Family of Raja Asutosh Nath Roy, Cossimbazar রাজা আশুতোষ নাথ রায়

According to legend, King Adisur [^], (রাজা আদিসুর) who reigned Bengal in the ninth century, brought five Brahmin priests, and many Kayastha servants from Kanauj to perform indispensable sacrifices, and performance of religious rites. From this stock the majority of Bengali Brahmins claim descent. The family of Cossimbazar New palace had their patrimonial title of "Chattopadhyay" (চট্টোপাধ্যায়) or "Chatterjee" (চ্যাটার্জী), and were the descendant of Daksha one of the five Brahmins, learned in Vedas brought by King Adisur. Ajodhya Narayan Roy (অযোধ্যা নারায়ন রায়), the founder of the family, had the hereditary title of "Rai" conferred upon him by the then Nawab Nazim in appreciation of his meritorious services. The original ancestral residence of the family was at Ferozepur, a village in the Bhagwangola.

Ajodhya Narayan was succeeded by his son, Dinobondhu Roy (দীনবন্ধু রায়), who received a khillut from the Nawab's Government, and the privilege of carrying a silver stick was conferred on him, which was considered a great honour in those days. The first of the family, (which for centuries had retained its rank as one of high class Kulins), to settle at Cossimbazar was Babu Dinobondhu Roy. Babu Dinobondhu Roy’s second son, Babu Jagabandhu Roy (জগবন্ধু রায়), began his career as a vernacular writer in the same Cossimbazar Silk factory, but subsequently served in the salt and the revenue department at Midnapore, and ultimately became the Sheristadar [1] of the Mymensingh (Bengali: ময়মনসিংহ also called Kagdaha or Nasirabad) Collectorate of present Bangladesh. Jagabandhu Roy became the Dewan of Murshidabad Kuthi as well as the chief of the Silk factory in 1760 AD. He was by nature an adventurous man, and from his time the family rose to eminence.

During the revision of the district arrears by The East India Company in 1793, Pargana [2] Sarail সরাইল (Part of Brahmanbaria [3], sub-division of district Tippera) passed to the district of Mymensingh. In 1802 when Babu Jagabandhu Roy, who was then the Sheristadar of Mymensingh Collectorate, purchased a portion (5 anna 12 ganda share ৫ আনা ১২ গন্ডা) [4] of it in an auction at a very low price through a Muktiar Jogi Ram Choudhuri. In 1831 AD Pargana Sarail was transferred to Tippera (present Comilla district, Bangladesh). In 1836 the Collector of Tippera had to auction a portion (7 anna share ৭ আনা) of it to pay arrears of revenue. It was purchased by Babu Nrishingha Roy son of Babu Jagabandhu Roy. In 1885 Dewan Monohar Ali’s wife put her husband's share (12 anna share ১২ আনা) of Sarail up for sale in execution of her Kabin-namah (marriage contract). This share was purchased by the Court of Wards on behalf of Raja Asutosh Nath Roy (grandson of Babu Nrishingha Roy), who was then a minor. The area of the Pargana covered about one-eighth of the district of Tippera the principal zamindari of Raja Ashutosh Nath Roy, where out of 304 square miles, 277 square miles, were under survey and settlement. When the Court of Wards took charge of the estate in 1880-1881 AD, the rent-roll, according to the zamindars old papers, was Rs. 1,98,660 and after the completion of the revision settlement work, when the Court of Wards made over charge to the proprietor, the rent-roll of the Pargana was Rs. 2,11,573.
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Nrishingha Roy (নৃসিংহ রায়)

Babu Nrishingha Roy, son of Dewan Jagabandhu Roy, added considerably to the ancestral property. In 1797 AD the Board of Revenue ordered the sale of portions Belonging to Rani Vishnukumari mother of Raja Tejchand of the Burdwan Raj, for realization of arrears of revenue. It was purchased at the revenue sale, by Babu Nrishingha Roy. Babu Nrishingha Roy, was involved in two heavy law suits; One instituted by Raja Krishnath Nandy of Cossimbazar for damages laid at three Crores of rupees, while the other was brought by his cousin Bhubaneshwari Devi. He won both the cases and left his wealth for his two sons, Babu Nabakrishna (নবকৃষ্ণ রায়) and Babu Rajkrishna (রাজকৃষ্ণ রায়). Nrishingha Roy was famous for his charity and liberality.

Nabakrishna Roy, died without issue, which left Rajkrishna Roy the sole owner of the family properties. After Rajkrishna Roy’s death the Court of Wards managed the estates from the year 1866 to 1869 AD, since his only son Babu Ananda Prasad (আনন্দ প্রসাদ রায়) was a minor. In 1875 Ananda Prasad Roy was decorated by Government with the title of "Rai Bahadur" for his various acts of liberality during the famine of 1874-1875 AD. In February, 1880 AD, An official conference at Calcutta in connection with the proposal of bestowing upon him the title of "Raja Bahadur", brought Ananda Prasad to Calcutta. But, unfortunately before that honour could be conferred upon him, he died there on the 24th February, 1880 AD, from an attack of cholera, leaving his only son, Raja Ashutosh Nath Roy, a minor of 3 years of age and his widow Rani Arnakali Devi (আর্নাকলি দেবী).
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Raja Ashutosh Nath Roy (রাজা আশুতোষ নাথ রায়)

Raja Ashutosh Nath Roy
Ashutosh Nath Roy
Ashutosh Nath Roy was born on 7th September, 1876 AD. The Government took charge of the estate, and continued to manage it till September 7th, 1897 AD. When the Court of Wards handed over the estate to Asutosh Nath Roy the rent-roll was Rs. 3,64,974, and the revenue and rent payable by the Raja was Rs. 1,12,110. His property included areas of Murshidabad, Tippera, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Burdwan, Hughli, Calcutta, and Birbhum. His Mother Arnakali Devi was well known for her various benevolent acts of charity. She donated half a lac of rupees for the Sanskrit toll at Berhamapore. The Berhampore Sanskrit tol was managed by the estate of the late Rani Arnakali Devi at an annual cost of Rs. 3000. The Zenana Hospital or Arnakali Hospital of thirty-six beds at Berhampore (later merged with Berhampore Hospital) was her gift. On the 29th January, 1893 AD, Rani Arnakali Devi celebrated the marriage of her son Ashutosh Nath Roy with a grand daughter of the Justice Anukul Chandra Mukherjee. Ashutosh Nath Roy donated a lakh of rupees in aid of the construction of Lady Dufferin hospital at Amherst Street, Calcutta.

The Government conferred upon him the title of "Raja" on May 24th, 1898, and in the same year, the khillut and the Sanad were presented to the "Raja" by the Honourable Mr. C. E. Buckland, then Presidency Commissioner, at a public durbar, on April 8th, 1898 AD, at his residence at Cossimbazar. He was invited to the Coronation Durbar at Delhi as Bengal's representative and was awarded a Durbar Medal.

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Family Tree :: Ashutosh Nath Roy

Ashutosh Nath Roy’s son Raja Kamala Ranjan Roy (কমলা রঞ্জন রায়) studied at Berhampore Krishnath College School. During his time Pandit Balaram Pathak of Pathak Gharana an excellent Dhrupad singer, Sitar and Surbahar player, left Balia (in Uttar Pradesh) for Murshidabad where he became court musician of Raja Kamala Ranjan Roy. Raja Kamala Ranjan Roy also followed his family tradition, and is known for his various acts of charity. Ashutosh Nath Roy’s youngest daughter Maharani Jyotirmoyee Devi (মহারানী জ্যোতিরময়ী দেবী) got married with Maharaja Bahadur Kshaunish Chandra Roy of Nadia Raj family. Kshaunish Chandra Roy was born at Krishnagar Palace on October 29, 1890 AD. Raja Ashutosh Nath Roy’s another daughter was born in Calcutta on November 1, 1916 AD.

  • Ajodhya Narayan Roy, the founder of the family, had the hereditary title of "Rai". The original ancestral residence was at Ferozepur, a village in the Bhagwangola.
    • Babu Dinobondhu Roy, first settled at Cossimbazar.
      • A Son
      • Babu Jagabandhu Roy worked at the Cossimbazar factory. He became the Dewan of the Mymensingh District.

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Durga Puja :: Cossimbazar New Palace

Durga Puja at the Cossimbazar Rajbari (Royal Palace) still remains a royal affair even after 300 years. The Roy's of Cossimbazar Rajbari continue the puja with equal solemnity and grandeur of their past. Thousands throng the Rajbari on each day of the five-day festivities from different corners of the district. Ajodhya Narayan Roy (অযোধ্যা নারায়ন রায়) first started the Durga Puja in the family around 1710-1712 AD. The grandeur of the puja increased, when Dinobondhu Roy (দিনোবন্ধু রায়) constructed the magnificent Cossimbazar Palace (known as New Palace or Choto Rajbari) in 1740 AD.

The Durga Puja starts here on the day of Rath Yatra with the worship of the wooden structure of the idol called Kathamo (কাঠামো). After completion of the earthen work, the chief artisan starts painting the idol on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the bright fortnight "Shukla paksha" of the 6th month of Hindu calendar Bhaadra). The idol is placed on the temple dias on the day of Mahalaya but the durga puja of the family starts from Shukla Pratipad of Devipaksha (the day after Mahalaya). The uniqueness of this puja is, here you will see a sea lion instead of the lion as Durga's Bahon / vahan (carrier বাহন). Also the dias is made with five skulls of different animals at corners. The practice of sacrificing animals was stopped by Raja Kamala Ranjan Roy. The immersion of the idol is done in the Bhagirathi . There was also a custom of freeing a neelkanth bird (The Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis নীলকন্ঠ) after the immersion of the idol (bisarjan বিসর্জন) every year. go top

Gallery :: Cossimbazar New Palace



Notes & References :
  • [1] A sheristadar or "record keeper" was the chief officer in Indian court entrusted with the task of receiving and checking court pleas. They were native assistant to the Collector of Revenue. In all settlement work, in those days, the trusted, Sheristadars were, as a rule, the chief agents employed by the English Collectors, who were guided to a large extent by their decisions and counsels. Back
  • [2] A pargana is a former administrative unit. In 1793 AD under the Governorship of Charles Cornwallis, the Permanent Settlement Act was enacted, which abolished the pargana system in favour of the zamindari system, in which zamindars were made the absolute owners of rural lands Back
  • [3] Bengal is thought to have been divided into six territorial units, each of them representing a janapada (human settlement). The janapadas were :
    1. Vanga: part of today's 24 Pargana Districts of India and the Khulna Division of Bangladesh.
    2. Pundra: situated in the district of Bogra and adjacent areas.
    3. Radha: (also described as Rarha, Ladha) included a large part of the modern Indian state of West Bengal. This janapada had important centres of trade, commerce and administration in the ancient as well as medieval period.
    4. Gauda: lay to the north-west of Bhagirathi (Hughly) river and its core area was Murshidabad.
    5. Samatata: in the Meghna river valley consisted of Comilla and Noakhali areas of Bangladesh and some areas of Tripura in India.
    6. Harikela: identified as Chittagong and its adjacent areas.
    Brahmanbaria was a part of Samatata Janapada of the ancient Bengal. Back
  • [4] Anna, Kara, Kranti and Teel were the units of measurement. 1 anna means 1/16 th part of a share. 20 ganda equaled to 1 anna. Back
    20 Teel (২০ তিল) = 1 Kranti (১ ক্রান্তি) ∬ 3 Kranti (৩ ক্রান্তি) = 1 Kara (১ কড়া) ∬ 4 Kara (৪ কড়া) = 1 Ganda (১ গন্ডা)
    20 Ganda (২০ গন্ডা) = 1 Anna (১ আনা) ∬ 16 Anna (১৬ আনা) = 1 Taka (১ টাকা)
  • A history of Murshidabad District (Bengal) (1902) - By John Henry Tull
  • Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa Their history, people, commerce and industrial resources - By Somerset Playne (1917)
  • Bengal District Gazetteers Mymensingh - By F.A.Sachse (1917)
  • Dictionary of Indian Biography - By C.E. Buckland
  • Murshidabad - By Lewis Sydney Steward O'Malley (1914)
  • The Musnud of Murshidabad (1704-1904) - By Purna Ch Majumdar
  • Imperial gazetteer of India - Sir William Wilson Hunter 1840-1900

Page Updated : November 25, 2012 06:46 pm