|Seal of British era found at Tezpur|
GUWAHATI, Oct 12 – A seal made of brass metal, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century and owing its origin to the East India Company, was discovered in the office of the District Registrar, Tezpur recently. The company, it is pertinent to recall, had ruled Assam from 1826 to 1858 – the year in which the administration of the province went to the British Monarchy.
The seal, 6.8 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick, is fully circular in shape. People used to hold the extended hollow portion of its back side while using it as a seal. This portion measures 2.5 cm in length. At its centre, the seal has the emblem of the East India Company – two lions holding a shield. On the top of its second part is seen ‘District Registrar’ in eight letters of the Bengali script. Just below this portion one can see the word ‘Daranga’ in the same script. The entire third and last part is covered with the following in Roman capital letters: the seal of the district registrar of durrung.
From palaeographic point of view the Roman capital letters bear no significance. On the other hand, the words in Bengali script have multiple stories to tell. As is known to students of Assam history, the province went to the hands of the East India Company as per the Treaty of Yandaboo signed on February 24, 1826, between the company and the king of erstwhile Burma. This was followed by the banishment of Assamese language by the Company authority for Bengali at the initiative of clerks and amolas brought from Bengal. The seal in question is a most powerful testimony to the introduction of Bengali in the schools and courts of Assam in lieu of Assamese. The word ‘Durrung’ informs the readers the name of the district formed by the Britishers in March, 1833.
On the whole, the seal is a piece of important material for study of history and culture of early-modern Assam. This was stated in a press note issued by SC Bhattacharyya.