Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma said on Tuesday that histories of “different colours” were being written and that royal history was “badly misinterpreted” because the past of the state had not been properly documented.
He was speaking at the launch of a coffee-table book on the state’s development from 1949 to 2022. “Development is a chain reaction. So we have documented the development since 1949. We have also included some developments since the monarchical regime. Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty contributed immensely in education and other developmental fields. We have also displayed achievements of all the governments since 1949,” Devvarma said.
The 68-page book was published by the Department of Planning and Coordination and is divided into eighteen chapters delineating the state’s developmental journey in transportation, power, agriculture and horticulture, forest and ecology, information technology, women’s empowerment, urban development, trade and industry, friendship with Bangladesh and justice.
Devvarma said political and economic histories were often written but a state could not be understood without its developmental history. “Histories of different colours exist here due to a lack of documentation. Everyone is writing whatever they want. We feel documentation is very important,” he said.
“History of the royal era was misinterpreted very badly. We lacked local heroes. Every society must have an icon. It is very important to have a role model. If we have an icon like Maharaja Bir Bikram, we do not have to go to Cuba, China or Vietnam looking for one. If we have Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore, we must say so. We have Rai kachag, Rai Kasam and we must be able to talk about them. Children should know,” he said.
Rai Kachag and Rai Kasam were generals of the royal army who fought against attackers targeting the Manikya king-ruled Tipperah kingdom. Devvarma is also a karta or a “prince” of the erstwhile Manikya dynasty.
Devvarma said many things would be lost from social life in the absence of such local heroes and that “Atmanirbhar Tripura” would need them and not “imported history”.
Devvarma also jibed at the Congress saying an impression was created as if only one family fought for national freedom. “Twisting history means demolishing society. We are trying to combine national and regional aspirations.
Earlier, these were in conflict with each other. Now these are complementary to each other,” he said.
Asked if creating a new history would not mean twisting the existing one, Devvarma said, “We are often accused of saffronisation. If we did that, we would not have started with history since 1949. We want to project all true history and recognise efforts and inspirations of all the previous governments. This is the meaning of recognising sabka prayas, which is a part of our slogan sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas, sabka prayas.”
On whether the book, which includes the Left Front government’s contributions as well, would then contradict the BJP’s allegation that nothing worthwhile had been done till the saffron party came to power, Devvarma said, “When we say they did not do anything, it means they did not do what was needed. If they did what could have been done, ADC (Autonomous District Council) would not have been crippled. Whatever work should have been done in the time span they got was not done. The time taken and productivity is not proportional”.
Devvarma also cited freedom fighters from Nagaland and Manipur who laid down their lives fighting the British. “Today we are trying to unearth those truths and strengthen our society. It is the same thing with our state. This coffee-table book is a story of the progress of Tripura,” the deputy chief minister said.