If anybody searches in google map “JINSAR,WEST BENGAL”, a location in west Medinipur will appear on the screen along with blue marking of Kanshabati river. With a little zoom-in will show a label “Ancient Ruin of a Digambar Jain Temple” more towards the river. Recently two bloggers had shared their findings on this ruin through their article; one of them a historian and the other an enthusiastic travelogue writer. Based on one of their reports, another information is also evident in face-book.
Way back in fifties when the eminent Bengali scholar Binay Ghosh visited Medinipur to collect materials for his monumental book “Paschimbanger Sanskriti” (The culture of West Bengal). During this travel he had been to this place and pointed out that “Jinsar” denotes Jin Sahar (City of Jain).
If one observes the current maps of Jharkhand and West Bengal one finds distinct links of age old Jain heritage at different locations of lower eastern part of Jharkhand and lower western part of West Bengal (Giridih- Dhanbad- Bokaro- Puruliya- Bankura- West Midinipur). These links are broadly classified in two groups. The first one, earlier Jain structures still in use as hindu temple (Begunia in Barakar, West Bengal) or Jain statue becoming symbol of hindu God (dressed in red loin-cloth) placed inside a new structure attracting regular attention of devotees (Polkiri in Bokaro, Jharkhand). The second group is the heritage structure which were submerged during the construction phase of reservoirs of DVC Project (Telkupi ,Puruliya, West Bengal) in early fifties. A few, however, became visible since 2005 due to silting .
One observes that all these Jain Temple clusters were developed beside river networks of Damador, Barakar and Kanshabati, clearly indicating a primary navigational river high-way for commerce of an age old civilization. Budhist and Jain Sreshthis (merchants) were common characters in old scriptures as well as in modern texts of nineteenth century. The construction material is not burnt-brick but finely cut stone brought from outside Bengal, suggesting patrons had rich resources. The period of execution accessed eleventh to twelfth century.
As per Jain documentation the aboriginals of this place (Porto- Australoid Tribes) were not having any friendly attitude towards Thirthankar Mahavir. Was it an indication of conflict between rude Foragers and cultured Aryans ?
Available archeological evidences of Tamluk (Tamralipto) region of southern Medinipur strongly indicate it as a seat of non-Aryan civilization of copper-age transformed into a busy river harbor and into a Buddhist university-town (?) between fourth and seventh century (documented travelogue of famed Chinese Monks). In eleventh century it became A part of the Kingdom of Rajendracholdev and in twelfth century it came under the administration of Chorgangadev. The Buddhist and Jain doctrines of different eras were having their simultaneous influence in Medinipur. The eco-political scenario of this particular landmass of modern West Bengal withstands the cultural syntheses of south as well as north India. Whatever might be the historic socio-religious evolution of this area the western part of this district always displayed the urge for independence and determination to avail the same (Forager’s gene? / Red Corridor ?). It had survived as the battlefield between Mughal and Pathan; it remained the soft-target of yearly Maratha invasion of Bengal during the fag end of Mughal Dynasty; the “Chuar Rebellion” was the first revolt against administration of British India much before “Sepoy Mutiny” of 1857 (unfortunately never highlighted beyond scholastic world).
The ruin of “Jinsar” is remarkable as this age old piece of heritage structure is going towards oblivion due to extreme negligence from modern India. The district which withstood wave after wave of military onslaught, religious vortex and political turmoil failed to preserve its archeological beauty. On the other hand, extensive touring in this region (eastern part of Jharkhand and lower western part of West Bengal) gives the impression: “against the huge time scale the religion of the locality changed from one form to another but the God’s Idol remains live by the believers. It had remained a solace to the villagers; it would continue its peaceful influence on the anxious minds in future. Religion, society and time may change but the Idol remains as an assimilation of Indian heritage and legacy forever, and continued to be an emblem for all hopes and good deeds and a symbol of destroyer of all evils”.
The old Jain statue of ruined Digambar Jain Temple of Jinsar proved the above theory absolutely wrong.
If you feel anyway curious about this relic please go through the below mentioned links, as modern Indian it is our duty to preserve our heritage.
4. Pashimbanger Sanskriti by Binoy Ghosh
5. Special courtsey Mr. Tarun Tapas Mukherjee & Md. Yeasin Pathan.
Research : Santanu Roy and Abhijan Basu.