Agony of Tripura
Just like the shade under a lamp, Tripura is suffering badly from some socio-economic agonies caused by the vested interested political dragons. Now the position has come to an extreme point, which should be solved with immediate effect.
Before going deep into the
subject, it will be better to see the historical background of the state
and notice its potentials. Geographical aspects of the land would help
us determine how far the political propaganda is responsible for the distress
of the golden soil of Tripura and its people.
The area of Tripura is 10,491.69 sq. km., the population (as per 2001 census) is 31,91,168. Density of population per sq. km is 304.
The geographical location of the land is between 220 56/ and 240 32/ degrees north latitude and 900 09/ and 92010/ degrees east longitude. About 84% of the perimeter of the state ( i.e. 839 km) has an international border with BANGLADESH. In the rest 16% of the boundary (53 km with Karimganj district of Assam and 109 km with Mizoram) Tripura gets the affection of India.
There are five parallel hill-ranges namely Baramura-Devatamura, Atharamura, Longtarai, Sakhantang and Jampui. They are not too high. The highest peak in the state in the Jampui hills is Betlinga Shiva (939m) . Rivers like Gomoti, Manu, Khowai, Dhalai, Howrah, Juri, Deo, Muhuri, Feni, Vijay are fertilizing their basins. Though Tripura enjoys the humid tropical monsoon climate, yet it's moderate temperature reads as follows :
Summer : 220C - 330C
Winter : 900C - 260C
Average yearly rainfall of the state is about 210 cm. Stony surface is rare in the state. Most of the land of the state is made of soil. Loamy and sandy alluvial soil cover the river valleys and plains. Tillas and hills are covered with fertile laterite soils. Thus the state is green and productive.
60% land of the state is under forests. Thatch, cane, bamboo and trees like- shaal, teak, garjan, gamai, champa, karai, sirish are the remarkable natural vegetation of the land. Tea, cushew, orange, sugarcane, rubber ( Tripura is 4th in rubber production in India), coffee, jute are notable among the cash crops. True potato seed (TPS) of Tripura is famous in the world. Paddy is the principle food of the state. Wheat is also grown in winter. Various vegetables are grown in abundance in the state. The natural lakes, semi-artificial lakes, dighis, ponds, rivers, streams (locally called charahas) are the sources of irrigation and they are alive with fishes. Cattle like cows, buffalos and goats help the farming, supplying manure, milk and flash.
Tripura is rich in wild-life too. Speckled monkey is a very rare animal which is found only in this state. Besides this bison, monkey, elephant, deer, bear, tiger, jackal, wild-dog, leogard are the fauna of the land. There are four wildlife sanctuaries in Tripura, such as Sepahijala, Gomati, Trishna and Roua.
Land under utilization
Total geographical area :10,49,169 hectors.
Net area under agriculture ( as per 2001-02 data) : 2,80,000 Hectors.
Agri-area with irrigation facility : 59,586 Hectors.Jhum ( shifting cultivation) in forests :20,000 Hectors
(approx. Per year)
Families under Jhum Cultivation : 30,000 Nos.
Land distribution on relief
High hill area : 4,00,000 Hectors.
Low hill (Tilla) area : 2,30,000 Hectors
River valley or Longa area : 2,14,900 Hectors
Plain land area : 2,04,269 Hectares
Total area : 10,49,169 Hectors
#Natural gas is the only mineral wealth of the state. Now it yields electricity for industrial and domestic uses.
#These are the brief accounts of geographical aspects of Tripura. This reveals the potential of the land, proper utilization of these resources will certainly make Tripura, a happy and prosperous state. Yet the people of the state are suffering from housing problems, lack of security in daily life, unemployment and low purchasing capacity.
CHAKLA - ROSANABAD : The present size of Tripura was not always like this. From the last period of the Mughal rule till the time of Indian independence (15th August, 1947) it was a vast land of plains and hills. The eastern hilly part i.e. the present position was called Hilly Tripura. The western plain part up to the Bank of Meghna river, was called the Chakle-Roshanabad or plain Tripura.
The last king of Tripura- Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Bahadur, as luck would have it, suddenly died a premature death at the age of 39 on the 17th May,1947. His son Yuvaraj Kirit Bikram was at that time a minor boy. In this period of vacuum in the royal palace, Chakle Roshnabad the part and parcel of Tripura was snatched away by Pakistani Forces to be added to East Pakistan (which is now Bangladesh). The subjects of Chakle- Roshnabad were predominantly (97%) Bengalees and mostly Hindus. They became victims of tortures and religious persecution .Such misfortune also came down on the Buddhists (chakma, Magh etc) of hilly Chattogram district. Being non-muslim, the district should have remained with India than ceded to Pakistan.
Chakle-Roshanabad having an area of 600 sq. miles, was the only source of money for hilly Tripura. In those days hilly Tripura was full of forests and was not productive. The revenue collected from Chakle-Roshanabad was the only source of income for the royal family. During the reign of the last king Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Bahadur, the revenue income from Chakle-Roshnabad was about 13 Lakhs. And this money helped the king modernize his capital Agartala.
UNAKOTI AND PILAK : Before 300 years or before the North Tripura District was ruled by the agents of Mughal emperor under the Syllet Governor called Kankoi or KARKON. and did not belong to Tripura. Fatikrey, an old famous market of the district was named after one of those karkans, Fatic Roy. The stone carvings and figures of UNAKOTI hill of Kailasahar evokes historical and tourist interest. Historian Dr. Nihar Ranjan Roy, in his book of ‘Bangalir Itihas’ wrote that Unakoti was the Shiva-Piligrimage of Pal Dynasty (770-810 AD).
Similarly, Pilak lying at southern part of the state also has archeological value. There are some stone images of Vishnu, Laxmi, Durga and other Deities. Historians say that these stone image were sculpted in the 8th century.
IN THE PAW OF BENGAL : In 1874, 12 police station areas of
Sylhet were cut from Bengal and was joined to Assam as a new District
named Cachar. Now this Cachar is divided into
3 districts such as - Shilchar (Cahar), Hylakandi
and Karimganj. This means that besides the 109 kms boundary
with Mizoram, (present) Tripura has its 90% boundary perimeter with Bangladesh
and Karimganj i.e. bengalee inhabitant areas. So, Tripura is the eastern
remote area of greater Bengal. In old days, it was named as SRI
RULE OF KING OF MANIKYA DYNASTY IN TRIPURA : About 550 years ago, this hilly Tripura was ruled by the hindu bengalee king of Bengal. After being driven by famine from Burma ( Mayanmar), some tribals under the leadership of Mouchang-Fa entered into this SRI BHUMI. A battle was fought against the intruders. Later the bengalee king allowed the homeless refugee tribal people to reside in the southern part of the land. There gradually developed a friendship between the bengalees and the tribals. And later, the descendants of Mouchang-Fa established the Manikya Dynasty in Tripura.
The discovery of a coin of 1464 AD of the reign of king Ratnya Manikya proves that in the second half of 15th century Ratna Manikya ruled Tripura. He is the oldest historical king of Manikya Dynasty. The tales of about 140 kings before Ratnya Manikya are imaginary and have no historical value.
ROLE OF BENGALEE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE : Being a part of greater Bengal, the tales of the kings of Tripura which is named as Rajmala - was written in Bangla. The official language of the state was Bangla. Because since time immemorial, Bangla was the medium of expression of the common people of the kingdom and the same language was the only means of link between the different dialect-speakers.
One of the signs of bengalee culture is to build Kali Temples in bengalee inhabited areas. 500 years ago, in 1501, king Dhanya Manikya built the temple of Tripureswari at Matabari, Udaipur. It is said to be a part of 51 holy piths. Chandi Mandap at Amarpur, Kali Mandir at Kashba are also very ancient. There are at least one Kali Mandir at every remarkable inhabitant of Tripura.
THE CAPITALS OF TRIPURA : It was said earlier that the leader Mauchang-Fa and his followers had entered into Tripura from Burma (Mayanmar) and were allowed to reside in the southern part of the state. There is a ruined sign of palace at Rajnagar, Belonia, South Tripura. Perhaps it was their first capital. Later on , the kings had chosen a suitable place at Rangamati which is now known as Udaipur. To be saved from the attacks of Arakans, Amar Manikya ( 1577-86) took his capital to Amarpur which is 27 km east of Udaipur. Besides it, Udaipur (now the district HQ of South Tripura) was the capital of Tripura since 1500 AD to 1760 AD. Thus the place has a very great historical value . it is famous for Tripureswari Temple (1501), Jagannath Temple (1661), Shiva Temple (1651), Krishna Temple (1668) etc. More over, the plot taken from the reign of Govinda Manikya (1660-76) , Ravindra Nath Tagore wrote his famous novel RAJARSHI and play BISARJAN . These added some extra brightness to Bhubaneshwari Temple.
In 1761, king Krishna Manikya transfered his capital to old Agartala (Khayerpur). Finally, king Radhakishore Manikya built a beautiful palace at Agartala in 1901 in 1 sq km land with twin Dighis, gardens and water flowers spending 10 lakh rupees. It is needless to say that the money was realized from the subjects of Chakle-Roshanabad.
RABINDRANATH TAGORE AND TRIPURA : The royal family of Tripura had a very high regard for art, culture and literary activity. King Birchandra Manikya (1862-96) was charmed by the verse "Bhagna Hriday" composed by young Rabindra Nath Tagore. Tripura gave the first royal facilitation to the poet before the country and the world could know him. The last king of Tripura, Bir Bikram Manikya Bahadur (1923-47) offered "Bharat-Bhaskar" title to Tagore in 1941.
At the request of Rabindra Nath Tagore king Radhakishore Manikya (1896-1909) helped Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose in building the Basu Vijnaan Mandir. King Birebdra Kishore Manikya (1909-23) gave a cheque of Rs. 5,000/- to Rabindra Nath Tagore to build an hospital at Shantiniketan.
Several times, Rabindranath came to Tripura. He gave the names of Ujjayanta Prasad, Malancha Nivas and Nirmahal etc., several remarkable buildings.
TRIPURA JOINED IN INDIA IN 1949 : Through the Tripura was called an independent kingdom, really it was not independent. During last part of Mughal Empire, the kings of Tripura (hill Tripura) had to pay elephant tax i.e. supplying a good number of elephants per year to the emperor of Delhi. On the other hand, the plain part of Tripura i.e. Chakle-Roshanabad had gone under the control of Nawab of Bengal during regin of king Dharma Manikya (1713-29). The king became a Zamindar paying Rs. 50,000/- as revenue to the Nawab. During the British rule everything of Tripura (plain & hill) was under the control of the British. Thus the state was a part of India govt. On 17th May 1947, the last king of Tripura Bir Bikram Manikya had passed away. Seeing the political situation of Indian sub-continent, the king in his life time, decided that Tripura would join India. But Pakistani forces snatched Chakle-Rosanabad the food plate of Tripura at the time of partition. Hill Tripura had no means of income to run the state. And thus the kingdom of hilly (i.e. present) Tripura officially joined India on 15th October 1949.
SITUATION IN TRIPURA ON OR BEFORE 15TH OCT,1949 : There was only 107 km muddy road from Sunamura to Simna via the capital Agartala. The king or the royal officers would go to sub-divisional HQs through ASSAM BENGAL RAILWAY of british/ India, and then either by boat in the river or on the back of elephants or "on foot" to the destination. Except Amarpur and Udaipur, all other sub-division towns viz-Dharmanagar, Kailasahar, Kamalpur, Khowai, Agartala, Sonamura, Belonia and Sabroom were grown up at the boundary of present Bangladesh keeping in mind the nearness of the said railways. And the rest hilly tripura was covered with deep forests. It may mentioned here that three people were killed by the attack of wild elephant at Collegetilla, Agartala in 1952. This shows how remote the hilly Tripura area was.
1951 : Under the inspiration of the communist party, some tribal
youths became armed and started killing-kidnapping the innocent bengalees.
This was done to unite tribal peoples on anti-bengali sentiment……and finally
to established a bengaleeless communist area. This is known in the history
of Tripura as BANGAL KHEDAO ANDULAN (Bengalee driving away
movement). This whimsical, unlawful and unreasonable movement came to
an end on 1951.The militants became gentlemen under the shelter of Tripura
Upajati Ganamukti Parishad.
1952 TO 1977 (25 years) : At the end of first five year plan (1952-57), Tripura enjoyed the 198 km Assam-Agartala Road and 133 Km Agartala Sabroom Road. The Sub-Division towns were linked with these two roads. 17 block offices were started. Mini new markets/ towns grew up. Agartala Town bus service was started in 1963. NF Railway was extended to Dharmanagar in 1964. Agartala water supply plant was commissioned in 1966. The state hospital named after Govinda Bhallab Panth was established in 1961. All India Radio, Agartala was started in 1967. Tripura Public Service Commission (TPSC) was formed in 1972 and in the same year ONGC started drilling for natural gas. Tripura Road Transport Corporation (TRTC) formed in 1974 and in 1976 Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) started its work. Thus a socio-economical synthesis accelerated the progress of the state in education, culture and living standard resulted in peace and prosperity.
POLITICAL UPGRADATION : On 15th Oct.1949, when Tripura merged with India. It was treated as a C category state in the Indian Constitution till 1950. The 1st general election was held in the state in 1952 and an electoral college of 30 members was formed. In 1956, the state was treated as an union territory. Tripura Legislative Assembly was formed in 1963 and in 1972 Tripura became a full-fledged state with 60 seats in the assembly. There was one district and 10 sub-divisions in the state. Later three districts were formed.
1978 TO 2003 (25 years) : During the internal emergency of 22 months (1975-77) the people of Tripura had a very bad experience. A tremendous anti-congress sentiment swept the state which aided the communists to power and with only 4 seats going to the Tripura Upajati Yuba Samiti (TUJS) in the elections. The Congress got none.
Here it should be mentioned that to capture the Tribal vote, Congress party under the leadership of the then chief Minister Sachindralal Sinha inspired the educated tribal youth of Tripura to form a new political party titled TUJS in 1967. Later the party remained as a counter to another tribal group called Upajati Ganamukti Parisad which was guided by the communists. In the 1978 election, TUJS also entered the Tripura Legislative Assembly for the first time.
TUJS would not go against the Tribal interest. CPI(M) utilized the scope. Left front leaders and ministers started propaganda against the bengalees telling false stories of exploiting the tribals. They did so to strengthen the tribal sentiment on anti-bengali issue to materialize the communist plan of 1949-51. They gave stress to land restoration act 187 and passed the Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous District Council (TTAADC popularly known as ADC) Bill in 1979.
Having a congenial atmosphere,. TUJS leader Mr. Bijoy Kr. Hrankhal went underground and formed a militant group titled Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) in 1978. TNV started killing innocent bengalees. On the 16th Feb,1980, TNV leader B.K. Hrankhal met the then left front chief minister Nripen Chakraborty in the Civil Secretariat, Agartala. Following which in the 1st week of June (1980) TUJS called a market strike. In this period, 6th to 9th June there was a historical mass killing of bengalees by TNV and TUGMP (Tripura Upajati Gana Mukti Parisada).
TTAADC was formed in 1982 according to the 5th and 7th schedule of Indian constitution. Tripura is a mixed area of Bengalees and Tribals. There was no compact area of tribals in Tripura. Bengalees are the son of the soil as Tripura lies in the paw of Bengal. There are 19 clans of tribals in Tripura. Some came 500 years ago from Burma (Mayanmar), some others came from nearest provinces for livelihood. Such as …. Lusai from Mizoraam, Kashia from Meghalaya, Lepcha from Sikkim, Bhutia from Bhutan. Chakma, Mag etc. came from the hill tracts of Chittagong and the Garos came from the hill tract of Maimansingh. Santhal, Munda, Orang, Bhil etc came from Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Bihar, Orissa, to work in the tea gardens, brick fields and road & bridge constructions. Their history is only 100 to 150 years old.
It is told earlier that
there no compact tribal area in Tripura. So the 6th schedule
of Indian Constitution is only applicable in Assam, not in Tripura. But,
the political leaders of left and even the right, thought of their tribal
vote bank only and did not think of the future of the bengalees in particular
and Tripura as a whole. They amended the Indian constitution and implemented
the 6th schedule in the ADC of Tripura in 1985. Unreasonably
out of vested political interest.
TTAADC (TRIPURA TRIBAL AREA AUTONOMUS DISTRICT COUNCIL) IN BRIEF
SOME OTHER POINTS OF VESTED POLITICAL INTERESTS :
1. Chakma refugees (53,155) of Chittagong Hill tracts were added to the tribal population of Tripura in 1991 census. And it increased the facilities of Tribals by 2%. The Chakma refugees all returned to their homeland after a treaty with the Bangladesh Govt. in Nov 2nd , 1997. But the said 2% more facilities still exists.
2. The desi Tripura Laskar Community had been struck off from the list of tribals (ST) in Tripura by an order of the honorable Supreme court in 1985. They constitute about 6% of the total population of Tripura.
Watch the Following Census Reports :
Census 1981 : Sch. Tribes of Tripura - 28.44 %
Census 1991 : Sch. Tribes of Tripura - 30.95 %
Where does the Percentage of Laskar Lie ? Who will answer ?
3. It is said that after 1971 Bangladesh war many bengalees have entered into Tripura. If so, the percentage of Sch. Tribes of Tripura should decrease with a great difference to consequent census reports. But the census report says
Census 1971 : Sch. Tribes of Tripura - 28.90 %
Census 1981 : Sch. Tribes of Tripura - 28.44 %
Both the Percentages are almost the same . these does not prove the propaganda that Bengalee intruders after 1971 from Bangladesh have rushed into Tripura which decreased the percentage of the tribal people remarkably.
Upto the above paragraph, the geographical aspects along with the historical background of the state Tripura …… and the present situation with problems are described in a nut-shell.
Now it requires to set some
points for the way-out of the said problems :--