Encircled in a network of rivers where Ganges and Buriganga, Meghna, Ishamutti and Brahmaputra meet, lies the ancient kingdom of Vikrampur. At the very centre of the great watercourses of Eastern Bengal, it occupied a position unrivalled in the days when roads were few and jungle covered the land. On every side stretched broad highways, ever open, offering the swiftest means of communication with the world beyond. On land, innumerable perils beset the wayfarer. Dense forests covered Eastern Bengal from end to end. It needed an army with a train of elephants to force a passage through, and beasts of prey lay in wait for him who passed by alone. The storms that caught the traveler on the great rivers were indeed to be feared, and annually they claimed a heavy toll in human life, but they were as nothing to the unknown dangers that awaited him who passed through the forest tracks on foot.
Everywhere the influence of the great rivers has made itself felt in the story of Vikrampur. Silted up by them in days gone by, when the world was young, it is practically an island set in their midst. Having brought it into being, they made of it their special care. Raised but little above their level, it almost disappears beneath them in the rains, its rich alluvial rice-fields drawing new sustenance from this bountiful supply of moisture, annually renewed. But not only did the rivers give the land new life, they proved for it a never failing bulwark of defense. For almost half the year the waters covered the land, and the enemy incautious enough to stay was driven out by the floods. It was impossible to fight for a kingdom where there was no dry land, and time and again the invader was driven back baffled, from this land that the great rivers encircled and defended with such protecting care.
It was here, says the Hindu legend, that the famous Raja Vikramadit made his home. Feeling the desire for rest after his many journeying to and fro, he sought for a place where he might spend the remainder of his days in peace. Coming upon this fertile island in the midst of many waters, restful in its garment of luxuriant green, it pleased him more than all the lands that he had visited, and here he set up his kingdom. But the annals of his rule are a sealed book, and even tradition is content with the bald record that he ruled with justice and wisdom, and that the fame of his piety and learning spread far and wide. There the first brief chronicle of Vikrampur ends and only the name of its capital still survives to give some point to the vague uncertain legend.
Of the years that follow there is still less told. How Brahmanism lost its early vigor in Vikrampur, and well nigh died out, it is impossible to say. The coming of the Buddhist Rajas of the Pal dynasty, and the manner in which they, a comparatively small company of men, imposed themselves upon the mass of the population and ruled for a thousand years, is equally shrouded in oblivion. But that they came, carried on the crest of the wave of the mighty influence that suddenly stirred the India of that day, there can be little doubt. The fourth century before Christ had seen the rise of one of the most wonderful forces that ever stirred the world to its depths. Gautama the Buddha, after much searching of heart, had at last found the Truth and given to his disciples a new religion, that marvelous faith, simple, yet hard to attain, which taught that duty was better than sacrifice, and self-respect than many prayers, and that the path of purity of thought and word and deed alone led to the great and perfect peace that weary and suffering humanity had so long sought in vain. It was a strange gospel to men who had sought that same end by much mortifying of the flesh, by the repetition of long prayers, by the washing of cups and platters, and by the purifying of the outer man. Yet so great was the veneration Gautama the Buddha inspired by his life and teaching that men, in those days of the youth of the world, were found to forsake all and follow him into the unknown paths of this new teaching, which led them by such stern and searching ways.
With the early history of the rise of this new religion the name of Asoka the Great is closely associated. Extending his empire until it stretched from Kabul to Bengal, he established Buddhism as the State religion. It is a strange and unexpected picture of early India, this enforcement, not of creeds and tenets that man loves to propagate, but of purity and integrity, of the faithful fulfillment of the daily round of man’s duty towards his fellowman and the whole wide world of nature. Religious toleration was complete. Persecution of creeds and faiths was a thing unknown. All that Asoka and Buddhism required were that men should obey the dictates of morality and live in quietness and amity one with another.
It was with the high ideals of this great religion that the Pal kings came to Vikrampur. Strong with the enthusiasm of a young faith, they easily imposed themselves upon the followers of Brahmanism whose first fervor had long since waned. But from first to last Buddhism remained only the religion of the ruling race, affecting not at all the vast mass of the population, which still clung to the lifeless forms of Hinduism though its spirit was long since dead. Buddhist monasteries flourished side by side with Hindu temples, both content to strive, though by far different ways, for the attainment of the same great end. But between them there was a great gulf fixed. Centuries of existence in close proximity failed to draw them together, and, with the rigid exclusiveness of Eastern creeds, each remained untouched in spite of long contact with the other. A State religion, Buddhism perished with the State. With the passing of the Pal dynasty, it disappeared as completely from Vikrampur as if it had never been.
Of the decline of Buddhism in Vikrampur and the revival of Hinduism, typified by the rise of the Sen dynasty, history and tradition relate but little. It may be that Buddhism, after more than a thousand years, had fallen from its first nobility of purpose, and that its representatives, the ruling race, sated with long exercise of power, had fallen a prey to that apathy and effeteness which has overtaken almost every conquering race in India in turn. Or it may be that King Adisur, the first of a famous line of Sen Rajas in Eastern Bengal, at last awoke the great mass of the Hindu population to a sense of its own strength and power, and by right of might displaced the Buddhist kings and founded a new Hindu kingdom of his own in Vikrampur.
Slowly the mists of antiquity begin to lift, and the memory of King Adisur stands out clear and distinct against the uncertain background of his time. To the Hindu his name has been handed down as worthy of all respect, for to him is ascribed the restoration of Brahminism in Eastern Bengal. So far had the Hindu religion fallen during the long centuries of Buddhist rule that King Adisur, it is said, found no Brahmin in all his kingdom who could faithfully perform the ceremonies and ritual of his faith. If Brahmanism was to be restored, help must come from without, from some source that had not suffered under the long supremacy of an alien faith. King Adisur, sending out emissaries far and wide, found that the purest form of Brahmanism had been preserved in the city of Kanouj. Thither he dispatched a minister of his court with a letter setting forth the deplorable state of Hinduism that existed in his kingdom, and praying that a company of learned Brahmins might be sent there to restore the faith among their co-religionists who had so far fallen from its teaching. So there came, in response to King Adisur’s request, from the famous city of Kanouj five Brahmins learned in all that appertained to their religion. Welcoming them with fitting respect, the king established them in his capital of Rampal, and there they flourished, they and their descendants, restoring for a time by their teaching and example the great doctrines of the Hindu faith.
After Adisur reigned Ballal Sen, the most famous of the Sen kings in Vikrampur, round whose name gather almost all the traditions that still linger in Rampal. So great was his repute that many things, of which in later days the origin was unknown, seem to have been attributed to him on the universal principle of ‘to him that hath shall be given.’ Such confusion has this wrought that events centuries apart are placed by tradition as happening within his reign. While one story makes him the son of King Adisur, the founder of the Sen dynasty in Rampal, another places him at the end of a long line of kings with whose death the kingdom fell into the hands of the Muslim invaders. It seems evident that there must have been two Ballal Sens, one the son of Adisur, and the other the last of the Sen Kings, but such is the maze of rumor and tradition that surrounds their names, that to disentangle their life stories is well nigh impossible at the present day.
The object of so much veneration, it is not strange that a miraculous birth should be ascribed to the first Ballal Sen, or that the miracle should be attributed to the great river, the Brahmaputra, which has so indelibly impressed its influence for all time upon this land and people. Desiring to clothe its hero with every conceivable honor, Hindu legend has given him for parentage the great river itself, materialized in the form of a god. His mother was the favorite among King Adisur’s wives, and the king, discovering her infidelity and unwitting of the intention of the gods, banished her in anger from his court. An outcast, in despair, she threw herself into the Brahmaputra. But the sacred river, folding her in its embrace, carried her swiftly and safely to the opposite shore, placing her under the care of the goddess Durga, whose home was on the banks of the Buriganga, close at hand. There, in the jungle beside the river, her son was born, and grew up under the protection of the goddess, proficient in all manly exercises and endowed with the wisdom that became one of such illustrious birth and such high destiny. One day, while still a youth and roaming in the forest, he found, hidden in the jungle, the image of Durga, his protectress, and on this spot, in her honor, he raised the temple of Dhaka Iswari, the concealed goddess, from which tradition says the city of Dacca took its name in after-days. So, favored of the gods, Ballal Sen grew to manhood, and his father, hearing at last of his kingly qualities, desired to see him, and when the young man was brought into his presence he conceived for him so great an affection that he made him the heir of all his kingdom.
Such is the tradition of the birth and upbringing of Ballal Sen, obviously an invention to surround with yet greater glamour a famous name. Another story, less ambitious and more probable, makes him the son of Bijoy Sen, a great warrior who had invaded the adjoining kingdom of Kamrup, and places his accession to the throne in the historic year when William the Conqueror was wresting the crown of England from the Saxon on the field of Senlac. Almost all that remains to this day in his capital of Rampal is associated with his name. Ballal Sen was a great builder and maker of roads and tanks. The outlines of his palace, still visible, show on how large a scale it was planned, though no architectural remains survive to show what manner of building it was. Covering an area of something like three thousand square feet, it was surrounded on every side by a moat two to three hundred feet wide, a pathway on the eastern side providing the only means of access to it. Nothing but scattered mounds of earth now survive where the palace within the moat once stood, and today the cultivator peacefully tills the very soil whereon kings and princes once held their courts and great armies pitched their camps. Many of the bricks that once graced the royal palace were used to build the modern houses of Rampal, some of them having been carried across the river to Dacca when that city was built as his capital by Islam Khan. Vague rumors of buried treasure still linger round the long-deserted site, and it is a fact that less than a century ago a rayot , ploughing his field close by, came upon a magnificent diamond worth seventy thousand rupees, which, doubtless, in its day, had shown in the palace of Ballal Sen.
Rampal is full of quaint traditions. Even the roads that Ballal Sen is said to have constructed have their own story. They were broad high-banked roads, planned on the large scale of a bygone age when kings ordered and their subjects hurried to obey. One of the finest ran from Rampal to the Padma river, and its name has furnished material round which to weave a legend. The astrologers had predicted that Ballal Sen would die from the effect of fishbone sticking in his throat. Alarmed by this prediction, the king resolved to banish fish from the royal table. But in the Padma river there was a fish known as Kachki, which is boneless, and in order that he might readily obtain a supply of it from the river he constructed the road, which has ever since been known in consequence as the Kachki Darwaja.
The great Rampal Dighi, a huge artificial lake near Ballal Sen’s bari, has likewise a legend of its own. A mile long by some five hundred yards wide, it was in its day a fine example of the magnificent scale on which the old Hindu kings planned their works. Like all else in Rampal, it has suffered from neglect, and much of it has now become filled up, remaining dry for a great part of the year, while the cultivator has seized upon it as a fertile land wherein to grow his paddy. It was undertaken, runs the legend, by Ballal Sen as a work of charity in gratitude for some favor of the gods. To determine its size he fixed upon a quaint device. Its length should be as far as his mother could walk at one stretch without stopping to rest, and he vowed that he would excavate the whole of it during the following night. His mother doubtless had done but little walking in the whole of her life, and her son imagined that the length of the tank would not exceed reasonable limits. But it was soon evident, to his dismay, that he had greatly underestimated his mother’s pedestrian capabilities. Closely veiled and attended by the whole of her court, she set out from the palace. Starting off towards the south, she walked with unexpected sprightliness and showed no sign of weariness as time went on. Ballal Sen, in alarm, soon saw that if she preceded much further he would be unable to keep his vow and excavate so large a tank in a single night. Yet to break his vow would be a sin unpardonable. The King grew desperate as his mother still marched on. Knowing that the extent of the work of charity which would so greatly benefit the people depended upon her powers of endurance, she plodded on, seemingly miraculously endowed with new strength. Matters at length became critical, and Ballal Sen was reduced to resorting to an artifice. Ordering his servants surreptitiously to touch his mother’s feet with vermilion as she walked, he suddenly gave a great cry that a leech had bitten her, and she, looking down and seeing the red stains upon her feet, imagined that they were of blood and stooped to examine them. The place where she stopped was the southernmost limit of the lake, one mile from the palace. That same night Ballal Sen fulfilled his vow. Collecting a vast army of workmen, the huge tank was excavated before the dawn, of such a length that it was impossible to see from one end to the other. But because Ballal Sen had resorted to stratagem to prevent its size from becoming excessive the gods were angry, and the bed of the lake, in spite of its depth, remained dry. Day after day no water came to fill it, and the king was put to a great shame. At length, however, his chief friend Rampal dreamed a dream. Therein it was revealed to him that he must sacrifice himself in order that the tank might be filled and the full benefit of it accrue to the people. Assembling all the courtiers and people upon the banks of the lake, Rampal told them of his dream. Then, ere they could recover from their astonishment, he rode slowly down into the bed of the lake, and immediately a hundred streams of pure water gushed from beneath and closed rapidly over his head. Suddenly the horror of all those who stood by found vent in one great cry: ‘Rampal, Rampal, Rampal ! ‘But already the waters had risen and filled the tank from end to end, and Rampal was no more seen. Then Ballal Sen wept for his friend, and exclaimed, ‘Since I, by my sin, am responsible for the death of my friend, let this tank be no more called after me, but after Rampal.’ In consequence it is known as the Rampal Dighi to this day.
Not far off is a smaller lake, connected by a curious tradition with the Rampal Dighi. It is said that Ballal Sen, having seen the completion of his great work, ordered all the men who had been engaged upon it to dig one spadeful of earth from a spot close by. So great was the number of men that a large tank, some seven hundred by five hundred cubits, was the result. It still bears the name of the Kodaldhoa Dighi, the spade-washing tank.
A striking feature of the Rampal Dighi is a magnificent gajariya tree, rising to a height of a hundred cubits on its northern bank. It has been there long beyond the memory of man, and tradition ascribes it, like all else, to the time of Ballal Sen. Among all the Hindu population it is an object of the greatest veneration, and miraculous powers have been ascribed to it. It is said to be immortal, and every leaf is held sacred. Many are the stories told of its healing and cleansing properties, and none would dare to lay rude hands upon it. The story is told of a fakir who camped beside it, and, needing fuel for his fire to cook his evening meal, lopped off one of its branches, and immediately he vomited blood and expired. The childless have great faith in prayer beside this sacred tree, and the cultivator seeks its protection against the many dangers that beset his crops. Close by, in its honor, a fair was long held annually on the eighth day of the moon in the month of Chait.
But it is as the founder of Kulinism that Ballal Sen lives chiefly in Hindu legend. Brahminism in Vikrampur had once more fallen into disrepute. King Adisur had for a time revived it by the importation of learned pandits from the great Brahmin city of Kanouj, but in the years that followed society had become disorganized, and Hindu observances had been again neglected and forgotten. Ballal Sen on his accession had found the various grades of Hindu society in a state of great confusion, and he at once set himself the difficult task of reforming them. To prevent the deterioration of the higher castes by their constant intermarriage with those of lower status, he rigidly enforced the caste system. The descendants of the Kanouj Brahmins were first divided into two classes. Those families of acknowledged purity of descent were grouped together in one class and known as Kulins, while those who had intermarried were known as Srotriya. But it appears that these caste distinctions were not always carefully observed, and a further division took place at a later date. Those who stood the new test and were found to be of irreproachably pure descent were known as Mukhya Kulins, or those Steadfast in Principle; while the remainder, and they were by far the larger number, were made Gauna Kulins, or those who had Deviated from the Right Path. But, strangely enough, a Mukhya Kulin (that is, the purest of the pure) was allowed to marry a girl outside his own caste. Hence the competition in the marriage market for Kulin bridegrooms among those of lower caste with eligible daughters to dispose of became great, and a curious state of things arose. Marriage became a profession. There being no limit to the number of wives a Kulin might have, he found himself in a most fortunate position, any number of men of lesser rank being anxious to marry their daughters to so desirable and high-caste a bridegroom. For the honor of being his first wife a large sum was paid as dowry, but with each succeeding marriage the amount grew less, so that a Kulin’s value in the matrimonial market dwindled as the number of his wives mounted up. A case is reported of a Kulin having a hundred wives, while his three sons had no fewer than fifty, thirty-five, and thirty respectively. Fortunately for the peace of society, these huge families made no attempt to live together. A Kulin who made marriage a profession went gaily on his way, leaving his brides behind him. His fathers-in-law, satisfied with the dignity acquired, were content to support their daughters and their families. The only duty incumbent on the Kulin father was to provide for the marriage of his daughters, but as this meant dowries which the gay Lothario of a father was seldom in a position to provide, the result was that the unfortunate maidens but too often went unwed, thus exhibiting one of the rare instances of the existence of old maids in India.
Tradition is as busy with the death of Ballal Sen as with his birth and career. Near Abdullahpar, not far from Rampal itself, it is said, there lived a Muslim family, one of the first which had penetrated so far east as Vikrampur. But the head of the house was childless, and the denial of the gift of a son for which he had so long prayed had embittered his life. Now it chanced on a day that a Fakir came to his house begging alms. The Muslim , however, brooding over his own sorrow, roughly bade him begone. ‘Since Allah has refused me the blessing that I crave,’ he said bitterly, ‘I will give no alms in his name.’ But the Fakir answered that his prayers were already heard, and that before long a son would be born to him. The Muslim , overjoyed, gave him alms, and asked what boon he should grant to him when the desire of his heart should be fulfilled. The Fakir asked only that he would sacrifice a bull to the altar of Allah. In due course a son was born, and remembering the Fakir’s request the Muslim at once made preparations for the sacrifice. But the Hindus among whom he lived, holding the bull sacred, rose up and indignantly prevented him. Determined, however, to fulfill his vow, he set out into the jungle and there at a distance performed the sacrifice. Taking with him as much of the flesh of the bull as he and his family could eat, he buried the remainder beneath the ground and returned home. On the way, however, a kite swept down, and, snatching one of the pieces of flesh out of his hand, flew with it towards Vikrampur and let it fall in front of the palace of Ballal Sen. The king, perceiving that it was the flesh of a bull, the sacred animal of his race, sent out men to discover who had committed so great a crime. After much search in the jungle they found jackals tearing up the flesh that the Muslim had buried, and following the marks of blood that had fallen from the flesh which he had carried in his hand they traced him to his home. The king, hearing the story, ordered that the child on whose account the bull had been killed should be brought before him on the morrow and put to death. It was not meet that one for whom so great a crime had been committed at his birth should live.
The Muslim , being secretly warned of the king’s decree, fled that night with his wife and new-born child, and, escaping out of the kingdom of Ballal Sen, made his way across India to his home in Arabia, whence his family had first come. There, at Mecca, meeting with a Fakir, one Baba Adam by name, he told him the story of his flight. The Fakir, learning that there was a country in which Muslims had no liberty to follow the practices of their religion, gathered together as many as seven thousand followers and set out on the long journey to Vikrampur, determined to win for his co-religionists freedom to profess their faith. Arriving there after many adventures by the way, he approached almost within sight of Ballal Sen’s capital, and, building a mosque, began to practices openly the rites and ceremonies of his religion. Many bulls and cows were sacrificed, and the Muslim call to prayer rang out across the plains, and was heard even within the walls of the king’s palace. Then Ballal Sen rose up in wrath. He sent messengers hastily to the newcomers demanding that they should leave his kingdom or cease to practice religious ceremonies obnoxious to Hinduism, the faith of himself and his kingdom. But Baba Adam, confident in the support of his numerous followers, sent a haughty reply to the great king. ‘There is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet,’ rang out the challenge. He, Baba Adam, would perform the ritual required of his religion, let Ballal Sen the Infidel do what he would. Then the Hindu king, gathering together his forces, set out against Baba Adam. But the fame of the Muslim victories had already reached Vikrampur, and Ballal Sen, wise in his day, made provision against defeat before he left his capital. Within the walls of his palace he caused to be constructed a great Agnikundi, a pit of fire, wherein, in case he made no return, all the members of his household might commit themselves to the funeral pyre, and so escape the ignominy and dishonor of falling into the conqueror’s hands. Lest they of his household might be surprised suddenly by a victorious enemy, the king arranged a signal whereby they might know his fate in case of defeat. As he left the Ballal Bari with his army, he placed in the folds of his robe, at his breast, a carrier pigeon. If the day went ill with him he would release the bird, and its return to the palace should be the signal for the lighting of the funeral pyre and the immolation of all that he held most dear.
On the site where the mosque of Baba Adam now stands the two armies met, and a long and fierce battle was waged between this first advanced guard of the Mohammedan onset and the last great Hindu king of Vikrampur. For long the issue was uncertain, but at length the tide of victory set steadily in favor of Ballal Sen. The Muslims were finally defeated with great slaughter, and in the end Ballal Sen came face to face with Baba Adam. It was the hour of sunset, and the Fakir knelt with his face towards Mecca, praying the time-honored prayers of his faith, unmindful of the fate that drew near. Even while he was still at prayer, Ballal Sen rode up to him and smote him with his sword. But the blow was miraculously of no effect, and Baba Adam rose up from his knees and stood before Ballal Sen, the representative of Islam over against the chief of Brahminism. ‘Why hast thou come to disturb me at my prayers?’ asked Baba Adam at length. ‘I have come to slay him who has slain and dishonored what I and my race hold sacred,’ answered Ballal Sen, and again he smote the Fakir with his sword. But the Fakir’s body might have been of iron, for the sharp steel fell upon it again with no effect. Then Baba Adam, looking upon his dead followers who lay scattered over the plain, cried out, ‘It is the will of Allah that I should die at thy hands. Yet not by the sword of the Infidel. Take my sword and destroy me, for no other sword than mine can do me hurt. And upon thee may the curse of Allah fall speedily.’ So, taking his sword, Ballal Sen smote the Fakir and killed him at one blow, cutting his body into two parts, one of which was miraculously transported to Chittagong, where a mosque dedicated to his memory still stands.
Ballal Sen, flushed with victory, went down to the river-bank to wash away the stains of battle. But as he stooped over the water the pigeon escaped unperceived from the folds of his robe. So it came to pass that the household of the king, watching eagerly for news from the walls of the palace, saw at last against the evening sky the white wings of the pigeon that flew straight homewards, unconscious of the false message that it bore, and settled with loud-voiced contentment upon the topmost pinnacle of the Ballal Bari. Then there arose within the palace the wailing of women and the sounds of mourning, and hastily lest the conqueror should come and take from them their honour and their pride of caste, which were all that fate had left them, the torch was placed to the funeral pyre in the Agnikundi and the whole of the family of Ballal Sen perished in the flames.
Then, even as the smoke still rose above the ruin of his house, the king returned in hot haste. Having discovered the flight of the bird, he had spurred home furiously, but the curse of the Fakir had fallen speedily and he had arrived too late. Not one of his family remained in Vikrampur, and in his grief and despair he flung himself upon the still-smoldering funeral pyre and perished in its ashes. Thus, the victim of a cruel fate, perished the last great Hindu king of Vikrampur. To this day he is remembered as the Pora-Raja, the Burnt King.
On the site where Baba Adam met his death a mosque was erected after many days by the Muslim conquerors when they had finally established their supremacy in Eastern Bengal. It was built, as the inscription states, ‘in the middle of the month of Rajab, in the year 888 a.h., during the reign of Jalaluddin Fateh Shah’ (1483 a.d.). It is sadly fallen from its first estate. Yet, half in ruins as it now stands, it gives full evidence of what it must once have been. Highly ornamented, with the thin bricks of the Muslim period, polished and carved, its six domes, three only of which remain intact, are supported by two stone pillars in the centre of the hall, huge monoliths of white stone which tradition calls the godas or clubs of Ballal Sen. Moisture oozes out from these pillars in the rainy season, and this sweating has caused them to be regarded with superstitious awe. The Hindu women who enter the mosque to pray before them and mark them with sindur are but another instance of the strange mingling of Hinduism and Mohammedanism that occurs so often in Eastern Bengal. Not far from Baba Adam’s mosque is another mosque, plainer and less famous in the neighborhood, but curious on account of the stone idols of Hindu gods and goddesses preserved in the verandah, doubtless as the spoils of a conquered race, which the Hindus of the neighborhood still worship beneath this dome raised by an alien faith.
After the death of Ballal Sen, Vikrampur seems for a time to have fallen back under the rule of the Pal dynasty. The Muslim had not yet arrived in full strength to take possession, and in the brief interval the Buddhist Rajas enjoyed their last brief spell of power before their final disappearance from the land. Lakshman Sen, the son of Ballal Sen, had built a capital for himself which he had named Lakhnauti, but the last years of his long reign were spent at Nadia, whence, at the venerable age of eighty, he was forced to flee before the advancing Muslim host of Bukhtiyar Khiliji. One tradition relates that he and his son Bisvarupa returned to Vikrampur, and there his family reigned for over a hundred years more before the final overthrow of the Hindu power in Eastern Bengal. With him fled many of the most learned Brahmins from Nadia, the seat of learning, and, settling in Vikrampur, they made that place the centre of Brahmanism in Eastern Bengal. Vikrampur, for many centuries, was famous for its learning, and clerks trained in its schools went out to earn their livelihood in other parts of Bengal in such large numbers that it became a saying in Vikrampur that a boy who was good for nothing at home might yet make a living as a clerk elsewhere.
The story of the kingdom of Vikrampur is almost done. Two miles from the ancient capital stands Munshigunj, the present headquarters of the subdivision of that name, now part of the Dacca district. Rampal, through all the centuries that have passed since the days of Ballal Sen, has found no place in history. Under the Muslims it was but one of the many outposts on the outskirts of empire. Sonargaon, on the opposite bank of the Ishamutti, became the capital of Eastern Bengal, and the ancient kingdom of Vikrampur, placed under a Kazi, a subordinate government officer, sank into insignificance, with only the memory of its former greatness and its many traditions to distinguish it. The centre of interest passes across the river to Sonargaon.
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