Tripura

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This article is about the Indian state of Tripura. For the mythological city, see Tripura (mythology).
Tripura
ত্রিপুরা
State of India
Official seal of Tripura
Seal
Location of Tripura (marked in red) in India
Location of Tripura (marked in red) in India
Map of the Tripura state showing eight districts
Map of Tripura state, showing its eight districts
Coordinates (Agartala): 23°50′N 91°17′E / 23.84°N 91.28°E / 23.84; 91.28Coordinates: 23°50′N 91°17′E / 23.84°N 91.28°E / 23.84; 91.28
Country  India
Region Northeast India
Established 21 January 1972
Capital Agartala
Most populous city Agartala[1]
Districts 8
Government
 • Governor Padmanabha Acharya[2]
 • Chief Minister Manik Sarkar[3] (CPM)
 • Legislature Unicameral (60 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency 2
 • High Court Tripura High Court
Area
 • Total 10,491.69 km2 (4,050.86 sq mi)
Area rank 26th
Population (2011)
 • Total 3,671,032
 • Rank 21st
 • Density 350/km2 (910/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-TR
HDI Increase 0.663 (medium)
HDI rank 6th (2014)
Literacy 87.75 per cent.(4th}.[4]
Official languages Bengali and Kokborok[5]
Website tripura.nic.in

Tripura /ˈtrɪprə/ (Bengali: ত্রিপুরা) is a state in Northeast India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers 10,491 km2 (4,051 sq mi) and is bordered by Bangladesh (East Bengal) to the north, south, and west, and the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram to the east. In 2011 the state had 3,671,032 residents, constituting 0.3% of the country's population. Indigenous communities, known in India as scheduled tribes, form about 30 per cent of Tripura's population. The Kokborok speaking Tripuri people are the major group among 19 tribes and many subtribes. The Bengali people form the ethno-linguistic majority in Tripura.

The area of modern Tripura was ruled for several centuries by the Tripuri dynasty. It was the independent princely state of the Tripuri Kingdom under the protectorate of the British Empire which was known as Hill Tippera [6] while the area annexed and ruled directly by British India was known as Tippera District (present Comilla District).[7] The independent Tripuri Kingdom (or Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949. Ethnic strife between the Tripuri people and Bengali population led to tension and scattered violence since its integration into the country of India, but the establishment of an autonomous tribal administrative agency and other strategies have led to peace.

Tripura lies in a geographically disadvantageous location in India, as only one major highway, the National Highway 44, connects it with the rest of the country. Five mountain ranges—Boromura, Atharamura, Longtharai, Shakhan and Jampui Hills—run north to south, with intervening valleys; Agartala, the capital, is located on a plain to the west. The state has a tropical savanna climate, and receives seasonal heavy rains from the south west monsoon. Forests cover more than half of the area, in which bamboo and cane tracts are common. Tripura has the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state. Due to its geographical isolation, economic progress in the state is hindered. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague Tripura, which has a limited infrastructure. Most residents are involved in agriculture and allied activities, although the service sector is the largest contributor to the state's gross domestic product.

Mainstream Indian cultural elements, especially from Bengali culture, coexist with traditional practices of the ethnic groups, such as various dances to celebrate religious occasions, weddings and festivities; the use of locally crafted musical instruments and clothes; and the worship of regional deities. The sculptures at the archaeological sites Unakoti, Pilak and Devtamura provide historical evidence of artistic fusion between organised and tribal religions. The Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala was the former royal abode of the Tripuri kings.

Name[edit]

Further information: Debbarma and Twipra

On the face of it, the name Tripura is Sanskrit, meaning "three cities" (corresponding exactly to the Greek Tripolis). The Sanskrit name is linked to Tripura Sundari, the presiding deity of the Tripura Sundari Temple at Udaipur, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (pilgrimage centres of Shaktism),[8][9] and to the legendary tyrant king Tripur, who reigned in the region. Tripur was the 39th descendant of Druhyu, who belonged to the lineage of Yayati, a king of the Lunar Dynasty.[10]

However, there have been suggestions to the effect that "the origin of the name Tripura is doubtful", raising the possibility that the Sanskritic form is just due to a folk etymology of a Tibeto-Burman (Kokborok) name. Variants of the name include Twipra, Tuipura and Tippera. A Kokborok etymology from tui (water) and pra (near) has been suggested; the boundaries of Tripura extended to the Bay of Bengal when the kings of the Twipra Kingdom held sway from the Garo Hills of Meghalaya to Arakan, the present Rakhine State of Burma; so the name may reflect vicinity to the sea.[8][9][11]

History[edit]

Main article: History of Tripura

Although there is no evidence of lower or middle Paleolithic settlements in Tripura, Upper Paleolithic tools made of fossil wood have been found in the Haora and Khowai valleys.[12] The Indian epic, the Mahabharata; ancient religious texts, the Puranas; and the Edicts of Ashoka – stone pillar inscriptions of the emperor Ashoka dating from the third century BCE – all mention Tripura.[10] An ancient name of Tripura is Kirat Desh (English: "The land of Kirat"), probably referring to the Kirata Kingdoms or the more generic term Kirata.[13]:155 However, it is unclear whether the extent of modern Tripura is coterminous with Kirat Desh.[14] The region was under the rule of the Twipra Kingdom for centuries, although when this dates from is not documented. The Rajmala, a chronicle of Tripuri kings which was first written in the 15th century,[15] provides a list of 179 kings, from antiquity up to Krishna Kishore Manikya (1830–1850),[16]:3[17][18] but the reliability of the Rajmala has been doubted.[19]

King Bir Chandra Manikya with queen Manamohini

The boundaries of the kingdom changed over the centuries. At various times, the borders reached south to the jungles of the Sundarbans on the Bay of Bengal; east to Burma; and north to the boundary of the Kamarupa kingdom in Assam.[15] There were several Muslim invasions of the region from the 13th century onward,[15] which culminated in Mughal dominance of the plains of the kingdom in 1733,[15] although their rule never extended to the hill regions.[15] The Mughals had influence over the appointment of the Tripuri kings.

[15] Tripura became a princely state during British rule in India. The kings had an estate in British India, known as Tippera district or Chakla Roshnabad (now the Comilla district[7] of Bangladesh), in addition to the independent area known as Hill Tippera, the present-day state.[15] Udaipur, in the south of Tripura, was the capital of the kingdom, until the king Krishna Manikya moved the capital to Old Agartala in the 18th century. It was moved to the new city of Agartala in the 19th century. Bir Chandra Manikya (1862–1896) modelled his administration on the pattern of British India, and enacted reforms including the formation of Agartala Municipal Corporation.[20]

Following the independence of India in 1947, Tippera district – the estate in the plains of British India – became a part of East Pakistan, and Hill Tippera remained under a regency council until 1949. The Maharani Regent of Tripura signed the Tripura Merger Agreement on 9 September 1949, as a result of which Tripura became a Part C state of India.[21]:3 It became a Union Territory, without a legislature, in November 1956 and an elected ministry was installed in July 1963.[21]:3 The geographic partition that coincided with the independence of India resulted in major economic and infrastructural setbacks for the state, as road transport between the state and the major cities of India had to follow a more circuitous route. The road distance between Kolkata and Agartala before the partition was less than 350 km (220 mi), and increased to 1,700 km (1,100 mi), as the route now avoided East Pakistan.[22] The geo-political isolation was aggravated by an absence of rail transport.[23][24]:93

Some parts of the state were shelled by the Pakistan Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Following the war, the Indian government reorganised the North East region to ensure effective control of the international borders – three new states came into existence on 21 January 1972:[25] Meghalaya, Manipur, and Tripura.[25] Since the partition of India, many Hindu Bengalis have migrated to Tripura as refugees from East Pakistan;[21]:3–4 settlement by Bengalis increased at the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Before independence, most of the population were indigenous;[21]:9 now they became a minority. Ethnic strife between the tribes and the predominantly immigrant Bengali community led to scattered violence,[26] and an insurgency spanning decades. This gradually abated following the establishment of a tribal autonomous district council and the use of strategic counter-insurgency operations,[27] aided by the overall socio-economic progress of the state. Tripura remains peaceful, as of 2012.[28]

Geography and climate[edit]

Green agricultural field, with a hill range far in the background
Rice is grown on Tripura's alluvial plains, which include lungas, the narrow valleys that are found mainly in the west of the state.

Tripura is a landlocked state in North East India, where the seven contiguous states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – are collectively known as the Seven Sister States. Spread over 10,491.69 km2 (4,050.86 sq mi), Tripura is the third-smallest among the 28 states in the country, behind Goa and Sikkim. It extends from 22°56'N to 24°32'N, and 91°09'E to 92°20'E.[21]:3 Its maximum extent measures about 184 km (114 mi) from north to south, and 113 km (70 mi) east to west. Tripura is bordered by the country of Bangladesh to the west, north and south; and the Indian states of Assam to the north east; and Mizoram to the east.[21]:3 It is accessible by national highways passing through the Karimganj district of Assam and Mamit district of Mizoram.[29]

The physiography is characterised by hill ranges, valleys and plains. The state has five anticlinal ranges of hills running north to south, from Boromura in the west, through Atharamura, Longtharai and Shakhan, to the Jampui Hills in the east.[30]:4 The intervening synclines are the Agartala–Udaipur, Khowai–Teliamura, Kamalpur–Ambasa, Kailasahar–Manu and Dharmanagar–Kanchanpur valleys.[30]:4 At an altitude of 939 m (3,081 ft), Betling Shib in the Jampui range is the state's highest point.[21]:4 The small isolated hillocks interspersed throughout the state are known as tillas, and the narrow fertile alluvial valleys, mostly present in the west, are called lungas.[21]:4 A number of rivers originate in the hills of Tripura and flow into Bangladesh.[21]:4 The Khowai, Dhalai, Manu, Juri and Longai flow towards the north; the Gumti to the west; and the Muhuri and Feni to the south west.[30]:73

The lithostratigraphy data published by the Geological Survey of India dates the rocks, on the geologic time scale, between the Oligocene epoch, approximately 34 to 23 million years ago, and the Holocene epoch, which started 12,000 years ago.[30]:73–4 The hills have red laterite soil that is porous. The flood plains and narrow valleys are overlain by alluvial soil, and those in the west and south constitute most of the agricultural land.[21]:4 According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, on a scale ranging from I to V in order of increasing susceptibility to earthquakes, the state lies in seismic zone V.[31]

The state has a tropical savanna climate, designated Aw under the Köppen climate classification. The undulating topography leads to local variations, particularly in the hill ranges.[32] The four main seasons are winter, from December to February; pre-monsoon or summer, from March to April; monsoon, from May to September; and post-monsoon, from October to November.[33] During the monsoon season, the south west monsoon brings heavy rains, which cause frequent floods.[21]:4[30]:73 The average annual rainfall between 1995 and 2006 ranged from 1,979.6 to 2,745.9 mm (77.94 to 108.11 in).[34] During winter, temperatures range from 13 to 27 °C (55 to 81 °F), while in the summer they fall between 24 and 36 °C (75 and 97 °F).[33] According to a United Nations Development Programme report, the state lies in "very high damage risk" zone from wind and cyclones.[35]

Climate data for Agartala, the capital of Tripura
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25.6
(78.1)
28.3
(82.9)
32.5
(90.5)
33.7
(92.7)
32.8
(91)
31.8
(89.2)
31.4
(88.5)
31.7
(89.1)
31.7
(89.1)
31.1
(88)
29.2
(84.6)
26.4
(79.5)
30.52
(86.93)
Average low °C (°F) 10
(50)
13.2
(55.8)
18.7
(65.7)
22.2
(72)
23.5
(74.3)
24.6
(76.3)
24.8
(76.6)
24.7
(76.5)
24.3
(75.7)
22
(72)
16.6
(61.9)
11.3
(52.3)
19.66
(67.43)
Precipitation mm (inches) 27.5
(1.083)
21.5
(0.846)
60.7
(2.39)
199.7
(7.862)
329.9
(12.988)
393.4
(15.488)
363.1
(14.295)
298.7
(11.76)
232.4
(9.15)
162.5
(6.398)
46
(1.81)
10.6
(0.417)
2,146
(84.487)
Source: [36]

Flora and fauna[edit]

State symbols of Tripura[37]
State animal Phayre's Langur
State bird Green imperial pigeon
State tree Agar
State flower Nagesar
Green imperial pigeon the state bird of Tripura
a Nagesar tree, the state tree of Tripura

Like most of the Indian subcontinent, Tripura lies within the Indomalaya ecozone. According to the Biogeographic classification of India, the state is in the "North-East" biogeographic zone.[38] In 2011 forests covered 57.73 per cent of the state.[39] Tripura hosts three different types of ecosystems: mountain, forest and freshwater.[40] The evergreen forests on the hill slopes and the sandy river banks are dominated by species such as Dipterocarpus, Artocarpus, Amoora, Elaeocarpus, Syzygium and Eugenia.[41] Two types of moist deciduous forests comprise majority of the vegetation: moist deciduous mixed forest and Sal (Shorea robusta)-predominant forest.[41] The interspersion of bamboo and cane forests with deciduous and evergreen flora is a peculiarity of Tripura's vegetation.[41] Grasslands and swamps are also present, particularly in the plains. Herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees such as Albizia, Barringtonia, Lagerstroemia and Macaranga flourish in the swamps of Tripura. Shrubs and grasses include Schumannianthus dichotoma (shitalpati), Phragmites and Saccharum (sugarcane).[41]

According to a survey in 1989–90, Tripura hosts 90 land mammal species from 65 genera and 10 orders,[42] including such species as elephant (Elephas maximus), bear (Melursus ursinus), binturong (Arctictis binturong), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), porcupine (Artherurus assamensis), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), sambar (Cervus unicolor), wild boar (Sus scrofa), gaur (Bos gaurus), leopard (Panthera pardus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and many species of small cats and primates.[42] Out of 15 free ranging primates of India, seven are found in Tripura; this is the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state.[42] The wild buffalo (Bubalus arnee) is extinct now.[43] There are nearly 300 species of birds in the state.[44]

Wildlife sanctuaries of the state are Sipahijola, Gumti, Rowa and Trishna wildlife sanctuaries.[45] National parks of the state are Clouded Leopard National Park and Rajbari National Park.[45] These protected areas cover a total of 566.93 km2 (218.89 sq mi).[45] Gumti is also an Important Bird Area.[46] In winter, thousands of migratory waterfowl throng Gumti and Rudrasagar lakes.[47]

Divisions[edit]

In January 2012, major changes were implemented in the administrative divisions of Tripura. Beforehand, there had been four districts – Dhalai (headquarters Ambassa), North Tripura (headquarters Kailashahar), South Tripura (headquarters Udaipur), and West Tripura (headquarters Agartala). Four new districts were carved out of the existing four in January 2012 – Khowai, Unakoti, Sipahijala and Gomati.[48] Six new subdivisions and five new blocks were also added.[49] Each is governed by a district collector or a district magistrate, usually appointed by the Indian Administrative Service. The subdivisions of each district are governed by a sub-divisional magistrate and each subdivision is further divided into blocks. The blocks consist of Panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities. As of 2012, the state had eight districts, 23 subdivisions and 45 development blocks.[50] National census and state statistical reports are not available for all the new administrative divisions, as of March 2013. Agartala, the capital of Tripura, is the most populous city.[1] Other major towns with a population of 10,000 or more (as per 2001 census) are Badharghat, Dharmanagar, Jogendranagar, Kailashahar, Pratapgarh, Udaipur, Amarpur, Belonia, Gandhigram, Indranagar, Kumarghat, Ranirbazar, Sonamura, and Teliamura.[1]

Government and politics[edit]

Facade of a Ujjayanta Palace, used earlier as the state's Legislative Assembly
Ujjayanta Palace, built in the 19th century as a replacement for a former royal palace destroyed in an earthquake, was used until 2011 as the meeting place of Tripura's State Legislative Assembly.

Tripura is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy, a feature it shares with other Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents. The Tripura government has three branches: executive, legislature and judiciary. The Tripura Legislative Assembly consists of elected members and special office bearers that are elected by the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker in case of Speaker's absence. The Assembly is unicameral with 60 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).[51] The members are elected for a term of five years, unless the Assembly is dissolved prior to the completion of the term. The judiciary is composed of the Tripura High Court and a system of lower courts.[52][53] Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. The Governor, the titular head of state, is appointed by the President of India. The leader of the party or a coalition of parties with a majority in the Legislative Assembly is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor. The Council of Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers reports to the Legislative Assembly.

Tripura sends two representatives to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the parliament of India) and one representative to the Rajya Sabha (parliament's upper house). Panchayats (local self-governments) elected by local body elections are present in many villages for self-governance. Tripura also has a unique tribal self-governance body, the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.[54] This council is responsible for some aspects of local governance in 527 villages with high density of the scheduled tribes.[54][55]

The main political parties are the Left Front and the Indian National Congress. Until 1977, the state was governed by the Indian National Congress.[56]:255–66 The Left Front was in power from 1978 to 1988, and then again from 1993 onwards.[57] During 1988–1993, the Congress and Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti were in a ruling coalition.[58] In the last elections held in February 2013, the Left Front won 50 out of 60 seats in the Assembly, 49 of which went to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM).[59] As of 2013, Tripura is the only state in India where the communist party is in power. Formerly, two more states—West Bengal and Kerala—had democratically elected communist governments.[60]

Communism in the state had its beginnings in the pre-independence era, inspired by freedom struggle activities in Bengal, and culminating in regional parties with communist leanings.[61]:362 It capitalised on the tribal dissatisfaction with the mainstream rulers,[61]:362 and has been noted for connection with the "sub-national or ethnic searches for identity".[62] Since the 1990s, there is an ongoing irredentist Tripura rebellion, involving militant outfits such as the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF); terrorist incidents incidents involving the ATTF claimed a recorded number of 389 victims in the seven-year period of 1993 to 2000.[63]

Economy[edit]

Gross State Domestic Product at Constant Prices
(2004–05 base)[64]

figures in crores Indian rupee

Year Gross State
Domestic Product
2004–05   8,904
2005–06   9,482
2006–07 10,202
2007–08 10,988
2008–09 11,596
2009–10 12,248
2010–11 12,947

Tripura's gross state domestic product for 2010–11 was INR129.47 billion (US$2.1 billion) at constant price (2004–05),[64] recording 5.71 per cent growth over the previous year. In the same period, the GDP of India was INR48778.42 billion (US$790 billion), with a growth rate of 8.55 per cent.[64] Annual per capita income at current price of the state was INR38493 (US$620), compared to the national per capita income INR44345 (US$720).[65] In 2009, the tertiary sector of the economy (service industries) was the largest contributor to the gross domestic product of the state, contributing 53.98 per cent of the state's economy compared to 23.07 per cent from the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, mining) and 22.95 per cent from the secondary sector (industrial and manufacturing).[65] According to the Economic Census of 2005, after agriculture, the maximum number of workers were engaged in retail trade (28.21 per cent of total non-agricultural workforce), followed by manufacturing (18.60 per cent), public administration (14.54 per cent), and education (14.40 per cent).[66]

Tripura is an agrarian state with more than half of the population dependent on agriculture and allied activities.[67] However, due to hilly terrain and forest cover, only 27 per cent of the land is available for cultivation.[67] Rice, the major crop of the state, is cultivated in 91 per cent of the cropped area.[67] According to the Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Government of Tripura, in 2009–10, potato, sugarcane, mesta, pulses and jute were the other major crops cultivated in the state.[68] Jackfruit and pineapple top the list of horticultural products.[68] Traditionally, most of the indigenous population practised jhum method (a type of slash-and-burn) of cultivation. The number of people dependent on jhum has declined over the years.[69]:37–9

Green paddy field with a few huts at a distance
Rice is the major crop in Tripura, and accounts for 91 per cent of the land under cultivation.

Pisciculture has made significant advances in the state. At the end of 2009–10, the state produced a surplus of 104.3 million fish seeds.[70] Rubber and tea are the important cash crops of the state. Tripura ranks second only to Kerala in the production of natural rubber in the country.[71] The state is known for its handicraft, particularly hand-woven cotton fabric, wood carvings, and bamboo products. High quality timber including sal, garjan, teak and gamar are found abundantly in the forests of Tripura.

Per Capita Income with 2004-05 Base
Year Tripura India
2004-05 24,394 24,095
2005-06 26,668 27,183
2006-07 29,081 31,080
2007-08 31,111 35,430
2008-09 33,350 40,141
2010-11 33,493 44,345

The industrial sector of the state continues to be highly underdeveloped – brickfields and tea industry are the only two organised sectors.[66] Tripura has considerable reservoirs of natural gas, but has meagre deposits of other types of minerals like clay minerals, glass sand, lignite, and limestone.[30]:78–81 According to estimates by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the state has 400 billion metres3 reserves of natural gas, out of which 16 billion metres3 is recoverable.[71] ONGC produced 480 million metres3 natural gas in the state in 2006–07.[71] Tourism industry in the state is growing – the revenue earned in tourism sector crossed INR10 million (US$160,000) for the first time in 2009–10, and surpassed INR15 million (US$240,000) in 2010–11.[72] Although Bangladesh is in a trade deficit with India, its export to Tripura is significantly more than import from the state; a report in the newspaper The Hindu estimated Bangladesh exported commodities valued at about INR3.5 billion (US$57 million) to the state in 2012, as opposed to "very small quantity" of import.[73] Alongside legal international trade, unofficial and informal cross-border trade is rampant.[74] In a research paper published by the Institute of Developing Economies in 2004, the dependence of Tripura's economy on that of Bangladesh was emphasised.[75]:313

The economy of Tripura can be characterized by rate of poverty, low capital formation in-adequate infrastructure facilities, Geographical isolation and communication bottleneck, in-adequate exploration and use of forest and mineral resources, slow industrialization and high unemployment. More than 50% of the population depends on agriculture for sustaining their livelihood.[76] However agriculture and allied activities to Gross State Domestic Production (GSDP) is only 23%, this is primarily because of low capital base in the sector. Despite the inherit limitation and constrains coupled with severe resources for investing in basic infrastructure. This has brought consistence progress in quality of life and income of people cutting across all sections of society. This is, however, need to take this forward for improving the socioeconomic condition of people of the state.

The Planning Commission estimates the poverty rate of all North East Indian states by using head count ratio of Assam (the largest state in North East India). According to 2001 Planning Commission assessment, 22 per cent of Tripura's rural residents were below the poverty line. However, Tripura government's independent assessment, based on consumption distribution data, reported that, in 2001, 55 per cent of the rural population was below the poverty line.[66] Geographic isolation and communication bottleneck coupled with insufficient infrastructure have restricted economic growth of the state.[67] High rate of poverty and unemployment continues to be prevalent.[67]

Infrastructure[edit]

Transport[edit]

The border post between Bangladesh and India in Akhaura

Only one major road, the National Highway 44 (NH-44), connects Tripura to the rest of India.[77] Starting at Sabroom in southern Tripura, it heads north to the capital Agartala, turns east and then north-east to enter the state of Assam. Locally known as "Assam Road", the NH-44 is often called the lifeline of Tripura.[77] However, the highway is single lane and of poor quality; often landslides, rains or other disruptions on the highway cut the state off from its neighbours.[30]:73[69]:44 Another National Highway, NH 44A, connects the town Manu in South Tripura district with Aizawl, Mizoram.[29] The Tripura Road Transport Corporation is the government agency overlooking public transport on road. A hilly and land-locked state, Tripura is dependent mostly on roads for transport.[77] The total length of roads in the state is 16,931 km (10,520 mi) of which national highways constitute 448 km (278 mi) and state highways 689 km (428 mi), as of 2009–10.[77] Residents in rural areas frequently use waterways as a mode of transport.[78]:140

Agartala airport

Agartala Airport, located 12.5 km (6.7 nautical miles) northwest of Agartala at Singerbhil, is the second busiest airport in north east India after Guwahati. There are direct flight connections to Kolkata, Imphal, Delhi, Silchar, Aizwal, Guwahati, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The major airlines are Air India, Jet Airways (Operating Codeshare and Konnect Flights), Indigo Airlines and Spicejet. Passenger helicopter services are available between the capital and major towns (Kailashahar, Dharmanagar) as well as to more remote areas such as Kanchanpur and Gandacherra.[77]

Rail transport was absent in the state until 2008–09 when a rail connection was established between the capital Agartala and Lumding junction in Assam.[77] This is a meter gauge rail track connecting to the usual Indian gauge at Lumding. The major railways stations in this line are in Agartala, Dharmanagar, and Kumarghat. As of 2009–10, the total length of railway tracks in the state is 153 kilometres (95 mi). Extension of railway line from Agartala to the southernmost town of Sabroom is in progress, as of 2012.[77]

Tripura has an 856 km (532 mi) long international border with Bangladesh, of which 730.5 km (453.9 mi) is fenced, as of 2012.[79] Several locations along the border serve as bilateral trading points between India and Bangladesh, such as Akhaura near Agartala, Raghna, Srimantpur, Belonia, Khowai and Kailasahar.[73] A bus service exists between Agartala and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.[80][81] In 2013, the two countries signed an agreement to establish a 15 km (9.3 mi) railway link between Agartala and the Akhaura junction of Bangladesh.[82] Citizens of both countries need visa to legally enter the other country; however, illegal movement and smuggling across the border are widespread.[75]:314[83]

Media and communication[edit]

As of 2012, 56 daily and weekly newspapers are published in Tripura.[84] Most of the newspapers are published in Bengali, except for one Kokborok daily (Hachukni Kok), one Manipuri weekly (Marup), two English dailies and three bilingual weeklies.[84] Notable dailies include Daily Desher Katha, Ajkal Tripura, Dainik Sambad, and Syandan Patrika.[84] In a study by Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2009, 93 per cent of the sampled in Tripura rated television as very effective for information and mass education.[85] In the study, 67 per cent of the sampled listened to radio and 80–90 per cent read newspaper.[85] Most of the major Indian telecommunication companies are present in the state, such as Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance, Tata Indicom, Idea and BSNL. Mobile connections outnumber landline connections by a wide margin. As of 2011, the state-controlled BSNL has 57,897 landline subscribers and 325,279 GSM mobile service connections.[77] There are 84 telephone exchanges (for landlines) and 716 post offices in the state, as of 2011.[77]

Power and irrigation[edit]

As of 2013, Tripura has three power-generating stations owned by Tripura State Electricity Corporation(TSECL), natural gas-powered thermal power stations at Rokhia and Baramura, and hydro power station on the Gumti River. The combined power generation from these three stations is 100–105 MW.[86] The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) operates the 84 MW Agartala Gas Turbine Power Plant near Agartala. In times of peak power demand, the state has to borrow 50–60 MW electricity from the North Eastern grid of the national transmission network.[86] ONGC Tripura Power Plant, a thermal power plant operated by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was inaugurated in June 2013 at Palatala, projected to have a capacity of 726.6 MW[87] it is the largest individual power plant in the region. As of March 2014, another thermal power plant is awaiting commissioning at Monarchak.[88]

As of 2011, 255,241 hectares (985 sq mi) of land in Tripura is cultivable, of which 108,646 hectares (419 sq mi) has the potential to be covered by irrigation projects. However, only 74,796 hectares (289 sq mi) is irrigated.[89] The state lacks major irrigation projects; it depends on medium-sized projects sourced from Gumti, Khowai and Manu rivers, and minor projects administered by village-level governing bodies that utilise tube wells, water pumps, tanks and lift irrigation.[89]

Education[edit]

Main article: Education in Tripura
Classrooms made of bamboo in a school
Classrooms built of bamboo in a school. In 2010–11, Tripura had 4,455 schools run by the state government or private organisations.[90] Instruction is mainly in English or Bengali.

Schools in Tripura are run by the state government and private organisations, which include religious institutions. Instruction in schools is mainly in English or Bengali, though Kokborok and other regional languages are also used. The schools are affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) or the Tripura Board of Secondary Education.[91] Under the 10+2+3 plan, after completing secondary school, students typically enroll for two years in a junior college or in a higher secondary school affiliated either to the Tripura Board of Secondary Education or to other central boards. Students choose from one of the three streams—liberal arts, commerce or science.[91] As in the rest of India,[92] after passing the Higher Secondary Examination (the grade 12 examination), students may enroll in general degree programs such as bachelor's degree in arts, commerce or science, or professional degree programs such as engineering, law or medicine.

According to the Economic Review of Tripura 2010–11, Tripura has a total of 4,455 schools, of which 2,298 are primary schools.[90] The total enrolment in all schools of the state is 767,672.[90] Tripura has one Central University (Tripura University) and one private university (a branch of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India). There are 15 general colleges, two engineering colleges (Tripura Institute of Technology and National Institute of Technology, Agartala), two medical colleges (Agartala Government Medical College and Tripura Medical College), three polytechnic colleges, one law college, one music college, and one art college.[90]

Healthcare[edit]

Main article: Healthcare in Tripura
Health indices as of 2010[93]
Indicator Tripura India
Birth rate 14.9 22.1
Death rate 5.0 7.2
Infant mortality rate 27 47
Total fertility rate 2.2 2.7
Natural growth rate 9.9 14.9

Healthcare in Tripura features a universal health care system run by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the Government of Tripura.[94] The health care infrastructure is divided into three tiers – the primary health care network, a secondary care system comprising district and sub-divisional hospitals and tertiary hospitals providing speciality and super speciality care. As of 2010–11, there are 17 hospitals, 11 rural hospitals and community health centres, 79 primary health centres, 635 sub-centres/dispensaries, 7 blood banks and 7 blood storage centres in the state.[95] Homeopathic and Ayurvedic styles of medicine are also popular in the state.[95] The National Family Health Survey – 3 conducted in 2005–06 revealed that 20 per cent of the residents of Tripura do not generally use government health facilities, and prefers private medical sector.[96] This is overwhelmingly less compared to the national level, where 65.6 per cent do not rely on government facilities.[96] As in the rest of India, Tripura residents also cite poor quality of care as the most frequent reason for non-reliance over public health sector. Other reasons include distance of the public sector facility, long waiting time, and inconvenient hours of operation.[96] As of 2010, the state's performance in major public health care indices, such as birth rate, infant mortality rate and total fertility rate is better than the national average.[93]

Demographics[edit]

Population growth[97]
Census Population  %±
1951 639,000  —
1961 1,142,000 78.7%
1971 1,556,000 36.3%
1981 2,053,000 31.9%
1991 2,757,000 34.3%
2001 3,199,203 16%
2011 3,671,032 14.7%

Tripura ranks second only to Assam as the most populous state in North East India. According to the provisional results of 2011 census of India, Tripura has a population of 3,671,032 with 1,871,867 males and 1,799,165 females.[98] It constitutes 0.3 per cent of India's population. The sex ratio of the state is 961 females per thousand males,[98] higher than the national ratio 940. The density of population is 350 persons per square kilometre.[99] The literacy rate of Tripura in 2011 was 87.75 per cent,[98] higher than the national average 74.04 per cent, and third best among all the states.

In 1875, the tribes constituted 63.77% of the population of the region, indicating significant presence of non-indigenous population, mainly Bengali.[61]:359 The kings of Tripura princely state encouraged Bengali migration to the state, and Bengalis were involved in administrative jobs and more-productive modern cultivation, as opposed to the jhum cultivation by the indigenous people.[61]:359 Bengali migration increased significantly following the partition, leading the tribes becoming a minority.

Tripuri children preparing for a dance performance
Tripuri children preparing for a dance performance. The Tripuri, a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group that originated near the upper courses of Yangtze River and Yellow River in China, form 17 per cent of the state's population.[26][100]

In the 2001 census of India, Bengalis represented almost 69 per cent of Tripura's population, while the indigenous population amounted to 31 per cent.[100] The state's "scheduled tribes", historically disadvantaged groups of people recognised by the country's constitution, consist of 19 ethnic groups and many sub-groups,[101] with diverse languages and cultures. In 2001, the largest such group was the Kokborok-speaking Tripuris, which had a population of 543,848, representing 17.0 per cent of the state's population and 54.7 per cent of the "scheduled tribe" population.[100] The other major groups, in descending order of population, were the Reang (16.6 per cent of the indigenous population), Jamatia (7.5 per cent), Chakma (6.5 per cent), Halam (4.8 per cent), Mog (3.1 per cent), Munda (1.2 per cent), Kuki (1.2 per cent) and Garo (1.1 per cent).[100] Bengali is the most widely spoken language, due to the large number of Bengali people in the state. Kokborok is a prominent language among the tribes. Several other languages such as Hindi, Mog, Oriya, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Manipuri, Halam, Garo and Chakma belonging to Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan families are spoken in the state.[102] Saimar, a nearly extinct language, is spoken by only four people in one village, as of 2012.[103]

Others include Sikhs, Jains & Other religions (0.5%)
Religion in Tripura[104]
Religion Percent
Hinduism
  
85.60%
Islam
  
7.90%
Christian
  
3.20%
Buddhist
  
3.10%
Others
  
0.15%

Tripura ranked 6th in Human Development Index (HDI) among 35 states and union territories of India, according to 2006 estimate by India's Ministry of Women and Child Development; the HDI of Tripura was 0.663, better than the all-India HDI 0.605.[105] According to 2001 census, Hinduism is the majority religion in the state, followed by 85.6 per cent of the population.[106] Muslims make up 7.9 per cent of the population, Christians 3.2 per cent, and Buddhists 3.1 per cent.[106] The Muslim percentage in the state gradually declined from 1971 due to heavy influx of Hindu population from and the migration of Muslim population to Bangladesh. A majority of the tribes in the state are Hindu and practice Hindu religious rites. They believe in the existence of God in all the elements of nature as they are animistic.[107]:110 Mogs and Chakmas are the followers of Buddhism in Tripura. Christianity is chiefly followed by members of the Lushai, Kuki and Garo tribes.[78]:135–6

In 2011, the police in Tripura recorded 5,803 cognisable offences under the Indian Penal Code, a number second only to Assam (66,714) in North East India.[108] The crime rate in the state was 158.1 per 100,000 people, less than the all-India average of 192.2.[109] However, 2010 reports showed that the state topped all the states for crime against women, with a rate of 46.5 per 100,000 people, significantly more than the national rate of 18.[110]

Culture[edit]

Durga Puja is the biggest festival of Tripura and celebrated the second biggest in India after West Bengal
 A man and a woman in traditional Tripuri dress
A couple in traditional Tripuri costume.

The diverse ethno-linguistic groups of Tripura have given rise to a composite culture.[111][112] The dominant ethnic groups are Bengali, Manipuri, Tripuris, Jamatia, Reang, Noatia, Koloi, Murasing, Chakma, Halam, Garo, Kuki, Mizo, Mogh, Munda, Oraon, Santhal, and Uchoi.[101] Bengali people represent the largest ethno-linguist community of the state. Bengali culture, as a result, is the main non-indigenous culture. Indeed many elite tribal families which reside in towns have actively embraced Bengali culture and language.[113] The Tripuri kings were great patrons of Bengali culture, especially literature;[113] Bengali language was the language of the court.[114] Elements of Bengali culture, such as Bengali literature, Bengali music, and Bengali cuisine are widespread, particularly in the urban areas of the state.[107]:110[113][115]

Tripura is noted for bamboo and cane handicrafts.[112] Bamboo, wood and cane are used to create an array of furniture, utensils, hand-held fans, replicas, mats, baskets, idols and interior decoration materials.[24]:39–41[116] Music and dance are integral to the culture of the state. Some local musical instruments are the sarinda, chongpreng (both string instruments), and sumui (a type of flute).[13]:344–5 Each indegenous community has its own repertoire of songs and dances performed during weddings, religious occasions, and other festivities. The Tripuri and Jamatia people perform goria dance during the Goria puja. Jhum dance (also called tangbiti dance), lebang dance, mamita dance, and mosak sulmani dance are other Tripuri dance forms.[117] Reang community, the second largest scheduled tribe of the state, is noted for its hojagiri dance that is performed by young girls balanced on earthen pitchers.[117] Bizhu dance is performed by the Chakmas during the Bizhu festival (the last day of the month of Chaitra in Hindu calendar). Other dance forms include wangala dance of the Garo people, hai-hak dance of the Halam branch of Kuki people, and sangrai dance and owa dance of the Mog.[117] Alongside such traditional music, mainstream Indian musical elements such as Indian classical music and dance, Rabindra Sangeet are also practised.[118] Sachin Dev Burman, a member of the royal family, was a maestro in the filmi genre of Indian music.[119]

A sculpture of a face carved on a large stone in Unakoti, Tripura
Unakoti is a historic Shaiva pilgrimage site dating back to the 7th–9th centuries. Rock-cut images depict the Hindu deities Shiva and Ganesha.

Hindus believe that Tripureshwari is the patron goddess of Tripura and an aspect of Shakti.[16]:30 Durga puja, Kali puja, Ashokastami and the worship of the Chaturdasha deities are important festivals in the state. Some festivals represent confluence of different regional traditions, such as Ganga puja, Garia puja, Kharchi puja and Ker puja.[120][121] Unakoti, Pilak and Devtamura are historic sites where large collections of stone carvings and rock sculptures are noted.[112][122] These sculptures are evidence of the presence of Buddhist and Brahmanical orders for centuries, and represent a rare artistic fusion of traditional organised religions and tribal influence.[123][124][125]

Sports[edit]

Football and cricket are the most popular sports in the state. The state capital Agartala has its own club football championships every year in which many local clubs compete in a league and knockout format. Tripura participates as an eastern state team in the Ranji Trophy, the Indian domestic cricket competition. The state is a regular participant of the Indian National Games and the North Eastern Games.[126][127]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Gan-Chaudhuri, Jagadis (1 January 1985). An anthology of Tripura. Inter-India Publications. OCLC 568730389. 
  • Roychoudhury, Nalini Ranjan (1977). Tripura through the ages: a short history of Tripura from the earliest times to 1947 A.D. Bureau of Research & Publications on Tripura. OCLC 4497205. 
  • Bhattacharjee, Pravas Ranjan (1993). Economic transition in Tripura. Vikas Pub. House. ISBN 978-0-7069-7171-2. 
  • Palit, Projit Kumar (1 January 2004). History of religion in Tripura. Kaveri Books. ISBN 978-81-7479-064-4. 
  • DebBarma, Chandramani (2006). Glory of Tripura civilisation: history of Tripura with Kok Borok names of the kings. Parul Prakashani. OCLC 68193115. 

External links[edit]