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

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"Sunity Devi"at her
prime.


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.
from
Nirupam Ghosh
Cooch Behar


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