|The history behind the inception of Jhargram Kumud Kumari Institution and that of the dynasty of Jhargram are inseparably connected. Earlier it was completely an undeveloped region with extensive dense forest cover. It was sparsely populated and here there was no facility for education and healthcare till the Royal family did Yeoman’s service to adopt welfare action plans to sort out the problems. It is held that the name ‘Jharikahnda’ as appears in the holy book “Sri Sri Chaityanna Charitamrita” has subsequently morphed into Jhargram as it is known to-day. Till the first half of the 16th Century the ‘Mal’ dynasty ruled here. Details gleaned out from the available annals of the period reveal that probably in the year 1519 Sri Sarbeswar Singha, brother of the reigning king of Fatepur Sikri in Rajputana had come on a Pilgrimage to ‘Nilachal’ accompanied by a cavalry. On his way back home after an elapse of nearly four months he defeated the reigning ‘Mal’ king of ‘Jharikhanda’ in a battle and established his rule there. Most probably having defeated the Malla King, he assumed the title ‘Maaladev’. In addition to this story, there is yet another story which tells that the Jhargram Royal family is a descent of Bishnupur Mallaraj royal family.
A close study and perusal of the deeds and documents available at Jhargram Raj Palace transpires that the title of the Kings of Jhargram (chronologically mentioned) has the title Malla Ugal Sanda Deb. The lofty walls surrounding the Palace and the adjoining areas along with the gateway are called ‘Ugal’. The warriors with enormous physical prowess are called ‘Ugal Sanda’. Naturally the king of the royal family was rightly called the Malla Ugal Sanda Deb. This has been clipped into ‘Malladeb’ subsequently.
It is important to know that Jhargram was an independent kingdom. But in the year 1760 Nawab Mirkashim handed over the Dewani of Midnapur along with others ‘dewanis’ to the East India Company. This is why when Mr. Farguson of the East India Company entered the Jharkhand locality, people rebelled against him as an intruder.
But the popular rebellion was put down and consequently some yearly rent was impased upon the king which was to some extent enhanced to rupees five hundred when permanent settlement was evolved. Subsequently the viceroy of Bengal was agreeable to give back freedom, but this matter was kept under wrap as the struggle for freedom was started by the people country wide during 1944-1945.
Precisely speaking, till the attainment of independence of India and abolition of ‘zamindary’ system eighteen kings ruled over Jhargram spreading over a long period of four hundred years. The ‘zaminadary’ was done away with in 1953 during the reign of King Narasingha Malladeb, father of Birendra Bijoy Malladeb who passed away only a few years ago. King Raghunath Malladeb passed away in the years 1912 and King Chandicharan Malladeb passed away in 1916 leaving his son Narasingha Malladeb as minor. For this reason conducting of administrative affairs was taken over by the court of wards for the time being. But on coming of age in the year 1929 Narasingha ascended the throne and reigned till 1953. The reign of Narasingha which lasted for 25 years may be rightly called the golden age of rule by the king.
Basking in amazing popularity as a benevolent and charitable king, Narasingha donated a substantial amount of money and land to the tune of 19 lacs of rupees and ten thousand bighas of land for various organizations. Apart from this notable contribution, the king has established Jhargram Kumud Kumari Institution, Raj Collage, Rani Binod Manjuri Govt. Girls High School, Vidyasagar Bani Bhaban, Debendra Mohan Hall and many others. He also made substantial donation towards the establishment of Delhi Kalibari, Calcutta Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, Vidyasagar Hall in Midnapur Town and the Stadium etc.
The present sprawling Palace as it stands today was constructed and modeled on Muslim gothic architectural design comprising 70 bighas of land encircled by a trench and ‘ugal’ on all sides. To have the sight of the Palace one has to pass through three gates. Temple of lord Radharaman of the dynasty and the Siva Temple are located in the vicinity of the Palace. The temple of Sabitri Devi is located outside the enclosed Palace.There run many supernatural occurrences associated with the name of King Sarbeswar Malladeb and goddess ‘Sabitri Devi’.
There is no denying the fact that Jhargram reached the pink of progress and glory under the enviably consummate rule of King Narasingha who was deeply influenced and inspired by his illustrious mother Kumud Kumari Devi and the celebrated teacher Debendra Mohan.
Interestingly, King Narasingha scarcely kept himself aloof from the contact of common man. His subjects has free access to him whom he used to give patient hearing. King Narasingha was highly an accomplished and soft spoken person. He was an expert hunter, good singer and excellent musician, expert in photography and painting also.
Though politics was not his passion, he had to comply with the request of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy for contesting M.P. election in which he had won landslide victory for two successive terms.
Toeing the ground left by his father King Narasingha, his worthy son Birendra Bijoy contested and won election for three successive terms in the Assembly Election. Sibendra Bijay and Joydeep – The two sons of Birendra Bijay are currently connected with politics, doing their own business as well.
Now a few words about Kumud Kumari Institution. This premier Institution occupies a significant position as a dependable milestone of the glorious reign of King Narasingha. But, it is a fact that this hallowed institution has not a sudden start or inception. The lower primary school established during 1960-65 on an auspicious day was upgraded as middle vernacular school and shifted to a place located southwards of the Sabitri Temple since its inception the school depended on the royal charity and run quite well. The then King Raghunath Narayan Malladeb then tried his utmost and the middle vernacular school was morphed as Middle English School.
On 5th October 1899, as desired by the King Sri Raghunath Malla Ugal Sanda Deb, a resolution was adopted in a meeting to establish a minor school (Currently known as Junior High).
In the meantime Jhargram was allowed the status of subdivision consequently, many outsiders with English background and education began to flock to Jhargram and joined hands together to further upgrade the school. These honest and collective efforts led ultimately to the establishment of a High English School at Jhargram. To spearhead the progress and promotion of the school, the Raj estate, the first subdivisional officer of Jhargram Lt. E.T. Coats, ICS and Lt. Prabhas Chandra De, Sub Inspector of Schools, played admirable role. The school was accorded recognition from Calcutta University in the year 1924. For sometime the then Middle School preserved its separate entity. But with the able and efficient administration of the Headmaster of the High School, both the schools ran well and smoothly. Mr. Prafulla Kanti Ghosal was the first Headmaster of the High English School. Then for a brief period more two Headmasters served this school quite well.
Sri Radhashyam Bose joined this school as the fourth Headmaster on the 4th August 1925 and served gloriously till his retirement on 31st October 1963. In the year 1927 four students passed Matriculation examination with credit of them Lt. Nandagopal Sengupta, subsequently become distinguished as a journalist and a leading literary figure who scored 97.5 in Bengali out of 100 in the matriculation. The school was shifted and housed in a nine-room pucca building in the heart of the town. Two years later in 1929 Jhargram H.E. School was known as Jhargram Kumud Kumari Institution.
When this age old institution is nearing her (hundredth years) century, the number of students here exceeds one thousand. Almost fifty members are on the teaching and no-teaching staff. The school is now conceptualized in a sprawling building with nearly forty rooms in the ground floor, first floor and second floor taken together.
This celebrated Institution has produced myriad students who are well established at home and abroad in various fields and jobs. For producing the brilliant bands of students, the highly qualified teaching staff are entitled to all credit. The pristine tradition continues till today. We have a firm conviction that the successors (Teachers and Students – both) will surely shed lustre on the Institution and keep up the flame of teaching and learning burning for many more years to come.