Madhabpasha Zamindar Family

Madhabpasha Zamindar Family an ancient zamindar family of Bakerganj district. After being driven out by the conquering Muslims at the beginning of the fourteenth century, danujamardana deva of sonargaon established a small Hindu kingdom at 'Chandradwip' in present Bakerganj. Danujmardan Dev or Danuj Roy was the ancestor of the zamindars of Madhabpasha. After Shivnarayan, the mad king of Chandradwip, burnt the kingdom's records, it was found from the documents and records of Idilpur matchmaker community that Danujmardan was the founder of Chandradwip royal family. Ramaballav, Krishnaballav and Hariballav were the inheritors of Danujmardan.

Chandradwip was an independent state until the rule of king Hariballav (1487 AD), son of king Krishnaballav and grandson of king Ramaballav. Thereeafter it became a tributary state and came under the protection of Muslim sultans and afghan rulers until the end of the rule of the last Afghan ruler daud khan karrani (1573-1576 AD). Hariballav's son Joydev had no son and therefore his daughter princess Kamaladevi became the ruler of the state. She was married to Pandit Balabhadra Basu. Balabhadra was a man of dark complexion and was known as 'kala raja'. A swampland called after him as 'kala rajar beel' and a lake called after the princess as 'Kamala Ranir dighi' are still there. Princess Kamala and Balabhadra Basu had a son Paramananda Basu. With him the rule of Dev dynasty at Chandradwip was replaced with Basu dynasty. During the rule of king Paramananda Basu a trade and military treaty between Chandradwip and the portuguese was signed. After the death of Paramananda Basu and his son Jagananda Basu, Kandarpanarayan became the king of Chandradwip. Kandarpanarayan was one of the 'Barabhuiyans' or head of one of the twelve largest estates. During the Mughal rule, Chandradwip zamindari was shown inTodormal's revenue records as part of Bakla sarkar and divided into three parganas.

According to Ain-i-Akbari, a devastating cyclone struck Bakla in 1584 during the rule of king Kandarpanarayaan. To escape from repeated mogha attacks king Kandarpanarayaan transferred his capital from Kachua to Madhabpasha close to Barisal town. After establishing their capital in Dhaka, the Mughals attacked Madhabpasha during the rule of Ramchandra. King Ramchandra surrendered to the Mughal forces in 1611. According to Mirza Nathan, a part of the zamindari was leased to Ramchandra and from that point the royal dynasty of Madhabpasha was turned into an ordinary zamindar family.

After Ramchandra, those who became zamindars were Kirtinarayan, Basudevnarayan, Pratapnarayan and Premnarayan. Premnarayan was the last zamindar of the Basu dynasty of Madhabpasha. As he had no children, Udaynarayan Mitra, son of his son-in-law Gouricharan Mitra became the zamindar. According to east india company's James Grant, during the days of Udaynarayan Mitra the Bakla sarkar under Dhaka niabat was divided in 1728 into 22 mahals and 12 parganas. Chandradwip was then only a pargana under the zamindars of Madhabpasha. Its revenue amounted to 59,731 sikka taka.

Udaynarayan and then Shivnarayan, Lakhsminarayan and Joynarayan served as zamindars of Madhabpasha. During king Joynarayan's time the zamindari was leased out first on ten-yearly settlements and then in 1793 on the basis of permanent settlement. As a result, Bakla sarkar was divided into 60 large and small parganas. At this time the revenue of Chandradwip pargana was fixed at 83,000 sikka taka. King Joynarayan then did not have the capacity to pay such a high amount of revenue. For non-payment of revenue the Madhabpasha zamindari was sold out on auction. Dal Singh, John Peniaty and Manikmudy bought different mahals of this zamindati. Only a few taluks and some freehold land then remained of this vast property. Moved by the misfortune of the Madhabpasha zaminder family the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal Charles Elliot appointed raja Jogendranarayan, son of raja Veersingh Narayan, as sub-registrar of Patarhat.

Under the east bengal state acquisition and tenancy act of 1950, the Madhabpasha zamindari was abolished and its inheritors received compensation as provided in the law.

The 'Ramsagar Dighi' and the road linking Madhabpasha with Barisal still exist as tokens of the well-known zamindari. The Madhabpasha zamindar palace and the Ramsagar Dighi are protected by the Archaeological Department of the Government of Bangladesh. A cannon with the name of Raja Kandarpanarayan engraved on it has been found from the palace. [Delwar Hassan]