Monument Preservation of Coochbehar. Tragedy begins

Coochbehar State Monument Preservation Act 1947

 In 1947 an Act was passed by the Coochbehar State Regency Council for the preservation of ancient monuments of Cooch Behar. Monument preservation of Coochbehar was necessary to ensure the preservation of ancient monuments and heritage buildings, to exercise control over the movement of antiquities and excavations in certain places, as well as in certain cases to ensure the protection and acquisition of ancient monuments and sites by archaeological, historical or artistic means.

I. This Act may be called the Cooch Behar Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1947.

II. It would extend to the whole of the Cooch Behar State.

III. It would came into force on publication in the Cooch Behar Gazette with the assent of Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan.

Maharaja Jagadipendra Narayan on the one hand is an administrator, on the other his sporting passion motivates him to implement various innovative measures in the state. Like his father, he wanted to make the princely state an example of British Indian state. He was the last ruler of Cooch Behar. The period of Jagaddipendra Narayan was crucial for social, cultural and economic transformation.

On 4th October 1948 Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Kailash Nath Kartzu explained the condition of Cooch Behar to Sardar Patel in which it was stated that “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 to join Pakistan and this movement would not be wholly repugnant to the ruling house.”

For that reason, the Government of India decided that “many of the Princely States had a very discontinuous territory, thus making smooth administration difficult, many of them had cultural and linguistic affiliations with the neighbouring states and provinces, which made their separateness anomalous; it was an unnecessary ornamental expenditure to keep numerous units of administration.”

Meanwhile, questions about Cooch Behar’s merger with India are on the air. On 29th April, 1949 a telegram sent by Sharat Chandra Bose to Sardar Patel which was published in the “Nation” newspaper. In that telegram Bose said that “The people of Cooch Behar are 99 percent Bengali speaking and there was no single Assamese there. Apart from linguistic reasons, other reasons such as cultural, geographical, administrative etc., support West Bengal’s claim to Cooch Behar and completely negative Assam’s claim to it. As you are the minister in-charge, I consider it my duty to draw your attention to the situation in Cooch Behar and the demands of the people there.”

Note: It was wrong statement by Sarat Bose, Cooch Behar itself was separate entity from language and cultural point view. Kamatpuri / Rajbanshi language was more than 95% people’s mother language at that time, people use Bengali language just for official purpose like we use English language during form fill up for examination or any other official work. If we see from social, cultural and linguistic point of view Assam history, social, language and culture is more closer than Bengali language and culture. Read history of Vir Chila Ray.

Maharaja wanted to conclude the Cooch Behar Merger Agreement in 1949 with the government of India for betterment of Cooch Behar. Regarding the question of Merger would be decided according to the wish of the people of the state. On 18th July 1949 a news published by the ‘Hindustan Standard in which it was stated that “On behalf of the different organizations functioning in different parts of Cooch Behar State, a telegram was sent on 16th July to the Prime minister of India and the Congress President reiterating the unanimous decisions of all sections of the people of the state for Merger of Cooch Behar with West Bengal.”

Note: Maharaja did not want to merge Cooch Behar with West Bengal. Maharaja never wanted to merge Cooch Behar with east Pakistan. At that time nobody wanted to join with east Pakistan except radical muslim people or leaders. It was propaganda or conspiracy of Kolkata Congress leader and some Coochbehari Bengali educationists / officers to create rumours and make “Hitasadhani Sabha” lead by local Coochbehari as agent of east Pakistan. At any cost they wanted Cooch Behar to include in West Bengal and take control over it.

coochbehar power house
Heritage abolished

At last on 28th August 1949, Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan signed an agreement with the Government of India which was known as Merger Agreement. According to the treaty the princely state of Cooch Behar was transformed into a Chief Commissioners province under the jurisdiction of Government of India.

During the governance of the Chief Commissioner, that is, from 12th September to 31st December 1949 the administration in Cooch Behar remained the same as before. On 1st January 1950 Cooch Behar was merged into West Bengal by a notification issued by the Government of India on 31st December 1949 entitled the States’ Merger (West Bengal) Order, 1949.

Note: Cooch Behar was merged with West Bengal by a single Notification. No election process done.

A Deputy Commissioner and Administrator of Cooch Behar was appointed by the Government of West Bengal and from 1st January of 1950 Cooch Behar became a district of West Bengal. As Cooch Behar was a part of India and a part of West Bengal already on 26th January 1950, the date on which the Constitution of India was adopted, the Constitution applied to Cooch Behar from the very date. The princely state of Cooch Behar demoted to a less important terminal district of West Bengal which was far distant from state capital Kolkata.

Gradually all social, economic organisation captured by actually bengali speaking people entered from north and south Bangladesh (east Pakistan) rendering the original inhabitats i.e. Rajbanshi / Kamtapuri speaking people beggar. More over Kolkata dominated West Bengal government bulldogged the local Coochbehari people (mostly farmers) by land sealing and illegal land acquisition. The political instruments provoked the outsiders (came from Bangladesh) to capture land from local Coochbehari peasants by force with the help of administration (remote controlled by Bengali leaders).

More infiltration in Coochbehar more profit by Kolkata Administration, so that in future there should not be existence of separate state demand by neglected people of Coochbehar. People of northern part of West Bengal is still under darkness. They (both kamtapuri and Bengali speaking) don’t have much expectation. Actually, people here don’t understand how they are deprived by others who always trying to control over them from social, cultural, administrative and above all political point of view.

Coochbehar Present scenario

In present scenario most of ancient architecture captured either by outsiders or government itself damaged for the benefit of Bengali cultural hegemony. Giving some list of historical identity.

  1. Pallibhandar, Tufanganj
  2. Ganjendra Narayan estate, earlier post office area, Tufanganj
  3. Chila rayer garh, Tufanganj
  4. Natabari Dakbanglo, Natabari
  5. Jaldhoa fort of Chila ray
  6. Land of Coochbehar Royal palace illegally acquired for Bus stand and stadium
  7. Sabitri lodge, Cooch Behar
  8. Nilkuti Library
  9. Victoria College name changed to ABN Seal College
  10. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan school heritage red color changed to blue white color of TMC Government.
  11. Maharaja Jitendra Narayn Hospital name changed to Cooch Behar Medical college. After agitation by Koch Rajbanshi and other well wishers renamed as Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Medical College and hospital.
  12. Stolen Madan Mohan idol from Madan Mohan temple earlier.
  13. Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan Sanskrita college closed by West Bengal government, Coochbehar.
  14. Heritage tap water now extinct. Coochbehar City
  15. Power house of Coochbehar city in poor condition.
  16. Kamtapur Rajpat, Gosanimari – no maintenance, digging soil from rajpat area.
  17. Cooch Behar state library fired by goons (political goons may be) in 1970-71.
  18. So many antiques, books, chair, tables stolen from Royal palace by government officers itself.
  19. Inaugaration of Rasmela – No royal family members allowed. Only West Bengal government official and some local Bengali as well as bengali induced Rajbanshi leaders are allowed. DM of Coochbehar inaugurate Rasmela.
  20. And many more.

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