Blochman, Akbarnama pg 177.
  • Riyaz-ul-Salatin pg 180.
  • Ain-I-Akbari pg 520.
  • Tazak-I-Jahangiri pg 104.