The cosmopolitan Cossimbazar

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Before I go on to the discussion regarding the Dutch and English cemeteries of Cossimbazar I would like to start with an introduction of the place Cossimbazar itself. The best literature on this is in the book  ‘Murshidabad’ by L.S.S O’Malley of Indian Civil Service. I will not rephrase his account but simply put all that he had written of Cossimbazar. My opinions and comments will creep in, marked in red.

Even before the city had been given its name, Cossimbazar was a great emporium attracting the trade of lower Bengal, and the Europeans Nations who traded to India had established factories in it. It even gave its name to the surrounding country, for the triangular tract enclosed by the Padma, Bhagirathi and Jalangi was known as the Cossimbazar Island, while the common name for the Bhagirathi in its records, down to the nineteenth century, was the Cossimbazar River. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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The barracks of Berhampore

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The idea of constructing a cantonment in Berhampore emerged after the battle of Plassey, when the English found it necessary to erect a defensive structure in Murshidabad, ‘capable of resisting any force the country Government could bring against it.’ This is how Captain Brohier divulged the plan of a fort at Berhampore to Mr. Drake. The old fort at Cossimbazar had been pulled down during the reign of Siraj-ud-Dowla and the cost of repairing the forts and the factories inside it would be more than constructing a complete ‘pentagon from the foundation on an open plain’. [i] With this in mind a grant of 400 bighas was obtained from the Nawab Mir Jafar in the form of sanad. However the proposition to build a cantonment in Berhampore was not well received by the Court of Directors of East India Company sitting in London, they replied rather uncaringly, ‘we cannot avoid remarking that you seem so thoroughly possessed with military ideas as to forget your employers are merchants, and trade their principal object, and were we to adopt your several plans of fortifying, half of our capital would be buried in stone walls.’ The Court clearly was not quite happy with the huge expense of construction besides Berhampore being too far from Calcutta. However after the war with Mir Qasim the company finally understood the necessity of building a fort near Murshidabad to keep the future Nawabs in check. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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Old tales of Murshidabad

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Purna Chandra Mazumdar was the Abul Fazl of Murshidabad, his priceless work, “The Musnad of Murshidabad” is a must read for anyone who wants to know about the old city of Murshidabad. Born in 1856, Purna Chandra Mazumdar grew up to be a brilliant scholar. He passed his law examination with credit, but refused the British Government’s offer for a magisterial post, preferring to practice law in his home town. Dedicated to public service he was held in high regard. Of a literary bent, he wrote, “The Musnud of Murshidabad”. In addition to this he became the legal advisor and the private secretary of the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad. He died in January 1912. [i] read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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Charbangla temple Murshidabad

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The temples of West Bengal like temples anywhere in India is a wonderful visual sight. Over centuries of innovation, craftsmanship, socio-political changes has given the Bengal temple architecture a rare distinctness. Generally temples in India are known for their exquisite design on rock or stone, grandeur, elegance, plan all of which combined together offer an amazing spiritual ambience. Of course in a vast country like India, temples differ in architecture, ornamentation, and choice of material yet, it retains some of the basic features which have been preserved for centuries and which are fundamental elements of a Hindu temple. Bengal in particular has responded to the changes in socio-political arena and these changes are quite noticeable in the temple architecture in this part of the World. The char-bangla temple is an surviving testimony to the amazing skill of the terracotta artists of Bengal. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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The Mughal Food

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Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, after shattering the two pillars of Hindustan, Ibrahim Lodhi and Rana Sanga established the Mughal rule in India (1526).  But initially he did not like Hindustan; this seemed to him a very unromantic place, “there is no ice, cold water, good food, good bread in the markets.” And then, “there is no grapes, quality fruits, mask melons, candles, hamams, torches”; so and so.  Babur belonged from a food loving culture.  Although he spent much of his time fleeing from one place to another and fighting his rivals, he had developed a taste of food. He generally liked meat based preparations, served in camps, but not extraordinary rich, simple food of lambs or sheep prepared by the nomadic tribes like Afridi. And yes this powerful man, who was reputed to have enormous strength, ate a lot fresh vegetables and fruits. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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Battle of Buxar

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The Battle of Buxar is a famous episode in the history of India, the English win at Plassey was marred by allegations of treachery, but victory at Buxar was a real feather in crown of their military capabilities. We shall not go much into the background of the war and waste time; rather we will straight away take a ride to the battle field.

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Part of Buxar fort, showing a shrine and ghat below, with people bathing and drawing water from the river

Buxar was then under Bengal territory a city about 130 kilometres West of Patna, and here in 22nd October two mighty armies The East India Company and the Mughal Army stood in front of each other. From the political point of view it was going to be a hugely important battle, and a number of questions were waiting to be answered. The illustrious days of the Six Mughal Emperors were gone; the Mughal flag of conquest was not one of the deadliest anymore. So evidently what remained was the vanity of the Old Guard put to test time and time again.  So here in the plains of Buxar we have Mughal forces which is comprised of three different entities, one of course is the Mughal Emperor himself, Shah Alam II, second is the Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-Dowla(the Grand Vizier to Mughal Emperor), and third the Nawab of Bengal Mir Qasim. We may not call this a coalition force, since the Nawabs of Bengal and Awadh are governors under the Mughal Emperor. That is only in name, the truth is after accession of Shah Alam II as the Mughal Emperor he wanted to consolidate his Empire mostly importantly Bengal presidency which was not paying revenue for a long time. The share of Bengal became one of the prime cause for the animosity between the English and Shah Alam II. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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Hul Cry Rebel: Sanjay Bahadur Interview

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Sanjay Bahadur

Today we are very pleased to have Mr. Sanjay Bahadur, author of the historical fiction, ‘Hul:Cry Rebel’.  Sanjay is an Indian Revenue Service officer presently working as a Commissioner in Mumbai. He graduated from Elphinstone College Mumbai and holds a Masters degree in Economics from University of Bombay followed by an MBA from University of Birmingham. He also holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo. He has worked in various capacities in Income Tax Department, as Director in Ministry of Coal and as Advisor (Economics) in Competition Commission of India. His debut novel, ‘The Sound of Water’ was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize and has been critically acclaimed internationally. His second novel on Santal rebellion of 1855, ‘HUL – Cry Rebel’ has been recently released in India and is the subject of this interview. We are very interested about the book, so without wasting time we will speak to him about it. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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Experiences of Antarctica: Dr. Rasik Ravindra

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Today we are very pleased to have Prof Rasik Ravindra former Director of National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), to talk about Life in Antarctica. He has served as the Director of NCAOR for six years from January 2006- August 2012. He has been conducting and guiding scientific research in Antarctic, Arctic and Southern Ocean. Dr. Ravindra has led Indian Expeditions to Higher Himalaya, Antarctic, Arctic and South Pole and is currently involved with research on Himalayan glaciers. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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Dr. Asoka Sen Interview

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This year on the 159th anniversary of the Santhal Rebellion we have invited scholars/academicians to contribute articles related to Santhal community. We hope through this endeavour we can portray some valuable works done by scholars on the Santhals. Our intention is to make the articles/interviews open source so that anyone can access these useful information easily.

Today we are pleased to have Dr. Asoka Kumar Sen to talk about Santhal Rebellion and the Santhals in general. Dr. Sen is an alumnus of Tata College, Chaibasa, Patna College and Patna University. Dr. Sen taught History at Tata College, Chaibasa, Singhbhum West, Jharkhand and retired from the institution as University Professor in 2002. Presently an Independent Researcher, Dr.Sen is also the Editor of online Journal of Adivasi and Indigenous Studies. He was awarded a fellowship at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics in 2004. He also worked as a Researcher for Sussex University, UK from 2005-07 on a British Academy Project. Dr. Sen is the author of From Village Elder to British Judge: Custom, Customary Law and Tribal Society (Orient BlackSwan, 2012), Representing Tribe: The Ho of Singhbhum during Colonial Rule (Concept Publishing Company, 2011), Bengali Intelligentsia and Popular Uprisings 1855-73 (Firma KLM Pvt Ltd. Calcutta, 1992) and The Educated Middle Class and Indian Nationalism (Progressive Publishers, Calcutta, 1988). He has contributed research papers to leading Journals and edited volumes including South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Indigenous Affairs. Journal of International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Copenhagen; D.Kumar, V.Damaodaran and Rohan D’Souza (eds), The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia, Oxford University Press and D.J.Rycroft and S.Dasgupta(eds.), The Politics of Belonging in India: Becoming Adivasi. Routledge, England. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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In conversation with Dr. Daniel Rycroft

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Dr. Rycroft, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take this interview.  It is a great pleasure to talk to you especially on the 158th year of Santhal Rebellion. For over two decades through your research projects and personal interest you have associated with the Adivasis and closely observed their life and culture. You have also organized many International Conferences and Exhibition on the Adivasis. The exhibitions, documentary films, you were involved with presents a rare sight into the Adivasi world, and of course in a creative manner makes us conscious about our rich cultural and historical heritage. You have also authored books on the Santhal Rebellion and the Adivasis. Combining all these aspects and experiences of you I am excited to know your perspective on the Santhal Rebellion and its relevance in today’s world. read more

Sumit Soren is the founder of Livelystories. Basically an Agricultural Engineer, Sumit has interest in varied topics. He regularly writes on tribal history, internet and science related topics.

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