BONGAIGAON, Sept 2 - The present ‘Koch’ community has been named ‘Koch-Rajbongshi’ by political and apolitical leaders of the community for seeking a separate identity, distorting the history of the ethnic group, alleged the Royal Union of Koch-Rajbongshis (RUKR), an organisation claiming to represent the royal dynasty of the Koches.
Prithiviraj Narayan Dev, president of RUKR, which was formed on December 11 in 2013 in Kokrajhar district, said ‘Koch’ is the name of a community and ‘Rajbongshi’ means ancestors of a royal family, hence ‘Koch-Rajbongshi’ cannot be a name of an ethnic group, as used by the leaders of the community.
Quoting historical accounts furnished by Koch scholar and Kamataratna (late) Ambika Charan Chaudhury and historian Sydney Edle, Dev said, “when the community had resided beside the ‘Kochi’ river, they were called ‘Koch’ and when a group of this community shifted to living beside the ‘Mechi’ river, they were called ‘Mech’ (present Bodos). Hence, there is no difference between the ‘Meches’ and ‘Koches”.
So, Dev who claimed to be the 16th offspring of the Koch Royal dynasy, rejected the charges brought by Biswajit Ray, president, All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU) against some Bodo scholars, who claimed the Koch-Rajbongshi king’s palace of Bidyapur in Bongaigaon district as the palace of the last Bodo king and counter-charged Ray of inciting clashes between Koches and Bodos, only for petty political gains.
Citing an instance in support of his claim, Dev pointed out that “Lakhipur in Goalpara district” where the “Koch Royal palace” is located is known as “Mechpara”, which indicates a clear link between the Koches and Meches.