Tiprasa's history( in Part)
Do we have had our history? Many tribes might not be having history. In order to own a history, a race must have its territory. Without territory, a race can not establish identity. Without territory – a race is no race. It is not a matter of meanness. A race may be small with its small territory. This was done with a purpose-to demolish or erase Tipperah history in totality. But ask the any member of Tipprasa, the extent of their knowledge on. Almost everyone would be blinking their eyes.
Why is the study of history important for us? The reasons for study of history is important for us because:
(a) it helps us to understand the past;
(b) it helps us to understand the present in relation to the past;
(c) it gives identity and helps us to understand culture, society etc.; and
(d) it helps us to be responsible citizen and improve our present.
With the explanation of the above importance on study of history, the Maharaja Bir Bikram Welfare Society was established in 2010 AD to uncover and unearth Tipperah history and sensitize on the issues. Tippras have history like any other races in the world. They had territory in the past and they do have a territory of their own. Races without territory is wandering race without a boundary of areas to live in. A country less race is a race without right of self rule. A self rule does not necessarily mean cessation from the country in which they live in. A self rule also means that rule themselves within the framework of the constitution of the country in which they do live as a ordinary citizens therein.
Tipperah Kings was one of the oldest sovereign State in Indian sub-continent. Tripura constituted with hilly and plain land area and was ruled by 184 kings. The historian assessed that she had her existence since 3000 B.C having boundary: Burma ( presently Mynmar ) in the East, Sundeban in the West, Kamrup in the North and Bay of Bengal in the South. The hilly part was known as Hill Tipperah or Tripura. The plain land was Chakla Roshnabad. The term “Tipperah” had more affinity with Kokborok pronunciation than “Tripura”. The plain area of Tipperah was fertile and was source of income out of agriculture produce.
The Mughal invaded Tipperah and made plain Tipperah (Chakla Roshnabad) part of the Mughal empire in 1628 A.D. The fundamental cause was it was fertile land. Henry Vansittart(1760-1764) was Governor of Bengal when Siraj Uddulla took over Chakla Roshnabad, the plain portion of Tipperah other than Hill Tipperah.
The British rule came through the East India Company and engulfed all princely States in India. As a result, Plain Tipperah (Chakla Roshnabad) was captured by the British rulers in 1765 A.D. The period of rule by the foreign rulers (other than Tiprasa Kings) ruled over Chakla Roshnabad in both the first and subsequent occupation was 320 years.
When India’s freedom movement was at highest momentum Maharaj Bir Bikram had foreseen the future of his five communities called “Pancha Tripuries” namely; Tripura, Jamatia, Reang, Noatia and Halam. The resultant was reservation of land for them in to two spells in 1931 and 1943. The total land so reserved was 2060 square miles.
The cut off date in this regard being 15th August, 1947. But the base year should be till 15th October, 1949, the date on which Tripura merged with India. Therefore, Chakla Roshnabad was in all respect beyond the administrative orbit of Tipperah Royal Administration for 322 years. The Ministry of Home, Government of India issued Tripura Administration Order dated 15th October, 1949 which stated that all royal laws which was in force prior to the merger with Indian Union shall continue to be in force till replaced by new laws. This was particularly applicable to the matter of land reservation made by Maharaja Bir Bikram for Pancha Tripuries. The TLR & LR Act, 1960 was enacted by the Parliament in 1960 with giving effect from 21st September, 1960. The royal laws especially “Reservation of land for Pancha Tripuries.
The Tipperah Kings were made Zamindar in respect of Chakla Roshnabad. As the term suggests, the Zamindar was not more than a tax payer by whom he was conferred zamindary. The Tipperah kings enjoyed sovereignty with respect to Hill Tipperah and was mere zamindar for Chakla Roshnabad. Hence, the kings were also subject Zamindar of the actual ruler. The subjects of the Chakla Roshnabad were subjects of Mughal in first instance and of the British rulers till 1947. They ceased to be subjects of Hill Tipperah for 322 years till 1949. The Chakla Roshnabad was no longer part of Tipperah or Tripura. Besides, it was not re-incorporated or re-embodied with Tipperah or Tripura at the time of the Redcliff Commission was making demarcation with the principle of Muslim and Hindu majority would be with Pakistan and India. One could arrive at, was that Chakla Roshnabad had in totality become a part of Bengal in British ruled India. It would be natural that they preferred to be with either of Bengals in India or in Pakistan.
Bir Bikram Manikya was born on 19th August, 1907. His coronation to the throne was in 1923. He visited foreign land including European countries. This had led him to have sketched of planned Agartala City. Perhaps, it is still available in government archive. He established a host of educational institutions in Sub-Divisions including Maharani Tulsibati Girls’ School, Umakanta Academy and Maharaja Bir Bikram College with earmarking of a land area for educational purpose in and around MBB College as Vidyapattan. But people had already encroached the land reducing it smaller and smaller frustrating its purpose. Had not the people been encroached the land, the present Tripura (a central) University could have been established there.
The Bengali beneficiaries of Bengal during the rule of Maharajas in Tipperah:-
- Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya conferred an honour “Bharat Bhaskar” upon the Poet Rabindranath Tagore.
- Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya sanctioned 50,000 silver coins in favour of Pandit Ramnarayan Bidyaratna for subsequent edition of Srimatbhagabhat Granth.
- In 1299 Bangabda, “Bhanga Bhasha O Sahitya” was printed by Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen with the financial assistance sanctioned by Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya.
- Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen was sanctioned as grants by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya after death of his father Late Bir Chandra Manikya. The last granth “Brihat Babga” of Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen was printed with the financial grants sanctioned by the last Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya. Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen wrote ‘Tripurar Raja O Rajatvakaler Barnana’.
- Poet Hem Chandra Bandyopadhyaya attained blindness at the fag end of his life and had suffered from gigantic financial problem. On the request of Rabindranath Tagore, Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya sanctioned him (Poet Hem Chandra Bandyopadhyaya) till his death.
- Jyotirindranath Tagore (brother of Rabindranath Tagore) published news paper called ‘Sangeet Prabeshika’ @ Rs.50/- ( Rupees fifty ) was sanctioned as grants for 10(ten) years in favour of Jyotirindranath Tagore for publication of the said news paper.
- Scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose was sanctioned grants for his scientific researches. Besides, wathui wah with proper preservation was sent to him for his research works.
- Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya bought oil paints of renowned artist Shashi Kumar Hess at Rs.3000/-(Rupees three thousand) only
There was a big zamindary of Maharajas of Tipperah since 1761 A.D. It included greater Comilla, Noakhali, Sylhet and Chittagong. This was a fertile land with fetching high revenues from yields. This areas was invaded by Mughals and subsequently, the British rulers had taken over from Mughal rulers. Since the Maharajas of Tipperah were made Zaminders in respect of Comilla, Noakhali, Sylhet and Chittagong; the Maharajas had ceased to enjoy sovereignty over it. The Maharajas had become subject of British rulers. The subjects of zaminder in respect of Comilla, Noakhali, Sylhet and Chittagong was also subject of British rulers. Therefore, Comilla, Noakhali, Sylhet and Chittagong was under the British rulers. The people of Comilla, Noakhali, Sylhet and Chittagong were subjects of the British rulers in India. As a result, the people of Comilla, Noakhali, Sylhet and Chittagong could not claim to be the subjects of Tipperah Maharajas at no point of time in the past; the present and the future.
We have to learn from history-What was our history? What are we now? What is our learning from our history? Did we not inherit anything from our history? What is or should be our next course of action for our people at present and next generation to come?
Tripura was a Hindu Kingdom consisting of a strip of the fertile plains east of Bengal, and a large tract of the territory beyond, which had a reputation for providing wild elephants.
At times when Bengal was weak, Tripura rose to prominence, and extended its rule into the plains, but when Bengal was strong the kingdom consisted purely of the hill area, which was virtually impregnable and not of enough economic worth to encourage the Muslims to conquer it. In this way Tripura was able to maintain its full independence until the 19th century.
The origins of the kingdom are veiled in legend, but the first coins were struck during the reign of Ratna Manikya (1464-1489) and copied the weight and fabric of the contemporary issues of the Sultans of Bengal. He also copied the lion design that had appeared on certain rare tangkas of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud Shah I dated AH 849 (1445 AD). In other respects the designs were purely Hindu, and the lion was retained on most of the later issues as a national emblem.
Tripura rose to a political zenith during the 16th century, while Muslim rule in Bengal was weak, and several coins were struck to commemorate succesful military campaigns from Chittagong in the south to Sylhet in the north. These conquests were not sustained and in the early 17th century the Mughal army was able to inflict severe defeats on Tripura which was forced to pay tribute.
In about 1733 AD all the territory in the plains was annexed by the Mughals, and the Raja merely managed his estate there as a zamindar, although he still retained control as independent King of his hill territory. The situation remained unchanged when the British took over the administration of Bengal in 1765, and it was only in 1871 that the British appointed an agent in the hills, and began to assist the Maharaja in the administration of his hill territory, which became known as the State of Hill Tipperah. In 1920 Hill Tipperah received back its ancient name Tripura. In 1947 it became a territory of the Republic of India and in 1969 a state.