Bangabandhu’s Kolkata Diary

Bangabandhu’s Kolkata Diary


Published: 14:18 17 March 2020  

Baker hostel in Kolkata

Baker hostel in Kolkata

Many of us don’t know where Bangabandhu lived or spent time in Kolkata. On the occasion of the best Bengali’s 100th birth anniversary, let us now talk about some places mentioned in the history where Bangabandhu was lived or visited multiple times. The first place was the residence of his elder sister Achiya Khatun and Sheikh Nurul Haque's Park-Circus, which was probably in the alley next to the present Chittaranjan Hospital, second place was the Baker Hostel at No. 8 Smith Lane at Taltala, third place was the office of the Provincial Muslim League of Bengal at Cornwallis Street 2 & 3. And the fourth place was his friend Sheikh Shahadat Hossain's home in Ultodanga. Bangabandhu has come to Kolkata several times in his teenage years for treatment

Achiya Khatun and Sheikh Nurul Haque's Park-Circus home:

Sheikh Achiya Khatun was the second child of Sheikh Lutfur Rahman just two years older than Mujib. Mother Sayera Khatun married off Achiya Khatun with Sheikh Nurul Haque of the adjoining house - so that she could always see the girl in front of her eyes.  But on the other hand, Sheikh Nurul Haque came to Calcutta with a government job and renting a house in the park-circus area.

Sheikh Lutfur Rahman was an employee of Gopalganj court who living with his 14-year old son Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a rented house in Gopalganj town 17 miles away from Tungipara. On the other side, Saira Khatun lived with other children in the village.

On 1934 the restless Mujib was caught in beriberi disease and later taken to Calcutta for medical treatment. It was the first time for Bangabandhu coming at the capital of West Bengal who had been there for one month. He recovered quickly through the treatment of Doctor Shivapad Banerjee and Doctor AK Roy Chowdhury.

Later, Sheikh Lutfur was transferred to Madaripur. Bangabandhu was admitted to Madaripur High School in the seventh grade starting his study again. Everything was going well but suddenly the problem started in Mujib’s eyes in 1936. Madaripur doctor said - it looked like glaucoma Mujib had to be taken Kolkata as soon as possible. On the next day Lutfur took his son Mujib along with wife Sayera Khatun to Kolkata and reached Achiya Khatun’s house. 

 Dr. T Ahmed, head of the eye department at Kolkata Medical College, conducted his (Mujib) operation. After the operation, Dr. Ahmed said happily, "The eyes would be right but he has to take glasses.  There would be no problem in education. Mujib was discharged after 15 days from the hospital after coming round.

In the next year doctor gave permission Mujib for starting study again while he revealed his wish to father not to go previous school as the classmates went ahead.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Lutfur Rahman was transferred to Gopalganj and Mujib admitted to Gopalganj Mission School. On 16 January 1938, the first Prime Minister of Bengal Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq and labour minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy visited the school while Mujib was touched Shaheed Suhrawardy and started coming to Calcutta often. Bangabandhu said in his book “The Unfinished Autobiography”, “I went to Kolkata by exam were attending meetings. I started to study again, I had to pass. I often visited Shahid Sahib (Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy).” During that time, he stayed regularly at elder sister Achiya Khatun and Sheikh Nurul Haque's Park-Circus home.

Then he passed the Entrance Examination early 1942 and came to Calcutta to study while admitting to Islamia College that established in 1926. Quickly he became a familiar face in college. He conducted regular visits to Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy’s house at the theater road. His residence at Shakespeare Sarani, the theatre road in Kolkata, has long been abandoned by landlords. Now there is a multistoriyed house.

Baker Hostel

Due to political affiliation, it was not possible for Sheikh Mujib to stay longer in his sister house. He came to the Baker hostel at the end of 1943, the hostel was founded by Edward Norman Baker in 1910 during the British rule locating at 8 Smith Lane in Kolkata.

Due to the unhygienic environment and inadequate accommodation around the Taylor Hostel, which was built for Muslim students in Kolkata in 1896, there was a movement to build a new hostel in 1908 that resulted in making Baker Hostel.

Mujib helped the students in the danger. Who needed a seat at the hostel, who needed a free seat - Mujib's finalized that and as many guests regularly used to come to Mujib’s room number 24 that hampered his study. For that reason, super Professor Saidur Rahman assigned him room no 23 to study with strictly ordered that Mujib be prepared for the examination in that room let no one bother him. But what about! Mujib was then busy with the 'Pakistan' movement of the Muslim League.

While studying in this college, Bangabandhu stood by the famine-stricken people and distributed relief goods among them.

During the anti-British movement, young Mujib joined active politics and built up student movement in Calcutta after the arrest of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Bangabandhu actively took part in the Pakistan movement, and he also worked to save people from the riots by risking his life at that time, the release said, adding that a big chapter of his political activities was written there.

2 and 3 Cornwallis Street - Office of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League

Mujib was informed, returning from home to Kolkata after the IA examination, by Mir Ashrafuddin, secretary of the Islamia College Union, that they should go to Delhi as delegates to the 'All India Muslim League Conference' that was certainly an honor. He became a member of the Council of All India Muslim League in 1945. During the period, a large portion of his days and many nights had been spent in the office of the Provincial Muslim League.

Sheikh Shahadat Hossain's home in Ultadanga of Howrah

After the Kolkata riot 1946, the riots also had been taken place in Noakhali and Bihar. A camp at Asansol was set up for riot refugees headed by Sheikh Mujib and gradually he became ill. Begum Solaiman, daughter of Shaheed Suhrawardy, forced him to Calcutta.  Mujib, who was ill at Asansol, became more ill of acute fever after returning to Baker Hostel and Shaheed Suhrawardy quickly arranged for Mujib to be admitted to the European ward of the Tropical School of Medicine where he had to stay 15 days.

After coming round and returning at the hostel, Mujib decided that he would take the exam in a short time. He revealed his intention to principal Juberi while his attendance was poor.

Principal Juberi said, "You have done enough to achieve Pakistan. I will not stop you. But you have to promise that you will study for these months for exam. You have to leave the hostel as well as leaving Kolkata and going somewhere where you will have no work without reading, just come before the exam and will give it. If you agree on this condition, I will give permission.” Mujib promised before other professors. After that, Mujib left the hostel and went straight to the house of friend Sheikh Shahadat Hossain in Howrah. There, after a few months, he to again came his sister’s house at Park Circus just before the exam. He sat for the BA exam. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and History from Islamia College under Calcutta University in 1947.

Apart from this, Sheikh Mujib's stayed sometimes at Shrirampur in Hooghly, the younger sister's house. Mujib's younger brother, Sheikh Abu Naser, came there in 1946. It is not known whether Mujib spent times outside those places. However, everyone from Bangladesh to Kolkata are used to visit the Baker Hostel as it has remained as it was before.