Journey through Bangladesh
Korokdi: A Very Special Village
Since our boyhood, we had been hearing about the village of Korokdi which is very near our village of Kamarkhali, under the thana Modhukhali in the district of Faridpur. Korokdi is falls on the right of Bagat - famous for its yogurt - on the highway from Faridpur to Khulna. The past of the village has been the stuff of myth.
Here is a short list of some of the great people who hailed from this village. The first name should be of the great litterateur Probodhkumar Sanyal, famous for his Morutirtho Hinglaj and many other books. His daughter Nilima Sanyal was also a well known personality for her news presentation in the Akash Bani, Delhi, during our liberation and post-liberation periods. Kanu Sanyal, another son of this great literary figure, is known India-wide for his revolutionary Marxist politics. Veteran political leaders of the British-Bengal regime Ashu Bhoroddaj or Satya Moito were also the residents of this village.
But my interest grew further when I found a book titled Mohabharot Monjori written by Bankimchandra Lahiri who was born in Korokdi. The book, collected by my father the Late Baidyanath Das during the last years of 1970s from a Kolkata footpath greatly interested me. Published in the 1920s from Purnia, Bihar of India, the book is a critique of the great epic The Mahabharata. In the introductory part of the book, I found a small history of the bygone days of Korokdi.
Later on my interest towards this village increased further when in a review of a novel Nobangkur, I read that narrator of the novel, Sulekha Sanyal (1928-1964) was born in Korokdi. In high spirits I collected a copy of the novel and gradually learnt that the book is based on the childhood and adolescent days of the writer which she passed in that village. Afterwards I got the opportunity to go through almost all her write-ups and realized how strong a writer she was. From my point of view, her stories could be categorized as the finest ones on the partition of India and the famine of 1939. While I had been thus approaching more and more, I was amazed to find a translation of her story in the prestigious literary journal The Little Magazine, published from Delhi. Immediately I got the news that her novel had come out in English translation under the title of The Seedlings. Avontikumar Sanyal, a noted philosopher and writer of the West Bengal is the elder brother of Sulekha.
Though Korokdi was a remote village there had been many buildings around it and for that it would be called a second Kolkata in the surrounding localities, especially for the lanes and by-lanes, as the elderly people of the areas recalled. Regarding the status of education it could be only said that there had been some 30-40 graduates or post-graduates in the single village during the 20s or 30s of the last century. Moreover, the inhabitants of the village had such high level of living that even kerosene-operated refrigerators were commonly used there; some specimens are yet preserved in the Rajbari Museum they say.
At last came my time to pay a visit to the village, so near from ours but never seen! It was a barren place now, with only a few huts shaded by huge trees. On the entrance of the village there is the school, more than a century old. The only remains are some three or four broken structures. One temple, three or four structures of residential houses, and a library. Is this the library that I heard of in the books? Named after the scholar Ramdhon Tarkoponchanon, the great Sanskrit Pundit? The generous people, who lived in this village during the first decades of the twentieth century, remembered and honored their great forefathers by constructing such institutions, but it seems that there has not been anyone to actually preserve these structures.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008