The architect of modern Cooch Behar
|Maharaja Nripendra narayan|
(Grand Commander of Most Eminent Order)
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.