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Kasimbazar Raj


Kasimbazar Raj one of the biggest zamindaris of Bengal which sprang up under the impact of the early British colonial rule. The founder of the Kasimbazar raj was Krishnakanta Nandi of Kasimbazar, commonly known as Kanta Babu. Kanta Babu was a Banian to warren hastings. Originally a grocer, then a trader of multiple commodities like silk, salt and cotton and finally a banian to Warren Hastings, Kanta Babu began his landed career with the acquisition of the Baharbund pargana (mainly comprising present Gaibandha and Kurigram districts). Under Hastings's farming system (1772-1777) many parganas including Baharbund was farmed to Kanta Babu. Later the pargana was permanently settled with him at an advantageous revenue demand. Immediately after the permanent settlement Kanta Babu bought some more estates. He died in 1794.

Kanta Babu's son Loknath Nandi was equally a competent man and extended the zamindari to some other parts of Bengal. Loknath Nandi managed to obtain the title of 'Maharaja' from the nawab of Murshidabad before he died in 1804.

Maharaja Loknath Nandi, left his minor son Harinath as his successor to the estate. Harinath Nandi being a minor, the zamindari was managed by the Court of Wards from 1804 to 1820. From 1820 to his death in 1832, Harinath looked after the management of the estate. The Court of Wards again managed it from 1833 to 1840. Thereafter Harinath's son Krishnanath took the charge of management of the zamindari. But after his death in 1844 the zamindari was taken over by the Court of Wards again and managed upto 1847.

The most remarkable person of the family was Manindra Chandra Nandi who managed the zamindari from 1890 to 1920. During his time the Kasimbazar estate made investments in industry and business. He was chairman of the Berhampur municipality for about 15 years, and held important position in the British Indian Association, the Bengal Landholders' Association, and the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce, etc. He died in 1929. The last zamindar of the Kasimbazar raj before the abolition of the zamindari system was Srish Chandra Nandi (1897-1952) who entered the Bengal Legislative Assembly from the landlord's quota in 1937, and became a minister in the cabinet of AK Fazlul Huq (1937-42). [Sirajul Islam]