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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Con (Fusion) Of Language and Origin


(A “severely edited” excerpt from my unpublished book “ Master of Time” .
Hope to publish the book soon)
Introduction: It takes courage and conviction to face facts. In science there
is something known as “ cause and effect “ theory. It simply states that the
effect that we face today, have their cause somewhere. Once the cause is
identified the effect can be altered.
The G20 is being held here, to alter the effects of carbon footprints leading
to climate change. The cause is the careless and insensitive development
at the cost of the environment earlier. So now the world is devising ways
and means for sustainable development goals ( SDG).
It is the same for a society unless and until the members of a society
realise, the cause of their fear of losing their identity, language, culture etc
it will only add to their sense of loss. In medicine it’s called “ diagnosis” . In
history it’s called analytical approach and for a society it is “introspection”-
to look within before indulging in “ blame game”.
For politics, ‘blame game ‘ is a good tool, it gives good dividends through
polarisation but for the society, which wants to move forward- it’s
introspection then positive action. Now shifting demands and goal posts for
last fifty years has yielded almost nothing.Heard one leader say,’anything
from the Indian Constitution’ it is the longest in the world. If the wearer does
not know where the shoe pinches; then how would the Constitution which
has 400 plus articles and 12 schedules?
My earlier article “From Demand to Development Politics”was an
introspection on the partition of Tripura and how the plains of Tripura and
‘reserve areas’ were lost due to non applicability of mind and insensitivity.
It’s surprising that now the cure for partition is another partition of the state.
The same leader I have mentioned above, also says, ‘ We have no
objection if the central government makes a state comprising of 100
villages’ ( callousness of power) now from partition to fragmentation of this
state and yet claiming to be “ Bhumi Putra – son of the soil “.
This article is on language and scholars’ confusion of origin:

Introduction was necessary to put the past into the present context. (Pl
read the introduction on FB)
After Bir Chandra, his son Radha Kishore further reinforced Bengali as the
state language. A rather interesting order was written by him, to one of his

ministers’. When transcribed into English it reads as: “For a long time,
Bengali has been used as the state language and various steps were taken
for its development. I think this has been a matter of pride for a native
Hindu kingdom neighboring Bengal. I have a special love for Bengali and I
feel it’s my duty to ensure that this language is used in all matters
pertaining to the state; so that it further develops as days go by.” (
Rabindranath o Tripura original edition page 22 published 1961 President,
Vice president of India and Maharaja Kirit Bikram Manikya sent messages
on its publication. Original text in Bengali given with this Article)
In the same letter he went on to add,” You maybe be aware that there are
some employees in the state, who are educated in English; please ensure
that they do not deviate from the age old cherished objective and rule.”
What on earth happened to Kok Borok; the indigenous language?
The Political Agent’s report of 1875-1876 stated that Radha Kishore, was
fully acquainted with Kok Borok; the language of his indigenous subjects
and as the heir apparent (jubooraj); he was engaged in the compilation of
its vocabulary.
The report stated, “The jubooraj has moreover at my suggestion, set about
the compilation of a Tipperah vocabulary. He is perfectly acquainted with
the vernacular of the hill people, and I am in hopes that the result of his
undertaking will have some scientific interest”. The enthusiasm that he
showed for his language in his youth somehow, lost its fervor after he came
to the throne. Later on, one never heard of what came of this etymological /
linguistic study of Kok Borok. Nothing was heard of it neither his
successors took it foreword.
There maybe a rationale in making Bengali the State language but there
was none for not developing Kok Borok (the link language among most
indigenous people in Tripura). It was perhaps due to the overwhelming
influence of Bengal and the appreciation that Bir Chandra got from there,
Kok Borok did not get the importance it deserved.
It was certainly, a boon that cultural influences came from other states, as
well as from Bengal, for they helped a remote kingdom, to obtain a broader
perspective and recognition. Further, did not help in anyway to live in
isolation, no matter how glorious it may have been. On the other hand one
must accept the fact that the tendency for refinement did not necessarily
mean that all traditional values should be thought of as excess baggage;
too heavy to be carried forward. This line of thinking, allowed the winds of
change to indiscriminately, “blow away the grain with the husk”. The empty
spaces thus created were filled in with, borrowings from here and there.

The gentry in Tripura stood somewhat transformed by these influences;
they obtained ‘refinement’ in art, culture and literature. In the hills however,
there was perhaps a different story. Without any further comment, a few
lines from the Administration Report for the year 1876-1877AD maybe
quoted; its sole purpose was to give a very sketchy picture of what went on
in those remote areas; “The Tipperahs of all clans are largely beholden to
Bengali mahajans (money lenders), who combine the profession of money-
lending with that of dealers of cotton, the sale of which enables the hill
people to procure many things which they do not produce ordinarily
The meaning of this remark is best left to experts, engaged in serious study
of problems such as, land alienation, indebtedness etc.
With the progress of time Kok Borok gradually faded away from the Palace
and a version of highly mixed or ‘jumbled up’ form of Bengali became
popular, which was a result of influences that had entered .We were indeed
a much ‘jumbled up’ lot! With the evaporation of Kok borok from our lives;
we were left with a Bengali that was incomprehensible to those who knew
the language. Our version of Bengali was interspersed with expressions
and words unknown to that language. We said Halam (taken from the
Persian word Salam instead of Pranam) for paying respect by bowing
before the elders in a sort of a Japanese ‘kowtow’.
We used Marda (word probably coming from Urdu or Persian ‘Mard’) to
mean a male, our term for sewers was ‘golan’ (I don’t know from where it
came). We used the term ‘Sidrana’ to mean ugly; it actually came from the
Kok borok word ‘Sidra’ that had the same meaning. A meal that was served
was ‘Khalai’ it came from
Kokborok. ‘ Maikhlai meaning the same. The word used for kitchen was ‘
Gati Ghar’ it came kokborok “ Nok Ganti “ . I don’t know from where the
word ‘ bejoon’ came for a curry. For the colour green we said “Hario” that
came Nepali and with the strong Nepali influence in which we grew up as
our maternal grandmothers ( maharanis of Birendra Kishore were from
Nepal) who came with retinue of staff and relatives.
Our expressions like ‘Buk Marani’ (a woman who beats her chest) probably
meant a professional mourner, who was hired to weep and beat their
breasts at funerals- known as ‘Ruadalis’ elsewhere.
The other common abuse was Pisha Mara (one who needs to be beaten
with a broom stick ) Sometimes even my mother used this expression on
me as a form of endearment; it had something to do with being
mischievous. I hadn’t the slightest clue from where our ‘lingo’ came but I

seemed to belong to a speechless class of people as far as our mother
tongue Kok Borok was concerned.
One of the many theory of origin went on to state. At the time of Emperor
Ashoka (c 264 to 238 BC), somewhere in the area of what was now
Uttarakhand; there was a kingdom by the name of “Kar-tripura”. Emperor
Ashoka was supposed to have invaded and defeated this kingdom to
spread his boundary unto the highlands of the Himalayas. The name of
Kar-tripura” was inscribed on the famous Ashoka pillar amongst the name
of other kingdoms that Ashoka had conquered.
On the other hand there was a kingdom by the name of Kirata Rajya, in the
Himalayan mountain ranges of Uttarakhand; the kingdom of Tripura was
called Kirata desha or Kirata Rajya in the Rajmala. It was possible that this
kingdom was first known to the Indo-Aryan speakers as Kirata-Pura or city
of Kirata (tribesmen)
Probably later it may have transformed to Kirati-pura, subsequently to Kar-
tipura and finally to Tripura.
Apart from legends and myths the scholars were divided as to the origin of
Tripura. Kailash Chandra Sinha in his version of the Rajmala said, “One
branch of the Shan dynasty of Burma established a kingdom on the eastern
part of Kamrup. In course of time, the youngest son of the king was
defeated by the tribals and due to that he was compelled to shift his
kingdom to the northern part of Cachar. “Cachar” he said, “was the place
from where the ancient Tripura dynasty originated.”
Many scholars gave their views on the origin of Tripura. In his ‘A Cultural
History of Assam, Vol. I’ Dr. B.K. Barua wrote, “The original home of these
people was western China near the Yan-Tse-Kiang and Hwang Ho Rivers.
From there they went down the course of the Brahmaputra, Chindwin and
the Irrawady rivers and entered India and Burma. The swarm that came to
Assam proceeded down to the great bend of the river Brahmaputra near
Dhubri (a place in Assam). From there, some of them went to the south and
occupied the Garo hills and the state of Hill Tiperra”
According to W.W. Hunter in ‘A Statistical Account of Bengal Vol.-VI
(Reprinted in India 1973)’ said “The rulers of Tripura were Tibeto Burmese
in origin” Major Fisher opined that “The Tipperas and the Cacharis are of
the same origin and their customs, religion, appearance are also probably
same”. Sidney Endle in his ‘The Kacharis’ (reprinted in 1975) said, “In
feature and general appearance they approximate very closely to the
Mongolian type, and this would seem to point to Tibet and China as the
original home of the race.”

Once again the historians and linguists were in discord; Hunter remarked
“the name was probably given to the country in honour of the temple at
Udaipur, which still exists. This temple now ranks as the second shrine
(after the fourteen gods) or sacred shrine. It was dedicated to Tripudana,
the Sun God or to Tripureshwari, the mistress of the three worlds.” Mr.
Browne also shared Hunter’s views on this. However some like Kailash
Chandra Sinha in his book on Tripura said “They preferred to call
themselves Children of the Water Goddess (Twi means Water and Phra –
God/Goddess in the Tripuri language; Kok Borok).”
Some linguists went on to opine “that during a survey with elders of the
state it has been noticed that they share a belief that in the ancient times
three families (Tri- Three, Para – families) settled somewhere in the state. It
is to these three families the Tripuri community and the name of the state
owes its origin.”
There seemed to be no agreement among scholars from where the
kingdom of Tripura originated or from where the kingdom got its name
–Tripura. At least there was no discord amongst its people on the legend
from the Mahabharata that traced the origin or on Tripur, who gave a name
to this ancient land. These maybe unhistorical but certainly not
unacceptable; we have accepted the name Bharat, which too comes from a
legend. Probably, there was no reason now not to acknowledge the other
legend that traced the origin of Tripura. As Napolean once said, “What is
history, if not fables accepted?”
Now added to this confusion of origin, we were neither very sure of what
language we spoke nor did we know where the people of this land were
going to. It takes no research to understand the present uncertainty that
prevails in Tripura and her people. Maybe with the pounding of time, we will
be forced like people elsewhere to dissolve into the present majority. It was
a future that many of us did not look forward to but were unable to resist.
The march of time usually tramples over many hopes and aspirations.
Earlier I felt the discomfiture, while attending meetings in tribal areas,
where speeches were made in Kok Borok.
With the passage of time I accepted my handicap and the cause was my
lack of determination to learn kokborok. With the advent of social media
had to accept abusive trolling that has made my skin thicker. But I still felt
the pain of being “ speechless “ with the people with whom we shared a
history of many centuries. Not being an actor, pretender or a entertainer, so
no matter how hard I tried to overlook this fact by speaking in Hindi , like
others as an excuse that today due to Bollywood influence, it’s understood

by all. Yet looking into their eyes; I could feel their disappointment. I had
broken a bond – the bondage of language (mother tongue).
It was an accepted truth , at least for me, through all the glorification of our
history , the oversight of not developing kokborok haunted the present. The
lapses of the past had caught up with today’s realities ; causing so much
feeling of neglect and dishonour. While some like me became “lost in the
con ( fusion) wordless in the mother tongue.”
PS :- On some idle Sundays, I may come out with articles on my FB. The
Bengali version will come once my translator Kartick has done it. Trolls,
abuses criticisms, appreciation, etc all welcome.
(The author is the Ex Deputy Chief Minister of Tripura. The views
expressed here are his his own and personal and not in anyway associated
with any political party or organisation . )
1) Duryhu
2) Babhru
3) Setu
4) Aradban
5) Gandhar
6) Dharma
7) Dhrita
9) Pracheta
10) Parachi
11) Parabasu
12) Parishad
13) Arijit
14) Sujit
16 Bibarna
19) Bikarna
20 )Basuman
21 )Kirti
23) Pratisraba
24) Pratistha
25) Shatrujit

26 Pratardhan
27) Pramatha
28) Kalinda
29) Krama
31) Baribarh
32) Karmook
33) Kalanga
34) Bhishan
35) Bhanumitra
36 Chitrasen
37) Chitrarath
38) Chitrayudha
39) Daitya
41) Trilochan
42) Dalshin
43) Taidakshin
44) Sudakshin
45) Taradakshin
46) Dharmadhar
47) Dharmapal
48) Sudharma
49) Tarabanga
50) Debanga
51) Narangit
52) Dharmangad
53) Rukmangad
54) Sumang
55) Nauyogaray
56) Tarajunga
57) Tarraj
58) Hemraj
59) Birraj
60) Sriraj
61) Sriman
62) Laksmitaru
63) Rupban (Tara Lakshmi)
64) Mailakshmi
65) Nageshwar
66) Yogeshwar

67) Niladhwaj
68) Basuraj
69) Dhanraj Fa
70) Muchung Fa
71) Maichong Fa
72) Chandraraj
73) Tarphalai Fa
74) Sumanta
75) Rupavanta
76) Tarham
77) Khaham
78) Katar Fa
79) Kalatar Fa
80) Chandra Fa
81) Gajeshwar
82) Birraj
83) Nagpati
84) Siksharaj
85) Devraj
86) Durasa
87) Biraraj
88) Sagar Fa
89) Malay Chandra
90) Suryaray
91) Acchangphalai
92) Charatar
93) Achang Fa
94) Bimar
95) Kumar
96 Sukumar
97) Taicharai
98) Rajeshwar
99) Maichili
100) Taichung Fa
101) Narendra
102) Indrakirti
103) Bidvan Biman)
104) Yasoraj
105) Vanga
106 Gangarai

107) Chakruray
108) Pratit
109) Marichi
110) Gagan
111) Nabaray
112) Yuyaru Fa
113) Jangi Fa
114) Devray
115) Sivrai
116 Dungur Fa alias Adi Dharma Fa (c.635-675 A.D.)
117) Kharung Fa (c.675-10 A.D.)
Eighth Century AD
118) Chhengphalai (c.710-745 A.D.)
119) Lalit Rai (c.745-780 A.D.)
120) Mukunda Fa (c. 780- 815)
Ninth Century
121) Kamal Rai (c. 815- 850A.D.)
122) Krishnadas (c. 850- 885 A.D.)
123) Yash Fa (c. 885-920 A.D.)
Tenth Century
124) Muchang Fa (c.920-955A.D.)
125) Sadhu Rai (c. 955-980 A.D.)
126) Pratap Rai (c.980-1010 A.D.)

Eleventh Century
127) Vishnuprasad (c. 1010 -1045AD)
128) Baneshwar (c. 1045-1075 AD)
129) Birbahu (c. 1075-1100A.D.)
Tweleveth Century
130) Samrat (c.1100-125AD)
131) Champa(c.1125-1140AD)
132) Meghraj (c.1140-1160AD)
133) Dharmadhar (c.1160- 1225AD)
Thirteenth Century
134) Chenthung Fa (c. 1225-1250AD)
135) Achong Fa (c.1250-1270 AD)
136) Khichong Fa (c.1270-1280)
137) Dangor Fa (c. 1280-1300AD)

Fourteenth Century
138) Raja Fa (c. 1300-1325AD)
139) Ratna Manikya (c. 1325-1350AD)
140 Pratap Manikya (c.1350-1375AD)
141) Mukut Manikya (c.1375-1400AD)
Fifteenth Century
142) MahaManikya(c.14001430AD)
143) Dharma Manikya(c.1431-1462AD)
144) Pratap Manikya II (c.1462- 1490)
145) Dhanya Manikya (1490-1515 AD)
Sixteenth Century
146) Dhwaja Manikya (1516-1521AD)
147) Dev Manikya(1522-1527AD)
148) Indra Manikya (1527- 1528AD)
149) Vijay Manikya (1528-1563 AD)
150) Ananta Manikya (1564-1535 AD)
151) Udai Manikya * (1566-1572AD)
152) Jai Manikya * (1573 – 1576 AD)
153) Amar Manikya (1577-1585 AD)
154) Rajdhar Manikya (1585-1599)
Seventeenth Century
155) Yashodhar Manikya (1600- 1623AD)
(1623 -1624 there was no king due to Mughal occupation of
156) Kalyan Manikya (1624 -1660AD)
157) Govinda Manikya (1660 -1661AD)
158) Chatra Manikya (1661- 1666 AD)
159) Govinda Manikya (Second reign 1667-1672AD)
160) Ramdev Manikya (1673 – 1682AD)
161) Ratna Manikya II (1682AD)
162) Narendra Manikya (1682-1684AD)
163) Ratna Manikya II (second reign 1685-1712AD)
Eighteenth Century
164) Mahendra Manikya (1712-1713 AD)
165) Dharma Manikya II (1713-1728AD)
166) Jagat Manikya (1729-1730AD)
167) Dharma Manikya I (second reign 1731-1732AD)
168) Mukunda Manikya (1733-1738 AD)
169) Jai Manikya II (1739-1742 AD)

170) Indra Manikya II (1742-1745 AD)
171) Jai Manikya II (second reign 1746 AD)
172) Vijay Manikya Il (1746-1747 AD)
173) Krishna Manikya (1748 – 1783 AD)
174) Janhabi Devi (1783-1785AD)
175) Rajdhar Manikya (1785-1804AD)
Nineteenth Century
176) Ramganga Manikya
177) Durga Manikya
178) Ramganga Manikya (second reign 1813-1826AD)
179) Kasichandra Manikya (1827-1829AD)
180) Krishna Kishore Manikya (1830-1849)
181) Ishaan Chandra Manikya (1849-1862AD)
182) Bir Chandra Manikya (1862-1896 AD)
Twentieth Century
183) Radha Kishore Manikya (1896-1909 AD)
184) Birendra Kishore Manikya (1909-1923AD)
185) Bir BikramKishore Manikya (1923-1947AD)
186) Kirt Bikram Kishore Manikya (1947-1949)
In 1949 Tripura formally merged with the Indian Union.
(* Intruders- not descendants of the Manikya Dynasty)

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