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Md Shariful Islam

Photographs: Author
Category: Featured Article
Date of Publication: Jan 22 , 2015Vol-02 Issue-02


It was the first tour of the year. I had to take a foreigner to Old Dhaka to show her some of the places. Her name was Maya. She is a Professor of History in Herbert University. Her age must be around thirty seven or something. At one time, her grandfather lived in colonial Bangladesh. She came from America to see and explore the places where her grandfather once lived and spent his entire life. I made a little research and brought the address from Mosiur Bhai yesterday to guide her to few of the places she might take interest in visiting. I personally went to some of these places but didn't find anything familiar because when they lived in that area it was 1930.

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Almost after hundred years, it was difficult to find out that particular place she was searching for. I left home around 8 am in the morning. Rahat Bhai was waiting for me with a car near the Parliament Building. We went to Gulsham directly to escort Maya and then start our tour to Old Dhaka. First, we arrived at Loxibazar to visit the Saint Gregory School. In 1932, Maya's grandfather began his education in this school. The school was established in 1882. We entered the old building and took a tour of it. We found a student of class six, named Marin, who spoke very well in English, like a guide. In the ground floor, we saw a large room and some photos hanging from the wall of the first teachers and organizers of the school. There were some small classrooms by the two sides of the big room. When we saw the second floor stairs we had an impression that it might collapse at any moment and we all heaved a sigh of relief as we finally made our way through the stairs. The Church was on the second floor and some of the rooms were locked. We then came outside to see the old building of the school. The new building was next to the old building where all the classes were presently held.

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After visiting the school, we bid Marin goodbye and went to 61/1 at Shuvas Chandra Boau Avenue, our next destination. Maya's grandfather's family use to live in this house. There was a press and an account section on the ground floor of the building. A Christian lady was sitting there whose task was to maintain the official records. In the second floor, there was a dining room, a prayer hall and an office room. Father Joynto Saint Gomage maintained this office room. Maya shared the information that this office room was used by her grandfather as his reading room. In the third floor, there were three or four office rooms. We were introduced to a Sister named Maloti Costa. She was the coordinator. Both Rahat Bhai and I were quite astonished when we entered the next room. It was the studio room. It was broadcasting a programme of Christian religion in Bangla, 'Radio varitas Asia,' which meant Group Bangla, Philippine. 'Varitas' means 'truth' in Filipino langauage. Besides, they have a weekly magazine named 'Protibeshi'. A shop was there in the ground floor. Religious things and publications were sold in that shop. They publish a directory which gave information about all the Churches- list of names, address, the Priest etc. of all districts in Bangladesh. This apart they publish many other articles.

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Our next destination was Banargy Zamider Bari. Maya's grandfather once lived outside of the Zamindar Bari. The title of the family who once resided here was 'Gupta'. At present, there lived no family here with this title. As directed by Maya, we went near Sutrapur market. According to her, there used to be a lake at this spot. The Zamider house was beside the lake. It is known to the people as Banargy Zamider Bari. It is the hardest work on earth but I did manage to locate the place. As per her information, there was a canal there but now a road has been constructed over the canal. The Zamider Bari was supposed to be beside the road but as we finally reached there the house we got there was no more called Banargy Zamider Bari. Talking to the local old folks of the area we got the information that this house once belong to Mr. Sutu and Utu 'babu' but now is used by the Civil Defense Colony. However, we could not find anything matching its so called history.

Anyway, Maya had a wish to see some ancient houses. So we went BK Das road to see some of the ancient houses around there. We walked to Narinda all the way from Zamindar Bari. We then entered the Christian graveyard. As we entered few dogs start barking on us. We passed them to see the graves of the dead lying peacefully. The epitaphs on each graves mentioned name, birthday and death day of each of the life perished. I came once to this graveyard. The place is literally calm and quiet, with only a few birds singing and the random clicks from Maya's camera.

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Coming out of the graveyard, we started walking towards Dholai Khal. We called our driver to reach Dolai Khal. We started our journey early in the morning and for the entire tour we were depended on our two legs. Now, it was 3 pm. We entered a workshop to see how a labor melts iron to make dice. Maya never saw this type of work, so she was quite surprised. She said surprisingly that how they can do it!

Next, we had our lunch in a hotel. We eat Biryani and Maya ate bread and vegetable. After having lunch, we went to Sadarghat. We entered the terminal to get the tickets. Almost all the launches going to the southern part of the country start their journey from this terminal. Some of the crowd was shouting the destination of the launches. We see that the authority had made them go towards the exit space as the foreign minister Dr. Dipu Moni made his way. People were gathering around us wherever we went. Some people thought that we were all foreigners, so they asked some questions in English and we answered it Bangla! Maya took a good laugh at this.

After visiting Sadarghat we went to Ahsan Manjil at around 4:30 pm in the evening. However, Ahsan Manjil was closed by that time. So we just stood outside the gate for some time and then went to the parking. Our car was parked near the gate. Next, we went to the front side of the house called Nabab Bari Ghat. Luckily, this house did match Maya's historical document.

At last, overcoming traffic jam we reached our final destination Banglamotor. I felt so happy that our day was successful and we were able to satisfy the search of our foreign guest.

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