A look back at how Tripura merged with the Indian Union

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October 15 is marked as the completion of 71 years of the landmark decision of merging of the princely state of Tripura with the Indian Union.

Once an independent kingdom, Tripura became the princely state of India during the British Rule. It was ruled by the Manikya Dynasty and was an independent administrative unit under the Maharajas even during the British rule in India. The privilege of being an independent state was qualified being subject to recognition of the British, as the paramount power of each successive ruler.

According to the Rajmala (the Chronicles of Kings), Tripura was ruled by 184 Tripuri Kings with sovereign and independent status prior to its merger with the Indian Union in 1949. The last ruling king Bir Bikram Kishore Deb Barman, ascended the throne on 1923. He was popularly known as the “Modern Architect of Tripura” for initiating some major developments in the state including educational and land reforms. In 1939, he reserved land for the indigenous population, which was later instrumental in the creation of the autonomous district council. He also built the first airport in Tripura.

During the partition when there was a riot between the two major communities in India it also led to the pouring in of refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh, whom the Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Deb Barman took as refugees. However, this was the beginning of the changing of population ratio of Tripura that changed the demography of the state.

Maharaja Bir Bikram was the last King who had ruled the state from 1923 to 17 May 1947, he had decided to merge the then princely state of Tripura with the Indian Union by issuing a royal edict on 28 April 1947. However, prior to its merger with the Indian Union in 1949,  Bir Bikram Kishore died an unnatural death.

His son Kirit Bikram Kishore Deb Barman, became his successor who was a minor at the time of the merger. As such a Council of Regency was formed to run the administration under the presidency of Queen Kanchan Prava Devi, widow of Bir Bikram Kishore. Prava Devi has been instrumental in the merger of the Tripura in the Indian union. After facing a crisis from both internal and external forces she came under severe pressure following which she chooses to join the Indian Union. On the advice of the Government of India, she dissolved the Council of Regency and became the sole Regent on 12 January 1948. On 9 September 1949, she signed the ‘Tripura Merger Agreement’, and with effect from 15 October 1949 Tripura became part of the Indian Union. It was thereafter administered by the Chief Commissioner as a ‘C’ Category State.

On November 1, 1956, Tripura was recognized as a Union Territory. With the sustained efforts and struggle of the people of Tripura, it gained full statehood on January 21, 1972, as per the North-East Reorganisation Act, 1971. And democratic set-up got further stretched upto the village level in 1978 with election to the local bodies that ultimately culminated in the introduction of three-tier Panchayati Raj System.

On the other hand, for socio-economic development, preservation of language and culture of Tripura Tribal Areas, Autonomous District Council (ADC) was constituted in 1982 under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution and later on in 1985 it was brought under the 6th Schedule. (Tripura State Portal)


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