Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Excerpts from Sardar Patel’s Correspondences on Merger of erstwhile Princely State of Cooch Behar

Ever since I learnt that something important was written in this  particular  volume of Sardar Patel’s Correspondences which came out in seventies, I kept searching for it but never got hold of it. It was much wanted book “Sardar Patel’s Correspondence – 1945-50 Volume 7 – Integrating Indian States – Police Action in Hyderabad”, edited by Durga Das, published by M/s Navjivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad – 380014. Never ever, I could find it in any library in many places in my great country, India. Although, other volumes were traceable in number of libraries, the Volume 7 was not traceable. More I searched, I got despaired. The search was on for this much wanted text of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which was sent by telegram on 11th September, 1949 to Nanjappa, Chief Commissioner, Cooch Behar on handing over this princely state to Central Administration of India.
            Finally, a copy was found. I got exalted, went up above the sky. It appeared to me that I got the goldmine. How such important information could remain hidden for so long? I got a copy of it so kindly sent to me by Shri Surinder Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (MP) of Darjeeling Loksabha Constituency. With my earnest request, the Hon’ble MP took all the pains to search a copy and find it from the Library of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Smarak Trust (Regd.), 7 Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi. The Hon’ble MP wasted no time and sent it to me by hand of his trusted assistant Shri Shiv Deo. Readly, I went through the volume and found the mosy important facts favouring the unfortunate people of my fellow Rajbanshi community, the deprived subject Rajbanshi people of erstwhile princely state Cooch Behar. I must say, the editor, Durga Das, who was Editor-in-Chief, India News & Feature Alliance; Formerly Chief Editor, Hindustan Times, New Delhi; author of ‘India-from Curzon to Nehru and After’ wrote the following astonishing fact in the introduction to Volume VII , page [1vii] :
                             Cooch Behar did not want to merge with West Bengal as there was an anti-Bengali feeling in the State. The Maharaja, it was alleged, was considering the possibility of acceding to East Pakistan. The Sardar ruled out merger with West Bengal and the Maharaja accepted the Sardar’s advice and handed over the State to the control of the Centre. In a message to mark the occasion Patel said: “To give up sovereignty over territory is no mean sacrifice. I am grateful to him (Maharaja) for the spirit of accommodation and understanding which he has displayed and the manner in which he accepted our advice.”  

The book contains eye opening correspondences of the Sardar that may change the whole scenario of the ill fated subject Rajbanshi people of erstwhile princely state Cooch Behar and all Rajbanshis of the neighbouring states and countries. Without any bias or hidden agenda, I am going to  unveil the truth which Maniben Patel, beloved daughter of the Sardar, took pains to preserve, compile and publish the mind boggling correspondence of her father who was instrumental in uniting almost all princely Indian states with free Dominion of India on gaining its independence in 1947.

Excerpt No.1. Page.547-548/Ser.No.457

Calcutta
15 May 1949

My dear Vallabhbhai,

You remember I spoke to you on several occasions about allowing Cooch Behar to be merged to West Bengal. I am perfectly sure you are inclined in the same direction. It may be that it will take a little time before the preliminaries can be settled before the merger is decided.
     You know that Sri Sarat Chandra Bose has filed his nomination for the Assembly from South Calcutta, the last date of nomination being 24 May. Poling is taking place on 12 June. I certainly expect help, advice and co-operation from you and Panditji. In this connection may I suggest to you that the announcement from the Centre that Cooch Behar would be merged to West Bengal would be a great help to us in the election campaign? When you have finally decided about this merging, kindly let us know so that we can keep the field ready and make our propaganda that this merging has been affected not by Sri Sarat Chandra Bose but by the West Bengal Government. The Provincial Congress Committee has decided to put up a candidate, strong one, against Sri Sarat Bose. But, of course, the polling booth is always a tricky customer.
I hope you are keeping well.
An early reply will be welcome.
Yours sincerely,
B.C. Roy

The Hon’ble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister
New Delhi   

Reply of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel: Page No.548/ Ser. No.458

Dehra Dun
18 May 1949

My dear Bidhan,

     Thank you for your letter of 15 May 1949 regarding Cooch Behar. I am afraid we cannot hustle things through like this. In view of the local feeling, it will not be possible for us to do this overnight. We have to tread warily.
Yours sincerely,
Vallabhbhai Patel

The Hon’ble Dr. B.C. Roy
Premier
West Bengal
Calcutta

Excerpt No.. Page.549/Ser. No.459

Government House
Shillong
29 June 1948

My dear Sardarji,

My wife and I have just returned from Cooch Behar. This was our first visit to the State after your decision that its relations with India should be carried on through me. You may therefore be interested in the report of my impressions which is given in Rustamji’s letter to Kripalani, copy enclosed. The only further comment which I wish to make is on the subject of the anti-Bengali feeling in the State.
            I was informed that out of the State’s population of between six and seven lakhs the Bengalis number a mere 30,000; yet Bengali propaganda would make it appear as if Bengalis constitute the greater portion of the population. The bulk of the population consists of Rajbanshis including Muslims between whom and the rajbanshis there is so far amity and free social intercourse. The danger of the situation lies in the fact that the Bengal Congress leaders are lending themselves to propaganda that Cooch Behar should be merged with West Bengal. This is resulting in the Congress as a whole tending to become unpopular in Cooch Behar. Any attempt to bring Cooch Behar under the wing of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee would be violently resisted and in the present state of feeling the Congress would find few Cooch Behari adherents. The best solution in the present circumstances would be to let Cooch Behar come under the wing of the Central Congress; but if that not possible, the second best would be let it be affiliated to the Assam Provincial Congress. This is only the second best solution as it might still further exasperate Bengali feeling against Assam. During my visit I was cordially received by all classes of people which was not a personal tribute to me but relief at seeing in me visible evidence that Cooch Behar was not tied to the apron strings of West Bengal.
            By their aggressive attitude the Congress leaders of West Bengal and Calcutta press are increasing the animosity roused against West Bengal in this part of India. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee is visiting Shillong on the 7th and is staying part of the time with us here and the rest with Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy (at his Shillong house) who is accompanying him. I am arranging that every possible courtesy should be shown to them and will take the opportunity of their visit to impress upon them tactfully that if they really want the present anti-Bengali feelings to subside they must put a curb on West Bengal’s propaganda machine for a greater Bengal wanting to absorb bits here and there from her neighbours. Dr. Prafulla Chandra Ghosh, who recently stayed with us in Shillong, created a very good impression both by his moderation.... We were meeting him for the first time, and my wife and I took a very great liking to him. In difference to his advice, Bordoloi*[Premier of Assam] is seriously considering the grant of some compensation to the few sufferers in the Gauhati disturbance and I am encouraging him to persuade his colleagues to agree to this gesture of friendship.
            With my kind regards and hoping that you are getting better and better every day.
Yours sincerely
A.K. Hydari
The Hon’ble Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel   
           
*Gopinath Bardoloi : headed Congress Ministry in 1937-39 and again in 19945.



Excerpts from Page:550/Ser No.460

New Delhi
10 July 1948

My dear Hydari,

Thank you for your letter of 29 June regarding Cooch Behar. I am glad you went there. It has enabled us to get a first-hand report pf how things are shaping there.
            I have seen your letter to Jawaharlal regarding Bengal versa Assam. It is unfortunate that things should develop on these lines. I shall see what can be done to check these matters from worsening.
            With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

His Excellency Sir Akbar Hydari, KCIE, CSI, ICS
Governor of Assam
Shillong

Excerpts from Page: 551-552/Ser. No.461

Dinhate
29 July 1948



Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister
Ministry of States
New Delhi  

Sir,

I, on behalf of the State Prajamandal, beg most respectfully and humbly to submit herewith a copy of the resolution passed unanimously in a meeting for immediate merger of the State and thereby saving Hindusthan from future danger and troubles.

RESOLUTION

Resolved that a most reactionary group has been formed, formulated and patronised by the Maharaja of Cooch Behar, to serve his personal purpose of dominating and ruling the people for his own exploitation to the detriment of the interest and safety of the Indian Union. Ignoring the fact that the Raja of the small State (which has an area no greater than that of a sub-division in an Indian district) had so long been allowed to rule the State to serve the ends of the British Raj, His Highness, in collusion and collaboration with his favourite Muslim pro-League and scheduled caste ministers, thinks that he can still now play the same reactionary role as was done previously during the British era. The Ministers of the State are absolutely pro-League and they are in constant touch with Pakistan and the result of their friendship has been to divide the Hindus of the State into two factions namely Cooch Beharis and non-Cooch Beharis (two nation theory). All sorts of rules and regulations have been and are being formed to drive out the caste Hindus of the Indian Union from the State.
            The effect of this division among the Hindus by rules and laws has been to effect both solidarity and expansion of the Muslims of the State. The outcome of this policy is to Muslimize the whole State effacing the Hindus. His Highness and his puppet ministers for the purpose of their own personal gain have been dragging the State to be Pakistanized. Attempts are being made to send a deputation to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Indian Union to persuade not to merge the State and with that end in view false figures and charts have been prepared. The actual income of the State is only Rs.48,00,000 but by including false figures as that of tobacco excise duty (which the consumers pay and who practically live outside the State) and also false figures of income tax which according to the prevailing rules and custom should go to the Indian Exchequer, the total income of the State is falsely shown Rs.75,00,000. It will suffice to say that the land revenue of the State is only Rs.22,00,000. To allow the State to remain autonomous will be suicide to the safety and interest of Hindustan.
            In view of the above circumstances and many others it is resolved further unanimously that for the safety and interest of the people of Cooch Behar and custom for the solidarity of the Indian Union the State of Cooch Behar be at once merged with  such a province which is indissolubly connected with Cooch Behar State culturally, economically, geographically and linguistically.

Yours sincerely,

For the State Prajamandal Cooch Behar
Radhakanta Sarkar
Secretary     


           
Excerpts from Page:552/Ser. No.462

TELEGRAM



Gitaldaha
4 August 1948



Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Home Minister
New Delhi
COOCH BEHAR STATE AUTHORITIES FORCING PEOPLE TO SIGN AGAINST MERGING AND MAKING PROPOGANDA AGAINST INDIAN DOMINION. TAKE ACTION.

SECRETARY,
BAMANHAT THANA CONGRESS



 

Excerpts from Page:553-554/Ser. No.463

TELEGRAM



                                                                                                            Camp Birla House
                                                                                                            Malabar Hill
                                                                                                            11 September 1949


From
Ministhome
Bombay

To Nanjappa
Chief Commissioner
Cooch Behar

FOLLOWING IS SARDAR PATEL’S MESSAGE:

(BEGINS) ON THE HANDING OVER OF COOCH BEHAR TO CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION I SEND TO ITS PEOPLE MY BEST WISHES AND ASSURANCE ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA THAT, THOUGH FAR, THEIR INTEREST AND WELFARE WILL CLAIM OUR CLOSE AND INTIMATE ATTENTION. I AM FULLY AWARE OF THE MANY PROBLEMS, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC, WHICH AFFECT THE STATE AND I AM CONFIDENT THAT WITH THEIR COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE WE WOULD SUCCEED IN SOLVING THEM IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE STATE AND THE COUNTRY. FOR THEIR HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY, UNITY AND MUTUAL ADJUSTMENT BETWEEN THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF THE POPULATION ARE ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITES, WITHOUT THESE SUCH RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL AS WE MAY BE ABLE TO SPARE FOR THEM WOULD AVAIL LITTLE. I HOPE THEREFORE THAT THE PEOPLE OF COOCH BEHAR WILL WORK WITH SINGLE-MINDEDNESS AND DEVOTION TO DUTY AS A UNITED TEAM FOR THEIR OWN BETTERMENT AND TO ACHIEVE THEIR DUE PLACE IN THE POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE SET-UP OF INDIA. TO ACCEPT TRANSFER OF TERRITORY FROM A RULER IS NO SMALL RESPONSIBILITY. I AM THEREFORE CERTAIN THAT HIS HIGHNESS THE RULER OF COOCH BEHAR WILL APPRECIATE THE SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY WHICH WE FEEL ON THIS OCCASION. TO GIVE UP SOVEREIGNTY OVER TERRITORY IS NO MEAN SACRIFICE. I AM GRATEFUL TO HIM FOR THE SPIRIT OF ACCOMMODATION AND UNDERSTANDING WHICH HE HAS DISPLAYED AND THE PROMPT MANNER IN WHICH HE ACCEPTED OUR ADVICE. MAY HE AND HIS PEOPLE FEEL HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS UNDER THE NEW DISPENSATION WHICH IS BEING INAUGURATED TODAY - ENDS.


Excerpts from Page : 554/Ser. No.464

Government House
Calcutta
4 October 1948

My dear Sardar Sahib,

There has been all sorts of reports in the newspapers about the developments in Cooch Behar. It was suggested that the Muslims from Eastern Pakistan were infiltrating into Cooch Behar and some reports went to the length of suggesting that there would be a definite attempt made to make Cooch Behar join Pakistan, and this movement would not be wholly repugnant to the ruling house. The police report which I recently saw was very much to that effect. Last week Mr. Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari who is now the Chief Minister in Cooch Behar called on me. I have known him for a long time as he was in the UP Civil Service. He assured me that all these reports were completely baseless. There was absolutely no infiltration of Muslims of any kind and no pro-Pakistan movement of any description. The Muslim Minister who is an elected representative on the Legislative Council is an entirely harmless individual. He suggested that all these reports were parts of propaganda for ulterior ends. I have advised him to submit a full report to you of all that is happening and what the true state of affairs in Cooch Behar is from his point of view. Cooch Behar having acceded to the Indian Dominion, the Government of India are vitally interested in its security, and should, I think, be kept informed correctly of what is happening in the State. I dare say that this advice was unnecessary and you are in full possession of all these facts.
            With respectful regards,

Yours sincerely,
K.N. Katju*

The Hon’ble Shri Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister

*Minister in first Congress Ministry, UP, 1937 and later in 1946; Governor of Orissa, 1947; Minister of Home and later Defence in Nehru Cabinet; Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh


Reply- Page:555/Ser. No.465

New Delhi
9 October 1948

My dear Katju,

       Thank you for your letter of 4 October 1948. I am so glad to hear what you say about Cooch Behar, particularly the reliance you place in its Chief Minister, Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari. I was a bit uneasy about conditions there as reported by my Bengali friends. It is something that things are not as bad as they are painted.

2.   I shall certainly keep in view J.L. Jobanputra, the ex-Dewan of Sachin State. I know him personally.
       With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

His Excellency Shri Kailash Nath Katju
Governor of West Bengal
Government House
Calcutta.


            Hope better sense prevails in the corridors of political power at the highest level in India to rectify the errors which were committed against the most docile, simple, patriot people of Rajbanshi communities as mentioned in above mentioned correspondence of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Hope his assurances given to Rajbanshis are honoured in right earnest.
                                                                                                                        Jai Hind !

Friday, 9 March 2018

Recognition of Kamtapuri, Rajbanshi and Kurmali Languages by West Bengal Government

Last year, the Government of West Bengal had decided, in principle, to recognize Kamtapuri(Rajbanshi) as a State Official Language of West Bengal vide their Notification No.170-Home(Cons)/CE/N/R1M-20/2017 dated Howrah, the 6th March, 2017 and constituted an expert 7-Member Committee to examine all aspects relating to it under the chairmanship of Mr. Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri constituted by the State Govt. to study the issue. The Committee submitted its report to the State Govt.on 31st Dec. 2017.
The West Bengal Assembly passed the West Bengal Official Language (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 on 28th February, 2018 recognsing the three languages - Kamtapuri, Rajbanshi and Kurmali which have now joined Bengali, Nepali, Urdu, Hindi, Santhali, Oriya and Punjabi (Gurmukhi) as official languages of the State. State's Parliamentary Affairs and Education Minister Shri Partha Chatterjee moved the bill which was passed by voice vote. According to the Chief Minister of the State, Ms Mamata Banerjee, the decision to include the three languages in the official languages list was based on the recommendation by a seven-member Expert Committee headed by scholar Shri Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri. Stating that her government has respect for all languages, Banerjee said she had also urged the Centre to enlist the people belonging to 'Kurmi' community under Scheduled Caste category.
            The passing of the Bill in the State Assembly, was undoubtedly a landmark decision to recognise the mother tongue of Rajbanshi group of people which is spoken by more 15 million people spread over West Bengal, Assam, Northern Bihar, Western Meghalaya in India; and, neighbouring countries of Bangladesh (Northern Region), Nepal (Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari districts) and Plains areas of Bhutan. West Bengal has taken the lead to recognise these languages for which the Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee deserves appreciation.
For long years, there has been a movement for recognition of Kamtapuri language. Kamtapuri, one of the 38 regional languages is under consideration by a high level committee appointed by the Central Government. Earlier, the demand was raised in the Parliament by the Hon’ble Member of Parliament of Darjelling, Sardar Surinder Singh Ahluwalia in August 2014. Since, the West Bengal Government has given State recognition, Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language should get the approval from the Parliament and get included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, soon.
            The recognition of their mother tongue has brought happiness to many people of Rajbanshi origin and attracted criticism from some sections of the people especially, the left parties and the Congress who are arch rivals of the Chief Minister and her party Trinamool Congress (TMC). Mr. Ashok Bhattacharjya of Communist Party of India (Marxist) opposed the idea of giving official recognition to Kamtapuri language, according to whom; the decision would instigate the separatists to divide West Bengal. Mr Sukhbilas Barma, Hon’ble MLA of Jalpaiguri of Congress party who also a Rajbanshi himself has expressed similar opinion and said that the step would instigate people for demanding separate Kamtapur State. However, the Chief Minister. Ms Banerjee has clarified her stand saying that giving recognition to a language should not be taken as division of the state and all languages should be respected; and, ruled the allegation made by the opposition CPM and Congress that recognition to Kamtapuri language would instigate their separatist movement.
                As per the rules, an amendment to the West Bengal Official Languages Act, 1961 was necessary to declare these three local languages as official languages in the district, sub-division, block or municipality, where the population of Kamtapuri or Rajbanshi or Kurmali speaking people exceeded 10 per cent as a whole or part of the district like sub-division or block. Thus, such a historic step was taken by the State Govt. However, now it has to be seen as to how the Union Govt. of India, takes the next step while giving Constitutional recognition to these two newly and separately recognized State languages i.e. Kamtapuri and Rajbanshi spoken by a same group of people whose worldwide estimated population is more than 15 Million spread over India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

রাজমাতা গায়ত্রী দেবী RAJMATA GAYATRI DEBI {Written in Modern Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi)} Language

রাজমাতা গায়ত্রী দেবী
RAJMATA GAYATRI DEBI
(আধুনিক কামতাপুরী-রাজবংশী ভাষাত লেখা, লেখক দ্বারা রচনাধীন ‘ভোরের তারা’ সংকলন থাকিয়া গৃহীত)
{Excerpt from forthcoming book 'Bhorer Tara' being written in modern Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language by me}
 

ভোর বেহানের লালিমা ভরা আকাশ  
শিল-শিলানি মৃদু মনমাতানো হাওয়া
সেইদিন দেওঞা হইচিল আলোকিত
উদিত হইচিল উজ্বল ভোরের তারা 
স্বর্গ থাকিয়া নামিয়া আসা এক পরী
সগারের নয়নমনী প্রানবন্ত সুহাসিনী |

আসিলো আর মন ছুইঁয়া চলি গেলো
দুই চোখুর পলক পড়িতে না পড়িতে
উল্কার বেগত আসিয়ায় চলি গেলো
মনের কাথা মনতে থাকি গেইল
কত দিনে পুরিবে হামার মনের আশা ?
আবার ফিরিয়া আসিস হামার প্রিয়্মনি | 

আজি লোকে এমনিতে রাজবংশী বলিয়া পরিচয় দিতে লইজ্জা পায়, কিন্তুক যদি গায়ত্রী দেবীর কাথা কওহা যায়, তাহলে যে কোন রাজবংশী একেবারে এক কাথায় কয়হা উঠে হ্যা, হ্যা, মুই-ও তগায়ত্রী দেবীর দেশের লোক, কোচবিহারের লগতে মোর বাড়ি | নাম শুনিচেন তকোচবিহার একটা বিশাল রাইজ্য আর গায়ত্রী দেবী ঐঠেকার রাজকুমারী ছিল | পরে, ব্যাহা হবার পিছত হয়া যায় জয়পুর রাইজ্যের মহারানী, জয়পুরের রাজমাতা |
দেখিতে অতি সুন্দরী ছিল সেই রাজকুমারী | আর, দেখিতে সুন্দরী ক্যানে হবে নি ? কোচবিহার রাজ পরিবারত দেশ-বিদেশের রাজ-পরিবারের ব্যাহা-সাদীর সম্পর্ক হইত | এইজৈন্য, সাধারণ রাজবংশীর চাইতে গায়ত্রী দেবী অনেকগুনে বেশী সুন্দরী ছিল | এত সুন্দর ছিল যে লোকে কহে সারা পৃথিবীর মইধ্যে সব চাইতে বেশী সুন্দরী নারীর মিঝত একজন চিরকালের সেরা সন্দরী হইল গায়ত্রী দেবী | অমার মাও ছিল এক সুন্দরী রাজকুমারী বরোদা রাইজ্যের মারাঠী রাজা সভাজী রাও গাইকোওয়াড়-III-র গন্যমান্য সমাজসেবী বেটি রাজকুমারী ইন্দিরা রাজে | গায়ত্রীর জন্ম হয় সন ২৩শে মে ১৯১৯ ইংল্যান্ডত | বাপের নাম ছিল কোচ বিহার রাইজ্যের যুবরাজের ছোট ভাই রাজকুমার জিতেন্দ্র নারায়ন ভূপ বাহাদুর | জ্যালা ওয় খুব ছোট ছিল, স্যালায় অর জ্যাঠার মারা যাওআর পর অর বাপ কোচবিহারের রাজসিংহাসনত বসে |
গায়ত্রী দেবী ছুটুবেলাত প্রথমে লন্ডনত গ্লেন্ডাওয়ার প্রিপ্রেটরী স্কুলত  পড়াশুনা করিচিল | পরবর্তী কালত, শান্তি নিকেতনত বিশ্বভারতী ইউনিভার্সিটিত পড়াশুনা করিচিল | তার পরে, সুইজারল্যান্ডের লাউসেনত পড়াশুনা করিবা গেইছিল আর সঙ্গে গেইছিল অর মাও আর ভাই | তারপর, লন্ডন স্কুল অফ সেক্রেটারিসত সেক্রেটারিয়াল স্কিল্স অধ্যয়ন করে | লন্ডনত ব্রিলিয়ান্টমন্ট  আর মংকী ক্লাবত ওয় লেখাপড়া করিচিল | 

          রাজস্থানের জয়পুর রাইজ্যের হিস হাইনেস সরামদ-ই-রাজা-ই-হিন্দুস্তান রাজ রাজেন্দ্র-শ্রী মহারাজাধীরাজ স্যারসাওয়াই মান সিং-II এর সঙ্গে  রাজকুমারী গায়ত্রী দেবীর ব্যাহা হয় ১৯৪০ সনের ৯ই মে |  অমার দুইজনের প্রথম দেখা হয় জ্যালা গায়ত্রী দেবী ১২ বছরের ছিল | সেই সময় কোলকাতাত সাওয়াই মান সিংহ(জয়) পোলো খেলেবা আসিছিল আর গায়ত্রী দেবীর পরিবারের সঙ্গে অমার বাড়িত কয়েকদিন রহিচিল | সেই থাকিয়া অমার পরিচয় তৃতীয় মহারানী, জয়পুরের রাজমাতা (১৯৪০-১৯৭০) বলিয়া বেশী খ্যাতিলাভ করে |
জয়পুরের মহারাজার সঙ্গে ব্যাহার পর অয় মহারানী গায়ত্রী দেবী বলিয়ায় সাধারনত পরিচিত | অয় অতি সুন্দরী হবার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে একজন খুব ভাল ঘোড়সওয়ারও ছিল আর একজন সুদক্ষা পোলো  প্লেয়ার ছিল | খালি এইলায় নাহয়, গায়ত্রী দেবী একজন ভাল শিকারীও ছিল | অর শিকার করা  বাঘের সঙ্গে ফটোখান কি কাহ দেখিছেন নাকি ? ওই ফটোখান দেখিলে গায়ত্রী দেবী যে কত ভাল শিকারী ছিল সেইটা বেশ ভাল  রকম বুঝা যায় |  অর রহন-শহনের স্টাইল দেখিলে বুঝা যায় যে অয় কত ব্যক্তিত্বপূর্ণ রাজবংশী মহিলা ছিল | একজন রাজমাতা কেমন হয়, এর প্রমান গায়ত্রী দেবী সারা পৃথিবীক দিয়া গেইছে | ধন্য তুই রাজমাতা !
অয় গাড়ি-ঘোড়ার খুব সৌখিন ছিল | হামার দেশত প্রথম  W126 একখান SEL 500 মোটর গাড়ি আমদানি করে হামার প্রিয় গায়ত্রী দেবী | ওই গাড়ি খানক পরে মালয়শিয়া দেশত জল জাহাজত রপ্তানি করিয়া দেয় |  দেশ-বিদেশত খুব নাম হয় গায়ত্রী দেবীর |
গায়ত্রী দেবীর দাদা-দাদী ছিল মহারাজা নৃপেন্দ্র নারায়ন ভূপ বাহাদুর আর সুনীতি দেবী | ব্রাহ্ম সমাজের প্রবর্তক কেশব চন্দ্র সেনের সুপুত্রী ছিল সুনীতি দেবী যায় পরে রাজবংশী নারায়ন হয়া কোচবিহারের মহারানী হয় | গায়ত্রী দেবীর দুই ভাই ছিল জগদ্দীপেন্দ্র নারায়ন আর  ইন্দ্রজিতেন্দ্র নারায়ন | ১৯২২ সনত পিতার মৃত্যুর পর শিশু কালতে জগদ্দীপেন্দ্র নারায়ন কোচ বিহারের রাজ সিংহাসনত বসে |
রাজমাতা গায়ত্রী দেবীর একজনেই বেটা ছিল জয়পুরের রাজকুমার জগত সিং, যার জন্ম হইচিল ১৯৪৯ সনের ১৫ই অক্টোবর | রাজকুমার জগত সিং, অর জ্যাঠোর (বাপের বড় ভাই) দেওয়া রাজন্য গিরী হিসাবে ইসার্দা রাইজ্যের রাজার সিংহাসনত বসে | এই সম্পর্কত, জগত সিং ছিল  জয়পুরের বিখ্যাত ভবানী সিংএর জ্যাঠতুত ভাই | জগত সিং ১৯৭৮ সনের ১০ই মে থাইল্যান্ড-এর রাজকুমার পিয়ারংসিত রংসিত আর রাজকুমারী বিভাবতী রংসিতের বেটি মম রাজবংসে পিয়ানন্দনা রংসিতের সঙ্গে বিবাহ বন্ধনত জড়িত হয় | অমার দুইজন সন্তান হয় ১৯৭৯ সনত রাজকুমারী লতিত্য কুমারী আর ১৯৮১ সনত দেবরাজ সিং(ইসার্দার রাজা) |
১৯৪৭ সনত, ভারতের স্বাধীনতা লাভের পর, জ্যালা রাজতন্ত্র বা রাজার রাজত্ত্ব শেষ হয়া যায়, স্যালা দেশের রাজনৈতিক পরিস্থিতিও বদলিয়া যায় | ওই বদলিয়া যাওয়া পরিস্থিতির সঙ্গে খাপ খায়া চলিবার জইন্যে গায়ত্রী দেবীও রাজনীতিত নামিয়া পরিচিল | সী.গোপালচারী, দ্বিতীয় গভর্নর জেনারেল অফ ইন্ডিয়া স্বতন্ত্রপার্টি নামে এক নয়া রাজনৈতিক দল গঠন করে  | ওই পার্টির হয়া, ১৯৬২ সনত গায়ত্রী দেবী লোকসভার ভোটত দাঁড় হয় আর প্রচুর ভোট পায়া সাংসদও হইচিল | মোট ২,৪৬,৫১৬ ভোটের মইধ্যে গায়ত্রী দেবী পাইচিল ১,৯২,৯০৯ ভোট | এত ভোটে ইলেকশন জিতা পৃথিবীর মইধ্যে রেকর্ড হয়া থাকিচে  গিন্নিস বুক অফ রেকর্ডস এইটা স্বীকৃতি পাইচে |  তারপর, ১৯৬৭ আর ১৯৭১ সনত লোকসভার ভোটত জিতেচিল |  যেহেতু, ক্ষমতাশীল দল কংগ্রেস পার্টির সঙ্গে অমার মতের মিল হয় নি, এই জইন্যে গায়ত্রী দেবীর সঙ্গে কেন্দ্র সরকারের সঙ্গে সব সময় মতবিরোধ হইতে থাকে |
এমন কি, ১৯৭১ সনত জ্যালা  কেন্দ্রীয় সরকার প্রিভি পার্সধ্বংস করিয়া দেওয়া হয় আর রাজ পরিবারের সব সুবিধা বন্ধ করিয়া দেওয়া হয়, স্যালা গায়ত্রী দেবীক ট্যাক্স আইন অমান্য করার অভিযোগত আটক করিয়া দিলীর তিহার জেলত ৫ মাসের জইন্যে কারাবাস যাপন করিবা লাগিচিল |
১৯৭৬ সনত একজন লেখক সান্তা রাম রাউ-এরসঙ্গে মিলিত ভাবে  নিজের জীবনী প্রকাশিত করে যার ইংরেজীত নাম দেয় এ প্রিন্সেস রিমেম্বার্স  | গায়ত্রী দেবীর জীবনীর উপর ভিত্তি করিয়া একটা সিনেমাও তৈরী হইছিল যার নাম ছিল মেময়ার্স অফ এ হিন্দু প্রিন্সেস আর যাকে পরিচালনা করিচিল ফ্রানকয়িস লেভী |
গায়ত্রী দেবীর সুন্দরতার তুলনা খুব কম হয় | অর সমসাময়িক যুগত, আধুনিক ফ্যাশনের প্রতীক হিসাবে হামার পুরা দেশটাত অর নাম জুড়িয়া গেইছিল |  ইংরাজি ‘ভোগ’  ম্যাগাজিন দ্বারা লীলা নাইডুর সঙ্গে গায়ত্রী দেবীক-ও পৃথিবীর দশজন সব চাইতে সুন্দরী মহিলার মইধ্যে একজনহিসাবে মান্যতা দিয়া গেইছিল |
 সমাজ সেবার দিকেও গায়ত্রী দেবীর বিশেষ ঝোঁক ছিল | জয়পুরত মায়া ছুয়ালার জইন্য স্কুল খুলিচিল  অর নামে মহারানী গায়ত্রী দেবী গার্লস পাবলিক স্কুল১৯৪৩ সনত স্থাপিত করাইচিল | ১৯৯৯ সনত শুনা গেইছিল যে গায়ত্রী দেবীক নাকি কোচবিহার লোকসভা ক্ষেত্র থাকিয়া তৃনামূল কংগ্রেসের হয়া ভোটত দাঁড়াবার জইন্যে আমন্ত্রণ দেওয়া হয়ছিল কিন্তু, ওয় সেইটা স্বীকার করে নাই |    
৯০ বছর বয়সত ২০০৯ সনের ২৯শে জুলাই গায়ত্রী দেবীর জয়পুরত মৃত্যুলোক প্রাপ্তি হয় | কোচবিহার বাসীর জইন্যে গায়ত্রী দেবীর মন সবসময় কান্দে | ওয় চাহিচিল যাতে রাইজ্যের ভূতপূর্ব প্রজা যাতে সুখ-শান্তিতে থাকে | কিন্তু, রাজার রাজত্ব দেশ থাকিয়া উন্মূলন করিয়া দিবার পর, রাজনৈতিক তুল-কালামের মইধ্যে আর গায়ত্রী দেবীর স্বাকার হবা পারে নাই | অয় রাজনীতিত ঢুকিয়া চেষ্টা করিচিল দেশ আর সমাজের প্রতি আরহ কিছু করার সেই বাকি কাজগিলা এলা হামাক করিবা লাগিবে |


   -কাপ্টেন নলিনী রঞ্জন রায় (আর্মি অবসরপ্রাপ্ত)
     Capt. Nalini Ranjan Ray (Ex-Army)

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Raising of Narayani Regiment in Indian Army as per Merger Agreement with erstwhile Cooch Behar State



People of erstwhile Cooch Behar State, 89% of who were ethnic Rajbanshis, were eager to join Indian Dominion from the days of freedom struggle. For Armed Cooch Behar State Forces, popularly known as ‘Narayani Sena’, it was obviously natural to join Indian Army on subsequent accession with free India. The process of accession, under the statesmanship of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, had begun as early as prior to declaration of Independence on 15th August, 1947. 

As per the policy of Dominion of India on accession of princely states, the Instrument of Accession and the Standstill Agreement prepared on the behest of V.P. Menon, then Secretary to the Government of India were dispatched from the States Department, New Delhi vide their letter dated 1st August, 1947 to Cooch Behar by Registered Post on 5th August, 1947 to then Maharaja of Cooch Behar State Lt.Col. H.H. Maharaja Sir Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur, K.C.I.E.   The Instrument of Accession was signed by the Maharaja on 9th August, 1947, duly accepted and signed by then Governor General of India, Mountbatten of Burma on 16th August, 1947. The Standstill Agreement between the State of Cooch Behar and the Dominion of India was signed by Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari, then Chief Minister of Cooch Behar State on 14th August, 1947 and V.P. Menon. These living documents exhibit the urgency and eagerness for accession on the part of both the States Department of the Dominion of India and the Cooch Behar State.

Finally, the formal merger of Cooch Behar with Independent India took place under an Agreement made between the Governor General of India and His Highness the Maharaja of Cooch Behar (Jagaddipendra Narayan) duly signed by the Maharaja and V. P. Menon then Advisor to the Govt. of India, Ministry of States on 28th August, 1949. Accordingly, Cooch Behar State was ceded to the Dominion Government with effect from 12th September, 1949.  Cooch Behar was placed in ‘C’ category of States in the Constitution of India. 
                            
As per the Article VIII(1) of the Agreement – “The Government of India hereby guarantees either the continuance in service of the permanent members of the Public Services of Cooch Behar on conditions which will not be less advantageous than those on which they were serving before the date on which the administration of Cooch Behar is made to the Government of India or the payment of reasonable compensation.”  

In connection with the certain points including status of the Armed Forces of Cooch Behar raised by the Maharaja relating to the just concluded Merger Agreement, by giving due consideration, on behalf of the Govt. of India, V.P. Menon in his D.O. letter No.F.15(19)-P/49 dated the 30th August, 1949 to the Maharaja, clarified queries on 14 points. As clarification given in the 14th point, it was mentioned as – (14) Government will endeavour to associate the name “Narayan” with the Cooch Behar State Forces even after their absorption in the Indian Army.    

On the historic day of merger of Cooch Behar State with India, then Hon’ble Home Minister, Vallabbhai Patel sent greetings and assurances to the people of Cooch Behar which is evident as per his letter to then Chief Commissioner of Cooch Behar Sri Nanjappa which was as under:

“From Minister, Home                                                                         Camp, Birla House,
                                                                                                            Malabar Hill,
                                                                                                            Bombay.
                                                                                                            11th September 1949
To,

Sri Nanjappa,
Chief Commissioner of Cooch Behar,

On the handing over of Cooch Behar to Central administration, I send to its people my best wishes and assurance on behalf of the Govt. of India that though far, their interest welfare will claim our close and intimate attention, I am fully aware of the many problems, political and economic, which affect the state and I am confident that with their co-operation and assistance we would succeed in solving them in the best interest of the state and the country for their happiness and prosperity, unity and mutual adjustment between the constituent elements of the population are essential pre-requisites without this such resources and personnel as we may be able to spare for them would avail little.
I hope therefore, that the people of Cooch Behar will work with single mindedness and devotion to duty as a united team for their own betterment and to achieve their due place in the political and administrative set-up of India.
To accept transfer of territory from a ruler is no small responsibility which we feel on this occasion. To give up sovereignty over territory is no mean sacrifice. I am grateful to him for the spirit of accommodation and understanding which he has displayed and the prompt manner which he accepted our advice.
May he and his people be happy, prosperous under the new dispensation which is being inaugurated today.
                                                                                                       Sd/-
                                                                                                (Vallabbhai Patel)
                                                                                             Home Minister, India”

Historical background of Koch Army of Cooch Behar Empire comprising of mainly Koch-Rajbanshi people has been a glorious one. As per ‘Akbarnama’, during the reign of great Koch king Nara Narayan(1553-1587 A.D.) aided by his warrior brother and a great military commander, Chilarai, Koch army consisted of 4000 horses, 2,00,000 infantry soldiers, 700 elephants and 1000 war boats. As per Sir E.A. Gaits, the British administrator and a great historian, there were around 52,25,000 able Koch-Rajbanshi youth volunteers to serve the Koch army. Because of the heroic deeds of the soldiers under able command of Chilarai, the Koch kingdom could defeat all north-eastern oriental kingdoms and unified whole of the Northeast. Undoubtedly, credit of uniting North-eastern India must go to the Koch army, who were famously known as ‘Narayani Sena’.

From the days of merger in 1949, the fate of 'Narayani Company' in the Rajshahi Regiment of Cooch Behar State remained in obscurity due to indifference on the part of the Government of India. The assurances given by the Government during merger are yet to be fulfilled and raising of a Rajbanshi Regiment is one of them. Today, although a young Rajbanshi is free to join any Regiment in Indian Army but it does not give him the honour of being a Rajbanshi of a marshal class. To honour the sacrifices made by the Koch-Rajbanshi people for centuries in fighting adversaries and uniting entire North-eastern India with mainland India during sixteenth century, raising such a Infantry Regiment named ‘Narayani Regiment’ in the Infantry Army is more apt. Raising such a regiment in Indian Army is not going to negate any national policy of India as Infantry Regiments of Indian Army such as Punjab Regiment, Maratha Light Infantry, Jat Regiment, Mahar Regiment, Madras Regiment, Sikh Regiment, Sikh Light Infantry, Gorkha Regiments etc. of Indian Army are doing exceptionally well for ages.


Under the safe hands of Koch-Rajbanshi soldiers of Cooch Behar Empire remained safe from foreign aggression for centuries. Even most powerful Mughal forces were forced to become ally with Cooch Behar kingdom. The British power acknowledged sovereignty of Cooch Behar as a princely State. It is the fit case to honour the Koch/Rajbanshis by raising ‘Narayani Regiment’ as assured by then 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India, Vallabhbhai Patel during merger of Cooch Behar State with India in 1949.

Jai Hind !