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West Bengal

West Bengal Police



Calcutta Police

Cooch Behar


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In 1534, the Pashtun Sher Shah Suri, or Farid Khan defeated the forces of the Mughals under Humayun, captured both Delhi and Agra and established a kingdom stretching far into Punjab.


After Humayun's death in 1556 his successor Akbar defeated the Karani rulers of Bengal in 1576. Administration by governors appointed by the court of the Mughal Empire (1575-1717) gave way to four decades of semi-independence under the Nawabs of Murshidabad, who respected the nominal sovereignty of the Mughals in Delhi. The Nawabs granted permission to the French East India Company to establish a trading post at Chandernagore in 1673, and the British East India Company at Calcutta in 1690.


When the British East India Company began strengthening the defences at Fort William (Calcutta), the Nawab, Siraj Ud Daulah, at the encouragement of the French, attacked. Under the leadership of Robert Clive, British troops and their local allies captured Chandernagore in March 1757 and seriously defeated Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa at the Battle of Plassey on June 23, 1757. The Nawab was assassinated in Murshidabad, and the British installed their own Nawab for Bengal and extended their direct control in the south. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally. But the Mughal empire was already on the wane after the demise of Aurangzeb, and was breaking up into pieces and enclaves. After the Battle of Buxar, Shah Alam II, the ruling emperor, gave up the administrative rights over Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. Clive thus became the first British Governor of Bengal.


Company rule in India, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and under the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj.

In 1905 Bengal was divided into an eastern and a western part but because of Hindu opposition both parts were united in 1912.

As a result of the partition of India after independence, Bengal was divided again in 1947 in an eastern and a western part, the eastern part becoming a part of Pakistan and in 1958 the sovereign state of Bangla Desh




A very rare evidence of early Bengal heraldry is a silver medal struck by Sultan Jalal al-Din Muhammad of the Ganesha Dynasty of Bengal (1415-’32). This medal shows a lion passant. The purpose of this badge is not very clear. The numismatist G.S. Farid is of the opnion that it was intended to be presented to the Chinese emperor by Chinese ambassadors and soldiers residing at the Bengal court during the early 15th century. Chinese chronicles do indeed record that the Bengal sultans presnted silver coind to members of their Bengal mission, which is just the other way round. [1]

Thus, we may assume that the Bengal ambassadors to the Chinese court were given such medals as a passport which identified them as representatives of the Bengal court. In that case, the lion is the symbol of the Sultan of Bengal.

From the Chinese point of view, the meaning of the lion should have been clear, as a lion was the symbol of a military official of the second rank in Chinese military hierarchy. Even when it was chosen because in Indian symbolism  it was the attribute of Durga, it must be taken for granted that the Sultan of Bengal intended to represent himself as a high military commander which he was indeed.

In this context we must also point to the fact that a lion is an almost universal symbol of a high-ranking warrior. In Muslim symbolism the lion was the symbol of Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and fourth Caliph. In less inconoclastic Muslim societies it was a preferred symbol of a defender of the faith (amir al-mu’minin) and in that quality it was also used by the Persian il-khans. [2]


No such medals are known until now of later Bengal rulers.


Large  silver medal of Sultan Jalal al-Din Muhammad, struck in 1421.

Actual size Æ 6.7 cm.


British Presence


The first one and a half century of British presence in Bengal was dominated by the Honourable East India Company and as a consequence the achievement of the Company was used in Bengal. This achievement consisted of a red cross on a white shield, with crest, supporters and motto.


After the British crown had assumed direct administration of India the achievement of the HEIC was replaced by the achievement of the royal-, and from 1877 for the imperial achievement of the United Kingdom. This consisted of the crowned royal arms with garter, supported by a crowned lion guardant and a unicorn and the motto DIEU ET MON DROIT (God and my Right).


Badge of British Bengal

On the façade of India House, London


The national emblem consisted of a per fess, the chief Azure, a Bengal Tiger passant proper, the base Or, a Britsh merchant ship in full sail, on waves of the sea

 It occurred on the blue ensign of British India. For use by the British presidency of Bengal,

In 1947 all these emblems were abolished for use in India.


The emblem of West Bengal until 2018 consisted of a portrait of a veiled Bengal lady and the title “Government of West Bengal” in red latin script.



The present emblem of the Government of West Bengal was adopted 5 January 2018. It consists of a map of the Eastern hemisphere charged with a map of West Bengal state, charged with the letter ‘B’ in Bengali script, tinctured yellow, white and green , surrounded by the name GOVT OF WEST BENGAL in blue bengali and latin script. The seal is surrounded by aa blue spiral and a bordure in the shape of a green wax-seal and is crested with a green Asoka-capital emblem of India.


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


West Bengal Police



The arms of the West Bengal Police are parted per pale Gules and Vert, charged with the emblem of the service being the initials WBP within a garland and crested with the Asoka capital, and with the title of the service below, all Or.




The Nawabs of Murshidabad represent the former ruling house of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. They had long ceased exercising any effective authority after Lord Clive secured the Diwani of these provinces for the British East India Company, from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II in 1765. Thereafter, the Nawab Nazims enjoyed their titles, honours and privileges, largely by the grace of the Honourable Company. Although entitled to a significant share of the revenues collected within those provinces, they had little or no say in their collection or expenditure, and ceased to control any significant administrative, legal or military forces.


The British and Independence Era


In 1765 the East India Company obtained the Dewani of Sube Bangla from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam. From now on the Nawabs remained as mere pensioners of the British.

The indiscriminate collection of revenue by the British resulted in the devastating famine (also known as Chhiyattorer Mannantar) of 1770. A third of the population of Bengal perished. Gradually the seat of power was shifted from Murshidabad to Calcutta.

On 24th February 1857 the Sepoys of the 19th Regiment Native Infantry at Berhampore Cantonment Revolted. Though the revolt was quickly suppressed this triggered the great Sepoy Mutiny, arguably the First War of Independence against the Company oppressions

The country became independent on the 15th of August 1947, after being separated into two nations, viz., India and Pakistan. Murshidabad became part of India on the basis of the final award of the Radcliffe Commission. However, some confusion was there on the initial two days of Independence.


Nawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad


Saif-ud-Doula (1766-1770 AD): After the death of Najam-ud-daulla, his younger brother "Syef-ul-Mulk, Shuja-ud-Daulla, Shahmat Jang ( Sword of the Country, Hero of the the State, Arrow in War )" Nawab Saif-ud-Doula was placed on the Throne at an age of 17 years. He used to get a pension of Rs 41,86,131 per annum. In 1769, a great epidemic of small pox raged in Murshidabad and one of the victims being Nawab Saif-ud-Doula himself. His mortal remains lie in Jafarganj Cemetery.


after the death of Saif-ud-Doula Mubarak-ud-Doula another son of Mir-Jafar ascended the throne at the age of 17 only. He died  in 1793 AD and was succeeded by his son Babar-Ali who reigned till 1810 AD. He received the imperial title of "Nasir-ul-Mulk, Azud-ud-Daulla, Delar Jang (Helper of the Country, Arrow of the State, Brave in War )". after Babar-Ali his eldest son Zainuddin Ali Khan, known as Ali Jah became the nawab. On 6th August 1821 Ali-Jah died after prolonged illness. Syud Ahmed Ali Khan, known as Wala Jah, second son of Babar Ali, succeeded  the Throne on the death of his brother, Ali Jah, in 1821 AD.




Nawab Nazim Humayun


Jah of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa 1824–1838


1824 - 1838 H.H. Humayun Jah, Shuja-ul-Mulk, Ihtisham-ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Mubaraq 'Ali Khan Bahadur, Firuz Jang, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, GCH (c in brilliants 14.9.1836). b. at Murshidabad, 29th September 1810, only son of H.H. Wala Jah, Burhan ul-Mulk, Ihtisham ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Ahmad 'Ali Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jang, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, by his first wife, H.H. Nawab Najib un-nisa Begum Sahiba, Gaddinashin Begum, educ. privately. Proclaimed as Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa on the death of his father, 30th October 1824. Installed on the Khahar Balish, at Murshidabad Palace, 23rd December 1824.

He d. at Hazardowari Palace, Murshidabad, 3rd October 1838 (bur. Jafarganj Cemetery) [3]


Achievement on the Hazarduari Palace (1829-1837)



Arms: Alliance: D. A peacock; S.: A two-headed eagle charged with an escutcheon of a fess, in chief a riding sun radiant and in base a lion passant

Supporters: A pile crested with a book and a 'mahi maratib' [4] and two cannon and two red and green banners each charged with a tiger in saltire. D.: A lion of Ali  S.: A scottish unicorn


The dexter arms for Mayurbanj (?)


The sinister arms (unknown)


Mansur Ali Khan Feradun Jah


Jah of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa 1838-1880


1838 - 1880 H.H. Faridun Jah, Muntazim ul-Mulk, Mohsin ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Mansur 'Ali Khan Bahadur, Nusrat Jang, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. b. at Murshidabad, 29th October 1830, third son of H.H. Humayun Jah, Shuja-ul-Mulk, Ihtisham-ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Mubaraq 'Ali Khan Bahadur, Firuz Jang, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, GCH, by his second wife, H.H. Nawab Rais un-nisa Begum Sahiba, Gaddinashin Begum, educ. privately. Succeeded on the death of his father, 3rd October 1838. Ascended the Khahar Balish, Mushidabad, 19th December 1838. Installed at Hazardowri Palace, Murshidabad, 21st May 1847. Reduced from a salute of 19-guns to 13-guns for alleged complicity in the murder of two menials, 11th October 1854. Left Murshidabad for England in February 1869 and remained there until his return to Bombay in October 1881. Renounced his hereditary styles and titles of Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and abdicated in favour of his eldest son, at St Ives, Maidenhead, 1st November 1880. Prone to pleasure and extravagance, he had fallen deeply into debt and was obliged to dispose of much of his family jewels, property and patrimony in return for a life pension of £10,000 p.a., a personal stipend of £83,000 and expenses of £25,000. He d. from cholera, at Nawab Manzil, Murshidabad, 4th November 1884 (bur. at Jafaraganj Cemetery, later removed to Karbala, Iraq), [5]


Probably the same achievement as the former


Sayyid Hassan Ali Mirza Bahadur       




Nawab sir Sayyid Hasan Ali khan Bahadur, G.C.I.E., Nawab Bahadur of  Murshidabad,


1880 - 1906 ‘Ali Qadr, Amir ul-Umara, Ihtisham ul-Mulk, Rais ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jang, Nawab of Murshidabad, GCIE (20.5.1890, KCIE 15.2.1887).b. at Hazardowari Palace, Murshidabad, 25th August 1846, eldest son of H.H. Faridun Jah, Muntazim ul-Mulk, Mohsin ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Mansur ‘Ali Khan Bahadur, Nusrat Jang, Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, by his wife, Guiti Afroz Mahal, Nawab Mehr Lekha Begum Sahiba, educ. privately at Mushidabad and in England. Appointed as the representative of his father, 1873. Succeeded as Head of the Royal House of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, on the abdication of his father, 1st November 1880. Granted the hereditary title of Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad, 17th February 1882. Installed in the Durbar Room, of the at Hazardowari Palace, Murshidabad, 27th March 1883. Granted the titles of Ihtisham ul-Mulk, Rais ud-Daula, Mahabat Jang, and Amir ul-Umara 28th May 1887. Confirmed in the titles of Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad and Amir ul-Umara, the precedence, rank, dignity and privileges of premier noble of the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orrissa, all inheritable by his lineal male descendants by right of primogeniture, 21st March 1891.  [6]


The achievement adopted by the Nawab was:


Arms: Argent, a 'mahi maratib', proper (of Bihar) above a cheval regardant, also proper.

Crest: a Zulfikdr (sword of Ali)

Supporters: D.: A Bengal tiger; S.: The unicorn of Scotland


WAR CRY: NBM  ('Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad')



Source : The golden book of India, a genealogical and biographical dictionary of the ruling princes, chiefs, nobles, and other personages, titled or decorated, of the Indian empire, by Lethbridge, Roper, Published 1893. [7]


Sayyid Sir Wasif Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur


25.12.1906 – 23.10.1959


1906 - 1959 H.H. Amir ul-Umara, Ihtisham ul-Mulk, Rais ud-Daula, Asif Qadr, Nawab Sayyid Wasif ‘Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jung [Bara Sahib], Nawab of Murshidabad, KCSI (1.1.1910), KCVO (4.1.1912). b. at Murshidabad, 7th January 1875, eldest son of ‘Ali Qadr, Amir ul-Umara, Ihtisham ul-Mulk, Rais ud-Daula, Nawab Sayyid Hassan ‘Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jung, Nawab of Murshidabad, GCIE, by his first wife, H.H. Nawab Amir Dulhan Kulsum un-nisa Begum Sahiba, educ. Sherborne, Dorset, Rugby, and Trinity Coll, Oxford. Adstr of the Nizamut 1895-1899, Chair Murshidabad Municipality 1899-1901, MLC Bengal 1901-1906. Succeeded on the death of his father, 25th December 1906. Represented Bengal at the Coronations of the King-Emperor Edward VII and Queen-Empress Alexandra at Westminster Abbey in London, 1902, and of the King-Emperor George V and Queen-Empress Mary at Westminster Abbey in London, 1911. Forced to surrender the administration of his estates to the Governmernt of India, after incurring debts ammounting to Rs. 19 lakhs, 11th December 1931.

The Radcliffe Commission allotted Murshidabad district to Pakistan and the Pakistani flag was duely hoisted at the Hazarduari Palace, 15th August 1947. Within two days, India exchanged Khulna for Mushidabad, and the Indian flag was hoisted on 17th August 1947. The Government of West Bengal resumed all these estates in 1953. A noted Urdu and English poet and author of “A Mind’s Reproduction” (1934). Patron Calcutta Historical Soc. Founder Presdt Hindu-Muslim Unity Assoc. Presdt Anjuman-e-Musalmanan-e-Bangala, etc. Rcvd: Coron (1902, 1911 and 1937), Delhi Durbar (1903 and 1911), and Silver Jubilee (1935) medals. 

He d. at his residence at 85 Park Street, Calcutta, 23rd October 1959 (bur. Jaffaraganj Cemetery, Murshidabad), [8]


Achievement of Wasif Ali Mirza

Stucco decoration on Wasif Nizam Nizamat Fort Campus, Murshidabad (1904)


Achievement (formerly polychromized)

Arms: A pile charged with two cannon in saltire

Crest: A 'mahi maratib' umping

Crown: The crown of the Nawab of Murshidabad, recrested of two swords in saltire (= Sword of Ali).

Supporters:  A club and a sceptre and two banners in saltire; and D.: A Bengal tiger & S.: the unicorn of Scotland





The coat of arms is said to have been the coat of arms of Iskander Mirza, the first president of Pakistan who was born in Murshidabad (*1899). [9]


Syed Mohammed Abbas Ali Meerza 


Lawful heir: 2014-present


Heir of the last Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad. He has been so since the Supreme Court of India declared him to be the lawful heir in August 2014. The royal title had been in abeyance since the death of his maternal uncle Waris Ali Meerza (the third Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad) in 1969. All the royal title such as Nawab have been abolished by the government of India in 1971.


Present Achievement


The present achievement is a restyling of the achievement of 1893


Calcutta / Kolkata


Modern Kolkata (Calcutta) was founded in 1690 by British trader Job Charnock as a trading post of the English East India Company. In the mid -17th century the Portuguese had a trading outpost in the area at Sutanuti, followed by the Dutch, who constructed a diversion canal at the bank of the Hugli River, near the present Central Business District.

The old Fort William was built to protect the English post in 1696. The city became famous in 1756, in England particularly, when Siraj-ud-Dawlah, a Bengal ruler, captured the fort and, according to British historians, stifled to death 43 British residents in a small guardroom called the Black Hole of Kolkata. The city was recaptured by the British under Robert Clive in 1757. The English initially built an intricate transport network through the Hugli - Ganges water system, but it was the railroads, introduced in the 1850s, that successfully established connections with the hinterland and the rest of India. The city eventually had the largest concentration of trading establishments in India, and a Western-style business district evolved by the end of the 19th century.


The Achievement


City of ....


Arms: Per chevron Or and Sable, a lion passant guardant Gules between two palm-trees eradicated in chief Vert, and a ship under sail in base Argent.[10]

Crest: Issuant out of an eastern crown, a sea-lion holding in the dexter paw a lotus-flower leaved and slipped proper.

Supporters: Adjutant-birds (Ibis leucocephalus - Ciconiidæ) holding in the beak a serpent proper, charged on the shoulder with an eastern crown Or.


By two patents dated 26th of December 1896.

ï  The ancient seal of Calcutta


The Present Emblem



On 22 February, 1961, the old achievement was changed for a new design. This reflected the spirit and ideals of the newly established Calcutta Municipal Corporation


It is:

A Hand of Fire symbolizing Purity and High Ideals in the hands of thepolitical authorities. It also stands for removal of diseases, filth and tardiness.

Below is the motto KOLKATA PAUROSANGSTHA  in Bengali script

It is surrounded by a frame divided in eight parts: In chief are the words  PUROSREE BIBARDHAN in old Bengali scripte between an eight-petalled lotus symbolising Beauty and Culture, and a wheel with eight spokes (dharmachakra), symbolising Industry and Progress.

On the dexter and sinister are fishes which are buddhist auspicious symbols, and stalks of rice representing the main food crop.

In base there is an old Mayurpankshi Boat on three wavy lines depicting the naval trade of southern Bengal of by-gone days in general and of the Region in particular, both ancient and modern. It is between a swastika symbolising all-round prosperity, and a double thunderbolt (vajra) symbolising Force, High Ideals and Electrical Power.


Kolkata Police Force


The emblem of the Calcutta police consists of an eight-pointed star radiant charged with an eight-pointed cross or Maltese cross, charged with a medaillon with the Asoka capital surrounded by a strap with the name of the service. It is said that the seal signifies upholding Truth, Valour and Justice. “We who enforce the law must not merely obey it. We have an obligation to set a moral example, which those whom we protect can follow.”


Cooch  Behar




It was formed when the Kamata Kingdom under the Koch dynasty split following the death of Nara Narayan in 1586.

The eastern portion, Koch Hajo, was soon absorbed by Ahom. The western portion, Koch Bihar, although nominally independent became a vassal state in turn of the Mughal Empire, of Bhutan, and then of the British East India Company.

Maharajas of Cooch Behar

Nripendra Narayan

1863 - 1911

Rajarajendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur

1911 - 1913

Jitendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur

1913 - 1922

Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur

1922 - 1970

Following the Indian Mutiny, the British East India company was replaced by direct rule from the British government - the British Raj.


By an agreement dated 28 August, 1949 the maharaja of Cooch Behar ceded full and extensive authority, jurisdiction and power of the state to the Dominion Government of India. The transfer of administration of the state to the Government of India came into force on 12 September 1949. Eventually, Cooch Behar was transferred and merged with the province of West Bengal on 19 January 1950 and from that date Cooch Behar emerged as a new District in the administrative map of West Bengal.


A coat of arms was granted to Maharaja Nripendra Narayan at the Durbar in Delhi in 1877. It was:

Raja of ....


Arms: Purpure, an annulet Or between a swordblade Vert and a sword proper, hilted of the second.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Purpure and Or, a monkey sejant Argent.

Supporters: A tiger and an elephant.

Motto: Yato dharmas tato jayah (Where there is Law, there is Victory)



Some of the data given to Robert Taylor seem to have been misinterpreted by him because the achievement was very soon changed. This can be seen on the gates of the Royal Palace in Cooch Behar, constructed in 1887. Here the swordblade and sword per pale are replaced by two swords in saltire and a balance has been added in chief. The helmet is omitted, the monkey is replaced by the God Hanuman with clubs in both hands, sitting on a globe, the tiger has been replaced by a lion and in the compartment a lotus-flower is added. Like this:


Photo NN Internet


Another version shows:


Arms: Purpure, a blade of grass Vert and a sword proper in saltire, in chief a balance also proper, and in base an annulet Or.

Crest: Hanuman, sitting on a globe.

Supporters: A lion guardant and an elephant.

Motto: Yato dharmas tato jayah (Where there is Law, there is Victory).

Compartment: A lotusplant with buds, a flower and fruit, proper.



In this version one of the swords is replaced by a blade of grass to match the ancestral banner of the family which, according to Leithbridge, displays a sword and a blade of grass (with which according to tradition, one of the Maharaja’s ancestors cut of the head of an ennemy as an offering to the goddess Kali).



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© Hubert de Vries 2009-08-22. Updated 2012-08-20; 2020-07-30




[1] Eaton, Richard M. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.

[2] A parallel of such a medal is the ‘Ambassadeurspenning’ struck by the government of the United Provinces of the Netherlands for use by diplomats of the Republic (after 1609).

[3] https://www.royalark.net/India4/murshid12.htm

[4] Badge of rank bestowed upon  H.H.‘s ancesors by the Emperors of Delhi

[5] https://www.royalark.net/India4/murshid13.htm

[6] https://www.royalark.net/India4/murshid16.htm

[7] http://allaboutheraldry.blogspot.com/2015/05/indian-families-armorial-murshidabad.html

[8] http://allaboutheraldry.blogspot.com/2015/05/indian-families-armorial-murshidabad.html

[9] Iskander Mirza, the first president of Pakistan (1955-1958) was a grandson of one of the nawabs of Murshidabad and was entitled to the same arms as the India princely families did not difference the arms upon succession generally speaking

[10] A 18th century ship of the line.

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