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Koch Kingdom

The Kamata (Pron: ˈkʌmətɑ:) kingdom (Assamese: কমতা ৰাজ্য) appeared in the western part of the older Kamarupa kingdom in the 13th century, after the fall of the Pala dynasty.[1] The rise of the Kamata kingdom marked the end of the ancient period in the History of Assam and the beginning of the medieval period. The last rulers were the Khens, who were later displaced by Alauddin Hussain Shah, the Turko-Afghan ruler of Gauda. Though Hussain Shah developed extensive administrative structures, he could not maintain political control and the control went to the Koch dynasty. The Koches called themselves Kamateshwars (the rulers of Kamata), but their influence and expansions were so extensive and far reaching that their kingdom is sometimes called the Koch Kingdom. In the same century the kingdom split into two, Koch Bihar and Koch Hajo. The eastern kingdom, Koch Hajo , was soon absorbed into the Ahom kingdom in the 17th-century whereas the western portion of the Kamata kingdom, Koch Bihar, which continued to be ruled by a branch of the Koch dynasty, later on merged with the Indian territory after the independence of India from the British domain.[2]

Khen dynasty

See: Khen dynasty

The Khen dynasty ruled from their capital in Kamatapur (Gosanimari) now in Cooch Behar District. The last king, Nilambar (1480-1498) expanded the kingdom to include the present Koch Bihar districts of West Bengal and the undivided Kamrup and Darrang districts of Assam and northern Mymensing in Bangladesh as well as eastern parts of Dinajpur district.[3]

Invasion by Hussein Shah

Alauddin Hussain Shah (c1494-1519), an Afghan ruler of Gauda, removed the last Khen ruler in 1498.[4] According to tradition, this involved an instigation by the minister of Kamatapur whose son had a liaison with the Kamatapur queen, and Hussein Shah invaded the Kamata kingdom with 24,000 infantry, cavalry and a war flotilla.[5] After a long seize of the Kamatapur fort and a tracherous win, Hussein Shah finally destroyed the city and annexed the region up to Hajo, thereby regaining much of the land Bengal had lost earlier to Kamatapur, and some more. Hussein Shah's son was made the viceroy.

Hussein Shah removed the local chieftains and established military control over the region. He issued coins in his name "conqueror of Kamru, Kamata". His conquest expanded the kingdom to the western border of the Ahom kingdom. Hussein Shah finally lost military and political control to revolts by local chieftains including the Bara Bhuyans as well as the Ahom king, Suhungmung, and the region lapsed into local control and rise of the Koch dynasty.

Nevertheless, the Afghan rule had lasting effects. Hussein Shah's coins continued to be used till 1518, when the Koch dynasty began consolidating their rule. Ghiasuddin Aulia, a Muslim divine from Mecca, established a colony at Hajo. His tomb, which is said to contain a little soil from Mecca, now called "Poa Mecca" ("a quarter Mecca"), is frequented by Hindus and Muslims alike.[6]

Koch dynasty

See: Koch dynasty

The Kamata kingdom then passed into the hands of Kochrajbongshi Tribe, Maharaja Bishwa Singha is pioneer in the formation of the Kamatapur Kingdom, the Koch Rajbongshi, giving rise to the Koch dynasty. In the 16th century itself, one of the princes then ruling the eastern portion of the kingdom (Koch Hajo) declared independence, and the two parts remained separated for ever, the boundary between the two forming roughly the boundary between the present Assam and West Bengal.

Koch Hajo, the eastern kingdom, soon came under attack from the Mughal, and the region went back and forth for a number of times between the Mughal and the Ahoms, and finally settling with the Ahoms. Koch Bihar, the western kingdom, first befriended the Mughals and then the British, and the rulers maintained the princely state till the end of the British rule.

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