Barma, Panchanan

Barma, Panchanan (1865-1935) lawyer, politician. He was born in 1865 at village Khalisamari under Mathabhanga subdivision of Koch Bihar state. His father Khosal Sarkar was a joatdar and a mukteer of Mathabhanga sub-divisional court. Barma was graduated from Koch Bihar Victoria College and obtained MA degree in Sanskrit from Sanskrit College in Kolkata. He obtained BL degree from Calcutta University in 1898. He started legal practice in 1901 in Rangpur.

Panchanan Barma started Kshatriya movement in order to change the religious and social condition of local Hindus (Rajbangshi) thereby emancipating them from the oppression of the caste Hindus. The goal of this movement was to elevate the position of the Rajbangsis of North Bengal from fallen Kshatriya group to the status of Paundra Kshatriya. Although Rajbangshis in North Bengal started Kshatriya movement in 1891 it could not take proper shape due to the absence of able leadership. Kshatriya samiti was established in Rangpur on 18 Jaishtha 1317 BS under the leadership of Panchanan Barma. He was elected its chairman. By his efforts Kshatriya hostel for the Rajbangshi student was established at Rangpur Zilla School and Kshatriya Bank was established in Kurigram for the help of the Rajbangshis. He published a newspaper titled Kshatriya in order to create awareness among the undeveloped Rajbangshis. He tried to absorb more people of his community in educational institutions and in government service. Inspired by him, a good number of Rajbangshis joined the Rangpur district bar.

Panchanon was active in politics along with his legal profession. He was elected a member of the Bengal Provincial Legislative Assembly in 1920, 1923 and 1926. He was the founding member of Rangpur Shahitya Parishad and editor of Rangpur Shahitya Parishad Patrika (1313-1319). In recognition of his able leadership for the development of his own community and his cooperation with the government he was invested with the titles of 'Ray Sahib' and 'Member of British Empire' (MBE). He died in 1935. [Muhammad Moniruzzaman]