The Kamata Kingdom (pronounced: ˈkʌmətɑ) emerged in western Kamalpa, possibly when the ruler Sandhya moved the capital to Kamatapur after 1257 AD. Also known as Kamalpa Kamata, it originated from the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Kamalpa, covering most of its western part.
This region included present-day undivided districts of Kamlap, Golpara, Jalpaiguri, and Kuch Behar in India, and areas north of Rampur and Mymensingh in Bangladesh. The rise of Kamata marked the transition from the ancient era to the Middle Ages in Assamese history.
The Kamata Kingdom was later ruled by the Ken dynasty until their exile in 1498 by the Bengal Sultanate’s ruler, Alauddin Hussein Shah. Subsequently, the Koch dynasty, led by Biswa Sinha, rose to power in 1515, and their influence became so widespread that their kingdom is sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Koch. Within the same century, the kingdom split into two entities – Koch Vihar and Koch Hajo.
Koch Hajo was assimilated into the Ahom kingdom during the 17th century, while Koch Vihar continued under the rule of a branch of the Koch dynasty. However, after India gained independence from the British, Koch Vihar was integrated into Indian territory, and the boundary between Koch Vihar and Koch Hajo roughly corresponds to the present-day boundary between West Bengal and Assam.
Early rulers of Kamata Kingdom:
- Sandiya: Ruler of Kamalpanagara, the former capital of Kamalpa. After surviving an attack from Malik Iftiyarddin Iuzbak and killing him in 1257, Sandiya moved the capital to Kamatapur, near present-day Cooch Behar. He adopted the title of Kamateswara and the kingdom known as Kamata.
- Sindhu Rai: Ruled from 1260 to 1285.
- Rapp Narayan: Ruled from 1285 to 1300.
- Sinhadwaj: Ruled from 1300 to 1305.
Middle rulers of Kamata Kingdom:
- Pratap Dvaji: Initially served as a minister during Sinhadvaji’s rule. After Sinhadvaji’s death, his cousin Dharmanarayan took control of the kingdom.
- Dharmanarayan: Challenged by Pratap Dvaji’s son, Durlab Narayan, but they eventually reconciled. Durlab Narayan gained control over Kamlap, Golpara, Jalpaiguri, Koch Vihar, and the capital Kamatapur, while Dharmanarayan retained Rangpur and Mymensingh.
- Durlab Narayan: Ruled from around 1330 to 1350. As part of a settlement, he received custody of 14 Brahman and Kayasta families, including Chandivala, the great-great-grandfather of Sankardev.
- Indra Narayan: Ruled from 1350 to 1365. During his reign, court poets like Hema Saraswati and Harivala Vipra, along with Indra Narayan himself, produced literary works considered early examples of Assamese literature.
Baro-Bhuyan rule in Kamata Kingdom:
- Sikandar Shah (1357–1390) invaded Assam, weakening the rule of Indranarayan.
- Due to an attack on Bengal by Firz Shah Tuglak, Sikandar Shah had to withdraw from central Assam. However, Indranarayan’s authority suffered significant damage during this invasion, allowing Buyan from Dharan, Alimatta, to seize power.
- Baro-Bhuyan Rulers:
- Sasanqua (Arimatta) (1365–1385)
- Gajanka (1385–1400)
- Skranka (1400–1415)
- Mriganka Dzungar Balahu (1415–1440)
Khen Dynasty in the Kamata Kingdom:
- The Ken dynasty, descendants of Ken and Bhutan, replaced the weak rulers of the Kamata Kingdom in the mid-15th century, following Ali Mattha’s rule.
- The first king, Niladvaj Ken, united several Baro Buyan chieftains in the region and defeated Mariganka, the last successor of Arimatta.
- The Khen Dynasty had three rulers:
- Niladwaj (1440–1460)
- Chakradwaj (1460–1480)
- Nirambar (1480–1498)
- Nirambar, the last king, expanded the kingdom to include present-day Koch Vihar district in West Bengal, undivided Kamlap and Dharan districts in Assam, northern Mymensingh in Bangladesh, and Dinajpur districts in the east.
- The dynasty was removed in 1498 by Alauddin Husayn Shah.
Bengal Sultanate rule
- Bengal Sultanate rule: Sultan Alauddin Hussein Shah removed the last Kane ruler in 1498.
- Campaign likely started in 1493, culminating in a tough victory with 24,000 infantry, cavalry, and squadrons.
- Sultan expanded domain up to Hajo by 1502, eliminating local chieftains for military control.
- Appointed son, Shahzada Daniyar, as magistrate and minted coins in his name as “Conqueror of Kamr and Kamata.”
- Baro Bhuyan revolted, ending Sultan’s rule around 1509.
- Muslim rule’s impact persisted; Hussein Shah’s coins used until 1518.
- Giasuddin Auria from Mecca established Hajo colony, tomb revered by Hindus and Muslims, with soil from Mecca known as “Poa Mecca.”
- During the Bengal Sultanate rule, Alauddin Hussein Shah’s son Shahzada Danyal, along with his officers, was captured and killed by the Balobuyan tribe in Kamata.
- As a result, the region descended into a federated form of government until the Koche tribe eventually took control.
- The exact start of the Baro Bhuyan’s reign is unclear, but historical estimates suggest that Biswa Singha’s expedition against Baro Bhuyang commenced around 1509.
- Biswa Sinha (1515–1540) and Nala Narayan (1540–1587) strengthened control over Bara Bhuyan tribes and established the Koch dynasty.
- In 1581, Raghdev, Nalla Narayan’s nephew, split the Koch Kingdom into Koch Hajo and Koch Vihar.
- The division between the two kingdoms formed the present-day border between Assam and West Bengal.
- Koch Hajo faced attacks from the Mughals and the Ahomid dynasty, eventually reconciling with the latter.
- Koch Vihar initially allied with the Mughal Empire and later with the British, remaining a monarchy under British rule.
- Yuvaraj: Biswa Sinha appointed his brother Shisu as Yuvaraj. A descendant of Shisu later became the Raikat king of Jalpaiguri.
- Kargis/Karji: Biswa Sinha appointed 12 ministers from the tribesmen to form the Karji council, which held hereditary positions. The Cabinet was comprised of two key figures, Karjee, and Yuvaraj.
- Senapati: The commander of the Standing Army.
– Paik: An individual male.
– Takuria: Responsible for over 20 paiks.
– Saikia: Responsible for over 100 paiks.
– Hazari: Responsible for over 1000 paiks.
– Omura: Responsible for over 3000 paiks.
– Nawab: Responsible for over 66,000 paiks.
The Kamata kingdom was later succeeded by the Koch dynasty, led by Biswa Singha. He skillfully consolidated control over the Bara-Bhuyans, establishing the Koch dynasty with its dominion stretching from the Karatoya river in the west to the Barnadi river in the east. In 1581, Raghudev, son of Chilarai and nephew of Nara Narayan, caused a division in the kingdom, resulting in Koch Hajo and Koch Bihar.
Despite Raghudev accepting his uncle’s suzerainty, the split between the two parts of the original Kamata kingdom became permanent in 1587 upon Naranarayan’s death. This boundary roughly formed the administrative boundary between present-day Assam and West Bengal.
Koch Hajo, the eastern kingdom, faced invasions from the Mughals, leading to fluctuations between Mughal and Ahom control until finally settling with the Ahoms. On the other hand, Koch Bihar, the western kingdom, initially allied with the Mughals and later with the British. The rulers maintained the princely state status until the end of British rule.
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