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Photographer's Note

Shot at Garh Panchakot, this old man is one of the fast depleting Santhal tribal. In the background is the ruins of the Panchakot Palace which has a proud history.
Located in the district of Purulia, West Bengal, the ruins of the Panchkot Palace are a silent testimony to the Portuguese attack during the 18th century. Legend has it that the defeated King of Panchkot was forced to flee the palace leaving his 17 wives behind. The helpless queens watched in vain the advancing army and instantly knew the consequences. Keeping with the traditions prevailing during those times, each one of them committed suicide in a near-by well. Frozen in time, the remains of the palace silently speak of the shattered visions of a King defeated, Every broken wall, every dome, each temple peep out of the over grown foliage, wary and anxious of another ambush. There aren’t many details about why or how the Portuguese came to this remote part of West Bengal. Though it is believed that during the 16th century there was a Portuguese presence in that area. The Portuguese came to India in 1498 AD. After having set base in Goa they spread out to explore the rest of India for trading purposes. As it is known that they set up a factory in Hoogly near Calcutta and also the missionary penetrated into the remote parts of Bengal.

The Portuguese presence could have been a reason for the attack as a chance of conflict of interest with the King of Panchkot was very evident. The whole region is also known as “Maan-Bhum” which literally translates to a land of pride, where pride was above all things. People killed their close relatives for the sake of pride. So could it be that the King was defending the spread of Christianity in that area which led to this attack or was the King afraid that he would have to part with his kingdom? Maybe no one will ever come to know what transpired but the reality is that the Portuguese ransacked the King’s palace. Dishonored and defeated the King retreated, never to return again.
Info Courtesy : Soumadeep Sen

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Additional Photos by Sabyasachi Talukdar (sabyasachi1212) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3140 W: 281 N: 5210] (19779)
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