Dighapatia Raj

Dighapatia Raj was founded by Dayaram Roy (1680-1760), an orphan of nebulous parentage, unlettered but exceptionally intelligent and gifted individual. In his early boyhood he received the asylum of Ramjivan Roy, the founder of the natore raj, and through industry, foresight and resourcefulness rose with phenomenal rapidity to the position of the dewan of the latter.

Dayaram led an army of Ramjivan in aid of the nawab of murshidabad in 1716 and defeated and overthrew the rebel Raja Sitaram Roy, zamindar of bhusna. The sack of Muhammadpur, Sitaram's capital, enriched him and enabled him to lay the foundation of the Dighapatia estate. For his devotion, efficiency and loyalty with which he managed the affairs of his patron's estate, he got large tracts of land in Rajshahi and Jessore as grants and later acquired zamindari in Bogra and Mymensingh. Nawab murshid quli khan conferred on him the honorific title of 'Rai-Raiyan' in recognition of his services.

With the introduction of permanent settlement, a large number of the old landlords created during the time of Murshid Quli Khan could not meet the exorbitant 9/10th assessment of land revenue and thus became defaulters. Their estates were sold up to a new class of moneyed men from Calcutta.

The Dighapatia Raj was one of the few remnants of the old decaying 'jagirdars'. They were avidly following European dress, wine, horse race and such other external glamour of life. The passion with which they followed western lifestyle is reflected not only in their palace architecture but also in their furniture and other interior decorations. On ceremonial occasions they donned extravagant robes, jewelled turban and carried inlaid swords in dainty scabbard tucked at the waist following the bygone fashions of the Mughal nobility even when the twilight of Mughal rule had faded. Pran Nath Roy and Pramada Nath Roy were some of the important zamindars of Dighapatia.

Dighapatia rajas are famous for their generosity and public spirit. The district of Rajshahi is particularly indebted to this family who established many public institutions and patronised education and cultural activities. These services earned many of them the titles of Raja and Raja Bahadur from the British government. It is interesting to note that many of the successors of the Raj family adopted PN Roy as their family name, 'PN' being the initial of almost all the rajas starting with Pran Nath Roy to Pratibha Nath Roy. [Nazimuddin Ahmed]

Bibliography kalinath chaudhury, Rajshahir Sangksipta Itihasa, Calcutta,1308 BS; Bangladesh District Gazetteer, Rajshahi, Dhaka,1976.