History of Asansol

Asansol is the 2nd largest and popular place in West Bengal after the famous city of Kolkata. Asansol is among the 11 Indian cities and placed at the rank of 42 in the list of 100 fastest growing cities of the world. Being an industrial and commercial center of West Bengal, the city possesses a rich chronological backdrop.

The Origin Inhabitants of Asansol

Jainism in Asansol

In the beginning, as per the records, people of Dravidian and Austroloid descent inhabited the region of Asansol. But from around two thousand five hundred years ago, Asansol has been considered as an area of momentous Jainism activities.

According to a number of intellectuals, Mahavira Vardhamana - the last Tirthankar of Jain religious conviction, used to reside and work in this area. Thus the name Bardhaman (Burdwan District) was generalised for the districts and headquarters of this town.

There are many Jain temples to be found in Asansol and its neighbouring regions. There are a number of Jain temples on the Pareshnath Hill in adjoining district of Jharkhand. There is also an old and pre-historic Jain place of worship on the bank of the Barakar River, located at Begunia. A horde of sacred places in the nearby Bankura district also put up with strong evidence of major Jain doings in the region.

There is a Jain temple and a Jain Bhawan as well, in Asansol dedicated to Vasupujya – the 12th Tirthankara of Jain religion. This temple is situated in the Mehta Road near Durga Mandir. All these bear extensive indications of strong Jainism activities being in existence in the vicinity of Asansol. Several people consider that spread out of Jainism in West Bengal is through the Aryanisation of the region.

Asansol and the Inhabitants Afterwards

In the later years, Asansol was believed to have become a part of the vast Vishnupur Kingdom. This kingdom was ruled by the great Malla dynasty, for about a thousand years until the arrival of the British rule in India. A Vishnupur styled temple is to be found in the Chhotodighari village of Asansol, which provides evidence to its acquaintances with the Vishnupur Kingdom. Even the local vernacular, traditions and customs of this region have closer resemblance with those of Bankura and Vishnupur line rather than the other areas in the neighbourhood.

Bardhaman Rajbari, Asansol

Asansol subdivision was an important part of the Muslim kingdoms who ruled anciently in the region. The Muslim rulers had considered Bardhaman district to be their major administrative centre during the times of their reign. Later on, it went on to become a division of the Bardhaman Raj running under the Mughal dynasty.

These all speak out of noticeable proof that the area was part of different kingdoms at different period of times gone by.

Asansol and the East Indian Railway (EIR)

East Indian Railway in AsansolThe coal and railways business had begun to flourish in West Bengal, during the time of British East India Company. The East Indian Railway (EIR) required generously proportioned land area to build a road and rail network to run the Railways smoothly.

Searsole (now Raniganj) was their obvious first choice because of the much developed coal mines. But unfortunately, the Malias, the Raj family of Searsole (Raniganj) did not accept the proposal of granting them with adequate amount of land area.

On the other hand, during 1863–1864, this opportunity was seized by the Raj family of Panchakut (Cossipore, Adra). They sold a huge area of forest land to the East Indian Railway (EIR). Asansol was a part of this jungle land, which was then known as "Shergarh". Subsequently, it helped in ushering the establishment of Asansol, from the backwoods of forests and jungles, towards a pacing modem industrial township.

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