MOHAMMAD ANWARUL QUADIR
Patisar, a small village in Atrai, Naogaon, should have received wide publicity like Shelaidah and Shajadpur, because of its long association with Rabindranath Tagore. The main Katchary of Parayannan Kaligram is seven miles east of Atrai railway junction. The village stands on the bank of the Nagar, a small river that becomes dry in summer. In the rainy season the village looks like a small island with a vast sheet of water all around it, which presents an excellent panoramic view.
The Nagar covers more than 40 miles long distance and there is a good number of villages on its bank. In the past, like in other parts of the country, people in the riparian villages depended on the Nagar for communication and irrigation in the dry season. But those days are gone, now the Nagar is a helpless victim of droughts. If re-excavated the Nagar again can be useful for cultivation and beneficial to the common people of the area.
Here nature opens a vista of scenic beauty, which inspired the poet to write many of his poems at Patisar. During his sojourns in Patisar, the poet composed several of his best poems such as Chaitali, Asha, Purnima and others. In Chaitali, Poet Rabindranath gives a vivid description of Patisar and its surroundings. Poet Rabindranath first came to Patisar in 1895 when he was entrusted with the management of the Tagore Estate. He again visited Patisar in 1896 and lastly on July 27, 1937, on the occasion of Punnah Ceremony at Patisar.
The historic Katcharibari, used as a tahshil office, still depicts the past of the poet. But no attempt has yet been made to preserve the place where the poet often lived with his wife Mrinalini Devi. Loken Patlit, the then district Judge of Rajshahi and a bosom friend of Tagore often visited Patisar to enjoy its peaceful rural life, free from the hustle and bustle of the town. Andrews of Oxford University also accompanied the poet from time to time.
The poet was a benevolent zamindar besides being a great poet. He had always the welfare of the tenants of his vast zamindari in his mind. So the poet felt the necessity of giving education to his tenants and accordingly the poet established a high school in Patisar in 1937, which was one of the three high schools in whole of Naogaon Sub-Division, consisting of nine police stations. It was opened by his wife Mrinalini Devi and was named after their eldest son Rathindranath Tagore. While living in Patisar, the poet introduced mechanised cultivation. Nobody ever dreamt of this. The poet bought a tractor for ploughing. There was no tractor-operator in Patisar at that time. His eldest son Rathindranath Tagore had undergone agriculture training in the USA. So the poet brought his son from Kolikata and asked him to operate the tractor. As the machine roared, thousands of villagers assembled to see it.
The poet established an Agriculture Bank, first of its kind, in Naogaon, with funds available from his Nobel Prize money in 1920 to enable his poor tenants to get loans at very easy terms. Poet Rabindranath also established a full-fledged dispensary with a doctor for the villagers.
The birth anniversary of the great poet is observed by the government on May 8 every year at Patisar Katacharibari premises with Rabindra Mela, where thousands of people of different districts gather to pay homage to the poet. The century-up old Katacharibari should be turned into a modern museum, preserving valuable historic memorials and the photos of the poet and the government can also set up a library to preserve the books, stories and poems written by the poet. By establishing a country free from exploitation we can pay our true homage to the first Bengali Nobel laureate.
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