Rabindranath and Tripura

          Nobel-laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore’s close relation with the princely state of Tripura and its four successive rulers forms an important chapter in the state’s history.

              This was of course a natural corollary to the liberal patronage extended to Bengali language and culture by the Manikya dynasty rulers of Tripura since the days of king Ratna Manikya (1464-68). It was in the course of a political crisis that Tripura’s ruling monarch Krishna Kishore Manikya (1830-1849) got in touch with prince Dwarakanath Tagore, fabled grand father of Rabindranath, and obtained timely assistance .

          In his maiden letter to king Bir Chandra Manikya (1862-1896) dated may 6 1886 poet Rabindranath Tagore referred to this familial relation while seeking ingredients of Tripura’s history on which he later based his celebrated novel ‘Rajarshi’ and dramas ‘Visarjan’ and ‘Mukut’. Even before that, young Rabindranath had occasion to have a feel of king Bir Chandra Manikya’s magnanimity in 1882. The king was in a state of shock following the untimely death of his dear wife and queen Ms Bhanumati in the year 1881 and during that period of bereavement he studied young Rabindranath’s celebrated love-poem ‘Bhagna Hriday’.

          A highly refined and sensitive man – practically a poet in the core of his heart-king Birchandra sent his emissary Mr Radharaman Ghosh to the family home of the Tagores at Jorasanko near Calcutta to congratulate the poet on his behalf . Rabindranath’s relation with Tripura’s royal family did not however snap-as he himself had feared-with the demise of king Bir Chandra Manikya in 1896 .