History in Tripura : Writing, Rewriting and Distorting!

History in Tripura : Writing, Rewriting and Distorting!

By Tapas Dey

April 20, 2017:  It is an axiom that history is a perennially embattled arena with people harbouring contradictory and conflicting prognostications always trying to rewrite, twist and conveniently rewriting it. This holds specially good for totalitarian ideologies which seek to control every aspect of life, specially the social though process. There are many forms of totalitarianism like fascism, communism , religious fundamentalism and their ilk that do not allow any second or alternative thought or idea to flourish. What happened in the erstwhile Soviet Russia and its satellites in East Europe or in the southeast Asian tiny land of Kambodia is well known and hardly bears recapitulation.

Simply in order to enforce an illusory equality in the name of a delusional ideology like Marxism the rulers in these countries subjected people to untold suffering and privation. Joseph Stalin is held up as an icon of Soviet Marxism but this man was responsible for the cruel death of more than two crores of Russians-either on suspicion of their being insufficient communist or anti-communist. To that extent Stalin was a greater mass murderer than even Hitler who had annihilated 55 lakh Jews in gas chambers. But what the notorious mass murderer Pol Pot had done to his own countrymen in Cambodia in the eighties is without  a parallel in history : Pol Pot had liquidated more than thirty percent of the people as they were not considered conformists to the ideology of communism espoused and enforced by him.

But this business of blood apart, the communists are notorious for perverting history to suit their current political needs and this point is best illustrated by the falsifications undertaken by Stalin  in Soviet Russia. Not satisfied merely by putting himself above Lenin as leader and organizer of Russian evolution , Stalion had gone for wholesale falsification by including his name in the Soviet Russian national anthem and also by naming a whole city after his name-Stalingrad. These are now widely known facts of history. But there are people who refuse to learn from history and, hence, are bound to repeat it.

To that extent the Marxists of Tripura have set new examples . In their obscene eagerness to permanently etch their names and that of their party in the memory of Tripura people they have not only demolished historical monuments and structures but have gone for wholesale distortion and suppression history. To the Marxists in Tripura the history of the state had commenced from December 27 1945 when late Dasharath Deb had launched the ‘Jana Shiksha Samity’. But the facts are diametrically opposite as Tripura had more than five hundred years long glorious history even before the idea of ‘Jana Shiksha Samity’ had been mooted. As attested by authentic history the erstwhile princely history of Tripura had commenced at least from the year 1400 AD , if not earlier, when Maha Manikya was the king . They had ruled the state with exemplary benevolence , treating all subjects well and with equal dignity, spreading the light of education , working for the welfare of the people.

But these vibrant symbols of history are being systematically destroyed by the Marxists since they had come to power in 1978. Before that Tripura’s royal family had been persuaded by the then Congress led state government to dispose of part of the royal ‘Ujjayanta Palace’ in the heart of Agartala town. It was out of sheer necessity that late Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya, state’s last coronated prince, had agreed to this . But this was followed up by the Marxist governments with wanton destruction of monuments and symbols built by and associated with the royal family. ‘The ‘Lal Bari’ or ‘Ujir Bari’ close to the east of the ‘Ujjayanta Palace’ had been destroyed by the Nripen Chakraborty led left front government to built the present Town Hall. Such a outrage like destruction of a hiotorical monument to build a Town Hall has happened anywhere else in India. The celebrated ‘Jackson Gate’ named after a British dignitary as gateway to the royal palace had been dismantled long ago . A spacious tower like construction built by erstwhile Maharani Kanchanprava Debi to sign the ‘instrument of accession’ is still there in extremely dilapidated condition , north of Maharani Tulsibati School but the left front government is perhaps waiting for its natural collapse . The ‘Bir Chandra Public Library’, constructed by the royal family after the name of Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya in IGM Chowmuhuni was demolished for widening road and relocated in the old secretariat building.

What has happened in the historic town of Udaipur, former capital of Tripura and known as Rangamati, beggars  description . Innumerable historical monuments and structures have been destroyed or simply collapsed due to official neglect ; even the erstwhile royal palace on the bank of the river ‘Gomati’ is still buried underground whereas it could be recovered to create a tourist site. Many temples, shrines etc have also been allowed to be effaced by time. Similarly, the remnants of the erstwhile royal palace in ‘Puratan Agartala’ still remain buried beyond site but that could also be recovered as a tourist site. But the most unfortunate and tragic is the way in which the state government is presiding over the destruction of the Rudra Sagar lake in the middle of which stands ‘Neer Mahal’, notheast’s only water palace built in 1930. It is only due to mundane electoral considerations that the left front , despite having received huge funds for its development, is allowing a section of its uncultured voters to take water away from the lake for paddy cultivation . This will lead to collapse of the ‘Neer Mahal’ sooner rather than later.

This apathy to history and heritage is unique to Tripura and extends to the academic arena also . Tripura is the only state where local history is not taught at the school or college level. It is only the students who study MA (History) find a paper on northeast India’s history which includes a small part of Tripura’s history. Who is to blame for this deliberate suppression and distortion of history ? The Marxists and their perverted politics of thought control of people from an early age. These short-sighted people who make a mockery of real history fail to realize that it is in the interest of the state that students are taught Tripura’s authentic per-merger history and the heritage of the state , associated with the princely rule, are preserved and protected so that people can build their way ahead from present on the basis of their experience of the past.

-The opinion expressed in the article are the writer’s own and TNT- The Northeast Today may or may not subscribe to the same views




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