Knowledge Corner

Tripura is a state in Northeast India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers 10,491 km2 (4,051 sq mi) and is bordered byBangladesh (East Bengal) to the north, south, and west, and the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram to the east. In 2011 the state had 3,671,032 residents, constituting 0.3% of the country’s population. The Bengali Hindu people form the ethno-linguistic majority in Tripura. Indigenous communities, known in India asscheduled tribes, form about 30 per cent of Tripura’s population. The Kokborok speaking Tripuri people are the major group among 19 tribes and many subtribes.

The area of modern ‘Tripura’ was ruled for several centuries by the Tripuri dynasty. It was the independent princely state of the Tripuri Kingdom under the protectorate of the British Empire which was known as Hill Tippera while the area annexed and ruled directly by British India was known as Tippera District (present Comilla District). The independent Tripuri Kingdom (or Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949. Ethnic strife between the indigenous Tripuri people and the migrant Bengali population due to large influx of Bengali Hindu refugees and settlers from Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) led to tension and scattered violence since its integration into the country of India, but the establishment of an autonomous tribal administrative agency and other strategies have led to peace.

Tripura lies in a geographically disadvantageous location in India, as only one major highway, the National Highway 8, connects it with the rest of the country. Five mountain ranges—Boromura, Atharamura, Longtharai, Shakhan and Jampui Hills—run north to south, with intervening valleys; Agartala, the capital, is located on a plain to the west. The state has a tropical savanna climate, and receives seasonal heavy rains from the south west monsoon. Forests cover more than half of the area, in which bamboo and cane tracts are common. Tripura has the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state. Due to its geographical isolation, economic progress in the state is hindered. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague Tripura, which has a limited infrastructure. Most residents are involved in agriculture and allied activities, although the service sector is the largest contributor to the state’s gross domestic product.

Mainstream Indian cultural elements, especially from Bengali culture, coexist with traditional practices of the ethnic groups, such as various dances to celebrate religious occasions, weddings and festivities; the use of locally crafted musical instruments and clothes; and the worship of regional deities. The sculptures at the archaeological sites Unakoti, Pilak and Devtamura provide historical evidence of artistic fusion between organised and tribal religions. The Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala was the former royal abode of the Tripuri king)

History

Although there is no evidence of lower or middle Paleolithic settlements in Tripura, Upper Paleolithic tools made of fossil wood have been found in the Haora and Khowai valleys. The Indian epic, the Mahabharata; ancient religious texts, the Puranas; and the Edicts of Ashoka – stone pillar inscriptions of the emperor Ashoka dating from the third century BCE – all mention Tripura. An ancient name of Tripura is Kirat Desh(English: “The land of Kirat”), probably referring to the Kirata Kingdoms or the more generic term Kirata. However, it is unclear whether the extent of modern Tripura is coterminous with Kirat Desh. The region was under the rule of the Twipra Kingdom for centuries, although when this dates from is not documented. The Rajmala, a chronicle of Tripuri kings which was first written in the 15th century, provides a list of 179 kings, from antiquity up to Krishna Kishore Manikya (1830–1850), but the reliability of the Rajmala has been doubted.

The boundaries of the kingdom changed over the centuries. At various times, the borders reached south to the jungles of the Sundarbans on the Bay of Bengal; east to Burma; and north to the boundary of the Kamarupa kingdom in Assam. There were several Muslim invasions of the region from the 13th century onward, which culminated inMughal dominance of the plains of the kingdom in 1733, although their rule never extended to the hill regions. The Mughals had influence over the appointment of the Tripuri kings .

Tripura became a princely state during British rule in India. The kings had an estate in British India, known as Tippera district or Chakla Roshnabad (now the Comilla district of Bangladesh), in addition to the independent area known as Hill Tippera, the present-day state. Udaipur, in the south of Tripura, was the capital of the kingdom, until the king Krishna Manikya moved the capital to Old Agartala in the 18th century. It was moved to the new city of Agartala in the 19th century. Bir Chandra Manikya (1862–1896) modelled his administration on the pattern of British India, and enacted reforms including the formation of Agartala Municipal Corporation.

Following the independence of India in 1947, Tippera district – the estate in the plains of British India – became a part of East Pakistan, and Hill Tippera remained under a regency council until 1949. The Maharani Regent of Tripura signed the Tripura Merger Agreement on 9 September 1949, as a result of which Tripura became a Part C state of India. It became a Union Territory, without a legislature, in November 1956 and an elected ministry was installed in July 1963. The geographic partition that coincided with the independence of India resulted in major economic and infrastructural setbacks for the state, as road transport between the state and the major cities of India had to follow a more circuitous route. The road distance between Kolkata and Agartala before the partition was less than 350 km (220 mi), and increased to 1,700 km (1,100 mi), as the route now avoided East Pakistan. The geo-political isolation was aggravated by an absence of rail transport.

Some parts of the state were shelled by the Pakistan Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Following the war, the Indian government reorganised the North East region to ensure effective control of the international borders – three new states came into existence on 21 January 1972: Meghalaya, Manipur, and Tripura. Since the partition of India, many Hindu Bengalis have migrated to Tripura as refugees from East Pakistan; settlement by Hindu Bengalis increased at the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Hindu Bengalis migrated to Tripura after 1949 to escape religious persecution in Muslim majority East Pakistan. Before independence, most of the population was indigenous;. Ethnic strife between the Tripuri tribe and the predominantly immigrant Bengali community led to scattered violence, and an insurgency spanning decades. This gradually abated following the establishment of a tribal autonomous district council and the use of strategic counter-insurgency operations, aided by the overall socio-economic progress of the state. Tripura remains peaceful, as of 2012.

Geography

Tripura is a landlocked state in North East India, where the seven contiguous states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – are collectively known as the Seven Sister States. Spread over 10,491.69 km2 (4,050.86 sq mi), Tripura is the third-smallest among the 29 states in the country, behind Goa andSikkim. It extends from 22°56’N to 24°32’N, and 91°09’E to 92°20’E. Its maximum extent measures about 184 km (114 mi) from north to south, and 113 km (70 mi) east to west. Tripura is bordered by the country of Bangladesh to the west, north and south; and the Indian states of Assam to the north east; and Mizoram to the east. It is accessible by national highways passing through the Karimganj district of Assam and Mamit district of Mizoram.

Demographics

Population

Tripura ranks second only to Assam as the most populous state in North East India. According to the provisional results of 2011 census of India, Tripura has a population of 3,671,032 with 1,871,867 males and 1,799,165 females. It constitutes 0.3 per cent of India’s population. The sex ratio of the state is 961 females per thousand males, higher than the national ratio 940. The density of population is 350 persons per square kilometre. The literacy rate of Tripura in 2011 was 87.75 per cent, higher than the national average 74.04 per cent, and third best among all the states.

Languages

In the 2001 census of India, Bengalis represented almost 70 per cent of Tripura’s population while the Tripuri population amounted to 30 per cent. The state’s “scheduled tribes”, historically disadvantaged groups of people recognised by the country’s constitution, consist of 19 ethnic groups and many sub-groups, with diverse languages and cultures. In 2001, the largest such group was the Kokborok-speaking Tripuris, which had a population of 543,848, representing 17.0 per cent of the state’s population and 54.7 per cent of the “scheduled tribe” population. The other major groups, in descending order of population, were the Reang (16.6 per cent of the indigenous population), Jamatia (7.5 per cent), Chakma (6.5 per cent), Halam (4.8 per cent), Mog (3.1 per cent), Munda (1.2 per cent),Kuki (1.2 per cent) and Garo (1.1 per cent). Bengali is the most widely spoken language. Kokborok is a prominent language among the Tripura tribes. Several other languages such as Hindi, Mog, Odia, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Manipuri, Halam, Garo and Chakma belonging to Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan families are spoken in the state. Saimar, a nearly extinct language, is spoken by only four people in one village, as of 2012.

Religion

According to 2011 census, Hinduism is the majority religion in the state, followed by 83.4 per cent of the population. Muslims make up 8.6 per cent of the population, Christians 4.35 per cent, and Buddhists 3.41 per cent. The Muslim percentage in the state gradually declined from 1971 due to heavy influx of Hindu population from and the migration of Muslim population to Bangladesh. Mogs (Barua & Mutsuddy also comes under Mog community) and Chakmas are the followers of Buddhism in Tripura.

Christianity is chiefly followed by members of the Lushai, Kuki, Garo, Tripuri, Halam tribes and as per 2011 census has 159,882 adherents.

Skill Test

1. Which Indian State lies to the North East of Tripura?
2. How many Parliamentary constituencies from the state of Tripura?
3. What is the name of the state flower of Tripua?
4. What is the official language of Tripura?
5. Name of the biggest festival of Tripura?
6. Which is the state bird of Tripura?
7. Who was the Governor of Tripura in the year 2006?
8. Name the highest point in Tripura
9. In which year did Triipura became a State?
10. How many Districts are present in the state of Tripura?
11. State the date on which Tripura became a Union Territory?
12. Which country lies to the west of Tripura?
13. What is the total area of Tripura?
14. State the date on which Tripura became a state?
15. Name the state of India which is even smaller than Tripura?
16. Which Indian state is east to Tripura?
17. In which year did Tripura became a Union Territory?
18. What is the capital of Tripura?
19. What is the name of the state tree of Tripura
20. Who was the chief minister of Tripura in the year 2008?