Bardhaman Knowledge Guide


During the period of Jahangir this place was named Badh-e-dewan (district capital). The city owes its historical importance to being the headquarters of the Maharajas of Burdwan, the premier noblemen of lower Bengal, whose rent-roll was upwards of 300,000. Bardhaman Raj was founded in 1657 by Sangam Rai, of a Hindu Khatri family of Kotli in Lahore, Punjab, whose descendants served in turn the Mughal Emperors and the British government. The East Indian Railway from Howrah was opened in 1855. The great prosperity of the raj was due to the excellent management of Maharaja Mahtab Chand (died 1879), whose loyalty to the government especially during the "Hul" (Santhal rebellion) of 1855-56 and the Indian rebellion of 1857 was rewarded with the grant of a coat of arms in 1868 and the right to a personal salute of 13 guns in 1877. Maharaja Bijaychand Mahtab (born 1881), who succeeded his adoptive father in 1888, earned great distinction by the courage with which he risked his life to save that of Sir Andrew Fraser, the lieutenant-governor of Bengal, on the occasion of the attempt to assassinate him made by freedom fighters of Bengal on 7 November 1908.Mahtab Chand Bahadur and later Bijoy Chand Mahtab struggled their best to make this region culturally, economically and ecologically healthier. The chief educational institution was the Burdwan Raj College, which was entirely supported out of the maharaja's estate. Sadhak Kamalakanta as composer of devotional songs and Kashiram Das as a poet and translator of the great Mahabharata were possibly the best products of such an endeavour. Pratap Chandra Roy was the publisher of the first translation in the world to translate Mahabharata in English (1883–1896). The society at large also continued to gain the fruits. We find, among others, the great rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and Kala-azar-famed U. N. Brahmachari as the relatively recent illustrious sons of this soil. Batukeshwar Dutt an Indian revolutionary and independence fighter in the early 1900s was born on 18 November 1910 in a village Oari in Burdwan district. He is best known for having exploded a few bombs, along with Bhagat Singh, in the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi on 8 April 1929. The city became an important centre of North-Indian classical music as well.


Burdwan has a multi-cultural heritage. The deuls (temples of rekha type) found here are reminiscent of Bengali Hindu architecture. The old temples bear signs of Hinduism, mostly belonging to the Sakta and Vaishnava followers. The Kankaleswari Kali is also located in the city of Burdwan. Burdwan experienced and survived numerous violent conflicts, mainly due to Mughal, Pashtun and Maratha invaders. The city of Bardhaman was visited by notables of the Delhi Sultanate from Raja Todarmal to Daud Karnani, from Sher Afghan and Kutub-ud-din to Ajimuswan to the future Mughal emperor Shah Jahan while he was still a rebel. Bardhaman also has a number of Bengali Christians, and although they are a minority, there are many churches in the city.