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Maharaja Krishnachandra Roy


Maharaja Krishnachandra Roy (1710-1783) Zamindar of Nadia, heir to Bhabananda Majumdar, founder of the aristocratic family of Krishnanagar. His father was Raghuram Roy of Krishnanagar. Krishnachandra Roy was proficient in Bangla, Sanskrit and Persian.

Krishnachandra was shrewd and politically farsighted. He realised that Muslim power was declining. So he befriended the British for future gains. He collaborated with robert clive, thus hastening the fall of sirajuddaula. He was imprisoned by Nawab mir qasim and sentenced to death. However, the British managed to secure his release. For his loyalty to them, the British rewarded him with the title of 'Maharaja'. Clive also gave him five cannons. Krishnachandra moved his sadar to a place called 'Shivnibash' for protection against the notorious Maratha raids.

Krishnachandra was a good patron of literature. bharatchandra, one of the famous poets of the 18th century, was his court poet. It was at Krishnachandra's request that Bharatchandra composed his masterpiece, Annadamabgal, towards the middle of the 18th century. The poem praises the glory of the goddess Annapurna and describes the history of Krishnachandra's ancestor, Bhabananda Majumdar. Other men of letters at his court included the ascetic poet ramprasad sen, Pandit Baneswar Bidyalankar, Krishnananda Bachaspati, Jagannath Tarkapanchanan and Hariram Tarkasiddhanta. gopal bhand was a famous wit at his court.

Krishnachandra spent huge sums of money to promote Sanskrit learning at Navadwip as well as other places in Bengal. Scholars from Vikrampur and Bakla also received financial support from him. He established many Sanskrit schools in Nadia and gave away rent-free land to maintain them. He provided a monthly stipend of Rs 200 for foreign students coming for higher studies in Sanskrit. His wife, Rani Bhabani, was also a patron of Sanskrit culture in Bengal.

Krishnachandra's patronage helped the development of music in Bengal. With the Mughal empire beginning to disintegrate at the beginning of the 18th century, the musicians who had earlier enjoyed Mughal patronage started moving to different parts of India. Among those who found shelter at Krishnanagar was Ramprasad Sen' whom Krishnachandra encouraged to compose shyamasangit.

Krishnachandra was also known for his many public welfare activities. In 1762 he established a large Shiv temple at Shivnibash. He was the first to introduce jagaddhatri puja in Bengal. It was at his initiative and encouragement that some reputed potters from Natore moved to Krishnanagar. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]