Population Structure of Cooch Behar, part of Ratnapith around 125 years ago.

The political status of Cooch Behar had been gradually turned from a kingdom to a district town. Previously it was a part of a bigger Kingdom of Kamrup in ancient times; known as Pragjyotishpur. The present Assam, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Dinajpur and Rangpur (now in Bangladesh) were the parts of Kamrup. The Kingdom- Kamrup was divided into four parts such as  Ratnapith, Kampith,  Subarnapith and Soumarpith. The present Cooch Behar was the part of Ratnapith. During the period of 16th century the Cooch Behar turned into an independent state and in 1773, it became a revenue paying estate of the British. Finally, on 28th August 1949, Cooch Behar became a part of lndian domination; and a district of West Bengal on 1st January 1950. Although it is big question how central territory (linguistically and culturally different from West Bengal/Bengal) became a district of a state.

Different dynasties ruled this region; Koch dynasty ruled from 151 0 A.D. to 1949. Before the advent of Koch dynasty, Khen dynasty ruled this region. Biswa Singha, an adventure Koch chief laid the foundation of his kingdom in about A.D. 1510 on the ruins of the kingdom of Kamata. His son and successor Naranarayan (A.D 1540-1587) was not only the greatest of the Koch  kings, but also he was one of the illustrious rulers of North East India of his times. Several Muslim rulers like Hussain Shah, Mir-Jumla invaded this land. Political relations with the Mughal emperors were also established.

Map of Earlier Cooch Behar State

Population Diversity

The population of Cooch Behar was divided as Asiatics and non-Asiatics (as per census 1872). Again, Asiatics were classified into two groups- Natives of India and British Burma, and other than Natives of lndia and British Burma. Natives of India and British Burma were again divided into five groups such as Aboriginal Tribes, Semi-Hindu Aboriginals, Hindu, Vaishnav (a religious group) and Muslims. Further, Hindu into eleven occupational groups viz., High caste (Brahman, Chhatri or Rajput), Intermediate ( Baidya, Kayastha ), Trading (Marwari, Banik, Khatri, Oswal ), Pastoral ( Goala, Gareri), Agricultural (Barui, Koeri, Kaibarta, Kurmi, Kolita, Mali), caste engaged in personal service (Dhawa, Dhanuk, Dhobi, Kahan, Napit), Artisan ( Kamars, Kumar, Swamakar, Sutradhar, Sunri, Tali, Weavers ( Jugi, Tanti ), labour ( Nuniya), Boating and Fishing ( Manjhi, Nalua). Thus the composition of population in Cooch Behar was a heterogeneous in nature.

Population Classes

Naheb Ahilkar, Cooch Behar state, Shri Harendra Narayan Chaudhury ( 1903) made a classes of the population of Cooch Behar.

He divided the whole population into three major groups viz Aryan race, subject tribes, and aboriginal tribes besides the Muslims. Secondly, he observed that each group had a number of subgroups having different social status. Thus the people of the Aryan race were divided into three subgroups like high caste hindus, low caste hindus and the unclean caste. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Baidya and Kayastha  were included in the high caste hindu. The low caste hindus were grouped into two categories viz Navasaks or pure functional sub-castes and the unclean castes. Barui, Baniya, Gowala, Halwai, Kaibarta, Kahar, Kumar, Kumar, Mali, Moira, N[lpit, Sadgope, Tanti & Teli were included in the low caste hindu group and were placed above the unclean caste and below the high caste . The third group, the unclean caste included the Dhopa, Hari, Taliya, Munchi, and Patni. 

Continue Reading..

Share this:

Leave a comment