The Princely Pretender of Bhawal : Stories behind India’s longest running trial .

Bhawal Case

The Reality :

The Bhawal Case is still regarded as one of India’s weirdest identity cases. It mainly revolved around a possible impostor who claimed to be the prince of the Bhawal Estate, one which comprised over 2000 villages and was one of undivided Bengal’s largest zamindari estates.

In 1909, Ramendra Narayan, the second Kumar of Bhawal, a famous principality near Dhaka (presently Gazipur in Bangladesh), was thought to have died suddenly while recuperating from syphilis in Darjeeling. His family were all at home in Joydebpur, and none of them was present at his death. A cremation also took place before they could reach Darjeeling. There were several eyewitnesses, including both Indian and English doctors, who signed off on the death certificate. The death of the Kumar was particularly hard on the Bhawal zamindar (estate), because it left the estate without male heirs, and in danger of being given over to British control.

Doubts about his death circulated for years, but they reached a breaking point in 1920 when a dreadlocked, Hindi-speaking Sanyasi(ascetic) showed up in Dhaka who bore a striking resemblance to the supposedly deceased Kumar. Members of the Narayan family went to see the Sanyasi, and eventually, they invited him to their house. He broke into tears upon seeing a photo of the deceased prince, and after two weeks suddenly made the announcement that he was himself Ramendra Narayan, Kumar of Bhawal. He claimed he had fallen unconscious after receiving a dose of medication, and woken up sometime later in the jungle, in the company of a Sadhu (monks) who then took care of him. He had spent the next 12 years wandering northern India. The British were extremely sceptical, and some members of the family (including the Kumar‘s wife, Bibabhati) flatly denied this to be the case after meeting him. But most of the family, including his sisters and mother, enthusiastically supported his claim.

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Kolkata, the City of Joy has been enchanting me, since childhood, of her glorified past and also the time at present.This blog is made with the intention to give you a brief and photographic detail of the famous spots of Kolkata with a pinch of little-known history behind it.