While locals observe the 154th birth anniversary of legendary poet, lyricist and singer Rajanikanta Sen, his ancestral house at Bhangabari village in Sirajganj’s Belkuchi upazila lies in utter neglect.
Born on July 26 in 1865 to Guru Prashad Sen and Monomohini Debi at Bhangabari village in Belkuchi upazila of Sirajganj, Rajanikanta Sen is considered one of the Pancha-kobi, an elite league of the five major poets-songwriters of Bangla Language.
Visiting the site a few days ago, this correspondent found ruins of an old wall carrying the memory of his ancestral house.
“The large ancestral home of Rajanikanta Sen with 35 decimals of land at the village was occupied many years ago. Local influential people destroyed the concrete building in 80s,” said Abdus Sabur Khan, headmaster of Sen Bhangabari High School, also resident of a neighbouring house.
“After occupying a part of the legendary poet’s ancestral house, grabbers sold it to a few people. Now dozens of poor villagers are living there with false land documents,” said Advocate Kamrul Islam Shanta, secretary of Rajani Sangsad and Library.
“Lately we contacted the poet’s family members in India and they showed interest to free their property from occupiers, if needed with compensation. They are likely to visit Bhangabari village on Friday [today] as an elaborate programme has been chalked out marking the poet’s 154th birth anniversary,” he said.
Following villagers’ demand, we submitted a plan to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to establish an institution after his name on the remaining 62 decimals of Sen family’s property, which is now government khas land. The ministry has already submitted a Tk 9 crore project proposal in this regard,” Advocate Kamrul said.
“Rajani Sangsad and Library has been established here with government fund of Tk 20 lakh this year. The villagers also named a local road after the poet,” said Abdul Khaleque, a resident of the village, also an organizer of the memorial club.
“People coming to visit Rajanikanta’s house get frustrated to see its awful condition. We demand steps to free the occupied portion of his ancestral house and establish a larger institution to preserve his memory and enlighten the future generation about his contribution to Bangla literature,” Khaleque added.
Contacted, Belkuchi Upazila Nirbahi Officer SM Saifur Rahman said, “The local administration does not know about the illegal occupation of Rajanikanta Sen’s ancestral property. If the villagers demand we will take initiative to free it.”
Rajanikanta received early tutoring in music from his father Guruprasad Sen, an enthusiast in poetry and music.
A lawyer by profession, Rajanikanta was the author of several books comprising songs and lyrical poems.
Devotion and patriotism formed the primary themes of his poems and songs, although he also composed love songs and satirical verses.
One of his songs composed during the anti-British Swadeshi movement in early twentieth century, ‘Mayer Deya Mota Kapor Mathay Tule Ne Re Vai, Din-Dukhini Maa Je Toder Tar Beshi Ar Sadhya Nai’ stirred patriotic zeal among a large number of people.
He died on September 13 in 1910 due to cancer at a hospital in Kolkata.