Monday, 29 April 2013

Bangladesh Hindus Protest in Toronto 28th April, 2013

Bangladesh Hindus, Boudhas and Christians staged a protest gathering at Dundas Square in Toronto of Ontario on 28th April 2013 at 3pm organised by Bangladesh Hindu Boudha and Christian Oikya Parishad  in order to protest against atrocities by Islamic thugs belong to different political parties and its affiliate organisations. According to available reports 319 Hindu temples and more than 1500 Hindu houses and business had been burnt and destroyed in between 28th Feb 2013 and 23rd March 2013. 2 Hindus had been brutally killed. Still everyday temple burning reports are coming. The destruction occurred in 32 districts out of 64 districts of Bangladesh.
 
 
 


 










 
 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Challenging the Roots of the Being of Bangladesh

Dated 23-Apr-2013


In the last three months Bangladesh has plunged into a strife ridden situation where politics is being pushed by extreme religious ideas. Some foreign forces seem to relish in further provoking a situation which goes against the current global trend to eradicate fundamentalist forces and terrorism.

The reason? The ruling Awami League government decided to establish two International War Crimes Tribunals (ICT) to try the 1971 liberation war criminals who had opted to actively oppose independence from Pakistan. If these people had opposed only politically, that would have been another case. But they went much further and committed inhuman crimes against the people that defy description. They slaughtered more than three million nationalists, raped more than 200 thousand women. Not even the old, the infirm and children were spared. These people, who now identify themselves as Bangladeshis or Bengalis, were far more  vicious and rapacious than their mentors, the Pakistani occupying army. These criminals should have been tried soon after liberation in 1971, but events that followed were such that the trials could not be held till now. The first ICT was, however, established in 1973 and initial trials held.

Sk. Hasina’s 2008 poll pledge had two significant promises. One was eradication of terrorism, and the other was trials of the war criminals. The two issues are intrinsically linked. That the Awami League won the elections with an unprecedented majority is testimony to the fact that a large majority in the country were behind her.

What is pertinent here is that a substantial number of voters during the last elections were first time voters, and born well after 1971. Same is the case with the current Shahbagh protestors.
Bangladesh suffers from a very special dichotomy. How is it that those people, those political parties, who opposed independence, killed and raped, remain free to even become ministers while quietly carrying out their old nefarious agenda?

The youth of Bangladesh, both men and women, demand a closure to 1971 so a stable country could evolve and could concentrate on development and progress in a democratic and secular country. Sk. Hasina and her coalition government are determined to deliver on these demands.

Among those under trial/convicted with the death sentence are nine leaders from a single party, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI). They include Ghulam Azam, the old Amir of JEI, Motiur Rehman Nizami, the current Amir, Nayeb-e-Amir, Dilwar Hossain Saidee and other top leaders. There is no dearth of evidence against them – living eye witnesses, records left by the Pakistani military government, at least two books by young Pakistani military officers who have written their personal accounts, with photographs and mentioning mass graves.

There have been sharp criticism of the reliability of the ICT from within and outside Bangladesh. Within Bangladesh the obvious interested parties include the JEI and their partner, the BNP and their allies. Organizations like the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are the usual suspects who have their own peculiar agenda mostly on behalf of their fund masters. But the position taken by the British Weekly, The Economist, is most surprising. For the last two years it has carried articles attacking India on Bangladesh politics, chastised the Awami League and stood steadfast with the JEI and BNP. This weekly has lost all credibility of honest, upright reporting and analysis.

There is a three point opposition coalition attack on the government. One is on the abolition of the “caretaker government” system to conduct general election by the Awami League led government through a constitutional amendment. The other is the JEI’s and its students front Islami Chatra Shibir’s (ICS) public violent movement to save their leaders from the war crimes trial. The third which has recently started is the Hifazat-e-Islam Bangladesh (HIB), which presented the government with a 13-point demand at a Dhaka rally on April 06. The government has up to May 05 to meet the demands, most of which are religiously retrogressive. All three are mutually supportive.

The entry of the HIB into the fray may be more dangerous than the BNP agitation. It draws its strength from the Quami Madrassas, or those Madrassas which do not receive support from the government and hence are not under government supervision. The students are from low income to poor families and are imparted religious education. Students who pass out from those Madrassas are not equipped for economic activities but only religious teaching or serving in Mosques.

There is a need to compare the mushrooming of private Madrassas in Pakistan which produced hundreds and thousands of jehadis including suicide bombers. The Pakistani Madrassas, promoted by the military, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the government are beginning to turn against the country and its development.

The Pakistan experience is very important in the context of Bangladesh. Holding a hundred thousand men protest in the capital Dhaka does not come free. Money is coming from somewhere, and so is organization.

The JEI has substantial resources earned from their economic activities and illegal funding from Saudi, Kuwaiti and other NGOs. When the BNP-JEI alliance was in power from 2001-2006, such money was given to the ICS, and terrorist organization like the Jamatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB), its affiliate the JMJB, and other such organizations.

Then Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia was fully aware of what was happening and the role that her elder son Tareq Rehman and BNP minister like Luftazzaman Babar along with JEI ministers and leaders played in promoting terrorism, is now well known and documented in court records and media.  Khaleda is on record to assert that JMB and their leaders like Sheikh Abdur Reheman and Bangla Bhai were a creation of the media.  Her lie was eventually exposed.

Right wing extremist terrorism has been hammered down by the government during the last three years. But they have not been rooted out.  They have gone underground, and it is not unlikely that the basic structure and network extends to the ISI of Pakistan.  It is astonishing that Tareq Rehman’s connection not only extended to the ISI, but also to Dawood Ibrahim, the world’s most wanted criminal, living in Clifton, the posh area of Karachi under ISI protection.  Tareq and his close friend Giasuddin Manan are known to have met Dawood at a hotel in Dubai in 2004.  Dawood also visited Dhaka after that to prepare an operation as part of the BNP-JEI government, and the ISI to illegally import ten truck loads of arms for the ULFA insurgents in Assam.

It may also be mentioned that the JMB had set up a small establishment in Murshidabad, West Bengal in 2004.  They had to retreat due to pressure from India and the US.  Recent developments in Kolkata, West Bengal with a particular minority group openly supporting the JEI and the war criminals should not be ignored.  Assam is also vulnerable.

Around 2004/05, the JEI was quite confident of forming the government without outside support by 2013.  The JEI had become the tail that wagged the BNP dog.  That situation entails even today.
The HIB’s 13-point programme demands greater change in the constitution for rule by Sharia, further eroding the secular and democratic principles.  In veiled words segregation of women is also another demand. Death sentence has also been demanded for those who insult Islam and the Prophet (PBUH).  It is easy to apply the blasphemy law as seen in Pakistan and some other countries.  Four bloggers of the Shahbag movement have been arrested by the government for alleged insult to Islam.  This is a very dangerous step and can turn out to be the Achilles’  heel of the government.  If a small crack is allowed, it will become not only a gaping hole but wash away the wall.  It will not be easy.
The JEI is now threatened with a huge challenge.  So is the BNP.  It is not only the war crimes, but also crimes committed during the BNP-JEI rule from 2001 to 2006.  Charges range from loot of the nation to political assassinations including attempts to assassinate Sk. Hasina.

The BNP is not an ideological party like the JEI.  It is an assorted group where most do not subscribe to JEI ideology.  The women leaders and cadres including in their youth wing , the Jubo League will have to think about their own future. So will the young men in the party be forced to consider their future.

The choice between a secure future and going back to the dark ages is in front of them.  There is the option for closure of 1971 which cannot be achieved without hard decisions.  Women hold up half the sky in Bangladesh and make a significant contribution to the economy which is growing at over 6 per cent.  Will they succumb to the HIB demands? Unlikely.  And they need encouragement from their families, NGOs and the government.

Returning to the central point, the old Pakistani moulded matrix is still alive.  Some leading Pakistani media houses do no approve this path for Bangladesh.  It is time India took cognizance of the developments as they can directly impact India’s stability and security.

Progressive Bangladesh must squarely deal with two developments.  One is Begum Khaleda Zia’s call on the army not to remain silent in the face of the government’s misdeeds, that is, calling on the armed forces to revolt and stage a coup.  Thankfully, the three service Chiefs decided to take an oath in parliament recently not to act unconstitutionally.  Even then, the situation ahead is unpredictable given the influence of the BNP and JEI in the armed forces.

Next, with the protests against the WCT trials not gaining non-partisan public support, the opposition have moved to create the HIB movement to inject religious sentiments against the pro-liberation and progressive population.  The BNP must remember that it is rearing a monster which will consume the party and the nation.

(The writer is a New Delhi based strategic analyst.  He can be reached at  e-mail grouchohart@yahoo.com)

Source: www.southasiaanalysis.org

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Bangladesh: To Bangla Opposition Leader: Pyromaniachs are eventually consumed by fire

Dated 28-Mar-2013

By Bhaskar Roy
 
Begum Khaleda Zia, Chairperson of the main opposition party in Bangladesh, is a two-time Prime Minister of Bangladesh.  She and her party also took to the streets in 1992 in a joint movement with the Awami League to oust General and President H.M. Ershad’s military government.  Her husband, Gen, Zia-ur-Rahman, usurped the post of the President of the country, ran a martial law government to start with, lived by the sword, and died by it.
 
The assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family on August 15, 1975 ushered in the politics of Martial Law and military rule  like Pakistan. The BNP and its ally the Jamaat tried to sponsor a military coup in 2006, but were pre-empted by some top army leaders.  But there was the shadow of the army over the caretaker government when the famous “minus two” theory – exile both Khaleda Zia and Sk. Hasina, was tried.  A new party to be led by a particular celebrated person was contemplated.
 
Then army Chief Gen. Moin U. Ahmed also floated a new political theory of “democracy with Bangladeshi characteristics”.  Unfortunately, Gen. Moin appears to have been influenced by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s theory of “socialism with Chinese characteristic”.  There can be no comparison between two in any way.  But people do get carried away, and can be pardoned if they did not cause any harm.
 
With this background, it is astonishing that a political leader like Begum Khaleda Zia who has seen the Bangladesh liberation war in the early stages from the Pakistani army controlled cantonment in Dhaka, to the present stage would again call on the army to intervene in the politics of the country.
 
This writer remembers what late Maj. Gen. M.A. Mannaf told him in 1983.  Gen. Mannaf, who was the GOC and Martial Law Administrator of Chittagong Division said he believed the army belongs to the barracks and on the borders of the country to defend the nation from external aggression.
 
Certainly, many countries call in the army to help in natural disasters, communal riots and disturbances of this kind, because the army is better equipped and better trained.  In all circumstances it is the government that controls the country.  On March 24, however, Khaleda Zia called upon the army not to be a silent spectator and play its role in the political development in the country.  She placed the police firing on the rampaging Jamaat and its student wing Shibir cadres, on the same page as the police firing under the Pakistani regime in 1971!
 
Khaleda Zia’s recent public statements have not only been injudicious but down right dangerous.  She called the nation’s secular youth movement as “perverted” and anti-Islam.  She called the police actions to control the violent protests by the Jamaat-Shibir and some BNP cadres as “genocide”. True more than 170 people have died in these riots. But the dead include a number of policemen, several minorities (Hindus and Buddhists), pro-secular activists and, of course, some Jamaat-Shibir cadres.
 
Khaleda Zia never termed the killing of more than three million Bengalees and rape of more than two hundred thousand Bengalee women by the Pakistani army and their Bengalee Jamaat partners in 1971, as “Genocide”.  There were three recorded instances of genocide in the last century.  One was the German Nazi extermination of Jews in the “Holocaust”, the 1971 killing and raping of Bangladeshis, and the extermination of almost a third of the Cambodian population by the Khemer Rougue.  The Nazi war criminals have been brought to justice, and so have the Khmer Rouge killers like leng Sary and Khieu Sampan among others. It is the turn for Bangladesh to bring their killers to book and bring the 1971 genocide to a closure.  This happened in Germany and Cambodia.
 
The closure of 1971 has been prevented by foreign interference including strategic interests and Wahabi infiltration to turn Bangladesh’s sufi oriented Islamic culture which can be interpreted as secular Islam, into a radical Islamic country.  Between 1998 to 2008, the effort of the Jamaat with support from BNP leaders was to convert Bangladesh into a haven for the Al Qaida and Taliban.  While the BNP wanted to create a special relationship with Pakistan, which revealed the so called Bangladeshi nationalists in Pakistani clothing like Gen. Zia-ur-Rahman and his wife Khaleda Zia,  the Jamaat’s objective was to reject the liberation war and reunite with Pakistan.  The Jamaat ever accepted Bangladesh as a sovereign country.
 
International empathy for the BNP and Jamaat appears to have dwindled sharply.  The Jamaat has been at pains to explain their innocence on the atrocities against minorities to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), but to no avail.  The UK Weekly, the Economist, a steadfast supporter of the BNP and the Jamaat over the last two years at least, is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their position.  The magazine is now attacking the judicial process of the Bangladesh International War Crimes Tribunals (ICT- I & II).  This is unlikely to last long.   The magazine has compared Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichman’s trial with the ICT trials.  But they have stopped  short of  the Cambodian trial of the Khmer Rougue exterminators.
 
Begum Khaleda Zia must remember one thing.  That in the last ten years the world has changed at a very fast pace.  She is opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box.  What pours out from this Box can destroy her and her two sons.
 
Note: The writer is a New Delhi based strategic analyst.  He can be reached  at  e-mail grouchohart@yahoo.com

Source: www.southasiaanalysis.org
 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Hindu American Foundation E-Press: Americans Demand Justice for Persecuted Hindus in Bangladesh at White House‏

Washington, D.C. (April 12, 2013) -- "We want justice, we want justice," was the chant heard from a crowd of over 300 demonstrators, mostly of Bengali origin, on Wednesday in front of the White House. The rally, organized by the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), urged the United States government to use its influence to stop the rampant persecution of Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh. 

 
Many of the participants spoke of their first hand experience with persecution they endured during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence and the ongoing violent campaigns that have occurred since. 

 
"The recent tragedies faced by the Hindu community of Bangladesh are reflective of the violent attacks that we faced in 1971 and again in 2001," said Sitanghsu Guha, an advisor to BHBCUC. "In a report presented to Congress, Senator Ted Kennedy shed invaluable light on the targeting of Bangladesh's Hindu community during the country's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. There are details of the tremendous loss of life, hundreds of thousands of women raped, and the nearly ten million people displaced. It is in that spirit that we urge the U.S. government to offer its support to Bangladesh in this critical time. If the U.S. fails to act now, there may be no Hindus left in Bangladesh."

 
Protesters arrived in chartered buses from New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and as far as California to join local DC area residents. Recent months have seen a sharp rise in violence perpetrated against Hindus, Buddhists, Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, and atheists in Bangladesh by Islamist groups after the first of three Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) leaders was convicted for committing war crimes during the country's 1971 War of Independence from Pakistan. JeI and other groups are widely believed to have instigated the current spate of violence. 

 
"The situation in Bangladesh is getting worse by the day. The demands of the protesters to President Obama and American lawmakers to stop the violence in Bangladesh are urgent for not only the safety of Bangladeshis, but U.S. security interests in the region." said Jay Kansara, HAF Associate Director. "Bangladesh has witnessed increasing religious fundamentalism for decades to the demise of all its minority communities who have bore the brunt of violent attacks and killings." 

 
Earlier in the day, a small delegation of leaders from BHBCUC and HAF met with Congressional offices to request a hearing on the persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. The delegation also requested groups perpetrating violence against religious 
minorities in Bangladesh, like the Jamaat-e-Islami and its 
affiliates, be put on U.S. designated terrorist lists.  

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Raja Sitaram Ray The First Bengali Who Revolted Against Mughal Tyranny

Raja Sitaram Ray (Bengali: রাজা সীতারাম রায়) (1658–1714) was an autonomous king, a vassal to the Mughal Empire, who revolted against the Empire and established a short lived sovereign Hindu dominion in Bengal.

Early life

Ancestry

Sitaram came from the Kashyap Das clan, one of the nine clans that constitute the Uttar Rarhi Kayasthas. The clan was settled in the Fatehsingh region of Murshidabad. Ramdas Khan Gajdani, who became famous in the early 15th century by donating a golden elephant at his mother's sraddha, belonged to this family. His son, Anantaram Das, was an official in Delhi. After him, the next few generations had fallen into penury. The family rose again when Sriram Das obtained the title of Khas Biswas from Man Singh, the then Mughal governor of Bengal. His son, Harish Chandra Das, rose to further prominence and obtained the title of Rai Raiyan from the Mughals. Harish Chandra's son Udaynarayan, the father of Sitaram rose to the post of a tehsildar under the faujdar of Bhusna.
When Udaynarayan was posted at the Rajmahal, the capital of Bengal, he married Dayamayi, the daughter of a Kayastha Ghosh family of Mahipatipur in Katwa. Sitaram was born in Mahipatipur, the first child of Udaynarayan and Dayamayi in 1658, some time before Aurangzeb ascended the throne at Delhi. Sitaram's mother was a brave woman. In her girlhood, she had fended off a band of dacoits with a khadga.

Childhood

When Mir Jumla transferred the capital back to Dhaka in 1660, Udaynarayan also moved to Dhaka. At that time, he didn't bring his family with him. Shaista Khan became the governor of Bengal in 1664. At that time, Udaynarayan rose to the post of tehsildar and shifted to Bhusna. After a few years, he built a residence at Hariharanagar near the banks of Madhumati and brought his family there.

Sitaram spent his childhood at his maternal uncle's home at Katwa. At school he learned Sanskrit and, though Bengali was not taught at the chatuspathis, he studied it at home. He could recite Chandidas and Jaydev. He had very good handwriting. When he grew up a little, he had to learn Persian, the official language of the Mughal Empire. Later, when he arrived at Bhusna, he picked up Urdu, during interactions with the Muslims. In his childhood, he also learned how to wield a lathi. He learned horse riding and fencing after arriving at Hariharanagar.

Early adulthood

While he was growing up he used to frequent Dhaka, the provincial capital of Bengal. Shaista Khan was very much impressed with his courage and work. At that time a Pathan rebel named Karim Khan was wreaking havoc in the pargana of Satair. The Mughal faujdar had failed to suppress him and Shaista Khan was wondering how to crush the rebellion. When Sitaram came forward to subdue the rebel the governor sent him on the mission with a few thousand infantry and cavalry. Sitaram fought valiantly and Karim Khan was killed. Shaista Khan, much impressed with the success rewarded Sitaram with the jagir of Naldi pargana.

Career

Reign as jagirdar

After obtaining the jagir, Sitaram concentrated on building an army. At Dhaka he became acquainted with a soldier of fortune named Ramrup Ghosh who accompanied him on the mission against Karim Khan. Ramrup was not only a great soldier but also an accomplished strongman, well versed in wrestling. He was popularly known as Mena Hati, for he had killed a small elephant with his bare hands. Ramrup became the chief of Sitaram's army. Two other generals were Rupchand Dhali and Fakira Machhkata. Bakhtar Khan, a Pathan dacoit, and Amal Baig, a Mughal soldier, also joined his ranks.

After the death of Shah Jahan, the Mughal battle for succession had left the province in turmoil. Lawlessness was the order of the day. Naldi was infested with dacoits and Sitaram had to deal with them first in order to restore order to the troubled pargana. Soon the dacoity was suppressed and Sitaram became the saviour of the masses and began to be compared to the village deity Nishanath. Sitaram built his residence in the village of Suryakunda where the erstwhile revenue office too was located. Garrisons were set up both at Suryakunda and Hariharanagar. His father was still stationed at Bhusna and he used to visit him regularly. At this time he also added some talukas of Satair to his jagir.

Around 1684, Sitaram's parents died in quick succession. After the sraddha, he went on a pilgrimage to Gaya. His secretary, Muniram Ray, and principal aide, Ramrup Ghosh, accompanied him. The affairs of the jagir were entrusted with his younger brother Lakshmi Narayan. After completing the ceremonial rites at Gaya, he travelled to the Mughal court at Delhi and made a plea for vassal rule under the empire. In 1688, he was granted the title of Raja and additionally granted the right of Southern Bengal extending into the Sunderbans.

Reign as monarch

In the same year, Sitaram was ceremonially sworn in as the king of Naldi, Satair and the Bhati region of lower Bengal. Although he had become a king, he had no capital. So he constructed a fortified capital at Mohammadpur, near Suryakunda. Mohammadpur was guarded on three sides by bils and on the east by Madhumati. The fort was square in shape having each side not less than 1,300 feet (400 m), built of earthen bricks and surrounded by moat. Beyond that there were natural and artificial water bodies to protect the fort. To the north and east it was the Kaliganga river. To the west there were the bils and Chhatravati river. To the east fell Madhumati. In the south, Sitaram constructed a moat extending from east to west, measuring almost a mile in length and 200 feet (61 m) in width. Inside the fort, Sitaram set up garrisons and built residences, temples and tanks. He encouraged craftsmen and merchants to set up businesses at Mohammadpur and soon it became a thriving metropolis abuzz with trade and commerce. Sitaram added new recruits to the army and added an artillery division. His two famous cannons, Kale Khan and Jhumjhum Khan, were commissioned during this time.

After the demise of Satrajit Ray, the son of Mukundaram Ray one of the Bara Bhuiyans of Bengal in 1636, the royal family diminished in stature. Kalinarayan Ray, the son of Satrajit, was a zamindar of the small parganas of Rupapat, Poktani, Rukanpur & Kachuberia taraf of Naldi pargana under the chakla of Bhusna. During Sitaram's reign, the minor sons of Kalinarayan's grandson Krishna Prasad were the zamindars. Sitaram annexed this small feudatory into his kingdom.

To the west of Satrajitpur, lay the pargana of Mahmudshahi, at the time under the zamindari of Naldanga. When Sitaram invaded Mahamudshahi, Ramdev, the zamindar of Naldanga was forced to cede the pargana to Sitaram. Later when Sachipati Majumdar, the zamindar of Nanduali revolted against Ramdev and stopped paying taxes, Sitaram supported him and made a treaty with him.

Sitaram annexed the small zamindars in the north up to the Padma and even some portions to the north of Padma in the district of Pabna. Most of these zamindars were under Pathan rule. To the north of Satair lay the jagir of a Pathan named Daulat Khan. After his demise, the estate broke into four parganas – Nasibshahi, Nusratshahi, Mahimshahi & Belgachhi. Sitaram invaded Nasibshahi when the battle for succession was going on among the sons of Daulat Khan. Sitaram defeated Nasibshahi in the battle of Malanchigram and the battle of Kalikapur. After defeating the other sons of Daulat Khan, Sitaram annexed all the four parganas into his kingdom. The conquest of these Pathan feudatories took place between 1702 and 1704.

When Sitaram was away from Mohammadpur, Manohar Ray, the zamindar of Chanchra conspired with the Nurullah Khan the Mughal faujdar of Mirzanagar to attack Mohammadpur. At that time the capital was entrusted with his diwan Jadunath Majumdar. The combined forces of Manohar Ray and Nurullah Khan camped at Bunagati. Jadunath connected the streams of Chitra and Phatki by a canal to check their further advancement and garrisoned his troops and artillery. Manohar Ray sensing defeat made peace with Jadunath and retreated. When Sitaram received the news, he straight away invaded the Ishafpur pargana of Chanchra and advanced with his troops to Nilganj. Manohar was forced to accept the suzerainty of Sitaram and pay revenue to him.

In the Sundarbans, Sitaram's domain lay to the east of Shibsha river, corresponding to the modern district of Bagerhat. In 1710, the peasants revolted and stopped paying taxes. So he advanced with his troops in vessels like sip and palwar along the Madhumati towards the south. In the battle of Rampal he defeated the rebels and annexed the parganas of Churulia and Madhudiya.

Sitaram's kingdom extended from the northern banks of Padma to the Bay of Bengal in the south. The kingdom constituted of two distinct regions – the densely populated urban settlements to the north of Bhairab river and the sparsely populated agricultural estates to the south of Bhairab. The northern portion extended from Pabna in the north to Bhairab in the south and from Mahmudshahi pargana in the west to Telihati pargana in the east. The southern portion extended from Bhairab in the north to Bay of Bengal in the south and from river Pashar in the west to Barisal in the east. The kingdom consisted of 44 parganas and its annual revenue amount to more than one crore.[1]

Conflict with the Mughals

When Azim-us-Shan became the subahdar of Bengal, he made his close relative Mir Abu Torap the faujdar of Bhusna. Although his primary duty was to keep Sitaram under check, he unleashed a reign of terror on arriving at Bhusna. He forced the defaulters of tax to convert to Islam. When Sitaram learned of such punitive measures, he resolved not to pay a penny to the Mughal treasury. Abu Torap sent a contemptful reminder explaining him the consequences. Abu Torap, however, didn't have a warm relation with Murshid Quli Khan the Diwan of Bengal and Sitaram knew that well. Azim-us-Shan, the subahdar was away in Delhi. His son Farrukhsiyar the acting governor was more interested in the developments at Delhi rather than the affairs of Bengal. The capital of the province was also relocated from Dhaka to Patna. So it was difficult for Abu Torap to get any direct support either from the Diwan or the Subahdar. So he decided to act on his own.

Abu Torap was only a faujdar and therefore he had limited resources at his disposal. Whenever he sent his forces to subdue Sitaram they were confronted with the archers and Rajbangshi soldiers who manned the borders of Sitaram's kingdom. In 1713, Murshid Quli Khan became the subahdar of Bengal and Abu Torap approached him for help which he ignored. Abu Torap sent his troops once again, but Sitaram opted for guerrilla tactics and frustrated the Mughal army in the unfriendly terrain. Not to give up, Abu Torap deputed his commander-in-chief Pir Khan, a Pathan to subdue Sitaram. The latter had set up his artillery along the banks of Madhumati and garrisoned his troops in the jungles in the tract between Madhumati and Barasia. Sitaram's troops met the Mughal army in the banks of Barasia. In the battle the latter were defeated and Mir Abu Torap was killed by Mena Hati. Sitaram's army marched forward captured the fort of Bhusna. Sitaram stationed a section of his army at Bhusna and put himself at the command of the fort. The Mohammadpur fort was put under the command of Mena Hati. The rest of the army was garrisoned along the Madhumati. Sitaram knew that the clash with the Mughals was inevitable. Sitaram therefore began to strengthen his army and reinforce his artillery.

As the news of Abu Torap's death reached Murshidabad, Murshid Quli Khan wasted no time in appointing his own brother-in-law Bux Ali Khan as the new faujdar of Bhusna. He notified all the zamindars to assist the faujdar in subduing Sitaram. Bux Ali Khan was accompanied to Bhusna by Sangram Singh the commander-in-chief of the provincial army of Bengal. Dayaram Ray, the principal aide of Raghunandan, the founder of the Natore estate, followed them with the zamindar's army under his command. Bux Ali Khan and Sangram Singh went along the Padma and embarked near Faridpur and then marched to Bhusna. Sitaram too marched forward with his troops and in the ensuing battle the Mughals were defeated. The Mughal army surrounded the fort of Bhusna and Sitaram sensed that it would be difficult to hold on to both the forts at Bhusna and Mohammadpur.

In the meanwhile Dayaram had marched to Mohammadpur with his forces. Knowing that it would not be easy for him to capture the fort in a direct battle, he conspired and got Mena Hati killed by sabotage and sent his severed head to Murshidabad. On getting the news of Mena Hati's death Sitaram retreated to Mohammadpur with most of his troops. Bux Ali Khan too followed him to Mohammadpur. Sitaram evacuated most of the civilian population out of the fort and sent his family to Kolkata. Dayaram and Bux Ali Khan attacked the fort from the east and the south. After defending the fort for quite some time Sitaram was captured and Mohammadpur fell. Dayaram escorted him in chains to Murshidabad. At the trial, Sitaram was sentenced to death by Murshid Quli Khan and his relatives were imprisoned for life. His final rites were performed at the banks of Ganges in Murshidabad.

Welfare

Water reservoirs

Sitaram constructed a number of water reservoirs in the capital to meet the need of drinking water of the fort, city and the adjacent villages. The most famous of them was the Ram Sagar, a rectangular lake measuring 2,400 feet (730 m) by 900 feet (270 m). It had a depth of about 20 feet (6.1 m). Even in the summer it sustained a water level of at least 12 feet (3.7 m). The reservoir was treated to prevent against any algal bloom. Towards west of the fort, in the village of Harekrishnapur Sitaram constructed another lake called Krishna Sagar measuring 1000 ft by 350 ft. The dug up earth was used to raise earthen embankments at some clearance around the lake in order to prevent the flood water from contaminating the tank.

To the west of Ram Sagar and towards the beels Sitaram constructed another tank named Sukh Sagar. It was squarish in shape having each side about 375 feet (114 m) . At the centre, there was a three-story luxurious palace, which served as the summer retreat for the royal family. Mayurpankhi boats ferried them to the palace in the middle of the lake.

Temples

Sitaram came from a Shakta family. Sitaram was initiated into Shaktism in his early life. After setting up the capital at Mohammadpur, he erected a Dashabhuja temple there. When he used to visit his father in Bhusna, he also used to frequent the Gopinath Jiu akhada. Gradually he became attracted to Vaishnavism. He became a disciple of Krishna Vallabh Goswami of Murshidabad who initiated him to the faith. Sitaram erected a pancharatna temple dedicated to Hare Krishna the village of Kanainagar to the west of the fort at Mohammadpur.

Marriages and children

Sitaram married the daughter of a Kayastha resident of Edilpore in Bhusna. She did not have any children. Very little is known about her. After obtaining the jagir of Naldi he married Kamala, the daughter of a Kulin Kayastha, Saral Khan Ghosh, a resident of Das Palsha village in the district of Birbhum.[2] Kamala became his principal wife and when Sitaram became a king she became the king's consort. She bore him two sons Shyamsundar and Surnarayan. Sitaram's third wife came from the village of Patuli, presently under Katwa sub-division of Burdwan district. Though her name is not known, she bore him two sons Bamdev and Jaydev. Both the sons died in childhood.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Bangaldesh Hindus Protest in Toronto on 4th April 2013

Bangladesh Hindus, Boudhas and Christians staged a protest gathering at Queens Park the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on 4th April 2013 at 12pm organised by Bangladesh Hindu Boudha and Christian Oikya Parishad in order to protest against atrocities by Islamic thugs belong to different political parties and its affiliate organisations. According to available reports 319 Hindu temples and more than 1500 Hindu houses and business had been burnt and destroyed in between 28th Feb 2013 and 23rd March 2013. 2 Hindus had been brutally killed. Still everyday temple burning reports are coming. The destruction occurred in 32 districts out of 64 districts of Bangladesh.