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History of Chittagong Vol 1

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A systematic study of the history of an important district of Bangladesh. The district of Chittagong is the southernmost district of Bangladesh,



( From Ancient Times down

to 1761 )

SUNITI BHUSHAN QANUNGO x. A. Ph. D. Deparlmert of HistoryUuivorcity



Distributors : SIGNET LIBRARY 18, Ande*illahGhittagongr


Published by Diponkn Qanungo

First Puflle6g6



Suniti Bhushan Qrnungo


inted atPRnTERS



Sirojuddowlah Boad

Ghandrnpurr, Ghittrgong

















The ryetematic study ol local history ir comparatively recent in our countiy. Most of the Bengalee historlans of varying]eminence devotcd their altontlon to the etudy of the various agpoctr of his. tory of Bengel and as ruch tho Btudy of local hietory did not receiva appropriate carc in thsir honds. lt har now gsnerllly baen agreed thtl wirhout proper etudy of the locel history no oortecl study ol the natiooal hirtory le posrible. Again, the looal history though undoubtedly I pall ol nrtional hiatory, has lts own characterictic political. economic, cocial and religiour elmonle. A local hic. torirn ehould trke notic, ol these characteristic elemcntr. The pro3ont work is an Dumble rltompt to make a s\,stomatio otudy of thr hietory ol an important dletrict of Bangladeeh. Upto this tlme, thc study ol local hlstory of Chittagong le primarily conlined among thc ametours and antiquariane. Maulvi Hamidullah Khanl Bahadur not only wrotc the first hirlory of ChL ttagong but preparer a wry for others to follow. His efforts must be respoctlully remembered at the beginning. Sinco the writing ol Torlkh ln the mld ninrteenlh century, a number ol works on tho hlstory ol Chittagong have been written by such nthusiastic writers tr 5hri Trrak Chandra Dag 6hri Purna Chandra Chowdhury, Mv Abdul Karim Grhitya Visharad, Mt Mahbubul AIam, Syed Murlazr Ali, Mr Abdul Hoque Chowdhury, whosc efforts must bo acknowledged wlth duc ierpcct. As none of thcm is r profcssionrl historian, so a critical analysir of the historical vents cannot Dc rxprctsd frorn thcir works. Nevertholce, their works aro very

ll I A History of Chittagonghelpful in preparing a giound for a more systemtlic histoly. Thc emincnt historian Dr Kalika Ranian Oanungo planned to write'a decent history of his nrtive district', but the history ol ths Afghans, Rajputs, Jaths, Matathas and Mughele made him so very busy that he found no time to matcrialisc hie plan and he aecigned this stupendous task to hls unwoilhy nephew, ths presont writel. Similarly, the rescarch workc on political and social history ol Bengal prevented Dr Abdul Karlm, a front rank historian ol our tlme, from bscoming an exclusive historian ol Chittagong. Fonunatcly for me, hc was appolnted by the unlversity of Chiltagong my guide. But fcr his able and moet sympatholic e uidanoe it would have begn impossiblc for me to make rny rerearch work fruitful.

It was a fine winter morning of 1962, when the prerent writcr a letter from his revered uncte Dr Kalika Ranjan Oanungo. directing him to undertake a research project concernlng the hlstory ol Chittagong under Muslim rule. lt was really a surprire to a man who had no exparience in research work till then, and who informed lhe rcnowned scholer of his unworthinosc to undertake this project. "Don't feal, go ahead. ... lnvestigate the cubject with genulne curiority. ... You should havc a child like curioeity and a critical insight ol a Thucydidcs. ... Your main requirementc are a clear head and commonsonte.... Don't worly too much aboul materials. The materials of history lie ecattercd evcrywherc il youreceived

have eyes to 6ee and ears to heat..." There are a few lincs of my unclc's inspiring advice given occatlonally to mc. I have been not only blessed with his valuable euggeotions but lavoured by hinr to have an opportunity of utilising the material already colbc; ted by him. But the cruel hand of Death snatched awty my uncle allowing him no time to know oflicially that his projrot has earneC a doctoral degree for his nephew.

llRegarding rhe hisloiy


Chlrugong lora ol rhingr have becn

Prelace I iil

written so fer, but a great psrt of these are not wonhy of dis. cussion. Neverthelesg, tho descriptive accounls written by eome eminont echolars are of much worrh and the present writer hal tried to 6stimato their valus. Tha conlributions ln the shope of atticlot in some noted journals by such echolars and lsseatchors ar Rai Sarat Chandra Des Bahsdur, Dr Beni Madhlb Barua, Or Ahmad Hasan Dani, Dr Abdul Karim, CIr bdur Ralrim Dr Ahmad Sharif, Dr Dineoh Chandra Sa'kar, Dr nlamgir Ssrajuddin have been very helpful for historical rospa'ch on Chittagorrg. There are eeveral other learned persons whose inveetigetions havo msde my task easler. I havo mentioned their names and their works in the footnores and in the bibliography at the end ol thg bgok. My indebtednoss to thom knows no boundg,

iltWriting a systmatic history of a dietrict like Chittagong is in no way an enviable iob The urriler has to face many problems. The major problem that laces a writc,r is the ecute dearlh of sourcs material for which to give a critical antJ connective study of cventt is almost imposslble Fpigrarhic and numiematic evidenoec are co fevr that it is almast impossibte to arrange all ,t v6nto chronologically or lo furnish all events with datee Besides, lho primaty source books give only son.e passing referlncet to Chlltagong wt lle they are natrating lhe history or account of the countrie!, ovents or porsons concerned. Btcausa of the geogtaphical situation, Chittagong formrd merely an outlying province of itg suzerain powere i e, Tripura, Arakan and Bengal. Narurally, tho courl historians of thc suzrrain countries d'd not pay much attenlion to Chittsgong. This aputc shortage ol eource material may givc riee to the euspicion th.t a continuoue hlstory of Chittagong cannot be written. This, how6ver, cannot be accepted as t tinal judgement Hictory knows no vacuum and history muet be derived ftom aources whalsoover cloudy and meagre that may be. For thc hlstory oi tho anoisnt period of Chittagong our prirnary

lv I A Hisloty



aoutco of information is tha traditions as lound in Tibetan and Arakanese chronicler. lnf6y661ion about Chittagong contained in lhese chronicles is olten indirect, insernplglc and in mort cases those cannot be corro:oratsd by other ovidncsg. Navertholess, these at the prinsip6l sources ol info mation about early hiatory of Chittagong.

From the sixtconth oontury rhe position regarding the availabrlity of Bouroo matcrlal becomar compttatively favourable. ln addition to thc Arakancco and Tripura Ghronicles, the accounts of a large number of lorelgn writers especially tho Po?luguese eupply a lot of information about the contomporary happeninge in the d,ottict. Thc Portuguese wrirero give a narralive ol events, colourful lives of the Portuguese commanden and the vatious eides ol the relation between the Portuguese and the native princes. The Pottugue:e rources may be claslilled into two groups. (l) Poiluguets historle s and chroniclec dcaling with the ovente from 1516 to 1580 A D. (ll) Accounts of the Portuguese missionatiee and tmvallerr docling with the ovents trom 1580 to 1650 A D. Among lhe former group of ths Portuguose writerg, the nancs of such lenowned histoli' ans as De Barroc, Cas'anheda, Bocarlo. Coltea, Gouto, Falya e Sousa are prominent. lmong the writete of thc tccond gtoup the namee of euch distinguisheo missionarid as Fathcr Guerreiro, Father Du Jrrric. Fathar Manrique are noteworthy. Thrii aceounls 3re so very valuable that eomatimes thece appcar as chiel cou;ce of his tory ol their contemporary poriods. filany ol them hkg Father Manriqie were well-acquaintod with the language$. customs and soc'rl life of the people of the countries in whlch thcy travelled' Thc Portugu.io sourosr lying scattered at the archivcs of Lisbon, Romr, Madrid and other Iuropcan cities are not acceslible to the pres.nt writer. Howover, some lea'ned wri ters like Sir Henry Yule, Father H Hosten, C H Payne, J J A Campos, Danvers and othore have done much lo mako the Portuguese sou?cs cvailoble to ut. Their edired works. however, dcal wirh only a patt of lhe vaat loutco thal tho Portugueec chtoniclers, correspondents, missionaries and travelleru hlve left fol us. ln the sevenleenth cenluty, becidcs the EgroPcn writerg, lome Porgian works of sdmilted

Prefacc I v 6g1it, lor example. ioho rlston-l-Ghoibi, Fothya-I - tbb riyo and Alomgl rnoma throw ample light on rhe contmporary events in Chittagong. Bengalr lterary works profusely ehed light on the tocial conditlon

of the district especially durlng the Mur,hal regime. lnsplte ol that, we muct 88y all rhese soutce books aro not sulficicnt togive a detailed, connctive and comprehenrive history ol the dirtricn.lV

Chittagong in the early Ghrlrtian Ccnturicr rnight form an independent kingdom, but it definltely ceased to be ai euch from tho tenth century A D. Since that timo, Chittagong ie not indiepurably known to havo f ormgd an independent klngdom. ln fact, its history is but lhe history of a particutar provlnce of its suzerain powors cuch ae Arakan, Tripura and Bengal. As a mattor ol fact, ltr hirtory is so rnsxtricably bound wirh tho hi.tory of thore countries that a rtudy of hirtory ol this districr withour rhe knowledge ot tho hi.rory of the correrponding countrics is neither practicable nor desirable. The hirtory of Chittagong ir eo grossly blended with tha history of itc neighbouring regions that lhero is a

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