Krishnachandra Roy

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Krishnachandra Roy (born Krishnachandra Banerji 1710-1783) was a raja and zamindar of Krishnagar, Nadia, West Bengal, India from 1728 to 1782.[1] He belongs to Nadia Raj family. According to 1968's History of Bengal: Mughal period, 1526-1762, Krishnachandra was "the most important man of the period in the Hindu society of Bengal."[2] He is credited not only with his resistance to the Mughal rule, but with his expansion of and patronage of the arts in his kingdom.[1]

Reign of Krishnachandra[edit]

During his reign, Krishnachandra was highly influential on Hindu practices, for which reason Raja Rajballabh Sen of Bikrampur sought the assistance of his pandits in supporting the overturning of the prohibition on widow remarriage after his own daughter was widowed young.[3] Krishnachandra strongly opposed the measure. To illustrate his feelings, legend relates, he had the visitors served the meat of a buffalo calf. Offended, they rejected the food on their honor as orthodox Hindus, and when challenged indicated that though it was not explicitly prohibited it was not practice nor custom. Krishnachandra's courtiers pointed out that they had taken umbrage at being presented something not forbidden but against custom, but that they expected Krishnachandra to accept their own unorthodox proposal.[3] With the opposition of Krishnachandra, Rajballabh failed to achieve the change he sought.[4]

Another legend connected to Krishnachandra involved the conflict between his diwan, Raghunandan, and Manikchandra, then diwan of Burdwan but in future to become raja himself.[5] After Raghunandan and Manikchandra quarreled, Manikchandra accused the other man of theft and had sufficient power to order and see to his execution. In Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal, John McLane speculates that the root of the disagreement may have been Manikchandra's well-known resentment of Krishnachandra's patronage of the poet Bharatchandra, who had insulted the Burdwan raj family in a poem in retaliation for their depriving him of his own family estate.[5]

Krishnachandra is also legendarily associated with the popularization of the worship of the Hindu goddess Jagaddhatri.[6] According to the story, Krishnachandra had been imprisoned by Muslims, causing him to miss the celebration of Durga Puja. Durga appeared to him in the form of Jagaddhatri and ordered him to worship her in one month, which he did, commissioning a sculptor to create a statue of the goddess. Eminent Shakta poet of that era, Sadhak Ramprasad Sen became well known for his devotional songs, eventually becoming the court poet of Raja Krishnachandra.

During his reign, Krishnachandra was on friendly terms with the British and especially Robert Clive.[7] This relationship served him well in the 1760s when Bengal Nawab Mir Qasim ordered Krishnachandra's execution, for Clive not only overruled it but gifted Krishnachandra five cannons, the title maharaja, and governance as zamindar of the area of Krishnanagar.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rodrigues, Hillary (2003). Ritual Worship of the Great Goddess: The Liturgy of the Durga Puja with Interpretations. SUNY Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7914-8844-7. 
  2. ^ Roy, Atul Chandra (1968). History of Bengal: Mughal period, 1526-1765 A.D. Nababharat Publishers. p. 362. 
  3. ^ a b Bidyāsāgara, Īśvaracandra (13 August 2013). Hindu Widow Marriage. Columbia University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-231-52660-9. 
  4. ^ Pruthi, R.K. (1 January 2004). Brahmo Samaj and Indian Civilization. Discovery Publishing House. p. 43. ISBN 978-81-7141-791-9. 
  5. ^ a b McLane, John R. (25 July 2002). Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal. Cambridge University Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-521-52654-8. 
  6. ^ Charleston, June McDaniel Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies College of (9 July 2004). Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls : Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal. Oxford University Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-19-534713-5. 
  7. ^ Chatterjee, Pranab (2010). A Story of Ambivalent Modernization in Bangladesh and West Bengal: The Rise and Fall of Bengali Elitism in South Asia. Peter Lang. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-4331-0820-4.