Journey through Bangladesh
181 Years of Pabna
Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu
Pabna is one of the oldest districts of Bangladesh, entering into its 182nd year. There have been many ups and downs in Pabna in its time, but now, the district is on the brink of losing its heritage. This was the paraphrased opinion of most of the speakers at the 181st Anniversary Ceremony of founding of the district, organized at Rafikul Islam Bokul Poura auditorium (Town Hall) in Pabna.
Pabna had reached its 181st anniversary on October 16, 2008. The anniversary was celebrated enthusiastically through a series of colourful events on the day. Rallies, discussions and cultural programmes were organized on the occasion at Pabna Town Hall premises. Educationalists, cultural activists, journalists and members of the civil society were present. The events were hosted by 'mypabna.com', an online news service.
Khalid Hossain Porag, head of 'mypabna.com', chaired the program. Speakers at the occasion included: Professor Abdul Karim, noted educationalist and former principal of Pabna Government Women's College, Ranish Maitra, veteran journalist and columnist, Rumi Khandaker, President of Pabna Press Club, Mahbubul Alam Mukul, Vice President of Pabna Chamber of Commerce, Samsul Alam, General Manager of AR Cement, Professor Akteruzzaman, and Samsunnahar Borna.
The speakers pointed out the need of building unity within the region for its development. They also expressed their concerns at the continuous loss of the district's cultural heritage. “This is one of the oldest districts of the country. Yet we remain under-developed. Although we have lost much over time, we should not look back. We have to build up unity so that we can go a long way forward”, a speaker said on the occasion.
“We are proud of the riverine beauty of the district. Padma, Jamuna, Boral, Chiknai, Ichamati all flow through and around the district. Once upon a time, the murmur of the Padma inspired poets. But the same great Padma is losing its glory. The once-mighty Padma is fast turning into a dead river”, a speaker said.
People in Pabna once used to live off its surrounding rivers. Pabna is renowned for river-based folk music, especially Vatiali, Vawyaia, Palligiti and other forms. But the current cultural inactivity of the district has become a cause of concern for many of the speakers.
Another important issue discussed was the lack of development of the region. “As one of the oldest districts of the nation, we should have come a long away. But we have failed do to prosper. We have to build unity to ensure sustainable development of Pabna”, said Rumi Khandaker, President of Pabna Press Club. The artists of Baul M. A. Gafur Academy and Ajker Projonmo Forum performed local songs on and organized dance performances on the occasion.