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Kandarpanarayana Rai


Kandarpanarayana Rai zamindar of chandradvipa or Bakla, a territory now forming part of greater Barisal district, was one of the renowned bara-bhuiyans of Bengal. He was a scion of the Basu family and ruled Chandradvipa during the late 16th century. Danuj Mardan Rai established the kingdom of Chandradvipa. Kamala Devi, a fifth generation descendant of Danuj Rai, was the mother of Paramananda Basu and this Paramananda Basu was the first king of the Basu family in Chandradvipa. Paramananda Basu was the maternal grandfather of Kandarpanarayana.

Kandarpanarayana was the most renowned of the Chandradvipa kings. He reigned from 1584 to 1598 and was famous for his valour and administrative skill. Sarai Acharya, his chief minister, Raghunandan, his commander-in-chief, and Ram Mohan Mal, his bodyguard ably assisted him. Ralph fitch, the English traveller, visited Bakla in 1586 and commended the prosperity of the kingdom of Chandradvipa. He describes Kandarpanarayana as 'a man very well disposed, and delighteth much to shoot in a gun'. According to the traveller Bakla was a great country with large streets, very fair and high buildings, stores of fruits, rice, cotton and silk fabrics.

His kingdom extended to Bagherhat in the west, Gopalganj in the north and Hatia-Sandwip in the east. To drive out the magh and portuguese pirates, who caused constant trouble to his kingdom and untold sufferings to the people, he had to conclude an alliance with pratapaditya. Initially his capital was at Kachua. Hard-pressed by frequent attacks of the Maghs and Portuguese he, however, successively transferred the capital, first to Rajnagar, then to Bishadikathi and finally to Ksudrakathi (in Babuganj upazila).

Kandarpanarayana fought courageously against the Mughals but was forced to acknowledge their suzerainty in 1594. After his submission he was all along loyal to the Mughals and died in 1598. [Shahnaj Husne Jahan]