TRIPURAINFO

Major events and personalities under the Manikyas


Rangamati , later renamed as Udaipur, had been the capital of princely Tripura ,at least since the commencement of the rule of the Manikyas as attested by 'Rajmala'. It was during the rule of Uday Manikya (1566-71) that the capital was renamed Udaipur, headquarter of the present south Tripura district.

Fall and sack of Udaipur by Mughals:

Till the victory of East India Company in the battle of Plassey in June 1757 over Nawab Sirajuddaula's army Tripura had been subjected to periodic attacks, plundering and extortion by successive Muslim rulers of Bengal. But it was during the rule of Mughal emperor Jahangir that the state suffered most. In the year 1618 when Yashodhar Manikya was the king, Tripura was subjugated by Mughals after a brief siege of the capital Udaipur. The capital was sacked and the state remained under Mughal rule during 1618-20 when people in general were looted. Prohibition was imposed on traditional worship of deities in religious places including 'Tripureswari' temple. King Yasodhar Manikya was captured and taken as prisoner to Mughal court in Delhi never to return to his kingdom and people. Unable to bear the humiliation he breathed his last as an ascetic in Brindaban in 1623 after being released from the Mughal court.

Shamsher Gazi : A violent interlude (1748-60) :

A maverick who rose and fell like a meteor-this seems to be a fairly reasonable assessment of Shamsher Gazi's life and career in the course of which he ruled Tripura by proxy for twelve years. Even though various myths and legends were associated with him after he had seized political control of Tripura, 'Gazinama' authored by Sheikh Manohar and accepted as primary source of information on him, Shamsher Gazi was born of a poor Muslim peasant family in the year 1712 at Kungura village under Dakshin Shik pargana north of Chittagong which formed part of Tripura's Manikya kingdom. While working as 'Tehshildar' in the local landlord Nasir Mohammed's office Shamsher is said to have received divine blessing of a 'Pir'. Gazi, however, soon came to grief after his proposal to marry the landlord's daughter was rudely rejected and he was ordered to be nabbed. Shamsher Gazi made good his escape and organized an armed force. He soon captured Nasir Mohammed's domain in 1745 and massacred the family except the landlord's daughter who he had proposed to marry. Having consolidated his position as landlord of Dakshin Shik and Meherkul parganas Shamsher turned his attention to Tripura and ousted King Krishna Manikya after a brief conflict in the year of 1748. He encountered serious opposition from the tribal subjects in the hilly interiors of the state who flatly refused to pay any tax to the usurper. Having realised that his position was precarious Shamsher Gazi installed late Uday Manikya's nephew Banamali Thakur as a puppet on a bamboo-made throne and started ruling Tripura. Banamli Thakur assumed the title of Laxman Manikya but the gesture fell flat on the people of Tripura who refused to accept him. Shamsher Gazi soon antagonised the people of Tripura with his oppressive rule and the landlords within the state with his brigandage for money to keep the Nawab in Murshidabad in good humour. But the ousted king Krishna Manikya and a group of persecuted landlords jointly petitioned nawab Mir Qasim against Shamsher Gazi. The nawab was convinced and took no time in accepting Krishna Manikya's claim to the throne. Shamsher Gazi was arrested under nawab's order and executed in Murshidabad in 1760.Thus a violent interlude in Tripura's history came to an end.

Puran Haveli (Old Agartala) the new capital :

The shifting of the capital of princely Tripura from Udaipur to 'Puran Haveli' Or Old Agartala had been preceded by political instability and fresh turmoil . A Brigand called Shamsher Gazi who originated in Chittagong area of present Bangladesh rose like a meteor through a bizarre mix of treachery ,organising ability and force of arms. He overthrew king Krishna Manikya in the year 1748 and captured Tripura . He started his disastrous rule with a puppet Laxman Manikya on the throne , looting his own subjects and perpetrating all kinds of atrocities on them. Finally Shamsher Gazi was executed by orders from Nawab Mir Qasim of Bengal in the year 1760 following an appeal from king Krishna Manikya. The king who had spent a wandering life of twelve years after being ousted from throne recaptured power in 1760 and it was before the end of his rule in1783 that the capital of the state was shifted from Udaipur to 'Puran Haveli' or present Old Agartala. According to 'Krishnamala', a book authored in poetic from by Pandit Ramganga Visharad, which chronicles king Krishna Manikya's reign , the shifting of the capital from Udaipur to 'Puran Haveli' took place exactly in the year 1760 A.D. or 1170 'Tripurabda' (Tripuri Era) when Krishna Manikya recommenced his reign after overthrow of Shamsher Gazi from power. In fact after being driven out of Udaipur by Shamsher Gazi , king Krishna Manikya had never returned to the old capital.

New capital at Agartala:

The momentous event of shifting Tripura's capital afresh from 'Puran Haveli' to Present Agartala took place in the year 1838 during the reign of Krishna Kishore Manikya (January 1830-April 1849). We have it on the authority of 'Rajmala' that
Krishna Kishore Manikya , an extravagant ruler perennially on the look out for Pleasure, had once moved on horseback westward down the course of river Hawrah for hunting and was pleased with the plain landscape of Agartala dotted with jungles and marshy land . There and then he decided on shifting the capital Which has remained so till date.