Journey through Bangladesh
English Tila About to Fall
THE historic “English Tila” is located in Chhatak upazila headquarters in Sunamganj. This structure has its existence threatened due to the indiscriminate hill cutting while the authorities do nothing to protect it. The common people of this small township which stands on the bank of the river Surma however, are a little worried since this memorial could now be destroyed at any moment.
The 159-year old structure was constructed on the small hillock at the Bagbari area and it still reminds of the old days when George English used to live there. As the story goes, Henry, wife of one Englishman known as George English, constructed the small pyramid shaped structure on the hillock top in 1850 in memory of her beloved husband who had died that year. The man used to stay at Chhatak for his limestone trade during the East India Company period. Chhatak is still known for its limestone business. There are a good number of the traditional factories on the banks of Surma River while it is also the country's second most well-known and internationally reputed cement factories. The state-run Chhatak Cement Company and the multinational Lafarge Surma are using the limestone from this region to produce cement.
Locals believe it was George English who had started this limestone trade from Chhatak, and it was available in abundance in those days even. He used to stay with his family and had amassed huge wealth through this trade. His particular advantage was that he got help from the East India Company.
George English died in 1850 at the age of 76. His wife continued running his business for years after his death. Not too long after his death, she built the memorial on the hillock. Soon it became known as 'Shaheber Tila' to common villagers. It is about 25 feet high.
This used to be a place that lots of people would want to visit. It is located amidst a lot of natural beauty. Now though, with indiscriminate hill cutting by organised groups this structure has become very difficult to reach. At the same time, cracks on parts of the concrete structure have appeared and it threatens to collapse any time as massive amounts of earth have been removed from all around it. No one, however, cares sufficiently about the structure to really save it.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009