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Royal History : some Important Letters

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on Bann of  "Suttee"

Raja Rammohan was one of the pioneers who came forward strongly protesting for condemnation of the age-long superstitious practice of "Suttee" in Bengal. On 4th July 1829 law was passed banning the rite of "Suttee". But in reality the rite still continued. It was the year 1840, Maharaja Shibendra Narayan was then enthroned in Coochbehar, a Brahmin resident of Khagrabari, named Srikanta Siromoni, died on 22nd February. His wife sacrificed herself as Suttee. A lawyer named Sri Sandunarayan Gupta intimated to the Company Commissioner about the incident. The Maharaja was asked in a letter for explanation by the Commissioner's Office.

Cornel Jenkins was then in charge as Governor General of Cooch Behar. He met Maharaja Shibendra Narayan to stop this practice of Suttee. Moreover, there were pressures  from different quarters demanding direct interference of the governor general in banning this rite.Cornel Jenkins succeeded in his endeavor after 9 years at a stretch in 1849. Maharaja Shibendra Narayan had passed away by that time. His infant son Narendra Narayan was then on the throne. On 20th September, 1849 the Under Secretary of then Bengal Government wrote to Cornel Jenkins from Fort William, banning the practice of Suttee. The following letter illustrates that historic event :-

No. 102 of 1849

Dated, Fortwilliam,
the 20th September 1849

To
     Major Jenkins,
     Agent to the Governor General,
     North East Frontier.


Sir,
      In reply to your letter No. 64, dated the 30th ultimo, I am directed to request that you will convey to the Sarbarakar of Cooch Behar intimation of the pleasure of Government, that performance of the rite of Suttee be altogether prohibited in future in the Territories of the Rajah of Cooch Behar.

      You are requested to report, if these orders of Government are carried into effect by the Sarbarakar.


I have & C ,
(Sd.) W. SETON-KARR
Under Secretary to the Government of Bengal.


on Micheal Madhusudan's Application for Post of Magistrate

Michael Madhusudan at that time introduced a new era in Bengali literature. But he was running in acute financial crisis. He was then engaged at Kolkata Police Court to earn his living. Maharaja Narendra Narayan was then in charge of Cooch Behar. 

Need was felt for an experienced Magistrate, for which advertisement was published in "Englishman daily. In response to that advertisement, Michael Madhusudan Dutta applied before the Maharaja. The following application illustrates that historic event :-

Calcutta Police
27th January, 1860


My dear Raja Saheb,
      I see an advertisement in the 'Englishman' in which your Highness wants a Magistrate. Allow me to offer my service to you. Your Highness knows that I have been for several years connected with the Calcutta Police and understand criminal matters pretty well. If the salary be worth accepting that is to say, if it be worthy of a Prince like your Highness to offer and a gentleman like myself to accept, pray, write to me and I shall go up. Your Highness must know that I shall have to sacrifice my prospects here if I go up to your country and the offer must be tempting enough to induce me to do so. I shall undertake to give you such a Police Establishment throughout your principality in one year that your Highness will win praise of the British Government. Your Highness must also appraise me on your Princely word that I am not to be turned out at a moment's notice to gratify the hatred of some unprincipled Court-intrigues. Your Highness no doubt knows that such an important post must not be given to any but a gentleman of education and principle and that no gentleman of education and principal will accept such a situation but on very liberal terms. 

With Kind wishes.

Michael M. S. Dutt
27th January, 60
A candidate for the Vacant Magistracy


Your Highness's very sincerely,
Michael M. S. Dutt


on Indian Freedom from British Rule

12th August, 1947
India was then on the verge of a new era - Independence from two decades of British Rule. Maharaja Jagaddipendra Naryan of Cooch Behar with deep gratitude conveyed his cordial greetings to Sardar Vallav Bhai Patel.

The Palace
Cooch Behar
12th August, 1947


My dear Sardar Patel,
      On this great and historic day of Indian Independence, which you have contributed in no small measure to bring about, I send to you on my behalf an on behalf of Cooch Behar most cordial greetings.
      The apprehension of most Indian States were, as you know, the natural outcome of the feeling that by sheer weight of population the provinces may submerge and swamp them. The Policy of fair play and sympathetic understanding which you have initiated towards the States is, if I may say so, a very happy augury for the future of our country. The ready response that Policy has evoked from a very large body of Rulers is proof of its signal success.
      The country surely  needs peace and we all wish it to prosper and you can count upon my whole hearted co-operation and my very best wishes in the prosecution of any Policy that you may think it necessary to adopt for the restoration of peace and for the eradication of poverty. 


Yours sincerely,
Jagaddipendra Narayan
Maharaja of Cooch Behar

( Reference : Sarder Patel's Correspondence, Vol. 5, Letter No. 469 - page 436 )

Sardar Vallav Bhai Patel in his reply to Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan.

New Delhi
17th August, 1947


My dear Maharaja Sahib,
      Many thanks for your very kind letter of greetings and wishes on Independence Day. I am more than satisfied with the good response which may appeal to the Rulers of States to join the Dominion has met. I myself had no doubt that approached in the right way the Princes would mostly respond to the country's cause.
      I should like to take this opportunity of thanking your Highness for so readily agreeing to accede to the Indian Dominion along with Assam and West Bengal. Your State occupies a difficult position, but I have no doubt that in concert and unity we shall be able to meet all eventualities.


Lieutenant His Highness
Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan,
Maharaja of Cooch Behar,
Cooch Behar


Yours sincerely,
Vallabhbhai Patel


also check out Cooch Behar Merger Agreement

Royal (KOCH) Dynasty

Image Gallery

History Book

Present member of the Royal family

Important Letters

Truce with East India Company

"Narayani" Currency of Koch kingdom

Some more Important Facts

Koch kingdom & Muslim strength

Arts and Literature


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