The Golden Era
Sabarna Prithivi (One) সাবর্ণ পৃথিবী ১

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 logosThe golden era in the social history of Bengal...

The Sabarna Roy Choudhury family though were powerful and high esteemed Jaigirdars(Zamindars), unlike other zamindar families, they never led luxurious lives or exploited their Subjects in any manner. They were spiritual and simple life-styled people, who believed in Karma and service to the people.

Let us learn something about the reign of the Sabarna Zamindars, from Moghul to British times, through the eyes of Atul Krishna Ray who wrote down his research and experiences in his magnum opus Laksmikanta- A Chapter in the Social History of Bengal,  published from Beneras in 1928.

At all the centres in which the Sabarna family had settled down- the guidance and control of the head  member of his family was loyally obeyed by all the members of the Samaj (society) without a word of  protest or remanstance, discontent or disaffection. It was not the fear of punishment or expectation of favours but the impartial administration of Justice and equality of treatment as between man and man, that was at the root of this loyalty.

The names of Jagadish,  Vidyadhar,  Raghudev,  Monohar, Ramjivan, Kalicharan, Santosh and Bhairab Chander of Halisahar and Uttarpara,  Keshab,  Raghudev, Santosh,  Nandalal,  Radhakanta,  Harish of Barisha,  Kalyan,  Jagatram,  Durgaram and Ramdas of Nimta and Birati,  Gaurikanta and Ishwar Chandra of Paharpur are still held in the highest esteem as true leaders of society whose sympathy and regard for the sufferings of their fellow men have run into a proverb. No police or Magistracy ever interfered with their authority. They settled disputes relating to land, caste, social precedence and morality. They punished delinquents by fines or social ostracism and no appeal to any higher authority was ever heard of.

Indeed they looked upon their subjects and adherents as members of their own family. Undue exaction and corporal punishment were practically unknown to them; and if they maintained as they did a large retinue of armed men Lathials and Swordsmen it was to save themselves and their subjects from the depredations of Thugs, Bargis(Marhatta raiders) and dacoits and not for overrawing rack renting or punishing their own rival kinsmen, subjects and adherents. It may astonish many people to learn in these days of criminal perjury that the finger of scorn was pointed by society at indivisuals who had either told a lie or given false evidence as late as 1864. in some of the regions held by the Sabarnas. We have ourselves seen in our youth and remember how two liars never ventured to stir out in their houses or show their face to the public and how they laid down their lives with quiet submission and genuine remorse, pitied but hated and shunned. We remember how learned pandits and caste headmen made it a point to assemble every evening at the house of Sabarna leader and discuss the qualities laches and imperfections of their castemen and seek at his hands both punishment and promotion, in accordance with their defects and virtue.

The habits of the people were simple, no desire for ostentation excepton occasions of marriage and shardh, no avarice for wealth, no hankering after high rank,  no canvassing of their existence.

The subjects within the exclusive zamindaris of the Sabarna Roy Choudhuris believed that they lived in Ram-Rajaya in which quarrel and friction with the landlord were unknown. This was possible only because the descendants of Laksmikanta have all loyally followed his example and precept in dealing with their subjects with evenhanded Justice, strict impartiality and active sympathy and alleviated their sufferings with fatherly solicitude. That the rules of conduct laid down by illustrius ancestor Laksmikanta should have guided the Sabarna family for long generations,  is in itself proof positive of his magnetic personality, farsighted policy, sterling worthand godly character.