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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