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Tripura observes 113th birth anniversary of its last king

While the state-level celebration was graced by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma here, Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) administration has unveiled a statue of Bir Bikram at Khumlung to mark the day.

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Agartala: Tripura celebrated the 113th birth anniversary of last king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya across the state with colourful programmes Thursday with pomp and gaiety.

While the state-level celebration was graced by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma here, Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) administration has unveiled a statue of Bir Bikram at Khumlung to mark the day.

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Addressing the gathering Chief Minister Deb said soon after BJP formed the government in 2018, Tripura has started celebrating the birthday of Maharaja Bir Bikram in a befitting manner with colourful events and multiple programs to re-introduced Maharaja before the young generation who is considered as the architect of modern Tripura.

From 2019, the state government had marked his birthday as a state holiday like other famous personalities to make the date significant for Tripura, Deb said and added, “We have renamed Agartala airport after Bir Bikram who had built in 1942, which played a crucial role in World War-II against British.”.

The Chief Minister recalled his contribution and said, “We thankfully recognised the contribution of Bir Bikram who built Ujjayanta palace, airport, planned for Agartala city, MBB College now turns into university, water palace of eastern India – Neermahal and many other signatures of Tripura. The successive governments since attaining statehood have been adding on to the base, which was built by the last king of Tripura.”

Talking on the occasion Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma happened to be the niece of Bir Bikram Kishore stressed the need for imparting detailed education to children at higher classes about the royal history of Tripura and said, “As of now brief history of Tripura is being taught in lower classes but it needs to be given importance in the higher studies and also to propagate the contribution of kings of Tripura across the country.”

He mentioned that Tripura has a rich heritage and cultural history and Tripura was ruled by 184 kings but never allowed or supported British rulers to influence the royal administration.

As a result, indigenous people of the state have been loyal to the Maharaja’s decision and when Tripura acceded to Indian union nationalist feeling inherited by default among the citizens of Tripura. Dev Varma said Tripura royal family had given the honour to Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore and for which he visited the state at least seven times and scripted numerous poems, songs, dramas and prose from Tripura those have recognised much later by the rest of the world but the royal family had valued it immediately.

With the request of Gurudev Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya, Bir Bikram’s grandfather had provided financial assistance for Visva Bharati University at Shantiniketan, West Bengal Technical Institute and donated a scholarship to scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose. Unfortunately, the successive governments of Congress, Left Front and Trinamool in West Bengal had been desperately trying to erase the history from the present generation of that state, Dev Varma pointed out.

“The royal ruler had introduced Bengali as an official language but it was not to appease the Bengali population – it was the decision of the then king to oppose the introduction of English, which was the agenda of British successors. Bengali was the most convenient for the people living in Hill Tipperah to communicate”, he mentioned.

The royal rulers had established schools even for women in the state during the nineteenth century.

Unfortunately, like West Bengal there was a deliberate attempt to erase that history from the minds of youngsters in 25 years by communists and they aggressively criticized the kings without knowing their contribution but now the BJP-IPFT government wants to rectify it, Dev Varma observed.

Meanwhile, Bir Bikram’s grandson and royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman accompanied by former CPI-M MP Jitendra Choudhury and executives of ADC has inaugurated the King’s birthday celebration at ADC headquarters in the morning after unveiling his statue. The ADC administration has organised daylong cultural events and seminars at all of its zonal establishments in the state.

Addressing the gathering, Pradyot Kishore urged the indigenous people of the state to live with peace and maintain tranquillity, which Bir Bikram had always wanted. Unleashing political violence and inter-community clashes he said, “In the small geography of Tripura we need to live together without any communal consideration for holistic development of the state and the future generations.”

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