On 15th of February, 2020 the royal scion of Tripura, Kirit Pradyot Bikram Kishore Manikya Deb Barman, who is known as Bubagra among his people, addressed the people of Tripura in the Agartala Town Hall.
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His motive behind this was to introduce himself to the people who till now were mostly alienated to the concept of Bubagra (Maharaja). Interestingly, the King who has previously referred to himself as the Manoj Kumar of the North East, was born and educated mostly outside Tripura.
He is quick to reflect on his shortcomings and says that he learnt the meaning of Tiprasa only after his father’s (the Late Maharaja Kirit Bikram Kishore Deb Barman) death. He also admits that he is sad that he can’t speak fluent Kok Borok (the indigenous language of Tripura). That he was kept away from his people for a long time, a childhood mistake that he wasn’t responsible for, the king said.
The concept of Bubagra is more magnanimous than any party or its politics. It is more ingrained with the belonging to the people than controlling them. According to him, no political party has been able to understand this idea yet and therefore failed to address the real problems of the people of Tripura. He asserts that his venture into politics was accidental and for him the prime cause has always been Tiprasa.
He also admitted that the party he joined, played the same card of divisive politics by pitting the Bengalis against the indigenous Tiprasas and vice versa. He has been a nineteen-year-old witness to this agenda of the Congress. This is why he decided to quit the party in September 2019 and began his call of “Puila Jati Ulo Party” (First Jati, then Party).
Speaking to the people who have been referring to him as the last hope for the Tiprasas, he questioned, “How can I be the last hope? Is it only one man’s fight?” He proudly calls himself the only king in India who hasn’t been sold. The idea of forming political parties and joining politics is the only way of redeeming the Tiprasa pride is unacceptable to this new age leader who is also the editor of the magazine The North East Today.
He is of the opinion that to benefit the Tiprasa, the entire system has to change. Tiprasas need more employment and education and not MPs or CMs. For this, the youth of Tripura have to be united. The united Tiprasa were able to bring in 600 Crores worth of relief package for the Reangs in Kanchenpur from the same BJP that refused to give them 1 Kg of rice in October.
The power of (mis)information was also well explained by him. He asked the people of Tripura to ignore the outsiders that misguide the Tripuri Bengalis. These outsiders come and lecture the people with a mission to inflame them against each other and fight among themselves. He appealed to the youth of Tripura not to be misguided by this and stop any kind of discrimination against the Bengali populace of the state.
Paying attention to these outsiders who have no credibility in their own state is detrimental to their cause, he said. He didn’t fail to critic the embedded patriarchy in the social fabric of Tripura as well and urged the need for equal share of power and leadership between men and women. The role of women can never be limited to the household only and she has a major role to play in the upliftment of a people. Thus, women need to be educated and employed because only if women prosper will the Tiprasa prosper.
At the end, Deb Barman expressed his desire to break the system of Bubagra staying away from the people. He feels that it has been too long that the King has become a formidable figure to the people because he stays in princely mansions and palaces or travels in grandeur. Emotionally, he said he sometimes feels lonely fighting for the people just because he has been kept away or there is an accepted convention that the Maharaja is not supposed to come in direct contact with the people.
He said that he wishes to become one with the people and break all barriers standing in front of the people to approach or question him. In this way probably Pradyot Deb Barman wished to give meaning to an oxymoron like Democratic Monarch.
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