Murshidabad/Karimabad; Further Discussion

Started by akona20, October 18, 2010, 01:34:50 AM

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In trying to put what is possibly the final chost to rest in Bahadur's mint we come back to the discussion of was Karimabad Murshidabad or was it somewhere else. I have placed it up in pakistan in line with an old record or two.

I have gone back to another record published in 1914:

Bengal District Gazetteers : Murshidabad by O'Malley.

This book is rather extenisve and is of 250 + pages. No mention is made of Karimabad in this book nor in its notes on the mint which appear as a footnote on page 26.

So we come back to the listing suggested in other threads.

So can we look at this a little more closely or am i completely wrong?


It is called Karimabad in some of the histories of Bengal, I think.

Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.


Karimabad is a suburb in the N.W. part of the city of Murshidabad, were the mint was located. The mint of Murshidabad was started as Makhsusabad (KM#300.58) under Aurangzeb Alamgir and later the name changed into Murshidabad (KM#300.65).
Shah Alam Bahadur continued to use the mint-name Murshidabad only for the year Ahd (first year) and partly for Yr.2 (KM#347.21). During his second regnal year the mint-name got changed into Karimabad. Except for Ahd and Ry.2, no rupees with the mint-name Murshidabad have been observed. Jahandar again introduced rupees with the mint-name Murshidabad (KM#364.22).
That the rupees of Karimabad originate from Bengal can also numismatically proved as the coins of Ry.5 of the mints within the Subah of Bengal and Orissa are slightly heavier (12.03 – 12.1 g.) as the normal rupees (11.3 –11.6 g.). This increase in weight is only observed for the Bengal mints. Besides there are several historical references regarding Karimabad and its location is without doubt in Bengal.
The reference I may quote first is Pridmore, F., Notes on Colonial coins; A Dutch Mint in Bengal, Spink's Numismatic Circular (1960) 263.
The other reference is Wijnaendts van Resandt, De Gezaghebbers der Oost-Indische Compagnie op hare Buiten-Comptoiren in Azië (Amsterdam, 1944) 49-50.
Here is mentioned that Johannes Mattheus Ross (Governor for Bengal 1776-1781) departed from Holland in 1752 with the ship "Immogonda" for the Chamber of Amsterdam to the East. He served in Bengal and is mentioned in the records of 1756-1760 as Dutch overseer at the mint in 'Cariem Abaad' (Karimabad).
The Dutch obtained a privilege to bring their own bullion to the mint of Karimabad, alias Murshidabad, before any others and have it struck into Sicca rupees (Arent Pol, Baren voor Bengalen. De produktie van staafzilver ten behoeve van de VOC, De Beeldenaar (1987) 208-212.)


There is also a mention of Cariem Abaad (or Cariem Ahad) in the treaties between the Nabob and the Dutch signed 23 August 1760 but again we are well past the required date.

The English, Dutch and French factory areas all had a different name to what could be construed as Karimabad except if we look at the English factory area and perhaps call in what it is now Kasimbazar (Cossimbazar).

Convinced, well not quite I have a few more books to read yet.


I found my notes on Makhsusabad-Murshidabad-Karimabad, which I made about 15 - 20 years ago.
Just a few parts of these notes:
·   1704 (AH1115/16) Nawab Murshid Kuli Khan moved the seat of the Government from Dacca (Jahangirnagar) to Maksudabad (or Makhsusabad) which he then called, after him self Murshidabad. (CMN list a rupee AH1116/48 of Murshidabad, which is the earliest known date with this mint-name).
·   Murshidabad commanded Cassimbazar, where all the foreigners had important factories.
·   The Dutch second in position (in Bengal) to the Director was the Chief of the factory of Kalikapur near Cassimbazar, who had the rank of a senior merchant. The Dutch Company’s Resident in the mint at Murshidabad was under his control.
·   In 1711 (=AH1123) the Dutch were allowed access to the Karimabad mint.
·   Convention of August 1760 (AH1174)
“……… and that in future their business (of the Dutch) in the Mint shall continue to be carried on, without the least molestation or obstruction.”

From the 4th sentence it is also clear that Karimabad was not a Dutch or Colonial mint, as they got the privilege for coining their own bullion under their own control at the Nawab’s mint and by the Nawab’s employees in 1711, which is later than when the Nawab started to use the mint-name Karimabad on the coins. By the way, none of the European Trading Companies had ever a mint of their own in Bengal, until the British obtained the right to open a mint at Calcutta where rupees with the mint-name ‘Alinagar Kalkatta’ were struck.
When the mint at Murshidabad was abolished the Dutch received from the British the same privilege they had in the mint at Murshidabad and where allowed to get their coins struck at the Calcutta mint.

Dutch records do refer to Murshidabad as well as Karimabad and there is no question that it all refers to one and the same place. There was but only one mint in Murshidabad, which started as Makhsusabad, continued in AH1116/Ry.48 as Murshidabad, changed name to Karimabad in AH1120/Ry.2 till the end of Shah Alam Bahadur’s reign. Jahandar Shah started again using the mint-name Murshidabad.

Prior to the opening of the Murshidabad mint, the European Trading Companies in Bengal used to bring their bullion to the mint at Akbarnagar (Rajmahal) or Jahangirnagar (Dacca) and also to a certain extent to Azimabad (Patna). If you put the coins of the different mints in the Subah Bengal and Orissa in a row, you can clearly observe series of identical fabric and appearance. This also applies to the series of Makhusabad-Murshidabad-Karimabad-Murshidabad. It is so obvious that they were made in one and same workshop.

You may come across some odd things in some catalogues. In the White King collection (Schulman 1905, part III) a rupee of Aurangzeb, Ry.3, mint: Karimabad is listed. This is obvious wrong, but as it hasn’t any illustration, it can’t be verified.

In the Central Museum Nagpur (CMN) there is a rupee of Aurangzeb AH1111/Ry.44 Makhsusabad. This date is 4 years  earlier as the dates usually observed, viz.: 1116/48 & 49.


Thank you for that. I rather trust that description has put certain other inquiring minds at ease. I will change and note. The other change you mentioned on the other thread will also be made. That was concerning me a little.


May I refer to my reply under 'Rupee Mints of Shah Alkam Bahadur' earlier this morning?  Many errors have been copied and re-copied without checking for so long that they have become as if set in concrete.  Be that as it may, they are still errors, because repeatedly saying it is so does not make it so.  And never will.

Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.


This is  arther old thread but it shows how the ravages of an injury can slow a project. Thanks to Oesho's work the Karimabad problem was somewhat solved. And it is the second last of problems for the Shah Alam projects to be solved. The problem is that in the modern mapping program used two towns cannot have the same coordinates or it requires a footnote. Here is a map of the later 18th century drawn by the EIC. It shows Cossimbazar (alt spellings available) clearly a small distance from Murshidabad (alternative spellings) and therefore a clear differentiation can be made in the modern mapping software.