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] 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]


Krishnachandra was born into a Brahmin family, the son of Raghuram Roy.[3] During the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, his grandfather Parasuram Banarjee earned the name "roy roy" for his service, which was later shortened to form the new family name, Roy.[4] He was the father of three sons, Hari Prasad, Amar Chandra, and Brajabinode Roy. Through Brajabinode's fifth son, Ram Kant Roy, he is the great grandfather of Ram Mohan Roy.

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.[5] 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.[5] With the opposition of Krishnachandra, Rajballabh failed to achieve the change he sought.[6]

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.[7] 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.[7]

Krishnachandra is also legendarily associated with the popularization of the worship of the Hindu goddess Jagaddhatri.[8] 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.

During his reign, Krishnachandra was on friendly terms with the British and especially Robert Clive.[9] 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.


  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. ^ Mohanta S. C. Maharaja Krishnachandra Roy Banglapedia — the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Archived)
  4. ^ Collet, Sophia Dobson (1914). The Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy. p. 2. . Some sources ascribe the name change to Krishnachandra himself.
  5. ^ a b Bidyāsāgara, Īśvaracandra (13 August 2013). Hindu Widow Marriage. Columbia University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-231-52660-9. 
  6. ^ Pruthi, R.K. (1 January 2004). Brahmo Samaj and Indian Civilization. Discovery Publishing House. p. 43. ISBN 978-81-7141-791-9. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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.