Note from the Editor-in-Chief
On behalf of the Department of History, University of North Bengal, I have the privilege of presenting the research journal Karatoya to the scholars and students who are interested in the study of history and culture. Over a dozen of research 'papers covering varied aspects of Indian history stretching from the ancient to the modern times are incorporated in the journal. '
It is a general practice ih an academic exercise of this type to make a briefobservation about the contents of the articles. The publication thus opens with an academic endeaevor of Samir Kumar Mandal to draw a picture of later Vedic society as reflected in the KauSika Sñtra, which is a grhya text ofthe Atharvaveda. Exploiting the materials ofthe Atharvaveda, the Kauéika Sûtra has applied them in many social and religious matters including kingship, cattle-rearing, agriculture, charms for diseases, women rites, witchcraft, etc.
A study of some aspects of internal administrative set up of the monastic Order (Vihara) as well as the mechanism of the monastic hierarchy system is the subject matter of Dr. Pranabananda Jash 's essay. In every sphere of activities of the monastery, a strong and well-organized management involvement was executed. Professor Jash convincingly pointed out that the rules and regulations of the Order were neither drawn up in their entirety in Buddha's life time, not were formulated in their entirety after his demise.
Dr. Gaur Chandra Ghosh has presented in his article the arts and crafts of early medieval Bengal in cultural perspective. The feudal character ofthe society ofEarly Medieval Bengal could hardly preclude the possibility of the growth ofvarious industries. Agriculture, industry and commerce continued to be in symbiotic progress during the period though agriculture preponderated over others. The flamboyance of the industries in Bengal was marked by the demand of the industrial products of Bengal to different parts of India and abroad. The reason might be the elevated status of the labour class since the Gupta Age. The rise Buddhist Pala Dynasty in Bengal and the eradication of the caste system in Bengal also acted one ofthe propelling factors to the growth of industries in Bengal.
The Origin of Ancient Kamatapur is analytically unfolded before us by Dr. Sailen Debnath. Ancient Kamatapur emerged as a political unit on the bifurcation of Kamrup after the death of heirless Bhaskar Varman in the mid-seventh century. The post-Bhaskar days witnessed a war for supremacy between Sangaldip, a feudatory (?) ofthe departed king and Salastambha, a legitimate successor of Bhaskar (?). The conflict ended with Salastambha conceding to the claim of Sangaldip over the land from the Sankosh to Karatoya. Sangaldip's reign was short-lived because of his defeat in the hands of the Tibetan Imperial forces. Tibetan rule was also ephemeral. The geo-political unit that once was formed by Sangaldip to the west of the kingdom of the Salstambhas, in course of time, came to be known as Kamatapur mainly circumscribed by the Himalayas in the north, the Karatoya in the west, the Sankosh and often by the Brahmaputra in the east and by the Padma-Brahmaputra confluence in the south.
Dr. Sayamtara Jash in her paper on Srimanta Sankaradeva and thè Concept of Neo-Vaishnavism in Assam has analyzed that Sankaradeva had a mission to elevate the socio-religious life ofAssam as well as other neighbouring regions and to translate his ideas into reality irrespective of any caste-colour distinction; he took help ofvarious performing arts. The paper also incorporates a brief but critical exposition of the Mahapurusiya dharma with adequate emphasis on 'Eka-sarana' dharma, i.e. the religion of Supreme surrender to One, and that One is Vishnu-Narayana.
In the article ' A Political Biography of an Ujjainia Chief of Bhojpur: Raja Gajpati', Dr. Tahir Hussain Ansari has discussed in details about the power and position of Raja Gajapati as well as their relations with the Mughal Emperors. Ujjainias were very powerful chiefs of Bhojpur in Bihar. Raja Gajpati was having very good relation with the Afghans of Bihar in general and Sher Shah in particular. The Ujjainia chief developed cordial relation with the Afghans and probably helped Sher Shah in his struggle against Mughal Emperor, Humayun. Hence, whenever the Afghans rebelled against the Mughals, Raja Gajpati also rebelled against the Mughals. Although many times he was defeated and brought under the Mughals's control so much as to make the payment of malguzari or peshkash and render them his services, a cordial relation could not be established between Raja Gajpati and the Mughals.
Gouri Dey draws our attention to the place of carpets in the lives of the Mughals. The Mughals were conscious about the interiors of their palaces, which is seen through the carpets used by them. Carpet was more or less a synonym for a variety of floor spreads. In the Mughal court, each such covering had a distinctive term based on its individual usage or function, being distinct in in its own kind, design, pattern or motif. Carpets of all shapes, sizes, textures and grades gained important position in the life style ofthe Mughals. Carpetry, introduced from Persia had its own distinctive aesthetic touch under the Mughals. After the decline of the Mughal rule there was perceptible decrease in the gorgeousness of carpet industry.
Dr. Bijoy Kumar Sarkar in his paper titled State, Power and Ethics ofGovernance: A Kamata-Koch Experience makes an assessment ofthe nature and extent of ethics observed in the governance ofthe Kamata-Koch Kingdom. Analysing different politico-administrative activities of the Kamata-Koch kings, Dr. Sarkar goes to say that it is not always possible for a weaker state to adhere to the ethics of governance due to lack of power. At the same time, he also reminds us that the Kamata-Koch Kings used powers more or less for betterment of the people and held the tradition of ethical standard in governance fairly high.
The purpose of the paper titled Brahmaputra Valley in the Nineteenth century: Colonial State, Embankments and Floods by Dr. Monisankar Misra is to discuss critically how the British, who succeeded the Ahoms to the political authority, visualized and negotiated floods in nineteenth century Brahmaputra valley particularly with regards to embankment construction or renovation. This constitutes an important agenda, as the colonial state was not organically linked to the soil ofAssam unlike the Ahoms or their predecessors. Therefore, interesting highlights can be obtained as to the nature ofthe functioning of an alien colonial rule.
In her paper on 'Colonising Darjeeling Forest without Indigenous Resistance: An Overview of Colonial Darjeeling' Tahiti Sarkar attempts to unravel the impact of the 1 9th century colonial interventions in the forests of Darjeeling Hills. It has been traced to seek how such interventions did affect her indigenous people and the resultant reactions, if any, to such colonial inroads. The indigenous resistance to colonial forestry in Darjeeling hills has been intended to be perceived from the broader frame of Environmental history. The study explores whether the Colonial Powerscape of Darjeeling Hills provided for a strong predicament to develop any subaltern consciousness of resistance.
The article "Migration, Urbanisation and Growth of Hill Town in Darjeeling: a Historical Study" (1835-1950) by Chanchal Mandal and Dr. Dahlia Bhattacharya systematically represents the background and process of urbanisation in Darjeeling hill town by interpreting migration from Nepal and its adjacent areas which turned this region from sparsely populated to bulk populated. Tea and Tourism including its natural geographical beauty was utilised by the colonial Raj as a centre of relief from the heat of the plains. Darjeeling hill town received spontaneous development of ultimate urbanising features by the end of the twentieth century.
Dr. Sukanya Majumadar draws our attention to the 'Origin of labour movement in the tea plantation ofDoars region from 1860 to 1947. She initially analyses the rare occurrence of this movement and the different view held by the British about such phenomenon. Then she goes to show how the workers were becoming conscious about their rights and started protesting against wrongs committed by the tea planters. Gradually this gave rise to the different labour unions which aimed at unifying the workers for their development and selfsufficiency.
Historical Genesis of Bind Community in West Bengal is the theme of research of Bhola Nath Mandal. Here he attempts to trace the origin of a marginalised community — the Bind- which belongs to the scheduled caste group in West Bengal and maintains their tribal tradition in spite of adopting Hinduism.
'Non-Co-operation Movement in Contai', Midnapore is the theme of academic investigation by Sankar Kumar Das. This phase of the national movement in Contai was very much striking for its varied contour and varying configuration. The three Parallel Governments formed by the Contai people at Patashpur, Khejuri and Contai were ample proofs oftheir revolutionary zeal and conviction.
Supam Biswas in his article 'Emergence of Non-Bengali entrepreneurship: A case study oftea plantation industry in North Bengal since independence' shows how the Bengali entrepreneurs who had no reserve fund to meet the challenge posed by Kenya, Shrilanka etc. in world expert market, had to draw loan from the Marwaris, Biharis, etc and their failure to repay the loan due to lack of enhancement of rate of production, led to change of hands of the tea estates from these extravagant Bengali entrepreneurs to the non-Bengalis. The frequent changes in the ownership have severely affected the tea industry in the form ofdecline ofquality.
Dr. Rup Kumar Barman in his essay 'The proxy citizens ofNorth Bengal analytically talks about the people of Indian enclaves in Bangladesh in historical perspective. They are defacto stateless people from the perspective home country, though in the host country most ofthe chhitmahal-dwellers have acquired citizenship ofhost country with the help ofcorruption and falsehood. So they are proxy citizens of both 'home' and 'host' countries. In practice, they are being deprived from the basic amenities and rights ofcitizens including civil, cultural and political rights, rights ofthe children and women, right to citizenship, right to protection from the persecution by any state or non-state actors, etc.
I do not like make any comment or remark on any paper incorporated in this volume; on the contrary, I would like to mention that the responsibility for the facts stated, opinions expressed and conclusions reached is entirely that of the authors concerns and the editor of the journal accepts no responsibility for the same.
It is now my solemn duty to express my gratitude to our Honourable Vice-Chancellor Professor Somnath Ghosh who is an always forceful inspiration in pursuing ofany academic works. in the Department. I am thankful to my colleagues of the Department of History, Finance Officer, the Register, The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Commerce and Law for their warm encouragement and necessary cooperation for publishing this journal.
I am greatly indebted to Pranabananda Jash for his constant help, advice and guidance throughout the period I was engaged in editing this volume. His valuable suggestions have always been consider as an inspiration and encouragement. I have no words to express my gratitude to him.
I am also grateful to all the contributors for the enrichment of this publicaction by providing valuable research papers.
Thanks are also due to the officials and the staff of North Bengal University Press for their earnest cooperation in carefully printing the journal within a very short time.
Bijoy Kumar Sarkar Department of History University of North Bengal