Alexander Castle, a two-storied tin-shed house with a banyan tree, now known as Rabindra Botomol, is replete with memories of Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. However, despite its rich history, not many of the present generation are aware of the castle's glorious past. And not much has been done to create awareness either. No programmes were held at the Botomal to mark the 75th death anniversary of the bard.
Maharaja Suryakanta Acharya Chowdhury constructed the castle , popularly known as “Luhar Kuthir” or “Rang Mohol” on 27.50 acres of land at a cost of Tk 45,000 in 1879 in Mymensingh town. Many great personalities including Russian Grand Duke Boris, Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose and others stayed at the castle, sources said.
After partition in 1947, the house has been used as the library of Teachers Training College for men and teachers' dormitory.
The two-storied house has 14 rooms on the ground and first floors. Seven rooms on the first floor of the house were used as the dormitories for around 60 years. Now the floor has been abandoned as it is in a precarious condition, college sources said.
While visiting the campus on August 6, this correspondent talked to students and their guardians about the castle but most of them had little knowledge about how closely it is linked with Tagore.
Tagore arrived in Mymensingh by train from Dhaka on February 15, 1926, on a four-day visit. The then Zamindars of Muktagacha arranged special programmes in the district town to welcome the poet at the castle.
People from different quarters gathered at the venues to get a glimpse of the poet.
Tagore was accorded several receptions during his stay there.
The poet also visited the palace of Maharaja Shashikanta Acharya Chowdhury, one of the prominent Zamindars of Muktagacha.
The place, known as “Shashi Lodge” in the district town is now under the wing of the Department of Archaeology.
The poet also visited the Zamindar palace of Atharabari in Ishwarganj upazila of Mymensingh on February 18. He was accorded a grand reception at Atharabari Railway Station and he gave a short but emotional speech for the gathering.
Mymensingh Municipality, Mymensingh Sarswato Samity, Mymensingh Nagorik Samaj, Vidhyamoyee Girls School, City Collegiate School and Mohila Samity also accorded receptions to the poet.
When contacted, Professor Md Rezaul Karim, principal of TTC said, some five months ago, officials of Ministry of Cultural Affairs contacted the college authorities with a proposal to renovate the castle. However, there was no follow up, informed the principal.
When asked why the college authority does not hold programmes marking the birth and death anniversaries of the bard, the principal explained that as a training college they find little respite time from academic pressures.
Nevertheless, the principal suggested that as the site has rich historical interest, it should be preserved from ruin for the benefit of the new generation.