Tripura is a state in North-East India. It shares borders with Bangladesh, Mizoram and Assam. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on its north, south and west. The length of its international border is 856 km (84 per cent of its total border). The state is connected with the rest of India by NH-44 that runs through Assam, Meghalaya, North Bengal, Kolkata and other parts of India.
Although the state is small with a population of only over three million, Tripura is the 2nd most populous state in the North Eastern Region. The social composition of the population of Tripura is diverse. Around one-third of the population belongs to the Scheduled Tribes. According to 2011 census, the state's population is 36.74 lakh, with a density of 350 persons per sq. km.
Population pattern and demography have always been fluctuating. In 1901 Tripura's population was 1.73 lakh, with tribals making up nearly 52.89 percent of the whole. By 1941, the total population rose to 5.13 lakh with a barely 50.09 percent tribal majority. But by 1981, the tribal population dipped to 28.44 percent of a total population of 2.05 million because of several socio-political developments.
- Total number of Households has increased from 664334 in 2001 to 855556 in 2011 (increased by 28.8%) whereas total Population increased from 3199203 in 2001 to 3673917 in 2011 (increased by 14.8%).
- Sex Ratio is 960 (in 2001 it was 948); in all India scenario it is 943.
- Population in the group 0-6 increased from 436446 in 2001 to 458014 in 2011 (increased by 5%).
- Schedule Cast Population is 17.8% of total population. Sex ratio was 962 in 2001 which had increased to 959 in 2011.
- Schedule Tribe Population is 31.8% of total Population. Sex ratio was 970 in 2001; now in 2011 it is 983 (for rural 982 and urban 1017).
- Literacy rate, as per the 2011 Census was 87.22% (against 73.19% in 2001). By 08.09.2014, literacy rate of the state reached upto 96.82 percent. Male-Female Literacy gap reduced to 7 percent which was the highest reduction in the country during the 2001-2011 decade, thus fetching the State Decadal Literacy Award.
The former princely state of Tripura was ruled by Maharajas of Manikya dynasty. It was an independent administrative unit under the Maharaja even during the British rule in India, though this independence was qualified, being subject to the recognition of the British, as the paramount power of each successive ruler.
As per Rajmala, the royal chronology of Tripura, a total of 184 kings ruled over the state before it merged with the Indian Union on October 15 1949. Since then the history of Tripura has been interspersed with various political, economical and social developments. On January 26, 1950 Tripura was accorded the status of a ‘C’ category state and on November 1, 1956, it was recognized as a Union Territory. With the sustained efforts and struggle of the people of Tripura, it gained full statehood on January 21, 1972, as per the North-East Reorganisation Act, 1971. And democratic set-up got further stretched upto the village level in 1978 with election to the local bodies that ultimately culminated in the introduction of three-tier Panchayati Raj System.
On the other hand, for socio-economic development, preservation of language and culture of Tripura Tribal Areas, Autonomous District Council (ADC) was constituted in 1982 under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution and later on in 1985 it was brought under the 6th Schedule. The ADC in Tripura encompasses 68.10% of the state's total geographical territory and is home to roughly one third of the state's population. Once Tripura was a single-district state. Now keeping the administrative convenience in view, decentralization has been taken further ahead by forming eight districts, 23 subdivisions, 58 rural development blocks, 591 Gram Panchayats, eight Jilla Parishads, nine Nagar Panchayats, 10 Municipal Councils and 1 Municipal Corporation. In addition, 587 village committees are working as Gram Panchayats under 6th Schedule areas.
Tagore and Tripura:
Nobel-laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore's close relation with the princely state of Tripura and its four successive rulers forms an important chapter in the state's history. This was of course a natural corollary to the liberal patronage extended to Bengali language and culture by the Manikya dynasty rulers of Tripura since the days of King Ratna Manikya (1464-68). It was in the course of a political crisis that Tripura's ruling monarch Krishna Kishore Manikya (1830-1849) had got in touch with Prince Dwaraka Nath Tagore, grandfather of Rabindra Nath. In his maiden letter to King Bir Chandra Manikya ( 1862-1896) dated May 6, 1886 Rabindra Nath Tagore had referred to this familial relation while seeking ingredients of Tripura's history on which he later based his celebrated novel 'Rajarshi' and dramas 'Visarjan' and 'Mukut'.
Moreover, when the King was in a state of shock following the untimely death of his queen Bhanumati Debi in the year 1881, he studied young Rabindra Nath's celebrated love-poem 'Bhagna Hriday'. Bir Chandra found a resonance of his anguish in Tagore's elegiac lyric and sent his political secretary Radha Raman Ghosh to Jorasanko near Calcutta to congratulate the poet on his behalf. He offered to purchase and install a full-fledged press to print and publish Rabindra Nath's works. Those years were the beginning of long lasting relationship between Rabindranatha and the royal family of Tripura.
Birchandra's son and successor King Radhakishore Manikya (1897-1909) also maintained a close relation with Tagore and it was during his reign that the poet visited Tripura for the first time in the year 1900. Apart from this, a number of Bengali men of letters received financial assistance from King Radhakishore Manikya. Similarly, King Birendra Kishore Manikya also maintained a close but respectful relation with Rabindra Nath. After Rabindra Nath had won Nobel prize King Birendra Kishore organized a function to celebrate the occasion and the poet visited Tripura again in the year 1919. Rabindra Nath visited Agartala for the seventh and last time in the year 1926 when he was introduced to King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya(1923-1947). A cultured man of refined tastes, King Bir Bikram was a devoted fan of the poet and organized a special programme in May, 1941 to celebrate the poet's eightieth birth day. When the poet died within a few months, a day's official mourning was observed in Tripura at the behest of King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya. The poet had penned at least five renowned and soft-hearted songs during his visits to Tripura and all the Kings of Manikya dynasty from Bir Chandra to Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya extended generous financial assistance to Rabindra Nath and his dream project 'Viswa Bharati'at Bolpur in West Bengal. This assistance soon took the form of annual grants and formed part of princely Tripura's annual budgets till the last days of the state's last king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (1923-1947). Renowned artist Dhirendra Krishna Debbarman and Manipuri dance expert Buddhimanta Singh were deputed to 'Viswa Bharati' and it was Tripura's contribution that enabled the 'Viswa Bharati' authority to introduce Manipuri dance in its cultural curricula. Only a month ahead of the octogenarian Tagore's death king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya himself, accompanied by other royal personages, visited 'Viswa Bharati' and conferred the title of 'Bharat Bhaskar' on Rabindranath. On the auspicious occasion of the poet's 150th birth anniversary the people of Tripura are reminded of the poet's immortal lines on the state: "when the woodlands of Tripura have sent out invitations to their floral feast through their courier of the south wind, I have come as a friend".
From the distant past, agriculture in various forms has been the mainstay in the lives of people in Tripura. The primary sector (Agricultural) contributes about 64% of total employment in the state and about 48% of the State Domestic Product (SDP). A variety of Horticultural/ Plantation Crops are produced in Tripura like Pineapple, Orange, Cashew nut, Jackfruit, Coconut, Tea, Rubber, Forest Plantations etc. At present both conventional settled agriculture in the plains and Jhum system of cultivation in the hills are practiced, although earlier many tribal people depended more on Jhum system of cultivation, perhaps due to their life-pattern i.e. predominantly living in the hill areas.
The Industry Sector has remained undeveloped so far, despite the vast potential. The secondary sector contributes only about 5% of total employment and about 7% of the total income (SDP) of the state at present. Tourism has been declared as an Industry in the state since 1987. Handicraft is emerging as a potential industry in Tripura. The Handloom Industry also plays an important role in rural Industry of Tripura.
Of late various industries have begun to come up with the possible encouragement from the state government, although industrial development as such, is yet to fall in place in true sense in the absence of big industries. In the industrial sector, rubber and tea-based industries form the prime share with cement, steel etc. industries following suit.