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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hemanto Mukherjee - Prangone mor shirish sakhai in Ek tuku chhoa laage -...

My most favorite Tagore song, sung by my favorite singer Hemanta Mukherjee.
"In spring the fully blossomed tender branches of rain tree, in my courtyard
swinging slowly with gentle breeze.Tirelessly blossoming with unknown 

enthusiasm in evening when birds are calm,woods silent.Every day that full
blossomed  tree asks me a whispering question "Did she came? Did she came?"

Monday, June 25, 2012

'Sandu Narayan Gupta' a lawyer of note,from Cooch Behar

   This year the cooch behar bar association is celebrating their 125th year anniversary.A very warm and hearty wishes to them, for a grand success of their event.It's obvious and fact that during that one and quarter century long journey, they have earned many laurels not only in the judicial arena,but they had significant impact to the society as a whole, for it's much needed reforms and well being.
   Pioneer of them was "Sandu Narayan Gupta".Who was instrumental to ban 'sutte practice' in cooch behar.All we know that that this heinous practice was banned and made unlawful in India;by Lord William Bentick in 1829.Outcome of an intense,tenacious fight against it,from Raja Ram Mohan Roy,whom pundit Jawhar lal Nehru was ably decorated as 'first modern man of India'. He faced every possible opposition from the then conservative heads of Hindu society against his noble mission.
   Cooch Behar in that age was very much medieval in culture and not under direct administrative control of  'British India' rather it was an ally of British Raj. Cooch Behar has it's own law of her land,judiciary and  administration, though from 1822, the Britishers appointed a resident commissioner at cooch behar,to represent the British hold over this kingdom.
Though 'sutte practice' was banned in India after 1829,but that still happened at cooch behar, in 1840, the year when king Shibendra Narayan (grand father of Nripendra Narayan) was enthroned.A bramhin of Khagrabari named' Srikanta Shiromoni' died on 22nd February.
His wife was committed 'Sutte' in his funeral pyre.The place is still called as 'Sutte ghat' on a dead branch of river Torsa,at present day Sal Bagan(Sal wood plantation) adjacent to cancer center.
   Here entered the brave 'Sandu Narayan', he complained the matter to East India Company Commissioner.Imagine, complaining against a native ruler of that time India,was never an easy task to execute.The company took it seriously and asked an explanation from the king.But it was not banned in cooch behar till the reign of Shibendra Narayan. Only after his demise,nine long years from the incident,in 1849 when Major Jenkins become Colonel and got full administrative power on behalf of the infant king Narendra Narayan could pass the law of banning Sutte in cooch behar.When under secy. to the Govt. of Bengal wrote a tough letter to Col. Jenkins.asking him to intimate the king of cooch behar that 'Sutte'. is banned in his territory, stat.Victory of Sandu Narayan Gupta, the lawyer.
No. 102 of 1849

Dated, Fortwilliam,
the 20th September 1849

     Major Jenkins,
     Agent to the Governor General,
     North East Frontier.

      In reply to your letter No. 64, dated the 30th ultimo, I am directed to request that you will convey to the Sarbarakar of Cooch Behar intimation of the pleasure of Government, that performance of the rite of Suttee be altogether prohibited in future in the Territories of the Rajah of Cooch Behar.

      You are requested to report, if these orders of Government are carried into effect by the Sarbarakar.

I have & C ,
Under Secretary to the Government of Bengal.

(Above is the copy of the letter)
We must salute to this brave lawyer and the unsung hero of cooch behar.Every cooch behar law men can take pride from this pioneering stalwart of their field and gain inspiration from him for their everyday works.We shouldn't forget to render due respect and credit to this pioneering lawyer for his time defeating steps.
Nirupam:cooch behar

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Tiny black 'White Throated Fan Tail' of Cooch Behar


This tiny black very busy wrabblers(don't know the original name) nested,in a china rose bush,in the little kitchen garden;situated at the back of my house.It was the third time within a span of  four and half months,they have nested in my kitchen garden.First time i noticed them in a branch of the cherry bush.Whenever i went to the garden to pluck cherries,this parents immediately got excited making sharp high pitched  'Tiap,Tiap,Tiap" quick calls, flying like missiles around my head.I become sure that they have nested here,and trying to drive me out from there to save their chicks or eggs.I began searching,with little effort i found their nest with three chicks. Didn't disturbed them anyway, but kept a close look on them.Found they were  small insect eaters.These three chicks flew on there own within twenty days, after they hatched.Again after twenty days or so,i found there new nest on branch just side of the previous one.There were three chicks,this time also.Become noisy and agitated and trying to frighten me with flapping of wings,unfolding tail feathers like a small beautiful fan instantly; when they found me there.This time there aggression last a little bit short.I become enthusiastic, to found there sign of acceptance of me.But with all their efforts ,failed this time.The chicks were fall in prey to wild cat or to any predator bird.

After little more than two weeks ,i found them nesting again in a china rose bush.It was only fifteen feet away from the cherry bush.When got them saw three chicks again,like previous two occassions.This time there opposition was was quite low.Amazingly one day when i was taking a sip of my morning tea,standing lazily in my backyard almost forty five feet away from that china rose bush.At this distance they never became agitated.Suddenly one after another they began flying like missiles towards me making distress calls as high as they could do. Circling around me then to the bush repeatedly like a conveyor belt.Seemed they were inviting me to the bush.Slowly and softly i went there.Saw the cause 'a cat sitting under the bush,looking greedily towards the nest'. There you are, my little friends, requesting help from me?Having seen me the cat immediately ran away.Saw the weak thin branch on which they nested, lowered alarmingly by the weight of the chicks and the nest.Almost to the striking distance of the cat.I tied that branch with a upper one,by woolen thread,beyond the reach of a jumping cat. The two birds silently watched me from a upper branch of a jack fruit tree.this time they succeeded to raise there chicks again.
These birds are very small of around 4/5 cms long, small beak like sparrows,grey black in colour,having a half round white patch on throat and black small legs.Very busy in nature,fond eating small spiders and insects.There nest weaved so masterfully and bound tight with yarns of spider web.Produces a classical precision beak craft.
Nirupam Ghosh
Cooch Behar

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Part 2--Days of Maharani Sunity Devi at Cooch Behar


"Sunity Devi"at her

Before she, the maharanis of cooch behar were strict purdah ladies. As described in her own words "It may be my weakness or strength,i have altered my position in this respect a little; I do see people if urged." and she did that quite graciously.She was much suspicious about her acceptance in the Royal house hold, ran by the Queen Mother,Who did opposed vehemently,to get her son the king Nripendra Narayan married through 'Bramho' rituals and actually had hot exchanges with Sunity's mother.That nearly, repeat nearly broke down the marriage.At a point when all these bitterness were going on, the annoyed young king closed him self in a room;shut the door ordering his horse be in ready position and allowed to call him only when the news was affirmative to marry Sunity ;unless he shall leave his kingdom in horse back by dawn.But the saying "matches are made in heaven" was proved again.The "two"united in a life long bond.Memories of that bitterness,which was unlikely, to get erased easily; as of to Sunity also.That made her shy about the queen mother, her  mother-in-law.But with all her surprise,it was totally reverse, when mattered.
 She got full support and guidance from her mother-in-law, the queen mom. Later she recalled with lot of affection and respect to her "She was a well built woman. Short but wonderfully strong.She was bright and was always full of fun. Her kind help and wise counsel made my life smooth and happy, and guided through difficulties, when i came to Cooch Behar first time after my marriage. this great lady departed her soul at Woodlands,Calcutta(Kolkata) in cholera,Rajey,a cousin of her and i nursed her through her last illness." An age old custom of not to have lunch before Maharaja,in royal household, was broken for Sunity for the first time. When she was in indifferent health,though the conservative queen mom stood in between again, like a rock and needed an order from the "King" to step aside.
How she loved Cooch Behar with its abundance of birds and flowers(now scarce)? The scenery looked glorious to her;the rivers were full of lotus,and in some of age old religious festivals,the temples were lavishly decorated with those gorgeous pink blossoms, looked marvellous.The climate of Cooch Behar seemed splendid to her, as she writes"Winters at Cooch Behar are those of south of France and springs are heavenly".
From first she endeavored to gain confidence and affection from her husband's subjects,she never knowingly ran against their prejudices and custom. In Calcutta and at Darjeeling she might had been considered as a maharani of western ideas.But in Cooch Behar she was always a zenana lady,who enters in to lives of peoples, the subjects of her husband the joyous naive  natives of their kingdom. A caring mother,who consoles in pain,supports in distress and becomes glad in their joy. Many who looked upon in disfavour for her inter religion marriage,took her in their hearts to found her like all her predecessors,  and she loved them.
Nirupam Ghosh
Cooch Behar

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Days of Maharani Sunity Devi at Cooch behar

Crowned Maharani
Rare picture of Maharani
First she came to Cooch behar in 1878,for her marriage ceremony with king Nripendra Narayan of cooch behar.Her marriage was quite an episode.A burning much talked issue throughout then Bengal
Mostly because of the bride and groom were from different religion, she was Bramho and he was a Hindu.Remember that was 1878.
When the rays of modern education in India only began                            
  to illuminate some selected portions of society,the masses were deeply plunged in to the sea of prejudices,illiteracy,customs.That needed herculean efforts to loose the Gordian knot.Governor,Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, commissioners,other British officials,Raj Durbar officials,pundits,priests,reverends,dewan last but not the least the rajmatas, committed to save Hindu marriage rituals,with the help of Dewan Cullika Dasdutt.They succeeded to postpone the first auspicious hour in the evening settled for the marriage,lights off,concert silenced,masses gathered hushed.But the defiant succumb to the pressure from  Governor of Bengal,and the marriage finally held at the second auspicious  hour at 3a.m. That's another story, may be discussed in next opportunity.Her Royal Highness being an educated enlightened lady,was well versed about the histories and myths of her husbands ancient warrior race,and his kingdom.

Maharani left Cooch behar shortly after her marriage,to Calcutta. Returned to live at cooch behar, only after the birth of her third issue,the second son Jitendra.On arriving at cooch behar for the second time,she was greatly delighted to find a new beautiful church(the Bramho  Mandir) for the new dispensation,and a girls school(Sunity academy) named after her. Her marriage was held at the old palace,by then the new palace was complete for living. This new palace is situated,in between,the town in east,river Torsa in west, 'Sagar Dighi'(great pond) in south, dug during the reign of her great grand father-in-law king Harendra Narayan,and north in far distance the great Himalaya standing like a fort.In winter months through palace windows she could easily see the clear white snowy tip of the peaks. She was amazed to find the the abundance of flowers and fireflies in the palace garden and largely at cooch behar (alas! where they are now)?  In the dark nights, it seemed to her, thousands of twinkling stars  had descended to the palace region in the shape of fire flies.The more see saw of cooch behar, the more she loved it. Rainy season of cooch behar with brimful rivers,flooded streets reminded her the splendid 'Venice' to compare with. Her old nurse Mrs Elridge often used to say "In my all travels, I have never experienced such thunderstorms."
Nevertheless her days were much occupied.After morning tea,her children(Rajey, Girlie and Jit) used to brought  her flowers from palace garden,and she used to made sketches of them.She took it as pride and pleasure of her life.After bath wearing a sacred silk sari,arranged the prayer room with masses of rose,jasmine and bright hued flowers from garden. Marvelous effect of them against the back drop of white marble floor and the altar,was much loved to her. Completing prayer, she was used to prepare fruits and sweets for her husband, children and others.She often prepared enough vegetables,for at least fifty peoples.
Imagine a Maharani cutting vegetables! Yes,she did.She was used to sit in floor surrounded by number of different sizes brass bowls,for washing vegetables,maids constantly changing water. She always cut enough vegetables to fill several large plates. The royal kitchen usually had eighteen curries for each meal.
Sometimes the Maharaja used to invade the kitchen when Maharani was cutting vegetables;and watching closely sitting before her and cautioning occasionally " Take care Sunity,you will cut yourself"(How homely they were?),as if she was a little girl didn't know how to peel off a potato? In this moments,with much amusement to her relations-in law,officer's wives,now and again she used to get up and play tableaux with them.Fine slicing of betel nuts and preparing of betel leaf(Pan) stuffed with at least six types of spices and eventually pinning them with clove was not beyond her skill.Actually she was fond of doing that. Often she made sweets for her husband and children,as the were lovers of sweet meats.Her dear mother trained her to prepare pickles of mangoes and potatoes and she practiced them in palace with great skill. She was fond of painting,and often spent hours in ornamenting the mantle pieces and glass panes of doors.
Her children was very much in love with the miniature garden she made in the palace.There was a tank filled with clear water.One day her second son Jitendra,wanted to have a bath there.Despite much dissuasion from her mother, the unstoppable little prince insisted his own way.So her mom the queen undressed him and put him into the water.Though the little boy felt chill, but the ego of a prince and the future king.made him pretended he was quite warm? The cute little face above water, curly head surrounded by flowers produced an immaculate beautiful picture, giving enough satisfaction to the motherhood of the queen........... wait for next post please.


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Hindu Bengali Marriage(Rana&Pinki)

The Bengali marriage is an unique execution of  Hindu rituals,being performed since thousands of years. Recitation of sacred Vedic hymns from family priest,under floral arbour veiled with planten plants,earthen pots filled with auspicious water mango twig on it and green coconut a top. Placed in four corner of the arbour. In between bride and groom the oblation fire with glow of molten gold, offerings of wood apple leaves,flower petals, sandal powder, Sal wood resin(dhup),drops of pure butter oil. each of them offered separately,with separate hymns .Curls of of oblation smokes carrying aromatic vapour of all these creates an unearthly magical atmosphere,easily developing life long bonds between two unknown souls. Presence of grooms party of relatives and friends,along with brides family and neighbours, in her house makes the marriage a carnival
of all ages.This auspicious ritual was started from the hands of noble Vedic sage 'Swetketu'  son of Maharswisi(great saint) 'Uddalok' of Vedic age.

Rana(groom) and Pinki(bride) in  arbour  in her house
along with their family priest and maternal uncle who
religiously handing over the bride to groom.

Waiting for Garland Exchange
Garland Exchange


In front of Oblation Pot


Garland Exchange in Climax

Happy and joyous Mother-in-law and
All the mad maxes sorrounding the bride
On flower bed with relatives at Bou Vaat
(the brides dinner party)
The Groom forcibly laid to the feet of bride
by female attackers
Rana the joyous groom at bridal reception
in his house
Blessings of Mother in law
Pinki,Queen of the night in bridal attire

The bride on the way to oath taking ceremony
to take responsibility of all earthly well being of his
newly married wife with offerings of food,cloth,
sindoor,cosmetics etc.

Receiving the Bride and Groom by groom's
Mom with auspicious lights and blessings
 The eternal beauty of soul of Hindu Bengali marriage rituals showers blessings to the newly wed couple from
time tested divine Vedic hymns,with all the happiness of the heaven to create life long bonds between them
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooch behar My native place-2

The architect of modern Cooch Behar                                                                                                   

Maharaja Nripendra narayan
(Grand Commander of Most Eminent Order)

                 The pioneering product of
                   Bengali female education
Maharani Sunity Devi
(Imperial order of Crown)

Cooch behar,the name first found in'Ahom Burungi"(court records) of then Ahom kings(present day Assam).Way back in 12th century.In this post i will concentrate on His Royal Highness Nripendra Narayan.The architect of modern present day Cooch Behar.he ascended the throne at the age of 'one'.
He was the paternal grand father of 'Maharani Gayetri devi' of Jaipur. After the 1773 Cooch Behar-Bhutan war; Cooch Behar state lost it's sovereignty to East India co. In a bid to free their captive king Dhyairendra Narayan,from the hand of Bhutanese. East India co helped with troops and ammunition commanded by Col.Hedayat Ali of Danapur,Bihar. He defeated Bhutan army and released the captive king of Cooch Behar.
Since then Cooch Behar became a tributary to colonial lords of India,and was paying annual taxes to them.There on Cooch Behar had a resident commissioner from colonial lords.After demise of the father of Nripendra Narayan,it was obvious that the state could not ran effectively by a ten month old boy.Like every
royal family,Cooch Behar was not spared from palace conspiracy, his two widow grand moms Kameteswari  and Brindwesari aye devati with his very young widow mom Nistarini were found wanting to this situations.
Now Colonel Hawton was appointed by Governor General of India as resident commissioner of Cooch Behar.the power to run the state administration in favour of was completely handed to him. The best achieved out of this arrangement, was the upbringing of Nripendra Narayan. He paid intense attention to the education of  the child king,allowed him all possible opening to modern educations and teachings.Which eventually transformed the medieval culture,education and systems of Cooch Behar. The Maharaja was educated  and brought up under direct British system and values, which later helped his state " COOCH BEHAR" become a modern state,in compared to contemporary Indian princely states. He may aptly be called as 'Prince Builder' of Cooch Behar.All the great architecture seen in preset day Cooch Behar, are works of the great Maharaja of Cooch Behar Nripendra Narayn, that includes The Victor Jubille Palace.Victoria Collage(A.B.N.Seal collage). It was the only collage  in the geographical entity of current Bangladesh ,West Bengal,Bihar,Orrissa,Jharkhand and N.E. states of India, where there was opportunity to study M.A. in law, besides Presidency collage Calcutta. Don't forget it was 1888 then. Not only the collage, during early morning of Indian modern education , Cooch Behar had a number of schools including girl's only collages and schools. The Victoria Collage and Sunity academy girls collage (later School)  still rendering
massive contributions to the intellectual and academic wealth of Cooch Behar and its surroundings.Louis Jubilee sanatorium at Kalimpong hills was also constructed and dedicated to T.B. patients , You might well aware that in that days disease T.B.was nothing short of present day Cancer. He also built  a rest house (free) for tourists on pilgrim,The Anandomoyee Dharmashala named after his sister. There are many more to add in the shape of Schools,community halls,libraries etc. He mordenised the administration of his state, totally reformed the revenue,police, transportation(with introduction of state railway),education, judiciary,law,health,law and order from medieval to contemporary. He was also a sports person of international repute, his son prince Hitty, was an early bird of Indian cricket to play  English 'A' level county cricket for Somerset. A hunter of repute Colonel Nripendra Narayan authored the book "Thirty seven years of big game shooting in Duars and Assam a rough diary"Another interesting thing that he was most probably the first Bicycle rider of Cooch Behar,rode to Tufangaunge from Cooch Behar first. He was kind hearted, farsighted,much loved by his country men ,and a noble king,
This is the  sesquicentennial  year of his noble birth ,my salute and tribute to him.

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Monday, February 27, 2012


Google: "Baro vaisa-Baro Vaisa" (means the the largest antelope in the world, Indian Gaur or Bison named in local tribes vocabulary. Baro Vaisa or the big buffalo as they call it) a continuous instigating loud cry, enraged my auditory system. Totally disrespecting the last minute preparation of English paper,of a candidate,who was preparing for school leaving board exam. After almost thirty three years i can vividly recall the happenings like video show.The horrific natural, cent percent true life experience. Which etched in my memories permanently. I shouldn't be alive to blog this to day,thanks to a domestic buffalo,allowing me the chance. It was 17th January 1976 morning about 7.30am.
I was taking coaching attentively from my private tutor. My reading room was in the eastern most corner of my dad's wood bungalow with masterfully weaved grass tops,having a big window facing south. I was seating adjacent to the window keeping that left of me. It was full winter there. I was getting the view of sparkling dew drops, at the tip of grasses of the field in front of our bungalow, under warm morning sun. Some twenty minutes ago tea laborers finished their rally towards the working area of their tea garden 'Mathura Tea Estate'. Situated in the back drop of Bhutan hills of Himalayan range,passionately flanking the pristine 'Chilapata and Jaldapara' forests in the right. My dad being the head of field works lead the laborers. I heard from the oldies, that some times rouge Bison,after loosing the battle of 'alpha male' intrudes the garden for refuge. In those situations. the gigantic powerful beast runs with very high level of testosterone in his veins. Attacks violently to anything falls within his striking range, without slightest provocation. Nothing short of a Sherman tank driven by a mad merciless solider. Again that gives a rare chance to see this beautiful ferocious animal in a semi open natural habitat.