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Bikrampur (Bengali: বিক্রমপুর Bikrômpur) pargana is situated 12 miles south of Dhaka, the modern-day capital of Bangladesh. It lies in the Munshiganj District of Bangladesh. It is a historic region in Bengal. The region is famous for its early Buddhist scholarships and in the later period for its cultural influences. It is known to be the oldest capital of Bengal since the Vedic Period until Bhawal and Sonargaon took over the title.
It is believed[according to whom?] that the name Bikrampur is derived from the word Vikramāditya (বিক্রমাদিত্য). Vikramāditya was a legendary king in Hindu religion. Several rulers throughout Indian history including Chandragupta II, Dharmapal and Samrat Hemu have also assumed the title Vikramāditya. So it is not certain after whom the region is named. Vikram (বিক্রম) means "valour" and Pur (পুর) is a common sub-continental location name suffix.
Today there is no official recognition of Bikrampur area. People from an extensive region of the Munshiganj District claim as to be residents of Bikrampur. Roughly the town comprised the area with the river Padma on the west, the Dhaleswari on the north and east, and the confluence of the Arial Kha river and the Meghna River on the south.
According to a map from 1781, the river Kaliganga ran through the middle of the region creating the two parts - Uttara (North) Bikramapur and Daksina (South) Bikramapur. It stretched 30 to 40 miles from east to west and about 8 to 10 miles from north to south.
Bikrampur proper, referring to the town and historic urban center with historic antecedents and not the rural hinterland of Munshiganj, is reportedly[who?] well on its way to being destroyed due to river erosion. It should be noted this is a common theme in Bengal historically due to the changing courses of rivers over time.
Ashoka, the emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. Being a devotee of Gautama Buddha, he propagated Buddhism across his kingdom which included Bikrampur to the east. Following the high ideals of this religion, Pala Kings came to Bikrampur to rule the region.
The second ruler of Pala Empire, Dharmapal, built a Buddhist monastery in Bikrampur during his reign in 770-810. After his death, his son, Devapala ruled this area until 850 CE. Then the region is successively ruled by Vigrahapala, Narayanapala, Rajyapala, Gopala II, Vigrahapala II, Mahipala, Naya Pala, Vigrahapala III, Mahipala II, Shurapala II, Ramapala, Kumarapala, Gopala III and Madanapala. Pala empire disintegrated in 1174 weakened by attacks of the Sena dynasty.
A copper-plate inscription from the time of the ruler Vijay Sen (ruled 1097-1160), founder of Sen dynasty, was found in Barrackpore, India in 1911. In this inscription, Bikrampur was mentioned as the capital of that region. It continued to be the capital throughout the Sena Dynasty. In 1205, Turkic invader Bakhtiyar Khalji defeated the then-ruler Lakshman Sen in Nadia. Lakshman fled to Bikrampur. His two sons Vishwarup Sen and Keshab Sen kept ruling from here until 1230. But the copper-plate inscriptions during their reign do not mention Bikrampur as the capital. Another Hindu ruler, Danuj Rai, defeated a successor of Keshab Sen and started ruling from here. In early 1280 he moved the capital to Suvarnagrama (later named Sonargaon).
Emperor Akbar established Bikrampur as one of the 52 parganas of Sonargaon sarkar in Bengal subah during his administrative reforms in 1572-1580. During his time, Chand Rai and Kedar Rai were the zamindars of Bikramapur. In the expeditions against Bara-Bhuiyans, Mughal Subahdar Man Singh killed Kedar Rai in early 1600s.
In post Aurangzeb era, during the time of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, Bikrampur was divided into eight taluks - Bhagyakul, Sreenagar, Maijpara, Sinhapara, Taltala, Sirajdikhan, Louhojong and Baligaon. Each taluk was represented by one zamindar. Gobinda Prasad Roy became the zamindar of Maijpara.
Prominent people from Bikrampur
- Atish Dipongkor (980–1054)
- Durga Mohan Das (1841–1897)
- Dwarkanath Ganguly (1844–1898)
- Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858–1937)
- Chittaranjan Das (1870–1925)
- Narayan Debnath
- Sarat Datta Gupta (1882–1962)
- Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (1893–1972)
- Benoy Basu (1908–1930)
- Dinesh Gupta (1911–1931)
- Badal Gupta (1912–1930)
- Prafulla Dasgupta (1910)
- Samaresh Basu (1924–1988)
- Brojen Das (1927–1998)
- Iajuddin Ahmed (1931–2012)
- A. Q. M. Badruddoza Chowdhury (1932)
- Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (1935)
- Muhammad Hamidullah Khan (1938)
- Fakhruddin Ahmed (1940)
- Chashi Nazrul Islam (1941)
- Humayun Azad (1947–2004)
- Imdadul Haq Milon (1955)
- Mizanur Rahaman Sinha (1940)
- Nripen Chakraborty(1905-2004)
- Amareswar Thakur (1905-1978)
- Susan L. Huntington (1984). The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture. Brill Archive. p. 167. ISBN 9789004068568.
- Proof of Bikrampur as the ancient capital of Bengal, Golam Ashraf Khan Uzzal
- AM Chowdhury. "Vikrampura". Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- Thapur (1973), p. 51.
- Bradley, F.B. (1906). The Romance of an Eastern Capital. Smith, Elder & CO. p. 26.
- Buddhism in Bangladesh, Harry Belitz
- AM Chowdhury, Pala Dynasty, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-30
- Scott, David (May 1995). "Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons". Numen 42 (2).
- Chandra Dynasty in Banglapedia
- Laksman Sen in Banglapedia
- "Far East King Lists". Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- Danuj Rai in Banglapedia
- Abul Fazl-I-`Allami (1949, reprint 1993). Ain-I-Akbari, Vol.II (tr. H.S. Jarett), Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, p.151
- Chand Rai
- Kedar Rai
- Google Book: Bengal, Past and Present