Past and Present of Bongaigaon
decision of the Government of Assam in 1989, to create a new District of Bongaigaon
curving out some areas of the Goalpara and Kokrajhar District with its headquarter located at Bongaigaon was quite challenging.
It was the political and administrative exigencies which had necessitated to create this
new district suddenly although the people of Bongaigaon and the adjoining areas were
demanding a new Sub-Division with its headquarter to be located at Bongaigaon from the
decision to create a new District, Bongaigaon was quite challenging because the very
idea to create such a district was neither a long standing one nor a tested one.
Moreover, the decision to set up a district headquarter at Bongaigaon was more challenging
as there was no Sub-divisional infrastructure in this town, whereas the other newly
created district head quarters of Assam had Sub-divisional infrastructures of their own.
the absence of such basic infrustructural facilities, the initiation of the activity of
the district headquarter was almost started on the street, which was not only challenging
task but also novel one.
September, 1989, the creation of Bongaigaon District was declared by the Government of
Assam with its headquarter at Bongaigaon. The major portion of the areas of
erstwhile Bijni and Sidli estates along with tracts of Eastern Duars was curved out of
Goalpara and Kokrajhar District in October, 1989 in order to create a newest district of
Assam, i.e. Bongaigaon. Although the logistic behind the creation of this new
district was no doubt an administrative one but the political as well as economic
exigencies were also responsible behind its creation.
|Background(a): The original Goalpara district was first created in 1822 A.D. by David
Scott- an employee of East India Company, who was the first Commissioner of newly created
North East Rangpur district Hd. Qr. at Rangpur town(now in Bangla Desh) and newly created
Goalpara district was also tagged with North-East Rangpur district for administration. The
erstwhile Bijni Kingdom's area which included the undivided Garo Hills district area also
constituted the original Goalpara district area in 1822. In 1866 Garo Hills was
separated from Goalpara district area and in the same year a new district named
"Greater Koch Behar" was created and the residual portion of Goalpara district
was withdrawn from Rangpur and tagged with Koch Behar. In 1874 a new province named Assam
Valley Province was created by British Govt.(Successor of East India Company) and Goalpara
district area was withdrawn from Koch Behar and tagged with Assam Province which continues
till today unless petty political gambling disturbs. Now the original Goalpara district
has given birth of four districts namely (i) Goalpara (ii) Dhubri
(iii) Kokrajhar and (iv) Bongaigaon.
Hitherto referred, Bijni Kingdom was first establishment by Bijit Narayan alias Chandra
Narayan in 1671 comprising the area of undivided Goalpara
district.Chandra Narayan was the son of Parikshit Narayan who was the grandson of Yuvaraj
Sukladhwaj alias Chilarai, the world hero(1510-1571 AD). He was the younger brother of
Moharaj Naranarayan, the great emperor of Kamrup Rajya
alias Kamata Empire alias Koch Empire of 16th century.The first capital of Bijni Kingdom
was at modern Bijni town from 1671 to 1864 and thereafter shifted to Dumuria(now known as
Dalan Bhanga) due to attack by Jhawlia Mech - a local chief under Bhutan Kingdom. The big
and dreaded earthquake occured at 5 PM, on 12th June/1897 badly damaged the royal palaces
of Dumuriya caused the shifting of the Capital temporarily to Jogighopa and thereafter
permanently shifted to Deohati forest area now known as Abhayapuri named after Rani
Abhayeswari in 1901, which continued upto 1956 when Govt. of India took over this Kingdom.
At present Bongaigaon district is having three Civil Sub-Divisions, namely (1)
Bongaigaon with Hd. Qr. at Bongaigaon (2) North Salmara with Hd. Qr. at
Abhayapuri town and (3) Bijni with Hd. Qr. at Bijni town.90 % area of Bongaigaon district
belonged to erstwhile Bijni Kingdom and 10% area from Sidli Kingdom, Raja Bhairabendra
Narayan Bhup Bahadur and Raja Ajit Narayan Dev were the last kings of Bijni and Sidli
Kingdoms respectively. Joy Narayan, Shiv Narayan, Bijoy Narayan, Mukunda Narayan, Haridev
Narayan, Indra Narayan, Amrit Narayan,. Kumud Narayan and Rani Abhayeswari were the Kings
and queen in between the founder king Chandra Narayan and the last king Bhairabendra
Narayan of Bijni Kingdom.
|On naming the district: The name of Bongaigaon town and district is the elongation of a fig and
old village named Bongaigaon alias Bong-ai-gaon situated on the southern border of the
town. According to hearsay (1) in the long past there were plenty of wild(Bon) Cows (Gai)
in the surrounding hilly and forest areas. So, the villagers assembled time to time to
drive away the wild cows for protecting their crops. Thus this area was popularly known as
Bon-Gai-Gaon. (2) In that big village areas there dwelt one nature-poet named 'Bong' (Bong
Roy) who could induce laughters to all his bye-standers with his cryptic but harmless oral
composition describing the situation on the spot and in return he could collect grains or
coins voluntarily offered by the audiance. This was his only source of income and
profession. Thus his areas was roughly identified as the village of Bong(Ray) i.e.
Bong-er-Gaon=Bongaigaon that is in course of time. This Bongaigaon village area was famous
for orange fruits which were sold inter-alia other agricultural products in the nearest
market named Birjhora Bazar located at the heart of present Bongaigaon town.The word
Birjhora was derived from Bir+Jirowa(Jirowa means resting place) of Bir(hero). It is held
that the noble hero Chilarai took here rest for about two months during rainy season at
the time of his invading the neighbouring Kingdoms of entire north-east India.
|The People: From the chequered historical background of this district, it can easily
be surmised that the entire area was ruled by Kings/Zaminders/Feudal Lords hailing from
the Koch-Rajbonshies belonging to Indo-Mongoloid ethnic group of peoples right from
15th centuary to the end of princely states in 1956 A.D. The kings of this area had their
hoary past and can be traced back to the "Kiratees" of epic age(Mahabharata
fame) that is pre-vedic age. These Kiratees of dimpast are also mentioned in Kalika Puran
and Jogingi Tantra and also in histories written both by native and foreign schoolers.
Koches alias Koch-Rajbongchies and Kocharies are the original sons of the soil of this new district. Ravas, Garos,
Yogis,Kalitas, Kayasthas and older Muslims are also indegenous who settled in this part of
land prior to the advent of Britishers in North East Region.After advent of British Govt.
in this part of land , a new term named Bodo/Boro was coined deliberately by European
historian.According to them the word Bodo/Boro is a generic term and its species are
(i) Kocharies (ii) Koches (iii) Rabhas (iv) Garos (v) Lalungs (vi)
Hajongs and (vii) Chutiyas
Socio-Cultural Spectrum :
|(a) Everyman and place do
possesses some peculiarities and particulraties that constitute the inherent identity
inspite of heterogeneous elements.Apart from prevalent common environment in the erstwhile
Bijni Kingdom and undivided Goalpara district of 1822, the most striking factors of
Bongaigaon district are the Hilly Caves(Gumphas) and stone carvings of Jogighopa
hill-rocks demonstrating the existance of Budhist culture. The hills and the hilly
rocks , the rivers, natural and man made ponds, the deep
forest, the trees, plants and the bushes --
||all are animated and these
are either friendly gods and goddesses or evil spirits causing sufferings to men
especially amongst rural areas."Ram Rajar Garh" near Deohati village is a man-made historical pond which was excavated by
Ram Singh of Ambar Kingdom of Rajasthan. Ram Singh was grand son of Man Singh of Ambor
Estate(Rajasthan) who excavated here with army of Delhi Sultan at the time of invading Ahom
Kingdom in the second half of 17th century.
|(b) Worshipping of benevolent gods and goddess or driving away evil
spirits by incantation of "Mantras" or black-arts are the common mental make up
and 99% of indigenous rural people even today are followers of pantheism and strong
believer in inevitable destiny and are guided more by heart then head,more by emotion then
by reason.The prime God named Mahadev is whorshiped almost universally at least in
this district area.Bhairab Hills range, Mohadev Hills range
and Bhumiswar Hill are famous for ruins of sculptures,
idols,Siva etc. are pictorial sites awaiting archeological research works and when
renovated these spots will be interesting and charming tourist centres of this district.
||These potential tourist spots having rare and varied species of
trees,birds,insects and even "Golden Langure"
at Kakoijana Hill range, are eagerly awaiting for
protection and promotion. In addition to Tam Ranga" and "Konora Beels"(natural ponds) area can supply fresh and tasty fishes almost to entire
Assam if commercially managed which can also be used as ideal angling spots. Inspite of
pantheistic view of life and worshipping of Gods and Goddesses,Shreemanta Sankardeva (1449-1569)
the propagator of one Supreme God known as "Vishnu"
enjoyed ample scope for spreading his Ism and received warm patronage from Koch Kings and
peoples.Kotasbari, Sankarghola,Bishnupur etc are the indelible foot-prints of Shreemanta
Sankardev and his associates in this district.
"Shakti Puja's"(Worshiping of female deities headed by
aie/Moharani/Kalikarpat etc ) are also found in every nook and corner of this district.Bageswari temple - the central and oldest
Temple of Bongaigaon town area alongwith Kalimandir near Swahid Bedi, Buri Aie of Bhakaribhita , Moharani temple of Khagarpur, Kalikarpat of Kakoijana Hills range, Jogodhatri of Sidalsati etc are worth mentioning spots. It is really interesting to
note that Mohadev and his entire family members are worshipped both individually and
collectively in simple or gorgious manners on different dates in their official or
covering names like Buri Thakurani/Garja/Kalima/Bamboo Puja/Madan Kam, Ganesh
Puja of Lalmati near Abhayapuri town etc. are worth