|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
Rajmahal (राजमहल) is a city in Sahibganj district in Jharkhand. Kankjol was one of the Buddhist places visited by Xuan Zang in 639 AD. Alexander Cunningham has identified Kankjol with Rajmahal city in Sahibganj district in Jharkhand.
- Ugamahala (उगमहल) (संथाल परगना, बिहार) (AS, p.86)
- Rajamahala (राजमहल) दे. Ugamahala (उगमहल), और Kajangala (कजंगल) (AS, p.782)
- Kajangala (कजंगल) (AS, p.125)
- Kanjugiri (कंजुगिरि) (AS, p.125)
- Kankajola (कांकजोल) = Kajangala (कजंगल) (AS, p.154)
Origin of the name
It is an historic town situated on the west bank of the Ganges, and located in the hills known as Daman-i-Khoh during the Muslim rule. The hills run north-south for 193 km from Sahebganj to Rampurhat. The earlier name of the place was Agmahal. Man Singh, on his return from the conquest of Orissa in 1592, named it Rajmahal. On 9 November 1595 Man Singh laid the foundations of a new capital of Bengal Subah there and named it Akbarnagar, after Akbar, the emperor.
There is evidence in the pages of history that the area is inhabited since time immemorial only by Malers (Mal Paharia). They were the early settlers of the territory of Rajmahal hills, who still reside in some areas of the same hills. They are considered to be the Malli mentioned in the notes of Megasthenese, Greek Ambassador of Selukus Nikater, who happened to be in the vicinity of Rajmahal hills in 302 BC.
Till the visit of Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang in 645 AD, the history of this area was wrapped in obscurity. In his travelogue the Chinese pilgrim mentions about the Fort of Teliagarhi (on the rail route, near Mirzachauki Railway Station), when he saw the lofty bricks and stone tower not far from the Ganges. Information is gathered through the pages of history that it was a Buddhist Vihar.
A continuous history of the district is available from the 13th century when Teliagarhi became the main gateway of Muslim armies marching to and from Bengal. During the Turkish dynasty rule in Delhi, Malik Ikhtiaruddin-bin-Bakhtiar Khilji marched towards Bengal and Assam through Teliagrahi pass. He captured Bengal and its king Lakshaman Sena fled away to Cooch Behar (in West Bengal).
In 1538, Sher Shah Suri and Humayun came face to face for a decisive battle near Teliagarhi. On 12 July 1576, the battle of Rajmahal was fought and the foundation of the Mughal rule in Bengal was laid.
It was Raja Man Singh, the most trusted general of Akbar, who in the capacity of Viceroy of Bengal and Bihar made Rajmahal the capital of Bengal in 1592. But this honour of Rajmahal was short-lived, for the capital was shifted to Dacca in 1608.
Shortly after this, Teliagarhi and Rajmahal became the seat of a fierce battle between the rebellious Prince Shahjahan and Ibrahim Khan. Shahjahan emerged victorious and became the master of Bengal for the time being, losing finally in 1624 at Allahabad.
In 1639, Rajmahal regained its glory and was once more made the capital of Bengal by Shah Shuja, the second son of Emperor Shahjahan, on his appointment as the Viceroy of Bengal. It continued as the seat of the Mughal Viceroy up to 1660 and a mint town till 1661. It was at Rajmahal that Dr. Gabriel Boughten cured the daughter of Shah Shuja. By this means Dr. Boughten succeeded in securing an order (farman) from Shah Shuja giving the English the liberty to trade in Bengal. Thus the minutest foundation of the British rule was laid here. The fugitive Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud- Daula was captured at Rajmahal during his flight after the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
The entire Santhal Pargana along with portions of the present Hazaribagh, Munger, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Saharsa, a part of Purnia and Bhagalpur, districts was termed as “Jungle Terai” by the English on assumption of Diwani in Sept. 1763 from Shah Alam II at Allahabad after the Allahabad Treaty.
The victory at Plassey made British master of the then Bengal which contained the present Sahibganj District. In Santhal Pargana, they were up against a band of simple but determined opponents, the Paharias. Paharias were great lovers of freedom and could not tolerate any intruder in their homeland. The English were very much concerned and Warren Hastings the Governor General of India organized a special corps of 800 men in 1772 to curb the Paharias. The corps was put under the command of Captain Brooke, who was appointed the Military Governor of the Jungle terai.
As a direct consequence of the Santhal Hul or Rebellion of 1854-55 led by Sido and Kanu brothers Santhal Pargana has been created as a separate district in 1855 by ceding portions of Bhagalpur (which is now in Bihar) and Birbhum (which is now in West Bengal) district.
The 1942 movement also spread to entire Santhal Pargana division, for that matter in Sahibganj and on 11 August 1942 a general strike was observed. On 12 August 1942 a procession was taken out at Godda and soon the entire district was aflame. Thus the district of Santhal Pargana marched hand-in-hand with other parts of the State in the protracted struggle for country's freedom which resulted on 15 August 1947 in the end of slavery.
Government considered the Paharias and other tribals of Rajmahal hills as demographically underdeveloped section of society and embarked on policies and plans for their emancipation. The Jharkhand Movement for separate statehood thus gained momentum and on 15 November 2000, a separate state named as Jharkhand came into existence comprising the 18 districts of the Chhota Nagpur and Santhal Pargana divisions.
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ...उगमहल (AS, p.86) बिहार प्रांत के राजमहल का मध्ययुगीन नाम है। मुग़ल बादशाह अकबर के मुख्य सेनापति राजा मानसिंह ने 1592 ई. में उगमहल के स्थान पर राजमहल को बसा कर उसे बंगाल प्रांत की राजधानी बनाया था। उगमहल का प्राचीन नाम 'कजंगल' हुआ करता था। अकबर के वित्तमंत्री राजा टोडरमल के अभिलेखों में भी उगमहल का उल्लेख मिलता है। 1639 से 1600 ई. तक राजमहल में बंगाल के शासन की राजधानी रही थी। प्राचीन नगर के खंडहर 4 मील पश्चिम की ओर हैं, जिनमें कई मुग़लकालीन प्रासाद और मस्जिदें हैं।
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ...कजंगल (AS, p.125) पश्चिम बंगाल में स्थित एक ऐतिहासिक स्थल है। यह विस्तृत पहाड़ी क्षेत्र अंग के पूर्व में स्थित था। राजमहल बंगाल का प्राचीन नाम था। [[Harshavardhana|हर्षकाल (630 ई. के लगभग) यहां एक स्वतंत्र राज्य था, किंतु महाराज हर्ष के प्रभाव कर अंतर्गत था। महावग्ग में इसे महाशाल नामक ब्राह्मण गाँव के आगे मध्य देश की पूर्वी सीमा बताया गया है। मिलिन्दपन्हो के अनुसार यह एक ब्राह्मण गाँव था, जो प्रसिद्ध बौद्ध दार्शनिक नागसेन का जन्म स्थान था। अंगुत्तर निकाय में उल्लेख है कि महात्मा बुद्ध यहाँ आये थे। कजंगल का युवानच्वांग ने का-चु-वेन-की-लो के रूप में उल्लेख किया है। चीनी यात्री ने लिखा है कि महाराज हर्षवर्धन ने अपनी पूर्वी देशों की विजय- यात्रा में हर्ष ने राजसभा की थी। चीनी यात्री यहाँ से पुण्ड्रवर्धन गया था। कजंगल के कंजुगिरि, कांकजोल आदि नाम भी उपलब्ध हैं। मध्ययुग में इसे उगमहल भी कहा जाता था।
Visit by Xuanzang in 639 AD
Alexander Cunningham writes that from Champa the pilgrim Xuanzang travelled to the eastward for 400 li, or 67 miles, to a small district named Kie-chu-u-khi-lo, or Kie-ching-kie-lo The distance and bearing bring us to the district of Rajmahal, which was originally called Kankjol, after a town of that
[p.479]: name which still exists 18 miles to the south of Rajmahal. Following the river route via Kahalgaon (Colgong) and Rajmahal, the distance from Bhagalpur is just 90 miles ; but by the direct route through the hills, via Mangaon and Bharhat, the distance is under 70 miles. As this position agrees with that of the place indicated by Hwen Thsang, I suspect that there may have been a transposition of two syllables in the Chinese name, and that we should read Kie-kie-chu-lo, which is a literal transcript of Kankjol. In Glad-wyn's translation of the 'Ayin Akbari' the name is read as Gungjook, but as all the names are given alphabetically in the original, it is certain that the first letter is a k; I conclude, therefore, that the true name is Kankjol, as the final I might easily be misread as a k. In his Gazetteer, Hamilton calls the place Caukjole, which is probably a misprint for Cankjole. He notes that the district of Rajmahal was formerly "named Akbarnagar from its capital, and in the revenue records Caukjole, as being the chief military division."
Hwen Thsang estimates the size of the district at 2000 li, or 333 miles, in circuit ; but as it was a dependency of one of the neighbouring kingdoms it was probably included, as I have already noted, in the area of the dominant state. When independent, the petty state of Kankjol most probably comprised the whole of the hill country to the south and west of Rajmahal, with the plains lying between the hills and the Bhagirathi river as far south as Murshidabad. The circuit of this tract would be about 300 miles, as stated by Hwen Thsang.
- The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang. By Sir Alexander Cunningham, p.478-479
- Sarkar, Jadunath (1984). A History of Jaipur, c. 1503-1938, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.81
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.86
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.125
- The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang. By Sir Alexander Cunningham, p.476-477
- Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' iii. 73. See Map No. I.
- 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 178.
- 'Gazetteer of India,' in v. Rajamahal