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Raij Mel site Panagaor Tup remains neglected

By Correspondent

BARPETA, Jan 17 � At a time when the entire nation is busy making preparations to celebrate the Republic Day on January 26, a place in Barpeta district where the flame of the Independence movement was ignited is unattended not only by the Government but also by the people as a whole. It is a place where the famous �Raij Mel� took place from January 21- 24,1894 � i.e. 120 years ago.

Peasant movements in some parts of the State during the late 19th century is stated to be the prelude to the Independence movement of the country. The British rulers had hiked the land revenue exorbitantly during the last decade of the 19th century. It was opposed tooth and nail by the then patriotic souls of the State who organised protest movements in some areas.

Panagaor Tup at Lachima under the then Kshetri Paragana (now under Sarukshetri mouza) in Barpeta subdivision (now a district) is one such place where the people organised such a movement. Revolutionary people of the area assembled under the large peepal tree near the Alpa canal at Lachima and vehemently opposed the exorbitant hike in land revenue effected by the British rulers.

It is learnt that the then Subdivisional Officer of Barpeta had to come to the spot with security where he had to face assault of the aggrieved people. Irked over the assault on officers and staff, the British then beat up the agitating people mercilessly. Some of them were forced to draw the plough like bullocks.

A number of revolutionaries of that area, like Puspa Kahar and Priyakanta Goswami, were imprisoned. Puspa Kahar, even behind the bars, continued making bell metal utensils. The dish and bowl prepared inside the jail are still known as Jail Kahi (dish) and Jail Bati (bowl).

With an uncompromising attitude and the determination of �not to be overcome� they were united and the British were forced to roll back the revenue hike decision.

The entire episode is known as Raij Mel conglomerate of people to discuss some crucial matters. It was a revolution of the farmers against the British rule for hurting their interests.

Though apparently it seemed to be a peasant revolution to protect their interests, it sprouted the seeds of the independence movement in the area in particular and the State as a whole. The contribution of this movement is in no way negligible.

But it is matter of regret that the Panagaor Tup, the venue of such a significant historic movement, is being neglected by the Government. To indicate the existence of the place, there is only a large peepal tree, the same under which the people had assembled in 1894.

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