Friday, August 14, 2009

Maharaja Pratapaditya Roy - Last Hindu King, Icon & Saviour of Bangabhumi

Pratapaditya fought against the Mughal imperial army during its inroad into Bengal in the early 16th century. His territories covered the greater part of what is now included in the greater Jessore, Khulna and Barisal districts. He established his capital at Dhumghat, a strategic position at the confluence of the Jamuna and Ichhamati. His father Shrihari (Shridhar), a Kayastha, was an influential officer in the service of Daud Khan Karnani. On the fall of Daud he fled away with the government treasure in his custody. He then set up a kingdom for himself in the marshy land to the extreme south of Khulna district (1574) and took the title of Maharaja. Pratapaditya succeeded to the kingship in 1574. The Baharistan and the travel diary of Abdul Latif and the contemporary European writers, all testify to the personal ability of Pratapaditya, his political pre-eminence, material resources and martial strength, particularly in war-boats. The ruins of his naval base can be still seen near the village. Among the Bengal zamindars Pratapaditya was the first to send his envoy to Islam Khan Chisti with a large gift to win the favour of the Mughals, and then tendered personal submission to the subahdar (1609). He promised military assistance and personal service in the Mughal campaign against Musa Khan, a pledge that he did not keep. To punish Pratapaditya for his disloyalty as a vassal and to subjugate his territory, a large expedition was launched under the command of Ghiyas Khan, which soon reached a place named Salka, near the confluence of the Jamuna and Ichhamati (1611). Pratapaditya equipped a strong army and a fleet and placed them under expert officers including Feringis, Afghans andPathans. His eldest son Udayaditya made a big fort at Salka with natural barriers on three sides rendering it almost impregnable. In battle the Jessore fleet gained an initial advantage. But the imperial army cut off the Jessore fleet, made a breach in its ranks and broke its unity and discipline. In the melee that followed, the Admiral Khwaja Kamal was killed. Udayaditya lost heart and hastily fled to his father, narrowly escaping capture. Jamal Khan evacuated the fort and followed Udayaditya.

Pratapaditya prepared himself to fight a second time from a new base near the confluence of Kagarghat canal and the Jamuna. He made a big fort at a strategic point and gathered all his available forces there. The Mughals began the battle by an attack on the Jessore fleet (Jan 1612) and compelled it to seek shelter beneath the fort. But their further advance was checked by the heavy cannonade of the Jessore artillery. A sudden attack of the Mughals completely defeated the Jessore fleet and they fell upon the fort with the elephants in front, thereby compelling Pratapaditya to evacuate the fort and retreat. The second defeat sealed the fate of Pratapaditya. At Kagarghat he tendered submission to Ghiyas Khan, who personally escorted Pratapaditya to Islam Khan at Dhaka. The Jessore king was put in chains and his kingdom was annexed. Pratapaditya was kept confined at Dhaka. No authentic information is available regarding his last days. Probably he died at Benares on his way toDelhi, as a prisoner.

After the defeat of the Afghan rulers of Bengal by the Mughals at the battle of Patna in 1576, some Bengali warlords or zamindars played a key role in resisting further Mughal advancement into Bengal for some time. Famous among them are the "Baaro Bhuiyan" (lit. twelve "bhuiyan" or landowners), partially independent zamindars, who fought for around 50 years resisting Mughal rule. Prominent of the "Baaro Bhuiyan"s who were Kayasthas included: Chand Ray, Kedar Ray, Mukunda Ray, Pratapaditya of Jessore, Kandarpanarayan (whose son Ramchandra married Bindumati, the daughter of Pratapaditya) of Chandradveep (modern Bakherganj) etc.

The Kayastha Aitch (Aich) trace their ancestry to the Aditya clan of the Kayasthas of modern day Bangladesh - the clan that Pratapaditya (and his son udayaditya) of the Baaro Bhuiyans belonged to. It is believed that the original name of Aditya, over time, changed to Aithya to Aith to Aitch (Aich) in the local dialect of East Bengal(now Bangladesh).

Pratapnagar is a village in southwest part of Bangladesh near Sundarban in Assasuni Thana, Satkhira,

Bangladesh, bordering West Bengal of India. The village is named after Pratapaditya, King of Jessore and one of the Bara-Bhuiyans of Bengal. The village is surrounded by big rivers and numerous canals. Pratapnagar Jame Mosque (1703) is dated back to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple

Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple is a famous Hindu temple in Bangladesh, dedicated to the goddess Kali. The temple is located in Ishwaripur, a village in Shyamnagar upazilla of Satkhira. The name "Jeshoreshwari" means "Goddess of Jessore".


Jeshoreshwari is regarded as one of the 51 Peeth of Sati; according to the belief, it is where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Jeshoreshwari represents the site where the palm of Sati fell. Legend says that the General of Raja Pratapaditya discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the bushes, and came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human palm. Later, Raja Pratapaditya started worshiping Kali, building the Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple. As to be the "Goddess ofJessore", it was named after Jessore.


It is believed to have created by a Brahman named Anari. He created a 100 door temple for the Jeshoreshwari Peeth. But the timeline is not to be known. Later it has been renovated by Laxman Sen and Raja Pratapaditya in their reigning periods.


A large rectangular covered platform called Natmondir has been erected adjacent to the main temple, from where the face of goddess can be seen. This was renovated by Laxman Sen in the late 13th century, but the builders are not known. After 1971, it crumbled. Now only the pillars can be seen.

Worship and Activities

The temple is visited by pilgrims from all over, irrespective of sectarian differences. Worship is done by the priest every Saturday and Tuesday at noontime. But before 1971, there was daily routine of worship. Every year on the day of Kali puja, the present Caretakers of the temple conduct a ceremony. There is also aMelataking place around the temple compound.


Shyamnagar Upazila (Satkhira District) is a small town and the largest thana of Bangladesh with an area of 1968.24 km². It has many beautiful places including some part of the Sundarban, the largest mangrove forest in the world. Shyamnagar Upazila is bounded by Kaliganj (Satkhira) and Assasuni upazilas on the north, Sundarbans and Bay of Bengal on the south, Koyra and Assasuni upazilas on the east, West Bengal of India on the west. The main rivers here are: Raymangal, Kalindi, Kobadak, Madar, Kholpetua, Arpangachia, Malancha, Hariabhanga and Chuna. South Talpatti

Island at the estuary of the Hariabhanga is notable places. Once the capital of Raja Bikramaditya and Raja Pratapaditya was at Dhumghat. Later it was transferred to Ishwaripur (Originated from the name Jeshoreshwaripur). Raja Pratapaditya declared independence of south bengal (Jashohar) against the Mughal Empire of India.

Jashoreshwari Kali Temple (built by Raja Pratapaditya), Chanda Bhairab Mandir at Ishwaripur (a triangular temple, built during the Sena period), Five domed Tenga Mosque at Banshipur (Mughal period), two big and four small domed Hammankhana (constructed by Raja Pratapaditya) at Bangshipur, Govinda Dev Temple at Gopalpur (built by Basanta Roy, uncle of Raja Pratapaditya in 1593), Jahajghata Port (Khanpur).

On 12 September 1971 the Pak army conducted genocide of Hindus at Harinagar in which 39 persons were killed and 2 wounded. Mass killing sites are Harinagar and Katkhali. Memorial monuments are found at Gopalpur and Harinagar.

Population: 265004; male 50.46%, female 49.54%; Muslim 74.14%, Hindu 25.40%, Christian 0.06%, Buddhist 0.01% and others 0.39%; ethnic nationals: Munda (Buno) families 300.

Religious institutions: Mosque 251, temple 98, church 1 and sacred place 2, most noted of which are Banshipur Sahi Mosque (Tenga Mosque), tomb of Nurullah Khan at Nurnagar, Joseshwari Mandir and Chanda Bhairab Mandir.

During British Raj

The territory of Greater 24 Parganas were under the Satgaon (ancient Saptagram, now in Hoogly district) administration during the Mughal era and later it was included in Hoogly chakla (district under post-Mughal Nawabi rule) during the rule of Murshid Quli Khan. In 1757, after the Battle of Plassey, Nawab Mir Jafarconfer the Zamindari of 24 parganas and janglimahals (small administrative units) to the British East India Company. These were Amirpur, Akbarpur, Balia, Birati, Azimabad, Basandhari, Baridhati, Bagjola, Kalikata, Garh, Hatiagarh, Islampur ,Dakshin Sagar, Kharijuri, Khaspur, Ikhtiarpur, Madhyamgram, Magura, Medanmalla, Maida, Manpur, Muragachha, Pechakuli, Paikan, Rajarhat ,Shahpur, Shahnagar, Satal and Uttar Pargana. Since then, this entire territory is known as Twenty Four Parganas.

In 1751, the Company assigned John Zephaniah Holwell as Zamindar of the District. In 1759, after the Bengali War of 1756-57, the Company assigned it to Lord Clive as a personal Jaghir (zamindari) and after his death it again came under the direct authority of the Company. In 1793, during the rule of Lord Cornwallis, entireSunderbans were in Twentyfour Parganas. In 1802, some parganas on the western banks of river Hoogly were included into it. These parganas were in Nadiaearlier. In 1814, a separate collectorate was established in Twentyfour Parganas. In 1817, Falta and Baranagar and in 1820, some potions of Nadia’s Balanda and Anwarpur were encompassed to it. In 1824, portions of Barasat, Khulna and Bakhargunge (now in Bangladesh) were also included to it. In 1824, the district Headquarter was shifted from Kolkata to Baruipur, but in 1828, it was removed to Alipore. In 1834, the district was spilt into two districts – Alipore and Barasat, but later these were united again. In 1905, some portion of this district around the Sunderbans was detached and linked toKhulna and Barishal. These parts remained in Pakistani (later Islamic Bangladesh) territories whereas Jessore’s Bongaon was joined to Twenty Four Pargana after the 1947 partition and independence of India.


Krishnanagar is the most important town of this district, as this is district headquarters of Nadia. Krishnanagar is on the bank of river Jalangi. Krishnanagar is named after Raja Krishna Chandra Rai (1728 – 1782). The Rajbari (Palace) built here during the reign of Zamindar (under British) Krishna Chandra Rai is a prominent place of tourist attraction though the remnants of the past glory have been eroded and only a dilapidated structure of the exquisite places with carving on its inner walls exists today. This place is shared by people from Hindu, Muslim & Christian religion. Apart from hindu temples there are also Christian & Muslim shrines. The Christian Missionaries attached much importance to Krishnanagar. The Protestant Church was built here during 1840s . The Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in 1898.

This is town is situated almost 100 KMs away from Kolkata and older than Kolkata. Famous for clay modelling, potteries, sweets. The origin of famous clay models of Krishnanagar is Ghurni. The clay model artists of Ghurni have won international repute and fame for their excellence in clay modelling.

Krishnanagar was the birth place of the noted Poet, Composer and Playwright Shri. Dwijendra Lal Roy (1863 – 1913) whose contribution to Bengali Literature needs no mention. The town is also known for famous poets/ authors like Bharatchandra, Dr. Sudhir Chakraborty, Dr. Khsudiram Das and actors like Saumitra Chattopadhyay.

Middle Ages

In the middle of 16th century, Portuguese pirates began to invade and plunder many of the waterways and prosperous human settlements in the lower delta region. People started to run off these places in fear of being murdered, raped or captured to be sold as slaves. The Basirhat sub-division of North 24 Parganas suffered these torments.

Pratapaditya, a Bhuian king (one of the 12 feudal lords of Bengal who declared their sovereignty from theMughal Empire) of Jessore, Khulna, Barisal and Greater 24 Parganas, fought and resisted the Portuguese in the early years of 17th Century. When he was defeated by the Mughals, Lakshmikanta Majumdar (Ganguly) of Barisha, a sub-ordinate of the king, won the favor of fortune. While establishing the famousKaliTempleatKalighat, Majumdar got some help of Raja Basanta Roy, Pratapaditya’s uncle who was later killed by his ever-suspicious nephew. Yet Majumdar played for Abdul Rahman Khan, the Mughal Subbadar (governor of Mughal provinces). Pratapaditya lost the battles of Salka and Magrahat and was captured by the Mughal. Majumdar was reworded the zamindari of Magura, Paikan, Anwarpur and Kalikata for his treason against his own sovereign from Jahangir in 1611. Later his grandson was bestowed the Zamindari of Khulna and Greater24 Parganas (partially) by Murshid Quli Khan, the Nawab of Bengal.

Ancient Bengal History

According to Ptolemy’s Treaties on Geography, written in the 2nd Century A.D., the ancient land of Gangaridi

or Ganga (Bengali Hindu) Rashtra/Nation was stretched between the rivers Bhagirathi-Hoogly (lower Ganga) and Padma-Meghna. The modern-day 24 Parganas was the southern and the south-eastern territory of that legendary kingdom. Archeological excavation at Berachampa village in Deganga proves that though the area was not directly attached to the rule of the Guptas, yet it could not shun their cultural influence. Hiueng Tsang (c. 629-685) visited 30 Buddhist Biharas and 100 Hindu Temples in India and some of these were in the Greater 24 Parganas region.

The district was not a part of Shashanka’s unified Bengali empire known as Gauda, but it is assumed that the district which was the south-west frontier territory of ancient Bengal, was comprised in under the rule ofDharmapala (estimated c. 770-810). The Pala rule was not quite strong in this part as no excavation uncover any of Buddhist Pala antiquities but a lots of Hindu Sena sculptures.


Chandraketugarh is located in the district of 24 Parganas, only 38 Km north-east of Calcutta (Kolkata) in West Bengal, India. It falls under the Police Station of Deganga and covers the localities such as Berachampa, Deulia (Debalaya), Singer Ati, Shanpukur, Hadipur, Jhikra, Ranakhola, Ghorapota, Dhanpota, Chuprijhara, Mathbari, and Ghaziatala. A seven mile long and one mile wide stretch south of Berachampa is archaeologically the most significant.

Port City

Chandraketugarh is located in the dynamic alluvial delta of the mighty Ganges, where the rivers continuously change their courses. In general, due to new land formation, the well-known ancient coastal towns are now found far inside the mainland. It is therefore difficult to obtain any hard facts regarding the geography of ancient Chandraketugarh. Although not adjacent to any major navigable sea-bound water channel at present, Chandraketugarh lies only ten kilometers north of the dying stream of Vidyadhari river. Vidyadhari once used to be a strong navigable river opening up to the Adi Ganga, the ancient course of the Ganges. Through this route, the Chandraketugarh site probably had easy access to the sea.


The Archaeological significance of the Chandraketugarh area came to the attention in the early years of the last century when road-building activities exposed a brick structre. A. H. Longhurst first visited the site in 1907 on the urging of Tarak Nath Ghosh, a local resident. Despite the recovery of a large volume of bricks and potteries, Longhurst, unfortunatley, reported that "the ruins were of little or no interest". Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay (of Mohen-Jo-Daro fame) visited the site in 1909 and collected some artifacts. K. N. Dikshit, Superintendent of theEastern Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), first published a report on the site in 1922-23. Kalidas Dutt, a well-known author of the archaeology of the lower Bengal, inspired Deva Prasad Ghosh, Kalyan Kumar Ganguly, and Kunja Govinda Goswami to take notice of this site. It was due to their persuation that the site was excavated by the Asutosh Museum of the Indian Art of the Calcutta University through 1955 to 1967. Their reports were published in the annual ASI Reviews. Finally, in 2000, there was a minor excavation at the site by ASI under Bimal Banerjee; however this effort has come to an abrupt stop (I do not know why).

There are two formidable difficulties facing the scholars studying Chandraketugarh. First, the relatively small scale of excavation at Chandraketugarh (by Asutosh Museum) is not sufficient for a comprehensive understanding of the society and culture of such an extensive site. Except for last year's short-lived excavation, we do not know if ASI, under whose custody the site is presently preserved, ever planned or executed any excavation since Asutosh Museum suspended theirs in 1967. Second, no detailed report on Chandraketugarh has ever been published by the scholars involved in the excavation of the site. All we have are the annual articles of the ASI Review, which, though they are indeed very useful, do not have the scope to present an assimilative view of several years of exploration. We probably will never have such a report written by one of the original excavators.


The history of Chandraketugarh dates back to almost the 3rd Century B.C., during the pre-Mauryan era. Artifacts suggest that the site was continuously inhabited and flourished through the Sunga-Kushana period, then the Gupta period and finally the Pala-Sena period. From all indications Chandraketugarh was an important urban center, and most probably a port city. It had a high encircled wall with a rampart and a moat. The people were engaged in various crafts and mercantile activities. Although the religious inclinations of the people are unclear, hints of the beginning of some future cults can be traced in the artifacts. Some of the potteries carry inscriptions in Kharoshthi and Brahmi scripts.

Due to the inconsistencies in the ASI Review reports and lack of crucial data it is extremely difficult to draw a comprehensive and reliable stratigraphical picture of the site. Enamul Haque has presented an occupational sequence by studying the ASI Review reports and allowing for marginal adjustments. Let me reproduce it:

Period I

Pre-Maurya, 600-300 B.C.

Period II

Maurya, 300-200 B.C.

Period III

Sunga, 200 B.C. - 50 A.D.

Period IV

Kushan, 50-300 A.D.

Period V

Gupta, 300-500 A.D.

Period VI

Post-Gupta, 500-750 A.D.

Period VII

Pala-Chandra-Sena, 750-1250 A.D.

Chandraketugarh excels in the beauty of its terracotta art. Even a cursory glance at one of its hundreds of terracotta plaques will astonish the viewer with its elegance and unusual precision of craftsmanship. For their artistic values these plaques are easily comparable to, if not surpassing, those found from relatively better known sites such as Kaushambi and Ahichhatra. In fact, terracotta plaques from these sites often carry similar motifs executed in nearly identical fashion. This points to an established communication link and common cultural heritage among these sites.

A large number of silver punch-marked coins and a few gold coins have been unearthed from Chandraketugarh. A gold coin of Chandragupta-Kumardevi deserves special mention. A large number of semi-precious stone beads, materials of ivory and bone were also unearthed from here. Even a few wooden objects of remarkable sculpting have survived.

Chandraketugarh or Khana-Mihirer Dhipi?

There is a fascinating place near Kolkata (West Bengal, India) where a bustling town from the days of Emperor Asoka is buried under the present day ricefields and village cottages. If you go there, you won't see much at first. But look down on the ground you're walking on, and you'll see something unusual. The ground appears strewn with a variety of potsherds. In fact, whenever the ground of Chandraketugarh is dug to build a house or to dig a pond, a variety of elegant and sophisticated artifacts is routinely unearthed.

All available information points to a mature civilization centered around a busy port, which started flourishing in this area more than 2000 years ago. Indeed, it is thought to belong to the kingdom of a "mighty ruler" of whom Alexander the Great was familiar. Plutarch wrote about a powerful tribe called "Gangaridae" living near a prosperous port "Gange" in the Gangetic delta. From geographical description the Chandraketugarh area can be linked to this port.

The inhabitants of Chandraketugarh achieved spectacular artistic refinement and created artifacts of exquisite beauty. Influence of foreign art raises intriguing questions. The numerous materials collected from this site point to a rich cultural and social life. Why did it vanish without a trace? We embark upon a journey to learn more, especially through the terracotta art of Chandraketugarh.

Buried under these mounds are the fortified ramparts of an ancient community -- the fort of King Chandraketu. The cyclist is unknowingly passing through what used to be one of its main entrances. The mound on the right is now called the "burz", and probably used to be a sentry tower. Archeologists have excavated numerous items dating back to the 3rd Century BC (the Pre-Mauryan Era in India) from the bottom of these ramparts and the surrounding area.

Unfortunately, we don't know a whole lot either. There is no written record of this civilization. More mysterious is the fact that it vanished leaving no social memory in the surrounding area other than some local mythologies. Yet, there is no doubt that the civilization reached a very high level of sophistication (not possible in a short span of time) evidenced by the enormous amount of artifacts it is still routinely generating.

Khana-Mihirer Dhipi (The Mound of Khana-Mihir)

There are the ruins of a massive temple structure. Locally called the Khana-Mihirer Dhipi or the mound of Khana-Mihir, it has survived for almost a millenium in the form of another deserted mound. An excavation in the 1950s uncovered the structure.

No one knows for sure how or when the names of Khana and Varahamihir came to be associated with it. Barahamihir was one of the nine jewels in the court the famous Indian emperor Vikramaditya (also known as Chandragupta-II). Khana was his daughter-in-law. The ruins are now conjectured to belong to a Vishnu temple from the Gupta period. Who built the temple? Did it simply decay because of neglect or was it destroyed? We don't know. However, the temple complex was likely inside the fortification that we see at Chandraketugarh. It is believed that Varahamihir was from this region and this astronomer may have his observatory at this mound.

Pushing Bengal's history back

In a fascinating discovery that may lead to a re-writing of the history of civilisation in West Bengal, a team of archaeologists stumbled upon traces of an ancient civilisation in the state dating back to the pre-historic period of nearly 10,000 years or so following discovery of stone tools, knives and needle-like “microliths” from a village in Murshidabad district.

“Only a small part has so far been excavated, leading to the unearthing of about 200 small stone tools, knives and needle-like microliths. Preliminary investigations reveal that pre- historic tools are believed to be scattered over 4-5 sq km area, at least two to three metres under the top soil,” Amal Roy, Superintendent of West Bengal Archaelogy Department, said.

Roy, who personally led the excavation team at Haatpara village in Sagardighi block of the district, stressed that the department would like to dig up stretches in close vicinity to look for additional pre-historic finds.

Claiming that the discovery has thrown a new light on the existence of an ancient civilisation in this part of eastern India, Roy said carbon-dating tests carried out on the recovered stone tools, agate, quartz, chert and chalcedony suggest that they were probably used by a community which was engaged in producing hunting tools for their livelihood in the pre-historic period.

He believed the, “recovery of so many stone sharpeners by the excavators indicate presence of stone tool manufacturing community in the region.” Interestingly, some fossilised fish fins and seeds found during excavation, are believed to be spread over a 1,000 sq metre area on cultivable land along Santhalpara under the same block.

“We carried out a carbon-dating tests of some fossilised fish fins and concluded that roasted fish formed a part of the primitive people’s diet, Roy said. “A thorough examination of the finds reveal they date beyond Holocene period (more than 10,000 years).” According to Roy, the state archaeology department has been pursuing some “leads” for nearly a couple of years. “In fact, when we first encountered the mounds of earth in the region, we knew the area is rich and could yield startling finds. The discovery only confirmed our guesswork,” he said with a smile. The first two to three metres of digging through the “yellowish top soil” started yielding the results.

The initial excavation( for about a fortnight or so ) yielded fine quality ceramics and decorated bricks of the Sultanate period, besides terracotta and bangles of the medieval period. Further digging (to a depth of 2-3 metres) led to the deposit of older alluvium soil of the Pleistocene period (about 1.8 million years-old).

“We’re sure we’ve hit a treasure trove as the stone tools were found underneath that soil,” Roy said. In the top 70 cm lay the tools that have been identified as belonging to nearly 10,000 years before the present era. The deposit pattern in the area, Roy said, is also indicative of the hitherto unknown information of primitive life in this part of the country.

The state archeology directorate had earlier excavated a few such stone implements at Birhanpur in Murshidabad district in 1954 and 1957 which were found to be not more than 8,000 years old. Eminent archaeologist B B Lal of the Archaeological Survey of India helped the state archaeologists in the excavation at Birhanpur.

Dreams to dust and then vault of history - Large mound of relics found in Murshidabad

An archaeological mission that had nearly ended in disappointment when the excavated remains turned out to be “a new construction with old bricks” has sprung back to life with the discovery of a second layer of ruins, possibly the largest in Bengal.

“The first layer was a red herring. This is the real thing, maybe dating back to the sixth century and older than what we had hoped to find when we began the mission,” Gautam Sengupta, the state director of archaeology and museums, said of the find.

If validated by historians, the Murshidabad ruins will be a valuable addition to other archaeological remnants in Bengal from the pre-Pala era. “We hadn’t found a mound of remains so large in Bengal before. So, we presume the pre-Pala settlement beneath will be really large and remarkable,” Sengupta said.

The Pala dynasty had controlled mainly what is now Bihar and Bengal from the eighth to the 12th century.

The site of the excavation is a schoolteacher’s plot in Deka-Bichkandi village, under Kandi subdivision of the district. The archaeology department had last month announced the excavation of the remains of a pre-eighth century structure, thought to be a stupa, but soon revised their opinion.

“We were stumped when the wall we were excavating ended and we couldn’t find any adjoining structures,” said Amal Roy, the superintendent of the archaeology team camping at Deka-Bichkandi.

But as the team continued digging in the hope of finding the missing link, a second layer of bricks emerged along with stucco figures that suggested they were onto something more interesting than they had hoped for. “We realised that the real structure was below 2.5 metres and lower. That is from where bricks and stucco had been torn, levelled and reused for the later-day structure above,” Roy said.

Based on the available evidence, archaeologists are convinced that what lies beneath the top layer is a pre-Pala settlement with a row of houses.

Roy said he was “pretty sure” about the find this time. “The oversized tiled bricks (measuring 39x27x7 inches) suggest that this was a very special structure.”

The list of excavated items include several terracotta lamps, fragments of copper and iron, terracotta beads, balls and bowls and decorative pieces on stucco.

“Almost 90 per cent of the terracotta items are red ware. The main finds are a lump of terracotta bearing a seal impression and a face carving. The seal is unfortunately only partially visible and the writing is almost illegible, but the stucco head — half a face with one eye and a nose — is a revealing piece,” Sengupta said.

According to the team in Deka, residents who had used a part of the field as a football and cricket ground before the excavations began might have unwittingly destroyed several artefacts.

The nearest historical sites are Karna Suvarna in Chiruti village, where there are three mounds and the remains of a monastery, and Panchstupi. All these sites are under the Archaeological Survey of India.

“There is no denying that we have chanced upon another important discovery. Although more conclusive evidence is required to establish the chronology, we do not rule out a pre-Pala date for the site. There is evidence of extensive structural activity and the size of the bricks, the use of stucco and plaster indicate an early date,” Sengupta said.

2200-yr-old life in Bengal

Two of the greatest finds recently from the site at Dhosa and Tilpi in Joynagar, around 50 km away, are a seal and a brick with Brahmi inscriptions.

Gautam Sengupta, Bengal’s director of archaeology and museums, said it is “too early” to say anything specific “but that such items have survived the salinity of the Sunderbans region is amazing”.

The finds throw open an array of speculation. “It is obvious that in the 1st and 2nd century BC a highly evolved culture existed here. We have found pieces of glazed pottery that indicate they had a firing technique even we find hard to emulate,” Sengupta said.

Dhosa and Tilpi are the latest additions in the archeological map of West Bengal. Excavation started there in January 2006 and yielded treasures far beyond the expectations of archeologists and historians. Although excavation has temporarily stopped because of the monsoon, it is all set to start in December 2006 and historians are looking forward for more treasures to be unearthed.

The famous Chinese traveler Fa Hien reported of a highly evolved Buddhist civilization that flourished in the Gangetic Bengal. The concentric square structure unearthed at Dhosa seemed to be the remains of a Bhuddist Stupa, one of the 22 reported by Fa Hien. It probably belongs to the Gupta period, dating back to the 2nd and 1st century BC. The findings at Dhosa are probably the first concrete evidence of popularity of Buddhism in lower Bengal. Archeologists also opine that the visible structure unearthed at Dhosa was built on another pre-existing structure.

On the other hand Tilpi, the twin site of Dhosa, has yielded almost no archeological structure but the entire region is strewn with copper ore, iron slag, punched-marked and cast copper coin, fragments of pottery (including glazed pottery). Historians are of the opinion that the findings at Tipli are the remains of an ancient furnace, where ancient smiths smelted metals like silver and iron along with alloys like bronze and finally casted them into coins. Archeological evidence indicates that both smelting and casting were carried out at Tilpi simultaneously, probably the only place in Gangetic Bengal to do so.

Altogether 8 hearths measuring about 50cm by 80cm cross-section and 80cm high have been unearthed. Also small crucibles used for melting metals were found. A large clay jar, fixed to the ground, probably used for storing water was found near the hearths. Apart from the structure unearthed at Dhosa a number of interesting artifacts have been found from these sites. They range from parts of statues to copper coins and from decorated seals to pieces of glazed pottery. A shortlist is provided below:

· Buddha head and a male torso, with typical features of early Gupta period.

· Two terracotta plaques dating back to the early Sunga & Kushan Period. One plaque is particularly beautiful and interesting. It shows a plate of grain on a raised platform. On one side of this platform is a seated figure playing a harp and on the other are dancing women and a few monkeys. The fact that the figure’s feet rest on a stool suggests he was a royalty. Probably the plaque narrates the image of early harvesting festival, but historians are still not quiet sure.

· A seal and a brick with Brahmi inscription. This shows that it was a literate society.

· Copper ore, iron slag, punched-marked and cast copper coin, etc. have been found; this suggests that the society knew the use of currency. Also evidences show that Dhosa and Tilpi, like Chandraketugarh, were advanced urban centers of lower Bengal.

Bangabhumi in light of 1947 A.D, Partition & Independence of Bengal (as part of India & Islamic Bangladesh)

In the above scenario this core region of Bengal from Gaur/Pandua (Pundravardhan) i.e, Maldah/Murshidabad and River Padma in north to Sundarbans & Bay of Bengal in south and Bhagirathi (River Ganga) with Kolkata on its bank in west to River Meghna in east, this ancient land got divided and Hindus were majority till 1947 (when Bangladeshi Jessore-Khulna Division or the eastern part was also 52% Hindu majority but wrongly given to Muslims). After 1971 freedom of Islamic Bangladesh from Colonial Pakistan with Indian help instead of friendship, traitor Bangladeshis started sending millions of Muslims from their lands to occupy West Bengal and entire east India in view of gaining land and Islamizing this region. Besides through systematic torture and genocides the Hindus in the eastern Bangladeshi part got reduced to only 16% (total only 9% in entire Bangladesh) of this area!

Hindu Republic of Bangabhumi

Hindu Republic of Bangabhumi was proclaimed in 2003 in Kolkata with the formation of the provisional government and the Supreme Council and the threat of armed struggle inside Bangladesh to achieve its goal of the homeland for Hindu minority there. The total area of proposed Bangabhumi comes to 20,000 sq. m which is more than 15% of the total area of Bangladesh. The border of (this) Bangabumi (literary meaning land of Hindu Bengalis) runs in the north along river Padma, in the east along river Meghna, in the west along India-Bangladesh border and in the south along the Bay of Bengal.

Bangabhumi also known as Bir Bango (Brave Bengal) is a proposed Hindu republic in southwestern Bangladeshenvisioned by many separatist groups, such as the Swadhin Bangabhumi Andolan and the Banga Sena. The movement was founded in 1973 in India soon after Bangladeshi independence to support the Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, who were targeted by the Pakistani army in the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. However, this movement did not receive much support at that time. In an interview with BBC in 2001, Chittaranjan Sutar, one of the alleged organisers of the movement, denied any existence of the movement at that time. The movement openly became active again on 2003 when it declared the independence of Hindu Republic of Bangabhumi.

Ideological arguments

Hindus made up 30% of the total population of East Bengal in 1947. However, after the partition, the Hindu population went down to 19% in 1961. On 1998, it was down to 16% and on 2002 it was 9%.Therefore, starting from 1998, within four years, the Hindu population decreased 6%. On the other hand, the minority population in the neighbouring West Bengal has increased from 9% in 1947 (after some Muslims left) to thriving 35% in 2001. In addition, a new amendment in the citizenship law of India has passed, restricting Bangladeshis and Pakistanis to become Indian citizens. Therefore, the Hindu refugees, who entered India after the creation of Pakistan (including 1971), have become illegal in India.

Ziaur Rahman amended the Enemy (Vested) Property Act giving the government the sole power to control the disputed lands of the minorities. As a result of the amendments, the government started to capture the lands of the minorities by the name of hunting down the enemy properties.

People like Dr. Humayun Azad and Taslima Nasrin talked about the rights of Hindus in Bangladesh.


Even though no violence has so far been reported committed by these groups, Bangladeshi government is concerned by this movement and accuses India of funding separatist groups. Bangladesh also wants to halt the activities of at least five groups, Banga Sena led by Kalidas Baidya, Bir Banga Hindu Prajatantra (Hindu Republic of Strong Bengal) led by Shakti Sen, Bangladesh Udbastu Unnayan Parishad led by Bimal Majumder, Bangladesh Udbastu Mancha led by Upen Biswas and Bir Banga Sena founded by Chitaranjan Sutar.Bangladesh accuse that these groups are causing communal tension in South-western Bangladesh. On the other hand, these groups claim that they are fighting for a separate sovereign country for the Hindus of Bangladesh.

Police up against new "Hindu Army" in Assam,000900030004.htm

Police in lower Assam's Karimganj district are up against a new militant organisation that goes by the name of Hindu Army (HA).

According to sources, the outfit was recently floated to protect the rights of the Bengali Hindus in the North-east. The organisation, however, is based in Manipur, say police sources.

According to Karimganj superintendent of police Sanjib Shekhar Roy, the police recently nabbed one KrishnaDey, an HA cadre, from Ambari in the district. A firearm was also recovered from the insurgent, he said. Police sources further said that Dey had come to Karimganj, his native place, from Manipur to carry out subversive activities.

Dey's interrogation has revealed that the HA had a cadre strength of about 140 people who had undergone training in jungle warfare in Manipur with the help of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN). He, however, refused to divulge the name of the faction of the NSCN that was supporting the Hindu Army.

An armed unit of the HA under the leadership of a self-styled commanding officer had set up a camp at Jirighatin Cachar bordering Manipur and also established a network in several lower Assam districts, Dey is reported to have said.

The flag of the proposed Bangabhumi state comprises of one third green color and two third of saffron color. In the middle of the saffron part is a white disc symbolizing the sun. I guess the similarity to the Bangladeshi flag is intentional. Although the meaning is not explained, one can assume the green part would represent the Muslim minority in otherwise Hindu state, something like the Pakistani flag does with
their minorities. The National Emblem is depicted by the green circle in another, saffron colored circle with word "Shri" (symbol of beauty and prosperity) written in the saffron circle. The National Anthem is a song of poet Dijendra Lal Roy: "Dhana Dhanye Pushpe Bhara, Arnader Ei Basundhara" ("This land of ours filled with crops and flowers").


Due to decrease of Hindu population in this south central Bengal area and northern Bangladeshi Dinajpur-Rangpur region (also 50.50% Hindu majority in 1947 and fraudulently given to Islamic Bangladesh) in recent times having atleast 20% Hindus (highest in Bangladesh) some proposed Dinajpur-Rangpur as new site for Bangabhumi (as a state of India) which would also give rest of Hindu majority India a wide strategic corridor to its northeastern states including Assam ending dependency on Jihadi Bangladesh! However, due to lack of proper planning by Indian Government most of these ideas are mere plans without concrete ground work and the way even Indian Bengal is getting Islamized due to Muslim Bangladeshi invasion it appears that this West Bengal (99.5% of Bengali Hindus opted for a partition of Bengal as per then most popular Amrita Bazar Patrika poll to create a 'homeland' for themselves, irrespective of whether India got partitioned or not. In the undivided Bengal Legislative Assembly too, the lawmakers from the Hindu majority areas returned a 58-21 verdict in the favour of partition with only Muslim legislators voting negative. Thus the 'Bengali Hindu Homeland' of West Bengal was conceived on 20th June, 1947.) state of India should be saved by having equal rights for Hindus and Indian Muslims (as elsewhere in India) but with ouster of all crores of illegal Bangladeshi Muslim invaders and finally, renamed Bangabhumi as the natural successor to BENGAL.


* Jeshore Khulnar Itihash by Satish Chandra Mitra.

No comments:

Post a Comment