Kandi And Paikpara Raj Family কান্দী আর পাইকপাড়া রাজ পরিবার

The Kandi and Paikpara Raj family, generally known in the Presidency of Bengal as "Lala Babus family", belong to the "Uttar Rarhi" class of Kayastha, and their origin is traced from Anadibar Sinha, who settled in Bengal in the 9th century during the flourishing reign of King Adisur [^] (রাজা আদিসুর) of Gour. Raja Madan Sinha and Raja Lakshmidhar, the 5th and 8th in descent, were great feudal lords to the Hindu Kings of Bengal. Vyas Sinha 9th in succession, was a devoted minister of King Ballal Sen, suffered a martyr's death for the sake of his religion. Raja Binayaka Sinha and Raja Lakshmidhar II, the 12th and 13th descendants, were feudal lords to the Pathan Kings of Delhi, rendering immense services to them in the internal administration of the empire, and, further, that the brothers, the Rajas Jibadhara and Pravakara, were noted for their strict adherence into religious practices and their munificent charitable donations.
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Radha Kanta Sinha (রাধাকান্ত সিংহ)

Authenticated history commences from the time of Harakrishna Sinha, who first settled in Kandi, in the district of Murshidabad. He carried on an extensive business as banker and silk merchant. On account of the Mahratha disturbances, he migrated to the opposite bank of the river and selected the village of Boalia, having obtained a grant of the land from the Nawab. Harakrishna Sinha was a zealous Vaishnava. He left a son named Murlidhar. Murlidhar had three sons Narayan Sinha, Gouranga Sinha and Bihari Sinha. His second son Gouranga Sinha, amassed great wealth and became possessor of a number of Mahals, Taluqs, and Lakhiraj Lands. Gouranga Sinha became assistant Qanungo under the Bangadhikaris in 1178 BS (1772 AD), obtained from Shah Allam II, a Sanad in perpetuity in order to enable him to endow the shrine of Thakur Sri Sri Radhaballav Jiu, and also received from the same source the title of "Mazumdar".

Gouranga Sinha is said to have built a house with parapets and cornices (horizontal decorative molding that crowns a building) like those on Siraj-ud-Daulla's palace at Heera Jheel. It is said that, this so infuriated the haughty Nawab that he immediately ordered the parapets and cornices to be pulled down and the builder to be arrested.

Gouranga Sinha adopted as his successor his nephew (younger brother's son) Radha Kanta Sinha, who held office under the "Bangadhikaris", and who rendered valuable services to the British Government at the time of the establishment of the Dewani of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, for which he was rewarded by the Government with the grant of a Sayar Mahal, together with the right of collecting octroi at Hooghly. He was the revenue officer under Alivardi Khan (আলীবর্দী খাঁ) and Siraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা) when the British obtained the Dewani of the Subha. Radha Kanta Sinha further gave great assistance to the British forces when Siraj-ud-Daulla attacked Calcutta in 1757 AD, and after the Battle of Plasscy in June 1757 he was appointed as assistant to Muhammad Reza Khan, the Naib Dewan and Naib Subhadar Dullavram, to manage the Revenue Department of Mir Jafar.

Radha Kanta was an orthodox and devoted Hindu, and have greatly enriched the shrines at Kandi. He purchased the village of Buhera in 1168 BS and in 1178 BS executed a deed by which he dedicated them with four other villages, and other property to the worship of Thakur Sri Sri Radhaballav Jiu at Kandi. Radha Kanta died in the year 1179 BS (1773 AD), and by a deed of appointment he entrusted the management of his estates, together with the control of all matters relating to the worship of their family deity, Thakur Sri Sri Radhaballav Jiu, to his two brothers, Radha Charan and Ganga Gobinda. Radha Charan died at Changi around 1185 BS (1779 AD), leaving behing sons Bijoy Gobinda and Ramananda.
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Ganga Gobinda Sinha (গঙ্গা গোবিন্দ সিংহ)

Ganga Gobinda Singh accumulated an enormous fortune and also established the royal house of Kandi at Murshidabad and Paikpara at Calcutta. He was largely responsible for the abolition of the joint administration or dual system of Governance [1], and when that event took place he was appointed by Warren Hastings to the high office of Dewan of the Committee of Revenue, and also as and Naib Qanungo. Being a Persian scholar and well acquainted with Zamindari affairs, Ganga Gobinda conducted the business of the "Sharista", and advised Mr. Hastings as to the best way of effecting the changes contemplated by him in the judicial and revenue departments. His son Pran Krishna was appointed as Naib Dewan of the Committee. He was afterwards selected for the important post of Head Commissioner with power to make investigations with regard to the settlement of revenue, and it is recorded that he discharged his duties in a most exemplary manner. Ganga Gobinda was frequently called upon to solve difficult problems in State administration. Lord Cornwallis appointed Ganga Gobinda to effect the Permanent Settlement [2]. It was at the instance of Ganga Gobinda that Warren Hastings made grants of land which had a rent roll of Rs. 2,38,061-12-1. Warren Hastings, on the eve of his departure from India, expressed in a public speech his high appreciation of Ganga Gobinda's tenure of the Dewani of the Calcutta Committee of the Honourable The East India Company, and further referred at length to the exceptional ability displayed by him in the execution of most responsible official duties.

"The regret which I cannot but feel, in relinquishing the service of my honorable employers, would be much embittered, were it accompanied by the reflection that I have neglected the merits of a man who deserves no less of them than of myself Ganga Gobinda Singh who from his earliest youth has been employed in the collection of revenues, and was about 11 years ago selected for his superior talent to fill the office of Dewan to the Calcutta Committee. He has from that time, with a short intermission, been the principal native agent in the collection of the Company's revenues; and I can take upon myself to say that he has performed the duties of his office with fidelity, diligence and ability. To myself, he has given proofs of a constancy and attachment which neither the fears nor expectations excited by the prevalence of direct influence could shake; and at a time, too, when these qualities were so dangerous, that far from finding them amongst the generality of his countrymen, I did not invariably meet with them amongst my own." -- Warren Hastings.

The members of the Kandi family held the highest offices in the state, and exercised immense influence by virtue of their position. All Zamindars, Taluqdars and infact all those who held lands in any part of the country used to pay their respects to Ganga Gobinda Sinha. Raja Krishna Chandra of Nadia always looked upon him as second Mr. Hastings; and addressed him as :
[English Translation]
দরবার অসাধ্য পূত্র আরাধ্য
No Success at Court, no obedience in son
কেবল ভরসা গঙ্গাগোবিন্দ
My hope is only in Ganga Gobinda
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Ganga Gobinda was a staunch supporter of Hindu religious and other customs. His name has acquired a traditional celebrity for the most magnificent Sraddha, or funeral obsequies, ever performed in Bengal. They were celebrated in honour of his mother, and are stated to have cost 20 lakhs of rupees. Invitations were engraved on gold leaves. The guests on that occasion included the Rajas and Zamindars of half the Province, and were presided over by Shiva Chandra, son of Raja Krishna Chandra, of Krishnagar. The guests were received in large Shamianas erected for the purpose, and they were lavishly supplied with ghee, oil, rice, honey, milk, vegetables, and other food. The Brahmins are said to have heen fed with the Mohaproshad of Jagannath, brought by relays of posts from Puri to Kandi. He also performed two more ceremonies with a pomp, the like of which has never been witnessed in Bengal. One was the Annaprasana of his grandson, Lala Babu, in which invitation cards to pandits were engraved on gold leaves, and the other the Paran or the chanting of the sacred Puranas at his house in Belur. Gadadhar Siromoni of Sonamukhi Burdwan, the father of chanting is said to have made his debut on that occasion, and Ganga Gobinda was so much pleased with his eloquence and musical powers, that he rewarded him with one lakh of rupees. The Tank in which oil was stored up, is still existing and goes by the name of Telgoria.

Ganga Gobinda Singh encouraged the Pandits of Nadia, contributing largely to their support and that of their student, repairing their houses and providing them with food and clothing. The necessary articles were said to have been sent by him to every Toll on the first of each month. He also used to incur considerable expense for the support of pilgrims to the shrine at Sagar, who received from him boat hire, food and cloathing; and he established places for relief of mendicants at Belur and elsewhere. Ganga Gobinda liberally supported pilgrims, pandits, scholars, and a large number of needy persons. He built magnificent temples of Lord Govinda, Lord Gopi Nath, Lord Madan Mohan and Lord Krishna Jiu at Naba Dweep. He was a great advocate of Sanskrit learning, and contributed a considerable amount of money towards the advancement of that language. He died in the year 1206 BS (1800 AD), leaving a son, Pran Krishna Sinha, who, having been adopted by his uncle Radha Kanta Sinha, became heir to two estates and the recipient of the major portion of the wealth of the family.
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Krishna Chandra Sinha (কৃষ্ণ চন্দ্র সিংহ - লালা বাবু)

Pran Krishna for a number of years held the office of Naib Diwan, and also increased the area of his estates, but as neither wealth nor honours was sought by him, he retired into private life, devoting his energies to the cause of religion. He died in the year 1215 BS (1809 AD), leaving an only son, Krishna Chandra Sinha. Krishna Chandra Sinha, better known by his popular name of Lala Babu, who was born in 1775 AD, added largely to the estate, but became an ascetic and took up his residence at Brindaban, where he was distinguished for his liberality and piety. His early training included a thorough grounding in the Persian, Sanskrit, and Arabic languages, but the most remarkable feature of his character was an intensely benevolent spirit, which was manifested while he was still young. He was employed in the post of Sheristadar [3] in the Magistrate, Collector and Judge's offices, at Burdwan, when he was only 17 years. Subsequently, when possession was taken of Orissa, he was appointed there as Dewan in-charge of the settlement. He bought property, parganas Rahum, Sire and Chabiskud there in 1816.

It is related that, when seventeen years of age, a Brahmin asked him to give a thousand rupees for the marriage expenses of his daughter, and Krishna Chandra at once instructed his father's cashier to pay the amount, but that official reported the matter to his employer, who ordered him to comply with the request on the understanding that Krishna Chandra should in future make all such gifts out of his personal earnings. Krishna Chandra thereupon forsook his studies and went to Burdwan, where he became "Sheristadar", and, in 1803, Dewan in charge of Settlement. During those years, however, he acquired a considerable amount of money, out of which he purchased a number of properties and parganas, in addition to the zamindary of Bisalakshmipur. Krishna Chandra and his father never met again after the incident connected with the Brahmin's visit, but when Pran Krishna Sinha died, his son celebrated the Sraddha ceremonies with great splendour.

The legend has it that once while he was being carried in a palaquin, dusk was approaching. He over-heard a washer-man’s daughter’s remark. There are two versions: 1) the young girl said: "Bela je jaye. Jol ke chol" (বেলা যে যায় জলকে চল). That is Time is passing. Let us go, get water. 2) In the second version, narrated by Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa, she said: "Bela je jaye. Basna kakhon jalaben" (বেলা যে যায় বাসনা কখন জ্বালাবেন). That is Time is passing. When will you set fire to basana ?. "Basna", is stem of a dry banana plant. It also means desire, which according to Lord Buddha, lies at the source of all the suffering. Raja Krishna Chandra Sinha, who was almost middle aged then, took this as a "call" from God and left for Brindaban, a place close to the place of birth of Lord Krishna. Before he left home, he made arrangements for the education of his son and the control and guidance of his household. Babu Nilmani Bose of Chorebagan, Calcutta was appointed general agent to conduct all lawsuits, as well as to manage all Zamindari affairs. He came to be known as "Lala Babu", after he renounced the world, and became a sanyasi or a monk, and built a magnificent temple-complex there at a considerable cost and effort. The temple was completed in 1810 AD and is well known for its architectural splendour. It also has a unique custom: flowers grown outside the temple complex are not used in the worship of the deity.

In the later part of his life he begged for food from door to door, in order to conquer his ego. Lala Babu is considered to be among the ten greatest saints of the Vaishnavas. Lala Babu was killed when the horse of the Maharani of Gwalior, who came to meet him, bolted. That sad event ocurred in the 46th year of his age. His widow, the celebrated Rani Kattayani, who belonged to the Roshora family, spent 16 lacs in charity. She performed the ceremony of "Anna Meru" (অন্ন মেরু), or the mountain of rice, which with valuable presents was distributed to deserving people. The Rani appeared to be tireless in her devotion to charitable works, and after having spent a further sum of 16 lakhs of rupees in donations to needy institutions and persons, she passed away in the year 1268 BS (1862 AD).
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Sreenarayan Sinha (শ্রীনারায়ন সিংহ)

Sreenarayan Sinha was left a minor when his father Lala Babu died. The Board appointed Babu Bhagaban Bose, a near relative of the Ray Chaudhuri family of Taki, as Manager; leaving Rani Kattyani to act as guardian to the minor. During his childhood his education was neglected, and he directed his attention to the study of music, vocal and instrumental; and very soon became a proficient in that art. He had only a superficial knowledge of Persian but he could speak Hindustani and Urdu with a grace and elegance. In his time the orchestra attached to the Sri Sri Radhaballav Jiu temple at Kandi was considered the sweetest in the country, even surpassing those in the Nizamat. Sreenarayan used to celebrate the annual Rash ceremony of the idol with much pomp; and gave in charity on every such occassion large sums of money. He died young, and not without a suspicion of having been carried off by poison. Sreenarayan purchased Bhulua in Tipperah for three lakhs. The money was borrowed from Babu Raghu Gosyami of Srirampore, through his favourite officer Ramchand Lahiri.
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Pratap Chandra Sinha (প্রতাপ চন্দ্র সিংহ)

Sreenarayan Sinha, had three wives, of whom the second died in his life-time leaving two daughters. He died, giving his wives permission to adopt according to the porvisions of the Hindu Law. Krishna Chandra Sinha alias "Lala Babu" espoused the daughter of Gaur Mohan Ghosh, the celebrated Rani Kattayani. Her brother, Krishna Sundar Ghosh, had three sons, viz. Gopi Mohan Ghosh, Hari Mohan Ghosh, and Ram Mohan Ghosh. On the demise of Sreenarayan, his two widows at the instance of Rani Kattayani adopted Hari Mohan Ghosh adn Ram Mohan Ghosh. Sreenarayan's first wife adopted Hari Mohan Ghosh, who assumed the name of Pratap Chandra Sinha. while his another wife Rani Karunamoyee, daughter of Raja Kailasdeb, adopted Ram Mohan Ghosh, who assumed the name of Ishwar Chandra Sinha.

Pratap Chandra Sinha was born at Roshora, Murshidabad, in 1827 AD. The title of Raja Bahadur was conferred upon him by a Sanad, dated the 20th April, 1854, and also appointed to Companionship of the Star of India, an honour which was conferred by Lord Canning, then Viceroy of India. Pratap Chandra contributed Rs. 50,000 for the construction of the Calcutta Fever Hospital. The school at Kandi was established by him in 1859. He was appointed one of the four non-official members of the Bengal Legislative Council. He was an enthusiastic supporter of education, establishing several primary and high schools, including the High English School at Kandi. He was further a strong advocate in favour of the movement for the remarriage of Hindu widows, to which fund he gave a quarter of a lakh of rupees. Raja Pratap Chandra Sinha was Vice-President of the British Indian Association (which was originated by him), and of several other district societies, and he was the prime mover in the revival of Hindu drama. The free dispensary at the Paikpara Rajbati was founded by the Raja.

The Belgachia Garden House
The Paikpara House
Because of the initiative of Pratap Chandra Sinha and Ishwar Chandra Sinha the Belgachhia Theatre came into existence. It was under such auspices that Pandit Ram Narayan's seciond drama, Ratnavali was to be acted at Belgachia garden house. The English translation of the drama, for the European guests, was done by Michael Madhusudan Dutta (মাইকেল মধুসূদন দত্ত). In July 1858, the drama was acted under circumstances of pomp and scenic decorations which surpassed the utmost expectations. Every one was charmed with the acting; and a new era was opened for the Bengal Drama.

Towards the middle of 1866 Pratap Chandra Sinha, one of the principal supporters of girl-schools established by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, fell severely ill at Kandi. Vidyasagar hurried up to that place with Dr. Mahendra Lal Sarkar. Pratap Chandra was removed to Paikpara, Calcutta where he expired on July 19, 1866 AD at the early age of thirty-nine, leaving his widow. Rani Padmamukhi, and four sons, Girish Chandra (died 1877 AD), Purna Chandra (died 1890 AD), Kanti Chandra (died 1880 AD), and Sarat Chandra. On his demise the condition of the estate was deplorable. It was going to be put up to auction for arrears of land revenue. Taking the minor sons, of the late Raja with him Vidyasagar called on Sir Cecil Beadon, the Lieutenant-Governor, and earnestly prayed him to save the property. The Governor had the generosity to place it under the Court of Wards.
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Sarat Chandra Sinha (শরত চন্দ্র সিংহ)

Sarat Chandra Sinha, the youngest son of Raja Pratap Chandra Sinha was born in the year 1859, and his early education was received at the Metropolitan Institution in Calcutta. In later years He became an expert in the art of photography and in engineering, and he submitted his special knowledge of these subjects to a practical test by remodelling the Cossipore Thakurbati and the mansion at Paikpara, at Calcutta, which belongs to the family. The Paikpara house, at Belgachia was formerly owned by Prince Dwarkanath Tagore. This building was visited by King Edward VII, Prince of Wales in 1875, and the Marquis of Ripon in 1882. Sarat Chandra Sinha laid the foundation of the "Uttar Rarhi Kayastha Sabha", an institution for the furtherance of the educational, social, and moral progress of his own people. He made donations for construction of the Victoria Memorial Hall, to the Jessore Water Works scheme, the establishment of a Dharamsala at Mathura, the founding of two scholarships in the University of Calcutta, and a charitable dispensary at Kandi. He was succeeded by his only son Kumar Birendra Chandra Sinha.
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Birendra Chandra Sinha (বিরেন্দ্র চন্দ্র সিংহ)

Birendra Chandra was born in December 1881 AD, and his early scholastic training was received at the Metropolitan Institution at Calcutta, while his education was completed under the very efficient guidance of the learned pandit, Hari Mohan Bandyopadhyay (হরি মোহন বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়). His amiable and refined manners have endeared him to many highly placed Government officials, and even the members of the Government manifested their appreciation of his sterling merits by appointing him an Honorary First-class Magistrate for the Presidency of Bengal. He was further honoured in 1906 when he was selected as page to King George V at a reception given during a visit to India in that year.

Birendra Chandra Sinha's charitable activities are not by any means confined to donations to people, He made large grants in aid of persons who suffered from the effects of an earthquake in the Kangra Valley in 1905; he constructed a burning ghat at Cossipore; he gave Rs. 50,000 for the Tropical School of Medicine in the Calcutta Medical College; and he has subscribed most liberally to various relief funds during the course of the European War.
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Atish Chandra Sinha (অতীশ চন্দ্র সিংহ)

Born in 11th July 1940 in Calcutta, Atish Chandra Sinha, whose father Bimal Chandra Sinha was a minister in the Bidhan Chandra Roy-led government, joined the Congress in the late 60s and first became a member of the Legislative Assembly in 1971 before being given a ministerial berth in the Congress government led by Siddhartha Shankar Ray. He was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and at the Imperial College in London, specializing in Geophysics; Minister of Small Scale and Cottage Industries 1972/1977; elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984; Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly 1996/2001; Leader of the Congress legislative party in the West Bengal assembly 2001/2006; he founded the Bimal Chandra College of Law in Kandi in the memory of his father; he was an active member of Calcutta South Club; married Rani Archana Devi, and had issue, one son Dr. Aninda Sinha, Professor at Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore and one daughter Anindita Sinha. Atish Chandra Sinha died on 4th March 2010 in Kolkata.
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Bikash Chandra Sinha (বিকাশ চন্দ্র সিংহ)

Dr. Bikash Chandra Sinha
Bikash Chandra Sinha
Bikash Chandra Sinha hailed from the famous Paikpara Raj family, born on 16th June 1945. He is an eminent Indian physicist, active in the fields of nuclear physics and high energy physics. He was graduated from the Presidency College at Calcutta with honours in Physics (first class) in the year 1964 and soon thereafter, left India for higher studies at Christ's College, Cambridge and joined Tripos, a three years Degree course in Science at Cambridge. He obtained his Tripos from Cambridge University in natural science in 1967 and a Ph.D. from London University in 1970 and a D.Sc. in 1981. Dr. Sinha lived in England for about 12 years, teaching and researching in the Rutherford High Energy Physics Laboratory and Kings College, London. He was Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, Government of India 1997/1999 and Chairman of the International Radiation Physics in 1997 and the Chairman of the National Committee for International Union for Pure and Applied Physics in 1998. Dr. Sinha worked in the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre at Bombay from 1976 till 1984 and then he returned to Calcutta. He became the Director at Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, Salt Lake City, in the year 1987 and concurrently, became the Director of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in 1992; recipient of a number of awards and honours, including Padma Shri in 2001, the R.D. Birla Award for Excellence in Physics in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan Award in 2010. He is father of a daughter named Tania born on 19th August, 1974, and a son named Amartya born on July 7,1979 at Bombay.


References :
  • [1] The Dual Government of Bengal was a double system of administration, which was introduced by Robert Clive. The East India Company obtained the actual power; where as the responsibility and charge of administration was entrusted to the Nawab of Bengal. The Nawab could not assist his people even if he wanted to, for all the state's resources were controlled by the British East India Company. In 1772 the company ended the Dual system of government and began to directly administer the state. Back
  • [2] The Permanent Settlement : This system was introduced in 1793 by Lord Cornwallis. Under this system the British East India Company would fix a certain sum of money to be paid every year as tax on the land a landlord owned. It would then be up to the landlord to ensure that he was able to make the required some of money from his land in order to fulfil the demands of the East India Company, which were rigidly collected on a fixed day. If a landlord was unable to pay, his land was usually taken away from him and auctioned off. Back
  • [3] 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
  • Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa Their history, people, commerce and industrial resources - By Somerset Playne (1917)
  • The Musnud of Murshidabad (1704-1904) - By Purna Ch Majumdar
  • A history of Murshidabad District (Bengal) (1902) - By John Henry Tull
  • The Bansberia raj (1908) - By Sambhu Chandra De
  • The Indian Stage Vol II (1938) - By Hemendra Nath Das Gupta
  • Vidyasagara - A Great Indian Educationist and Philanthropist (1921) - By Ananta Kumar Roy

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