Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Raygunakar Bharat Chandra and His Times ( II ) Sujay Chattopadhay

The Maratha Invasion was an important factor in the history of Bengal like the Chola invasion. While the Chola invasion weakened the Pala rule, the Maratha invasion weakened the authority of Muslim Nawab Alivardi khan. The Nawab fled from his capital Murshidabad and had to depend on his Hindu Rajas for a long time. These Hindu Rajas gave Nawab both financial and military support. Most notable among them were Natore and krishnanagar Royal Families. However, Alivardi khan could not defeat the Marathas. From their katwa headquarter, the Marathas continued their raids on Bengal. Mir Habib was appointed as Dewan and Shesh Rao as Governor of the Marathas. At last Nawab agreed to pay 22 lakhs to Peshwa and Chauth to Shahu on 30th March, 1743. But after a period of silence, Bhaskar Pandit renewed his raids in March, 1744. Alivardi got tired of it and his men assassinated Bhaskar Pandit on 31st March, 1744, at Mankara. Mir Habib joined the forces of Alivardi and he was murdered by the Marathas on 24th August, 1752. As a result, Alivardi lost control over Orissa and Marathas lost interest in Bengal. This ended the Maratha raids on Bengal. The Bhosles of Nagpur never again interfered in Alivardi's kingdom. While Bharat Chandra was a court poet of Maharaja krishna Chandra, he closely observed all these political turmoils. During his boyhood, he was a silent observer of the ravages caused by the invasion of Maharaja kirtichand of Bardhaman which destroyed the Bhurshut kingdom as well as his father's zamindari. His father had to flee and young Bharat Chandra had to spend his early life in his maternal uncle's house in Noapara. He received early Sanskrit education in Tajpur Tol. Later learnt Farsi from Ramchandra Munshi of Debanandapur, Hugli. But neither Sanskrit nor Farsi gave him recognition. It was Bengali that made him an immortal poet of the 18th Century. Bengali was the spoken language of the common people while Farsi was the language of the Muslim ruling elite and Sanskrit was confined among the intellectuals of Hindu society. However, Bharat Chandra created a new style in Bengali language and in Bangla music. He was the last powerful poet of Mangalkavya tradition, a Hindu tradition that had no Islamic influence. The Mangalgaan influenced many Bengali musicians of the early 19th Century. It was used in Bengali theatres of that time. Today this tradition is lost and Annadamangal is no longer a favourite of the Bengalees. But Bharat Chandra survived, not because of his poetry and music-it was the Bengaliness in him that kept him alive till today.

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