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 Historical Edifices Of Bankura Town

 Written by Dr. Girindra Sekhar Chakraborty ,


Primarily, Vishnupur was the Headquarters of the 'Jungal Mohal" district; later the Headquarters was shifted to Bankura. The idea, that the origin or the beginning of Bankura town was caused due to its being marked as the headquarters of the district, is not proper, because according to Government records, Bankura was a village or town or partly a town and partly a village, when the headquarters was shifted to it. In other words, urbanisation had already started of Bankura. The Government policy was to build new houses or to purchase them to set up offices and courts.
Quite naturally, it is evident that a colony had sprung up of the European indigo-planters, at Bankura, before the Head Quarters came into being there. So, the hearsay that an administrative office and a court were set up, by purchasing buildings of the indigo planters, on the court terrace present now, is not quite unfounded, as the Govt. bought there a building in 1825 A. D. at a cost of ten thousand rupees. It may be surmised that the original ownership of the edifice was of the indigo-planters.


When Harachandra Ghosh was present at Bankura (1832 - 1838 A. D.) first as a munsiff and then as the surveyor of the sadar, the Hill House (the present Govt. building of the District Magistrate) was the residence of the judges. This building also, was probably, under private owner ship of the indigo planters, as after half a century, the owner of this building was the D. M. , J. H. Anderson. Harachandra Ghosh has noted that in the Circuit House area or at Kenduadihi or Lokepur area, there were four more buildings. These were 'built and occupied by private individuals'. Incidentally, it is mentionable , that the Circuit House was the first Govt. building raised in 1807 A. D. under the administrative auspices at Bankura. One of the four private buildings mentioned by Harachandra, was Kenduadihi House (now the residence of the District Judge). Between 1878 and 1885 A. D., Anderson was the District Magistrate, Rameshchandra, the joint D.M. and Rasiklal Dutta was the Civil Surgeon (now the post is converted to C. M. O. H.). It appears that when indigo plantation almost came to an end, Anderson purchased Kenduadihi House and the Hill House, in about 1880 A.D. Rasiklal Dutta purchased the building to the West of Kenduadihi House. Ramesh Chandra Dutta bought the house, on the northern side of the road, just opposite to the Schana's. By transferance of ownership, Ramesh Chandra Dutta's house came under the ownership of the father of a lawyer, Nagendranath Ghosh. Before that, the house was the residence of Mr. Robertson. The house of Rasiklal Dutta came in the occupation of Bankura Sammilani. Evidently, Dr. V. L. Watt was the Civil surgeon of Bankura, between 1901 and 1909 A. D. Either through change of ownership by sale and purchase or through direct purchase from the indigo planters, the building at Lokepur Mouza was owned by Dr. Watt. As the Govt. took over the residence of Dr. Watt in 1918 A. D., it turned into the Govt. residence of the District Civil Surgeon (C. M. O. H. after independence). Besides these two buildings, afore-mentioned, there was another building built by the indigo-planters at the Kenduadihi Mouza, that is now the building of the Mission Girls' High School, Bankura. In about 1870A. D. this building was bought by Wesleyan Mission. It was then called 'Mission House.'


The style of structure of the historical and memorable edifices of Old Bankura was christian style, Gothic Style, Renaissance Style, Roman Style and Modern Style. Bricks burnt in char-coal, powdered lime, broken pieces of bricks, brick-dust,clay-tiles, rafters and beams made of wood or iron, doors and windows made of teak wood, iron plates, fenugreek water, catechu and wood - apple - gum and such other materials were used in the construction of these buildings.
The edifices, dwelt on in this article, are as follows :-


A Muslim widow, named Meherunnisa Begam established the 'Idga' of Idga Mahalla in 1804 A. D. There was a stone tablet inscribed with Farsi writing, set on the wall of it. The content of the writing is, 'Moal gani' — 'Chu Meherunnisa Khanam Aj Sid Dil Bana Masjidi Karu Mehman Sadaie Khurd Tarikh Ajre Ajim Bd. Bakhsad Ajre Hajimas Khudai, Hi-1224 (1224 Hijra year is 1804 A. D.)

In the year of 1806 A. D. (1226 -Hijra year) - December , a merchant named Saikh Ibrahim constructed the mosque at Machantala, Bankura, in its characteristic style. The mosque was extended in its second phase in the Hijra year 1343 or 1925 A.D. At present also, it is being extended in its front side.


The 'Circuit House' was set up in the erstwhile village Devipur or Kenduadihi area in the year of 1807 A.D. This House was used for the sitting of the Divisional Commissioner and his court. The dimension of the Circuit House with its plain surfaced roof was 80 ft. x 62 ft. = 4960 sq. ft. The area of the office in its exterior was 55'ft x 16'ft = 880 sq. ft. From the start of the first and second 'Chuar rebellion' the British soldiers lived on the land in front of the Circuit House by the left side of the road leading to Lokepur. This is why, this place is known as 'Sipahi Danga'. Ramendra Krishna Dev, D. M. of Bankura and member of the royal family of Sobhabazar, built a very attractive building - 'Silver Oak', at Sipahi Danga in the year of '1906-07. By the by, it was on this Sepahi Danga, that the first Annual Political Conference of the Bankura District Congress was held in 1926 A. D. Hemaprabha Majumdar was its President.


The court buildings of the District Judge and of the Registrar (the existing old Treasury building) were built in the year, 1807. Both the two court buildings having plain roofs were of equal size - 50 ft. x 50 ft. = 2500 sq. ft. The two courts, cost equally Rupees 2500 each. The then District Judge and District Magistrate was William Blunt.

The present District Judge's court and the District Sub-Judge's court. were constructed during the period, 1918 -20. The District Judges at that time, respectively, were J. Johnson, S. C. Mullick and G. C. Sen. The two influential brothers of the contemporary period, Ajoy Dutta and Bijoy Dutta were contractors raising these buildings.


The civil jail was constructed in the year 1807. The District Magistrate and Collector, William Blunt, built the civil jail made of earth wall and thatched roof (on the spot of the 'Condemned Building' towards the eastern courtyard of the present jail). The 'Borstal' was built up here.
The Civil jail, quarters for the cooks, store room and quarters for the guards and sub-inspectors were made at a cost of Rs. 9500/- in 1808 - 09.

The jail hospital was built in the year, 1817. A criminal jail of the dimension of 251' x 45' was raised in 1829. During the office of the District Magistrate, Capt. Bell (1819 - 20 A.D.) a hospital for the sick prisoners and a 'criminal jail' for the accused and convict prisoners as per criminal cases, were raised. The company administration procured a land, measuring 125 bighas, 11 kathas and 10 chhataks, on a permanent lease, from the king of Chhatna in 1808 A. D. for the use of the army - and this is where the 'Cantonment' grew up. The existing 'police line' and a part of the 'Stadium' have sprung up on that very ground, known as 'old cantonment ground'. The Govt. accommodated a contingent of army, for a considerable period of time, in this cantonment, when the 'Ganganarayani Hangama' of South Bankura abated, even in 1832 A.D. As the need for using this place for the army was not felt any more, this land and the buildings came under the jurisdiction of the chief jailor in 1866 A.D. and up to 1872 A.D., the land remained under his supervision. Later it came under the custody of the Superintendent of police.


In the existing courtyard of the Collectorate of Bankura, S.D.O's office and the building adjacent to it were built in 1810 A.D. That two storeyed building was raised as the civil and Criminal Court Chamber and for the use as an office of the Court of Circuit. William Blunt, District Magistrate and District Judge, got this building having two verandhahs, built at a cost of Rs. 13748 and annas 8 in the year of 1810 A.D.


In connection with the British rule, a new class grew up in the social system of Bankura District. This class was generally called 'the middle class'. This class was educated in English, professional and concerned with the landed interest of sub-leased holdings. In the contemporary town of Bankura, the foremost figure was the town - dweller and first landlord, Harishankar Mukherjee (1800-1876). He married Mangala, a daughter of the administrator and tax collector (nayeb) of the Burdwan Raj estate. Through the exercise of private and Govt influence, Harishankar earned the right of a lessee of 26 mouzas, at an annual rent of only one thousand one hundred, twenty one rupees, one anna and one pie. His father, Guruprasad Mukherjee (1781-1823), was well-versed in Farsi. His original residence was at village Somsar, under P.S. Indas. He came to Bankura, being appointed a Govt pleader under the East India Company at a monthly salary of twenty rupees only, on the 27th November, 1807 A.D.

The first landlord's house or Harishankar babu's house at Bankura (on G. P. Singha Road) was a wonder of the contemporary Bankura town. There is mention of a two storeyed building including a farm-house, a rent room and a portico in the deed dated 1863 A.D.
The total area of the house was five bighas and three kathas. The brick-built house of Harishankar Babu took some twenty years to complete, from 1812 A. D. (Guruprasad's time) to 1832 A. D. He was not free from the then 'Babu culture' of Bengal. Functions of dancing girls and songstresses were arranged in his parlour. The Govt. made a beginning of the Municipality, through the formation of Bankura Town Committee, in the year of 1867 A.D. Harishankar Mukherjee was a Govt. nominee in the Town Committee, as a distinguished citizen. The building still bears witness to the bright history connected with the memory of Harishankar Babu.


In the year of 1818 A.D. 'the office building of the Sadar Amin (surveyor)' was built during the period of Captain Kemin, District Magistrate and collector of Jungal Mahal. The dimension of the building is 65' x 60' and a sum of Rs. 4500/- was spent for its construction. The roof of this building is arched. At present, this is being used as the District record room or archives (probably from 1917-18).


The Veterinary Hospital building of the town, situated on the opposite side of Bankura Christian College and to the West of Zilla Parisad Rest House, was the first charitable dispensary of old Bankura, run by the Govt. The beginnig of this dispensary was in 1812 and its building was constructd in 1832 A.D. W. W. Hunter has stated in his 'statistical Accounts of Bengal (Volume-4, page-302)' that Bankura Charitable Dispensary was established in 1839 A.D. In the year of 1917 A. D., the 'Dispensary' or the Charitable dispensary was converted to a Veterinary Hospital.


About two hundred years ago (1799 - 1800), Ramanath Bhatacharyya, a priest coming of a poor family lived at Pathak para of Bankura ( Pandit Jagamohan in his travelling account named 'Deshaboli Bibriti' has stated 'Pathakpara' as a 'Bangalgram' in the 3rd decade of the 18th century. In the first part of the Malla regime Kanyakubja brahmins settled at PathakPara). His eldest son Ganganarayan also was a priest. Ganganarayan got his eldest son, Ramsadan, graduated (B. A.) with great difficulty and in the later period, he was appointed a 'Deputy' Magistrate.' Ramsadan also secured the title 'Roy Bahadur' from the British Government. 'Ramsadan was the first member of the family to use the surname 'Chattopadhyay' instead of 'Bhattacharyya'. As a result, the surname of this family, 'Bhattacharyya' turned into 'Chattopadhyay'. Ramsadan's three sons, Sukumar, Bijoykrishna and Basanta Kumar were highly educated and famous persons of accomplishment.

The youngest son of Ramanath Bhattacharyya, Shrinath having only a little education got a Govt. Service as a Jailor. Rameswar, the eldest son of Shrinath also, was a jailor and his younger son, Ramananda Chatterjee was a world famous journalist. Ramananda was born in that very house of Pathakpara (1865-1943). The two storeyed building of Chatterjee family of Pathakpara was built in 1840-42 A..D.

The stone plaque, set at the gate of the birth place in the month of May, 1966 by the 'Ramananda Birth Centenary Celebration Committee, Bankura' bears the following inscription, ''Ramananda Chatterjee, a great man adored by the country, was born on the 30th May, 1865 (Bengali year- 17th Jyaistha, 1272) in this house. This plaque is set as a memoir by Bankura District Ramananda Birth Centenary Celebration Committee, 17th Jyaistha, 1372." In 1891 A.D., Ramananda embraced the religion of 'Brahma' sect. He purchased later, the residence of Dr. Hemangini Kulvi, the wife of Kedarnath Kulvi, at Schooldanga in 1909 A.D. to reside there. This house is now left as a deserted and dilapidated house, bearing a dumb witness to history.


Dr. G. N. Cheek came to Bankura, being appointed ' Asstt. Civil Surgeon (now Asstt. C.M.O.H.) on the 11th August, 1821, at a monthly salary of Rupees three hundred. He was in this post up to 1850 A.D. Apart from that, he was also a distinguished indigo-planter. At the initiative and assistance of persons like Dr. G. N. Cheek, Civil Surgeon and indigo-planter and the then District Sessions Judge MR. Francis Goldsberry, the first English school of the district, Bankura Free School started in the year of 1840 which is now named Bankura Zilla School. Before that the building was the 'Sepoy Barrack Hospital' in 1809 A.D. That building was raised (which is now used as the 'hall' of the present Zilla School) with a view to making it a 'Sepoy Barrack Hospital'. That high edifice along with its verandah having its roof on the lofly columns, in the front, measured 150' x 46'. This is one of the pieces of architecture, worth mentioning, in the town of Bankura.

'Bankura Free School' was established in this building in 1840. After being converted into a Govt. School named 'Zilla School' in 1846 A. D., at first, the eastern part and then the western part of the building were extended. The office room of the existing school was made with the financial assistance of Maharaja Mahatabchand Bahadur of Burdwan in 1851 A.D. A stone plaque set on the eastern wall of the building (which is now the office of the Asstt. Headmaster) is inscribed with the following:-

This room erected through the liberality of Maharajadhiraj Mahatabchand Bahadur of Burdwan A. D. 1851. Many are of the opinion that there was an armoury of the East India Company, in the building of the students' hostel of the present Zilla School. The year 1807 -08 is estimated to be the time of building of the armoury.







Coming from Barrackpore - Manirampur of the district of 24 Parganas to Bankura town, Harihar Mukherjee began to settle here, raising a two-storeyed brick-built building at Kalitala. By profession, he was a lawyer and the first Indian Govt. pleader of the district. Apparently, he was reliable to the British Govt. Harihar's father, Madhusudan, erected the building in 1863 -64 and the temple of Shridharji behind the house was made in 1899 A.D. He was a member of the Town Committee, formed in 1867. Harihar Mukherjee was the first Indian Chairman of Bankura Municipality (9th May, 1885 to 31st August, 1900) He patronised revolutionary activities till death to oust the British rule in this district and was the chief patron of the wrestling centre of 'Ramdas Palowan' (Ramdas the wrestler). Manmatha Mukherjee of this family was an illustrious freedom fighter of the district. It is learnt that in 1900 - 1901, many famous revolutionaries like Barindra Kumar Ghosh, Bepin Behari Ganguly and minstrel Mukundadas came to the 'Baiplabik House' at Kalitala. At the initiative and effort of Harihar Mukherjee, 'Bankura Insdustrial School' grew up in his house, in 1893 A. D. At present, a primary school (Saraswati Sisumandir) is run in this building. In a corner of the office-room of the school, there is a stone plaque which is inscribed with the following part of a poem or essay of Rabindranath ' Lagni..............Jota", which is dated 'Shak - 1815, 12th Agrahayan ; equivent to 1893 A.D. According to many senior men, the quotation inscried was a message of goodwill or blessing from Rabindranath. In 1928 A. D., the famous revolutionary Bepinbehari Ganguly was interned in the house named 'Police Club Mess' at Kalitala. At that time the organisation of 'Jugantar Group' of Bankura spread.


Formerly, in old Bankura there were irregular sittings of market at 'Hattala'. Later the temple of Shiv-Durga of 'Poddarpara' was established on the spot of the then 'Hattala'. After that, the temporary market being transferred, sat at the exixting 'Bara Bazar' or 'Chakbazar'. The name of Gadadhar Banerjee of Banerjee family of Ayodhya is memorable in connection with the setting up of this market with a permanent roof. Gadadhar Banerjee constructed the market in 1866 A. D. in memory of G. N. Cheek, his master and friend. The market was constructed acccording to Rule No. 20 of 1856 A.D. It was inaugurated by the then Deputy Magistrate of Bankura. Mr. W. S. Wales. Fish dealers still do their business sitting in this brick-built market.


A north facing building, in the south east corner of the Bankura Court premises is still decorated with a symbol of the British empire (A horse and a lion) that is a piece of fine sculpture. Initially, the building was used as the residence of District Judge, later as a law - court and then in the post -independence period, the building had been used for a good length of time as the office of the District Inspector of Schools. It is now known as the office of a department of the Bankura Court and a section of the Public Works Department.


Sasanka Sekhar Banerjee has stated in his book 'Sanbandha Gramer Itibritta'
(page-8) in conection with this building — ' The sepoy barrack in front of the present jail has been renovated and gradually it has been used as the resort of the missionaries, Munsiff Court and P. W. D. Office.'

There is an inscription on the stone plaque on the southern wall of the main building- ''Erected A. D. 1867 under immediate superintendence of Mr. J. Fritchley, Jailor of Bankoorah, with convict labour." It deserves special mention that the entire building was constructed with labour of convicts.


In order to observe civic duties to the people of Bankura town, a four-member 'Town Committee' chaired by District Magistrate G. P. Grunt was formed in the month of February '1869 A. D. Besides the D. M., other three members were Police Super

Mr. J. M. G. Cheek, Hari Shankar Mukherjee and Harihar Mukherjee. As per Rule No. 6 of 1868 A.D., the Town committee formed in February, 1869 A. D. made the beginning of Bankura Municipality. The first non-Govt - Indian Chairman was Mr. Harihar Mukherjee.

The first municipal service started from the building of the Town Co-operative Bank at Barabazar, in the year of 1869 A. D. The owner of this building was Shridhar Hazra of Hajra family of Ramsagar. The work of the Municipality was done from this building up to 1917 A.D. and the existing Municipal building was raised in 1918 under the leadership of the then Municipal Chairman Babu Rashbehari Banerjee. The new building was inaugurated by Governor Mr. Ronaldsay and it was extended in the year 1973 and 1990 - 93 A. D.


As a permanent centre of the Christian Missionaries, the 'Mission House' was set up at Bankura Town in 1877 A.D. The Mission House stood where the office room of the Mission Girls' High School stands now. Before that, the main building of the school also, was an indigo factory of the European indigo planters. The Methodist Mission set up, on this very spot, their headquarters by purchasing it from the indigo planters. In the later period, as the Mission House was shifted to the land purchased for Wesleyan College and Mission Collegiate School, this building was used to be called 'Old Mission House'. The Mission House was an indigo factory belonging to an indigo planter named John Ricket. That is why, the road that runs from the 'College More' (crossing) up to the Bhairabsthan Junction, through Chandmaridanga, by the Mission Girls School, was called originally , 'Ricket Road'. After the month of January, 1906, Lalbazar Girls' School (now it is known as Mission Girls' High School) was shifted to the Mission House.
The 'Female Training School' was run here at the initiative of Christian Missionaies up to 1880-87. The four embankments of the tank within the boundary of the present Mission Girls' High School were bound with bricks. It is said that some Armenian reared up serpents in this tank to export poison to Europe for preparing medicine. Probably that gentleman was Dr. Ricket. There are also evidences of some graves within the precincts of the school.


Mr. James Hiffman Anderson was the District Magistrate of Bankura till 1878-83 A. D. He settled in Scotland on his retirement from the Indian Administrative Service. During the period 1878 - 83 A. D., Mr. Anderson amassed a vast property in Bankura . It was then, that he bought one of the beautiful buildings of Bankura, the Hill House (now it is the residence of the District Magistrate), 'Kenduadihi House' (now District Judges' bungalow) etc. As he left for Scotland, the caretaker of his vast property in Bankura, was Grindley and company of Calcutta.

''Anderson's property in Bankura will be sold on auction in three instalments on 21st June" - a news to this effect was published in different newspapers of Calcutta on the first occasion, in the month of June, 1904 A.D. These were (i) 14 acres of land including the residence named 'Hill House', (ii) 119 bighas of land with a tank known as Anderson's Garden (the place where Mission Boys' School, Mission House and Christian college are established) and (iii) 30 acres of land including the building named 'Kenduadihi House'.

On the 22nd June, 1904, the Local Christian Missionary authority purchased 'Hill House' along with the attached land measuring 14 acres at Rs. 14550/- through auction. The Govt. pleaader, Kuladaprasad bought Anderson's garden at Rs. 7300/-. At that time Ambikacharan Sen, the District Sessions Judge was living at 'Hill House'. Just after the auction, the district administration realised, that 'Hill House' situated at the Centre of the town, was the very place, proper for the official residence of the District Magistrate or the District Judge. With this idea, the District Administration, in order to remove legal complexity, took over 'Hill House' by exercising its discretionary power and also took over Anderson's garden to set up a college there. Since October, 1906, 'Hill House' is being used as the official residence of the District Magistrate. After its taking over the first resident of the 'Hill House' was W. C. Lidiard.


The birth of the Brahma sect at Bankura, was in 1881 A. D. It is learnt that the Brahma sect existed here for about thirty years (up to 1911 A .D.) At the beginning (1881-82 A. D.), the 'Brahmamandir' a brick-built prayer hall was built at Schooldanga. That prayer hall is now the library of the 'Gandhi Bichar Parishad'. In the northern part of the spacious court yard of the 'mandir' (prayer hall), a mud-built room was raised as the abode of the priest. The renowned Brahma scholar and educationist, Kendarnath Kulvi, served as the priest here. In the decade about 1880 A. D. the number of members of the Brahma sect in the district was 16 (sixteen) - 12 at Bankura P. S., 3 at Khatra and 1 at Indas. At the influence and advice of Kedarnath Kulvi, Ramananda Chatterjee (famous journalist) was initiated in the Brahma sect of religion in 1891 A. D.



The Church- building in the locality of Lalbazar was situated to the east of Lalbazar Police Outpost (on the spot where there is a two-storeyed residence of a doctor). When Reverend J. R. Broadhead of Methodist Mission lived permanently at Bankura in 1877, a programme of evangelical activities was adopted, directed by him. The church, at Lalbazar, was built in about 1881-82 A. D. Baptism of a one-year girl-child was performed in this Chapel by Rev. Broadhead on the 28th feleruary, 1882 A. D. (Ref. Baptism Register, Methodist Church, Central Chapel, Bankura). Later, this church of the Lalbazar area, was also used as the building of a Girls School, under the control of the Missionaries.


The famous 'Red House' near the 'Sukanta Statue' of Schooldanga has been overshadowed among other buildings and unnoticed by the people. Bhubanmohan Raha came to Bankura as the Manager of the Dwarbhanga estate in 1896 - 97 A.D. He raised the building known as the famous 'Red House' in 1898 A. D. The building is one -storeyed but attractive due to the beauty of its structure. In front of the building there is a huge arch which wonders even the architects. It is learnt, that, in those days, houses of the aristocrats and higher govt. officers were of red colour.
Gandhiji during his return journey from Amarkanan, passed a night in this house (Red House) at Rampur, Manohartala, in 1925 A.D. There was once, a tennis court before this house. In the post-independence period, 'Agricultural Income Tax Office' was accommodated here for a good length of time. (Source - Ajit Mishra, Rampur)


Rev. J. W. Duthy built 'Central Hall' at the heart of the town, in 1899 A.D. to use it as a library and meeting hall, where the present 'District Central Co-operative Bank' has sprung up. After being changed of its original appearance, the bank-building has in its modern form, decorated and illuninated the central place of the town. During the first half of the twentieth centrury, this building was also used as a 'Church'. According to many senior citizens, this building was the first church building established by the Wesleyan Mission in the town. It is learnt that initially classes were held here by the Bankura Wesleyan or Chiritian College also.


About 1899-1900 A. D., the ex-finance Minister of the native state of Kashmir, Nilambar Mukherjee (incidentally, the Belurmath was established in the Garden House donated by this Nilambar Mukherjee) came to Bankura. His paternal abode was at Kusthia region (persent Bangladesh) in the former Nadia District. Coming to Bankura, he set up his permanent residence on a vast piece of land at Kathjuridanga, which he named 'Malatikunja'. The building 'Malatikunja', which has been converted into a students' hostel of the Bankura Sammilani College in the post independence period, was erected in 1901-02 A.D. He purchased the land and property of the Gisborn Company including an indigo factory in the locality of Lokepur and also the title of a lessee of a vast tract of land measuring 1244 bighas in Parsibona Mouza, near Susunia hill. There were two indigo factories of the indigo-planters, in the Lokepur locality, in about 1877-78 A.D. One was the dwelling house of Mr. Scales, an indigo-planter and the other, an indigo factory of the Gisborn Company. They paid respectively Rs. 6/- and Rs. 4/- as municipal tax as per municipal records (1877-78 A.D.). The garden house that Nilambar Mukherjee built in 1902 A. D. in an indigo factory of Lokepur, was named 'Nilambar Manjil by him (The indigo factory of J. N. Cheek, the indigo -planter is 'Kohinoor House' at Lokepur which was later owned by the Banerjee family of Ayodhya. This was once the students' hostel of Bankura Medical College and the freedom fighters of the contemporary time used to go there.)
During the establishment of Bankura Sammilani Medical School, in 1922 A.D., the institution got a gift of a vast piece of land including 'Nilambar Manjil' at the munificence of Rishibar Mukherjee.


Of the twelve inns by the long Benaras Road running from Benaras to Calcutta, four inns were made in the district of Bankura, at Arrah, Bankura Town, Ramsagar and Joypur. The purpose was to provide safe night-stay, without any charge for pedestrians, especially penniless pilgrims. With this end in view, an inn or atravellers halt was made in 1808 A.D. for the country-travellers at Idgamahalla (Ref. Bankura District letters issued, 1802-69, edited by Sinha and Banerjee, page - 176). It was situated at Madanpur Mouza, under West Chhatna Chowki. The area or the land covered by the inn was 2 bighas, 16 kathas and 16 chhataks. The inn measuring 250 ft. x 13' ft. cost two thousand rupees for its construction. The then District Magistrate was William Blunt.
The Building of the tavern is known as 'Banga Bidyalaya' from 1890 A.D. The then Managing Committee of the school, got on lease for forty years, the dilapidated brick built building, named Musafir Khana from the district authority. The contribution of Basantaranjan Neogi, a member of the contemporary District Board and Secretary of the school committee, in this respect is memorable." After getting this lease, 'Banga Vidyalaya' was transferred from the embankment of the 'Daserbandh' to 'Musafirkhana' from 1890 A.D. (Source - Bankura Darpan, 16th March, 1934)


In the year of 1894 A. D., a distinguished person named Dakshinaranjan Barat and some of his associates of the contemprorary Bankura town, established a middle English school named 'Hindu School' in the town. The school was at first at Doltala locality, then accommodated in a mudbuilt house (on the spot where, there is now 'Deshbandhu Byayam Vidyalaya) and then shifted at the personal initiative of Dakshinacharan to a building erected by him at Nutanganj (now Bankura Town High School building) as a High School. Finally Bankura Hindu High School was shifted to a spacious and majestic building of its own in the year of 1934 A.D. as inscribed on the well sunk in its premises, by the Pilgrim road. It was recognised as a High English School by the Calcutta University in 1900 A.D. The school sprang up just before the shifting of the Missionary School to elsewhere, from Kuchkuchia. According to some senior teachers of the school, it grew up in a nationalistic spirit to combat the influence of the missionaries in the town and so it was named 'Hindu School.


Brian Leprosarium was established at the village Bodra, an outskirt of Bankura town in 1901 A. D., with a donation of £ 500 made by Mrs. Brian, a generous lady of Brighton, in England. ''Mission II Leper in India and the East' took over the responsibility of running the leprosy home. 'Marquis of Duffrin' was the patron of the institution at that time. Afterwards, Mr. Jackson, with an object of preserving his deceased daughter's memory, opened a different section of this institution, named 'Edith Home' within its premises. A provision was made in this Edith Home for lodging of those children of the leprosy patients, who had not been infected with the disease. They got there education, as well as a training in handirafts.


The establishment of Wesleyan College (Bankura Christian College) on Monday, the 21st June, 1903 A.D. is an unforgettalbe achievement of the wesleyan Methodist Mission regarding spread of education in the district of Bankura. In 1870 A. D. Rev. John Richards set up a school in the locality of Kuchkuchia and in 1889 A. D. a High School was attached to it. The Wesleyan College started with only eleven students of that High School, grown at Kuchkuchia locality. Later, classes of Wesleyan College were also held in 'Central Hall' at Keranibazar (at present B. D.C.C. Bank) for a good length of time.

After 1883 A. D., James Hiffman, the District Magistrate, left for scotland on retirement from service and then the caretaker of his vast property in Bankura was Grindley and Co. of Calcutta. Wesleyan Mission authority purchased 'Hill House' along with 14 acres of land attached to it and Govt. pleader Kulaudaprasad Mukherjee pruchased 'Anderson's garden and tank.' from the 'Grindley Co.' by auction. Later, overcoming a lot of legal complexities and hurdles, the then Govt. authority took over Anderson's garden and tank measuring 119 bighas on the 17th January, 1906 A.D. with an eye to setting up a college there. The college building and two students' hostels were built on that land. Being shifted from Kuchkuchia, the Mission High School (the present Christian Collegiate School) and a 'Boarding House' for the Christian students of the school were built here. The Mission House was raised on a high piece of land towards the east end of the plot. The Girls' school at Lalbazar (elaborated before on the titles 'Lalbazar Church' and 'Hill House' in this article) later known as 'Mission Girls' High School was shifted to the present school premises or old Mission House.

In 1910 A. D. the existing building of the Wesleyan College was erected. Its construction started in February, 1909 A. D. and the distinguished member of the then Bengal Revenue Board, Mr. Black inaugurated the newly built building of the college, in August, 1910 A. D.



The mud-built house of Mr. Henry Charles Lothing, the P. W. I. of the Adra-Kharagpur branch of Bengal Nagpur Railway (B. N. R.), was raised at Kethardanga locality in 1903 A. D., where the Ramkrishna Mission is located now. In the later period (1905-06 A.D. ) one of the Inspectors, Henry William Woodford lived in this bungalow. In 1908 A. D. a renowned hardware merchant of the contemporary Bankura, Shri Gopinath Dutta purchased this property. Gopinath Dutta was father of the respectable and munificent businessman Bipin Dutta. Gopinath Dutta donated this property to Ramkrishna Mission and Math, to set up a centre of it at Bankura, in 1909 A.D. Swami Maheswaranandaji ( a resident of Kalitola (1890-1973) known as 'Daktar Maharaj', his pre-renunciation name being Baikunthanath Mitra) established the Bankura centre of Ramkrishna Mission in the year of 1910 A. D. In 1941 A. D. the charitable Homoeopathic Dispensary of the Mission and a guesthouse for the patients were constructed on this plot.


There is a dilapidated building almost covered with weeds and trees, at the centre of the town, across the road to the north of the District Primary School Council. It is now used as the office of the District. refugee and Relief Department. There is an inscription in the building on a stone plaque set above the main door facing the south –

The building owes its existence to the benevolent energy of our popular and beloved Magistrate and collector Kumar Ramendra Krinshna Dev. A.D. 1906.

This building was built on a plot of 1.65 kathas in the Court precincts, for the use as a seed store and meeting hall of the Bankura District Sub-Committee, under the Burdwan Divisional Agricultural Society. Then (1906 A.D.) Ramendra Krishna Dev, Distirct Magistrate was the President of the Bankura District Sub-Committee of the said Agricultural Society.


Albert Edward (1841 - 1910 A..D.), the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, ascended the throne of England in 1901 (A.D.) as Edward VII following the death of Queen Victoria. After reigning for ten years, he died at the age of about 69 years on the 6th May, 1910 A.D. Governor Lord Ronaldshay, one of the Chief executives of the 'Edward VII Memorial Committee' formed in Calcutta, extended a grant of rupees ten thousand for the construction of Edward Memorial Hall at Bankura. One of the largest arched pieces of architecture of the district, at the head of the entrance to this edifice, is an excellent piece of attraction to the archietects. Situated to the south of Mohanbagan Park, behind the Bankura Municipal Building, Edward Memorial Hall of Bankura is bearing witness to history, in an worn-out condition.
There is a writing on a tablet on the main entrance of the building facing the west-
Emperor Edward VII Memorial Hall opened on 2nd December, 1911 by
A. Ahmad C. S. Magistrate and Collector, Bankura.

During the initial period after the construction of the 'Memorial Hall, cultural fucntions and local cultural discussions were regularly held here and a library also grew up here. More than one thousand people died in famine in the district of Bankura in 1918 A.D., though there is no mention of this famine in the district gazette (1963 A.D.) At that time, a famine Relief fund' was formed. In a meeting held on the 18th January, 1919 A.D. in Edward Memorial Hall, a famine relief committee, comprising fifty five distinguished citizens like the then District Judge, District Magistrate J. C. Vyas, Mr. Brown, Principal Bankura Christian College, Rev. A. R. Spooner, Moulavi Ejahar Hossain, Basanta Kumar Neogi, Prasanna Kumar Banerjee, Satya Kinkar Sahana, Ramanath Mukherjee, Editor, Bankura Darpan' and many others and at their initiative, ' Bankura District Charitable Famine Relief Fund' were formed. A sum of rupees 29370/- was raised for this fund (source - Ajit Mishra - Photographer, Bankura).

It is learnt that the work of the District Library also was conducted here, for some time, before the construction of the building of the Bankura District Library.


A piece of land measuring 1.053 acres, was taken over for Guru Training School, in 1919 A. D. Then the Guru Training School building, (the old building of the present Saradamoni Women's College) a training school for the primary teachers, was buiilt.


'Bankura Dharmashala' was built with the financial aid of the Bajorias on the land of the Rathis, on the basis of an agreement reached at, between Harikishan Rathi Das and Narmal Bajoria, on the 13th Jaunary 1917 A.D. Initially the 'Dharmasala' was deemed to be a venue for holding meetings and conferences and were used accordingly.

Abul Kalam Azad, president of the National Congress, after his coming out of the internment at Bankura, held a meeting here in 1945 and thanked Bankura Congress Committee. Thence onwards, Abul Kalam developed an intimate relation with the distinguished businessmen and social workers Mohanlal Goenka and Harikishan Rathi.


The 'Land Survey Building' erected in 1918-20 in the Kenduadihi Mouza is now used as Bankura Sammilani College.

The authorities of 'Bankura Sammilani' adopted a plan to set up an 'Intermediate Science (I. Sc.) College' (Its name has been changed later and called Bankura Sammilani College) in 1948 A.D. The authorities took on lease the 'Land Survey Building' for 99 years, in the name of a Nepalease guard, named Kharkhar Kharag Sing, on an annual lease of Re. 1/- only. The college started as an I. Sc. college on the 1st July, 1948 and got approval of the Calcutta University in the same year in the month of August.


Though, the world famous journalist Ramananda and a descendant of his family Ramsadan Chatterjee ( a Deputy Magistrate) and their family were residents of Calcutta, the relation of this family was imbibed with a spirit of social service for Bankura.

Ramsadan, in memory of his father, Ganganarayan, a Sanskrit scholar, set up 'Ganganarayan Chatuspathi' in 1890 A.D. (an institution aided by the Municipality and Govt. of W. Bengal and its Principal is Shri Kalipada Mukherjee, well versed in Sanskrit and awarded presidential prize) and 'Gurudasi Chatitable Homoeopathic Dispensary in the name of his mother Gurudasi on the 10th April, 1924 A. D.

At first, the Dispensary was accommodated in Late Nakul Mondal's shop in front of the present Town-Co-operative Bank. At that time, Ramsadan handed over a company's share worth Rs. 30,000/- ( Source Accounts of Bankura District - Ramanuj Kar, Page-52) to the then Municipal Chairman of Bankura, Babu Rashbehari Banerjee. At the sincere interest and effort of Dr. Ramdas Chakravarty, a freedom fighter and founder physician of the Dispensary, it soon gained popularity and development in its initial period. From the very beginning, the institution is philanthropic in its character under the Bankura Municipality.


The primary school, established for the cause of education of the Harijan Community (schedule class and schedule tribe) at the Idgamahalla locality of the town, at the joint initiative and favour of District Magistrate Mr. Heart and Distict Judge Shri Mahatab Bhattacharyya, in 1935 - 36 (Jyaistha, 1342 B.S.), is now existing as 'Hatmahatab Free Primary School'. This locality also is now known as ' Hat Mahatab Palli'. Mr. J. M. Chatterjee, the then District Magistrate and Chairman District Board inaugurated the school.

In 1925 A. D., a branch of the Kumilla Abhay Ashram was set up at Keranibazar, Bankura, under the direction of freedom fighters, Sushil Ch. Palit and Jagadish Chandra Palit. A Harijan Pathsala (Primary School) also was run here. As the Abhay Ashram was later shifted to Schooldanga, 'Harijan Pathsala' used to sit at 'Brahmamandir' (Now Gandhi Bichar Parisad Library). As a result of relentless effort of Sushil Chandra Palit, District Magistrate S. G. Heart (Mr. Heart was the D. M. of Bankura in 1928 -30 A.D.), provided for some financial aid to give stability and permanence to the shcool. In the later period District Judge, Mahatab Bhattacharyya also provided some money for it. Some mother of Bankura, bereft of her son, in order to preserve the memory of her son donated some money for the construction of a Shiva temple and sinking of a well. Thus a fund having been raised, Principal Rev. Brown, the then Chaiman of Bankura Municipality, raised a school building and a Shiva temple and sank a well in 1935-36 A.D. on the plot donated to the Municipality. The school was set up, for the primary education of the children of Harijan and so-called low-caste people. That very school is 'Hatmahatab Primary School, which is one of the outcomes of the movement for eradication of untouchability by the 'Abhay Ashram'


The Maternity and child welfare centre was set up, on a piece of lease-hold given by the Govt., within the court premises, in 1940 A.D. At the initiative of Usha Halder, wife of the then District Magistrate, Sudhangsu Kumar Halder, Rabindranath Tagore came to Bankura and stayed here on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd March, 1940. Usha Haldar was a social worker and president of the Bankura branch of All India Women's Conference. A maternity home or 'Matrimangal Kendra' (now the family welfare office) was established at Bankura town in 1938 A.D. Rabindranath Tagore himself, formally inanugurated this 'Matrimangal Kendra' on the 1st March, 1940 A.D..

A women's Hospital or 'Lady Duffrin Jenana Hospital' grew up towards the last decade of the 19th century. There were outdoor and indoor departments of the hospital where there were 28 beds. Of them 20 were of the males and 8 were of the females. However, the life of the hospital was limited to a few years only.


In 1941 A.D., 'B. N. Elias and Co.' built the 'Power House' on a piece of land taken over by the Govt. It was then, that the first electric lamps were introduced. In the month of February, 1944 A.D. an 'electric duty' of 2.5% was imposed on the holding tax of the houses, within a compass of one thousand yards from the electric lamp posts.

However, Principal Brown was the first person to introduce electric light in Bankura Wesleyan College and the College hostel, by providing electric light through dynamos.


Perior to 1877 A.D., a notorious indigo planter, named Mr. Scale, came to Bankura town. He was the Govt. nominated member of the District Board till 1877 - 90 A.D. Mr. Scale put up in a two -storeyed building (the Building now used as the N.C.C. Office and an office of the Food Department of W. Bengal Govt.) in the Lokepur locality. It is seen in the old records of the Municipality that he paid Rs. 6/- as the Municipal tax for that building. As he was against the interest of the labour community, his activities were severely criticised, in the 'Somprakash'. It is estimated that he left Bankura after 1892 A.D. Following that, D. gupta, a distinguished business man of Calcutta purchased his building and used it as his 'pleasure garden'. From then onwards, the house is known as 'Gupta Estate.'

In 1942 A.D., national leaders of the forefront were arrested during the 'Quit India Movement.' Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then President of the National Congress, was one of them. At that time, in 1945, he was interned for two months, April and May in that building named 'Gupta Estate'. (Ref. - India Wins Freedom : Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, Page-105)

To conclude the account as enumerated above, it is to be noted again, that towards the end of the 18th century, most of the buildings began to grow up in the town of Bankura, at the Govt. patronage, when it became the Headquarters of the 'Jungal Mahal' district. Some of the buildings were raised at private initiative. The role of the European indigo-planters, Govt. employees and of the missionaries was predominant in expansion and development of the town, Bankura. In the pre-British period, the hereditary aristocratic landlord class also, enjoying social domination and being the associates of the ruling class, took initiative in erecting some note-worthy edifices in the town.

Sources of Information:

1. Bankura District Letters Issued, 1802-1869 : Edited by Sinha and Banerjee.
2. Bankura District Gazetteer, 1968 : Edited by A. K. Bandyopadhyay.
3. Bankura District Gazetteer, 1908 : L. S. S. - O'Malley.