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Amar Manikya, The King Whose Life Inspired Rabindranath Tagore To Write "Mukut"

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Born in Amardeva, Amar Manikya was the ruler of Tripura for nine years. His ruling period was chequered and eventful, spent in perpetual war. This was a transitional period in the history of Bengal too. After Sher Shah Suri (1539-45) captured the throne of Delhi by inflicting successive defeats on the second Mughal ruler Humayun, the Afghans ruled Bengal for thirty seven years till 1576, when the province was recaptured by Akbar's Mughal army. The Mughal presence in Bengal was nominal for a long time. However, the presence of Afghans had been strong and during the transitional phase the Afghans continued to ravage large parts of Eastern Bengal including Chittagong, Sylhet, Khandal , Tripura as well as Assam and Arakan.

King Amar Manikya’s reign covered the first part of the transitional phase. Hence, he had to engage in continued conflicts/ wars with Afghan warlords and the rebellious landlords patronized by them. In one such battle Amar Manikya routed the pathan warlord Fateh Khan who had given shelter to the rebellious landlord of 'Taraph Pargana' under Tripura's domain. Nonetheless, king Amar Manikya elicited a pledge from him stating that in the future he would not aid any landlord in any manner and then left him without any other consequences. He was not charged harshly. In order to commemorate this victory, the king issued a coin in 1581.

Amar Manikya was however, less fortunate in his war against the king of Arakan Meng Phalung and his Mog army. The Arakanese king was trying to capture Chittagong. The Arakanese king suffered defeats in several skirmishes and pretended to be progressing towards peace. Apparently as a goodwill gesture the Arakan king sent an ivory made crown adorned with jewels along with a draft peace accord through an emissary. The squabbling princes, sons of Amar Manikya, engaged in a fresh dispute over who would wear the crown. Having sown the seeds of discord the Arakan king gathered valuable information on Tripura's defences through the emissary and won the next battle after launching a fresh attack. This episode in Tripura's history was immortalised by Rabindra Nath Tagore in his famous drama 'Mukut' (crown). Manikya had a number of temples and a palace constructed in Amarpur, the relics of which can still be found there. Having lost his throne and a son in the fight against Arakan king Amar, Manikya left Udaipur and finally died by suicide, through consuming a fatal dose of Opium in 1586 at 'Rajdhar cherra' (later corrupted into 'Ratacherra' in Kailasahar subdivison ). Prior to dying by suicide Amar Manikya had his son and prince, Rajdhar coronated on boats floating on Manu river in Kailasahar subdivision.

Devi Chakrakma curved on bank of Gomati river

Source: Google Images

As per the local Tripuri-Jamatia clans of Amarpur, King Amar Manikya came to worship Goddess Chakrama on the bank of River Gomati to overcome the Arakan Kings.

These interesting and fascinating stories around the king ought to be put out, in order to present the ideas, beliefs, legends and culture of the Tripuri people.

About the author: Khapang Debbarma is a student of Civil Engineering at NIT, Agartala. He's a painter and poet. He has worked with various language, culture, and environmental organisations and translated many significant drafts in Kokborok. He's also teaching Tripuri language to foreigners through Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp through a page name "Learn Tripuri".


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