Published: Monday, May 6, 2013

A Potential Tourist Spot

An indigo factory, remains of company rule in Bengal

A dilapidated indigo factory in Jhenidah.  Photo: STAR

A dilapidated indigo factory in Jhenidah. Photo: STAR

Almost a hundred year of British East India Company rule left its mark on various locations in Bangladesh. Their infamous indigo farming is an important part of history for Bengal region.
The company erected infrastructures to manage Indigo farming and trade in the region. Those buildings were not only used for trading but also to brutally torture farmers who refused British demands. These buildings were called “Nil Kutir” (Indigo Hut).
There is one such “Nil Kutir” at Hat Khalishpur Bazar at Moheshpur Upazilla, Jhenidah, beside the river Kapatakha. Constructed in 1847, this traditional “Nil Kutir” was used by the British to compel the farmers of East Bengal to cultivate Indigo. It was also used as a torture cell for the farmers who didn’t comply with the British demands. Several congested rooms inside the Kutir suggest that those were used for punishment.
Company rule in Bengal region and the brutality of the British overlords is despairing chapter of our history. Yet, we must admit that it is our history. Therefore, such buildings are historical sites, and should be preserved.
Therefore, in 2008, hundreds of people including elites, students and businessmen of Hat Khalishpur Bazar, Jhenidah formed a human-chain and demanded to renovate this rare historical site.
Chairman of Bangladesh Paribesh Bachao Andolon (Save the environment movement), Abu Naser Khan and Kamal Pasha Chowdhury, a coordinator of the same organization joined in the human-chain at that time.
Moreover, there are 90 large Mango trees around the “Nil Kutir”. Adding to the attraction, there is also Bir-Shrestha Hamidur Rahman museum and library on the location. A college is there with the name of Bir Shrestha Hamidur Rahman. So, locals rightfully demand to declare the area a “Parjatan Kendra” (Tourist spot) and a picnic corner.
Md. Sazzad Hossain of SBK union under Moheshpur upazila said “we should renovate this unparalleled beauty for our next generation to history – we earnestly demand that the site be declared as a tourist spot, thus taking measures to preserve this rare building.
Bazar Secretary Mizanur Rahman of Hat Khalishpur said “we have been watching this site from our childhood. We learned from our forefathers that this building was used as “Nil Kutir” to collect Indigo and tax where the British compelled the subjects of East Bengal.
Abdul Mannan, a businessman of Hat Khalishpur Bazaar said that after the fall Nawabs in Bengal, the English built this “Nil Kutir” in 1847. This building was used as C.O office from 1956-1957 to 1983-1984.  Later, it was used as union Tofsil office from 1984 to 2002. He urged that the government should take step to renovate it.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Abul Kalam Azad of Moheshpur upazila said that after human-chain in 2008, Ministry of Parjatan (Ministry of tourism) sent a letter to declare the “Nil Kutir” into a Tourist Spot. But, till now, no fund has been allotted. Mr. Azad added, once any fund is received from the ministry, they will take necessary actions to retain this rare site.
Deputy Commissioner Khaja Hannan of Jhenidah said that no file has reached him yet. She assured that he will take necessary steps after investigation.