Friday, June 27, 2014
Sir Udaychand Mahtab, the Maharaja Dhiraja Bahadur K.C.I.E., was the last ruler of Burdwan Raj, who ruled from 1941 to 1955, until the zamindari system was abolished in India. He was the eldest son of HH Maharaja Bijoychand Mahtab (1887 – 1941). During the regency of his father he served as Dewan-i-Raj for several years and subsequently after the death of his father succeeded to the throne.
During the British Raj, he headed and was member of several committees; member of Damodar Canal Enquiry Committee 1938; Select Committee on Calcutta Municipal (amendment) Bill 1940; Chairman of Burdwan District Flood Relief and Bengal Central Flood Relief Committees 1943-44; Chairman of Indian Red Cross Appeal (Bengal) 1943-1946 and of Calcutta War Committee 1943-1946 and of Damodar Flood Central Enquiry Committee 1944; Member of Bengal Tanks Improvement Bill Select Committee 1944 and of Advisory Committee on Terrorist Convicts in Bengal 1944; Member of West Bengal Forest Denudation Enquiry Committee 1944 and of Select Committee on Bengal Agricultural Income Tax Bill 1944; Member of the Indian Constituent Assembly – 1946 -1947. He also presided over the West Bengal Goup of Legislators in 1946, which voted 58:21 in favour of the partition of Bengal.
He served as the President of Non-Muslim block of Bengal Partition meeting in 1947 and was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Bengal from years 1937 to 1952. In the first election after independence in 1952, HH Udaychand Mahtab lost to a freedom fighter and communist, Benoy Choudhury, in spite of a campaign in his favour by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The election defeat was followed by legislation for abolition of the zamindari system in 1954.
After abolition of Zamindari system in 1955, he shifted from Burdwan to the family’s house at Alipore in Calcutta. Here he became a director of IISCO, and several other leading mercantile firms of the day, such as Dunlop, Metal Box and Brooke Bond.
He acceded to the request of the Chief minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy and handed over his palace, Mahtab Manzil and Golap Bagh to the University of Burdwan. He donated a piece of land in Burdwan to the numerous employees of the Raj so that they could build accommodation there. With the end of the Raj, he immersed himself in his commercial and business interests.
He was also a Steward of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club. He instituted a fund for The Maharajadhiraja Uday Chand Mahtab of Burdwan Memorial Cup at Calcutta Race Course. He died on 10 October 1984 leaving behind a rich legacy for his three sons and three daughters.
HH Maharaja Bijoychand Mahtab 1887 – 1941
Sir Udaychand Mahtab, the Maharaja Dhiraja Bahadur, K.C.I.E. 1905 -1984
Maharani Radha Rani Devi of Burdwan