Historic Munshibari, a NawabSirajuddaula era administrative house in Ulipurupazila of Kurigram, is losing its grandeur due to lack of proper maintenance.
Founded during the reign of NawabSirajuddaula, the attractive administrator’s house, the Munshibari in Dharnibari union underUlipurupazila in Kurigramdistrict is a draw card for anyone wishing to explore the area’s rich historical heritage. But due to a lack of maintenance the future of the 250-year-old iconic building is uncertain.
The property, which features domed architecture and includes a playhouse, barnyard, Durga and Biswanu temples along with a dining room and kitchen, all of which are extensively damaged, has a colorful history.
BonwariMunshi once had come for hunting to the area of Dharnibari union by river over the Bamnee. He liked the land and suggested this to the Nawab and requested some for himself, receiving 21.20 acres of land for himself and a further 11.20 acres for Laxmi Narayan. The family hence established the estate with around 34 acres of land under BonwariMunshi and Laxmi Narayan.
The Islamic Mission and Foundation had taken 7.42 acres of land that had been adjoining the building for almost a century under the Government. There, a hospital and a mosque had been set up for the local people. In addition, some land had been given to local people on an annual lease.
Bonwari was childless so inheritance first passed to his adopted son BinodLal who served under Laxmi Narayan. Binod too was childless. The munshibari passed for a second time to an adopted son, BrojendraLal, who had two daughters. When the elder daughter was married and moved to Kolkata, with the younger daughter having died at a young age, Brojendra’s wife AsharathaMunshi followed tradition and adopted a son BihariLalMunshi to take responsibility for the munshibari.
After the Liberation War in 1971, BihariLal also moved to Kolkata, and the property came under the care of, at first, an NGO activist, Saifur Mia and later, one Arif Mia. Arif Mia’s claim to the property caused controversy. There was a heated dispute that infamously ended when Arif Mia drew his gun and fired, killing two local students.
It was in 1987 that the union revenue office took over the main building now the office was built near the housed.
“Our Munshibari is a historical asset for the whole Kurigram district,” says Abdul MannanSardar, a politician of Ulipurupazila. He said people from many places visit this site. It should be restored and maintained for future generations.
Many of the structures are either damaged or going to be damaged. The metal stairs leading to the first floor and the metal veranda railings have already been stolen.
The importance of protecting the property, but no maintenance has been undertaken said Ulipurupazila chairman Freedom Fighter Golam Hossain Montu.
DurgaMela(Fair) is also held on the Munshibari grounds every year.