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SONARANG

I have nothing to say about the present but what I want to say will relate to the part- as far
as I can remember. When I recall the past, I remember about princess Gandhari, Prince Ganaburman of
'Kapisa', who used to sing folk-songs in Ceylon, Subarna Islands etc. Now, after passing of days,
nobody remembers them at Gandhari or at Kapisa. The same condition will apply to Sonarang also. This
has been possible only because of our tendency to forget the past. It is 'said that when Lanka was
being divided by Kaln1mi, somebody remarked that Kashmir should he included in Pakisthan while
East-Bengal should be included with India. But our Congress leaders of the period did not want to
leave Kashmir at any cost. So we lost our mother land and East-Bengal went under Pakisthan only as
a result of vested interest of some people.

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If I want to tell about Sonarang I am to tell at first about dynasty of Dhanwantary Roksha Bansh.
This dynasty was established by the great learned man and a devotee Kabiraj Surya Sen. Approximately
five hundred years ago, he started living here after coming from Kalia or Senhati. It is said that
in his first life he was very fool and also dfd not have any education. At the stage of adolescent
once he went to Langal Bandh (at present near Narayan Gang) a1ong with his father Bidyadhar Sen and
when he went to bath in Brahmaputra, he was missing. Shri Mohananda Chakraborty of Purapara Village
(adjacent to Sonarang) got him and brought him to his home. He also went to bathe in Brahmaputra.
Surya Sen could not tell his father’s name nor the address. Shri Chakraborty was a learned man. In
his pathasala, many students used to read. At that time Sonarang village was full of jungles and it
was not known whether there was any population. However, in the later stage where Bhuyan's of
Dakshinpara used to live, was fu11 of deep "jungles. Nobody used to dare to go there even in the day
time. One day Mohananda Thakur' asked Surya Sen to bring palm leaves from that jungle. When Surya
Sen was trying to cut palm leaves, a big snake surrounded his body. At this, Surya Sen got senseless.
Incidentally a sage was passing by that way. When he saw this condition of Surya Sen he asked him
to cut the snake. Surya Sen did that and got esc~pe from the victim of the snake ,with the blessing
of that sage and under his guidance, the ignorant Surya Sen became a learned man and later on he
established that place as his living place. Even when he became rich he did not forget Mohananda
Thakur who gave him shelter. He appointed him as his own Purohit and that time onwards the descendants
of Mohananda Thakur have been performing the duties of ‘Purohit’ of the Sen dynasty.

At the south side of the village Sonarang, the dwelling house of Surya Sen was built up on a
good piece of land. The land was ractangular and plain. This was about six hundred square yards and

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a little canal full of water sorrounded the building. At the north of this build1ng there was a big
tank and inside the building there were two little ponds -- one was at the south of inner apartments
and tbe other one was at the east. The west bank of the tank at the east used to have built-up stair-cases
and bath-rooms. There are many sayings and stories about this pond and these stories are now like
the stories from the "bags of grand mother". But nobody made any effort regarding
their reality.

One of the stories is that - in this tank a golden boat used to move alongwith a a radder.
This boat used to rove automatically when sweet breeze used to prevail. On stopping of such breeze,
this boat went down the water. Why this boat used to rove in such way was not known and this is also
not mentioned in the stories. It is mentioned however that this boat went down the water for ever
when the maid-sweeper struck- it with broom one day and from that day nobody saw the same boat.

The second story is that - there was a chain which chained seven Silver-made jars which used
to move automatically with murmering sound in the tank. What was inside these was not known. But it
is mentioned that when that Sweeper struck the boat with broom, these jars went out of the tank and
thereafter nobody heard their sound.

The third story 1s that - whenever there was any festival in the house, utensils were available
if a message was left for the same at that tank. A list was required to be made of such utensils and
dropped into the water of the tank and then automatically the utensils used to come up above the water.
After utilisation of the utensils, these were to be left in the water duly cleaned. This system was
continueing. Afterwards one boy of the family married a girl of "Patpatta Sen" family of the same
village and the newly married girl brought a maid servant who hid one of the utensils. Since there
was deficiency in the utensils as a result of this, the utensils did not sunk in the water as per

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practise. Next time onwards, even after sincere efforts and requests, these utensils were not
available.

Nobody knew the actual date and time of happening of these incidents but these were being
heard from the villagers. From primitive age, these sayings were in abundance among people of all
class in the village. I heard these again after many years from an old man of the village who met
me in Delhi. He is an orthodox type and he, with simple belief, told these stories once again. Although
these stories are unbelievable, but there is no point in disbelieving tbem.

The 'devotee seat' of Surya Sen is still in this dwelling house. He attained' Siddhi' on this seat.
I have no idea about ‘Siddhi Lava' but I heard it that Surya Sen attained same. It is said that under
the seat there are skulls 5 ‘chandals' and it is apparent that Surya Sen used to 'Tantra'. It is
a saying that '13th purusa' of Surya Sen will take birth and will again sit on that seat to attain
Siddhi. Perhaps that ‘Purusa' has not yet taken birth. because I at least know all the descendants
of our family. Besides, that particular devotee seat is out of our reach.
This seat is existing in between our dwelling house and dwelling house of Baikuntha Bhuina. Shri
Ram Moni Sen of the family tried to sit on that seat with the help of our family purohit but both
of them were found in senseless condition at different places at a distance from the seat.

I presume the period of Surya Sen as five hundred years ago. Because I am the 13th purusa of Surya
Sen. If hundred years are counted in three ‘purusa’ then Surya Sen might have been in 15th Century.

1 have already said earlier that Surya Sen was belonging to Roksha Dynasty. His ancestor Shri Harsha
Sen was the king Iof ‘Sen Bhum’ . He had two sons - Kamal & Bimal. Kamal was offered the patternal
kingdom. Bimal left Sen Bhum and started living in village 'Malancha' near Phulia of Ranaghat of Nadia

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district, West Bengal. Shri Binayak Sen, son of Bimal was a great learned man. He was a Sabha-pandit
of a king of Bengal. In his family a person by name of Roksha was born. From his name, this family
was known as Roksha Dynasty and from King Shri Harsha, he was the thirteenth purusa. Surya Sen started
living in Sona Rang. From this his descendants are known as Roksha descendants of Sona Rang.

Possibly the descendants of Bimal, Binayak Sen, Roksha Sen, etc used to live in village Malancha.
But the later history of Roksha family reveals that its '7th purusa' Urdharan Sen is living at Kelihati.
There is no proof about who came from Malancha to Senhati, Kalia and when for living purpose. Son
of Urdharan Sen, Bidyadhar Sen was living' in Senhati Kalia. Son of Bidyadhar Sen, Surya Sen started
living at Sonarang. Whether Surya Sen had any brother and if so, where they would live is not known.

Surya Sen was a Kabiraj(Quak Dr). His son Hridayananda Sen and two grand sons Gangadhar Sen and
Raghunath Bhuina also were 'Kabirajs'. Incidentally, Kabiraj Raghunath Sen may be referred specially.
Raghunath Sen, grandson of Surya Sen was a famous Kabiraj. He treated one, of the wives (Begam) of
Nawab of Murshidabad and got her relieved from a serious illness. At this the Nawab was satisfied
and pleased and presented him a golden Pallanquin and entitled him as 'Bhuina'. From ,that time his
descendants are known as 'Bhuinas'. On seeing the dwelling place of Bhuinas of Sonarang, it seems
that during period of Raghunath Sen their condition was very gqod. The elder brother of Raghunath
Sen was Gangadhar Sen. His descendants were known as 'Sarkar' 'Laskar' 'Majumdar' & 'Ramakanta' by
name at later period. Descendants at Uttar Para, small Uttar Para and at Nairabari all belonged to
Roksha dynasty and were sons of Gangadhar. Though they and the Bhuinas were people of one family,
yet we have seen that there were no cousin relationship amongst one another. Even Bhuinas did not
use to take meal in their house. It seems that between Raghunath Sen and Gangadhar Sen, there was
enemity somehow - and as a result of the same the descendants of both these brothers were not having
good social relations with one another.

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Gangadhar Sen established own dwelling house at other place of the village leaving the patternal
dwelling house. At later period we find that this Bhuina fam1ly was divided in two groups - Bhuina
family of South para and Bhuina family of West para. There is a story behind this partition. But the
story is not mere saying but it is a real history. Laxman Sen (son of Raghunath Sen) had two sons
Bisweswar and Sibaprasad. At that time, as the social leader of Baidya society - Bhuinas belonging
to Roksha dynasty of Sonarang had very popularity. Bisweswar used to ride in every morning and crossed
Darwaja of 'Matukpur'. We have seen some parts of long royal road which was famous as Darwaja of Matukpur.
It was situated three miles away from our village and is still there. It was 50 yds in breadth and
was about one mile in length still then when we saw it. It is said that at that time Choudhurys of
'Na para' were very famous. But since they were lower in caste, marriage negotiations etc were not
in custom with them from the side of families of upper caste. Kulins were, however, of separate type.
They used to marry where they got Kulins' honour.

One day Bisweswarwas passing riding on horse through Darwaja of Matukpur. Then he was caught
by Choudhurys of 'Na para’ and then requested him to marry one girl of their family. When he did
not agree he was made captive. Getting the news of it Sibaprasad tried his level best to free his
brother. But when he was not successful in his attempts, he sent word to Choudhurys that he himself
wanted to marry their girl. He married that girl and freed his brother. But at this the leaf turned
over. Thinking that family prestige had gone down, Bisweswar became very angry and then left their
dwelling house at Dakshin para and started living at Paschim para. He dispensed with all social
relations with his brother. From that onwards the Bhuina family was divided in two groups and Bhuians
of Paschim para did not use to take meal it the houses of Bhuians of Dakshin para. Bisweswar was
so angry with his brother that he kept his eyes closed when Sibaprasad came to see him before death.

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In Dacca district Bikrampur pargana is situated. It is a very old place. It was known as
Bikramanipur earlier. In Muslim age Capital of East Bengal was Subarna-gram. At that time Bikrampur
was named as “Rampal”.

Name of our village was Sonarang. It is said that there was no population. All the village was
agricultural field. One agriculturist by name Sona made a high watch-tower (‘Tong’) sitting where
from be used to ‘guard the corns. From that Sonar Tong’ (Tong of Sona) the name Sonarang came.
About 1012 villages were under Bikrampur Pargana and the centre star of them was Sonarang. It
was rich, it was full of galaxy of educated persons. Area of Sonarang was 159 miles. Population was
1032 according to census of 1891, and 7000 according to census of 1941. The village was deeply populated
and there were different paras – such as Dakshin para, Uttar para ,or Munshi para, small Uttarpara
or Barma para, Gosain para, Paschim para, Kaibarta para, Rakshakanta para, Laskar para and Sarkar
para.

There we~e 8 big Dighis (big ponds) and more than 70 ponds. These ponds were surrounding
the village. There was "Bara Pukur" (big tank) adjacent to dwelling place of Surya Sen. Durgapuja
of the village used to be held here only.
There was a combined post office in the village. It was established by Shri Baikuntha Roy.
I have heard that it was the first post office in Bikrampgr area. The Post office had 8 branches.
The Post Master was recognised as one of the principal member of the village.

Deul Bari

Deul means temple. There were Budha and Hindu Temples in the village. Images belonging to Hindu
and Budha gods and goddess were found in these temples.

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Jaibramha Sar

There was a big building by this name. Some well-to-do Brahmin families used to live there.
This was a ‘Tole’ of teaching Sanskrit language in Sonarang. There was a big banion tree in the south
corner of this building. Under that tree one sage used to stay who used to utter "Jaibramha Sar"
and that is why the place/building is known as "Jaibrahma Sar”.

Villaae Market

There was a market on the land given by Munishi Bari at the south-west side of the village.
All necessaries of a family were available there. Besides that, inside the village there were grocery
shops of two brothers Jagabandhu Pal and Dinabandhu Pal.

Cremation around of the village


There was a cremation ground on the land given by Sarkar Bari of the village at the northern
corner. Nobody used to go in the night time there. There was a big tree in the cremation ground.
It is said that an evil spirit used to move around even in day time.

Entrance of the village

One had to utilise boat-way to come to the village. There was Railway Station at the bank of
Sital-Laksha river and Steamer Station was at Kamala ghat of Dhaleswari river. From that ghat through
other canals the boat could come to Nayabazar of Sonarang through canal of Rishi bari.

Village Library

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In 1910-11, there was a library in the village. Biraj Sen used to look after this. It was
in the Gupta Bari. Afterwards it was transferred to Roy Bari. Many important books like Encyclopadiea
Brittanica were available.

Dramatic Society

There was a dramatic society 1n the village named as “Sonarang Bharati Natya Samiti". The society
used to play Theatre etc during Puja days or marriage ceremony etc.

Puja and Social functions

There ar thirteen functions/Pujas in twelve months as the saying' goes for the Hindus.
Sonarang being Hindu village was no exception to this saying. There were functions/Pujas like Durgapuja,
Laxmi puja, Kali puja,' Ratha Jatra, Kartick puja, Saraswati puja, Nil puja and Holi etc.

In Roy Bari, Ramayana Songs were played during pujas. In 1911, Monmohan Gosai established
Ramkrishna Mission in Gosai para. Ramkrishna culture used to be organised from there.

Educational institutions in the village

There were three Pathsalas, one Sanskrit Tole, a Pathsala for girls and a High School for
boys. Baikuntha Roy established Pathsala in 1880-85. This Pathsala became Middle English School later
on and in 1901 it became a High School. Shri Sashikumar Sen used to 1ook after the School. After his
death Ratneswar Sen took charge of the School, but he used to stay in Munshi ganj and therefore his
nephew Nirmal & Sital used to look after the School staying within the village. At first Kalikanta
Bandhopadhyay became the Headmaster. Afterwards, Abanimohan Sen got this seat. First Entrance

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Examination was held in 1902 and


Amritlal Majumdar became successful in this Examination. He was nephew of Ratneswar Sen. In second
time, Atul Sen, son of brother of Ratneswar Sen passed the examination. This Atul Sen afterwards
became D.P.I. after joining Indian Education Service. Amritlal Majumdar became a reputed advocate
in Calcutta. The School was going on well. But in 1907, Makhan Sen established a national vidyalaya
and many students joined the School. Gradually the old School become very bad- conditioned. Ratneswar
Sen also left the School. But at this critical juncture, Mr. Jitendranath Majumdar, grand son of Golok
Sen of Munshi para saved the School. He used to live in Sonarang, his matternal uncle's house. The
four teachers - Kalikishore Barari, Chandrakanta Ghatak of Pura para, Madhusudan Barari of Khilpara,
and Harihar Ganguly of At para - all accepted the charge' of running the School. There was no Headmaster
nor any Secretary at that time. In addition to that, there were difference of opinion among the teachers.
At that time, a reputed worker Shri Apurba Sen took over the administration of the School and gradually
he changed the condition of the School. Good teachers like Ashutosh Sen, M.A. Brajnath Sen, BA,
Nirendra Mohan Sen, BA were appointed by him. Education continued to be in very good state. Once the
School was burnt by bad elements. But Apurba Sen re-newed the building. He was helped by Roy Bahadur,
Lalit Mohan Sen and Ka1i Mohon Das.

Girls School

For girls, one Pathsala was being organised in the house of Baikuntha Roy. Wife of Baikuntha
Roy and his worthy daughter Dakshayani Devi started the School. This Pathsala ran very well. Later
on the Pathsala was organised in the house of Govinda Sen of small Uttar para. Afterwards wife of
Kali Mohon Das, Smt Chinmoyee Das established “Chinmoyee Balika Vidyalaya". At first it" was started
as upper primary and then turned into middle school.

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Mahtab of Muslims
At Nayabazar, there was a mahhtab. Moulabi Sahib of the School used to teach there.

Kabiraji Education
Kabiraj Dinabandhu Roy and Kabiraj Lalit Mohon both used to teach Kabiraji education.

National School-cum-National Movement

After partition movement of 1905, a big and continuous movement started in Bangladesh. The
students who used to take education in towns and used to visit the village in vacation, tried to spread
the movements and rouse national spirit amongst the villagers. Sonarang was no exception and all
the villagers responded to the national call like – “Mayer Deowa Mota Kapar Mathai tule ne re Bhai”
– a famous call which was given by Kabi Mukund Das. The Sonarang was really a centre for National
movement.

A friendly society was created in the village where we


all used to learn lathi-p1ay etc. Akhi1a Sen and Dhiren Sen were main patrons. Professor Pramod Sen
and Siren Sen of Bombay became very expert 1n 1athi-playing. The villagers gave up all foreign goods
and Ratneswar Sen, Mohendralal Sen and Apurba Sen started a weaving centre in the village where weavers
of the village started weaving clothes co-operatively and they were able to provide the village-folk
their demand for cloth. Makhanlal Sen again gave speed to the movement and he started a National School
of "Anushilon Sam1ti" at the village. The famous revolutionary Pulin Das was at the time in Jail.
Among the revolutionaries “Agni Yuga", the following assembled at Sonarang - Trailokya Chakraborty,
Pratu1 Gangu1i, Sasanka Hazra, Asutosh Dasgupta, Rabindra Sen, Ramesh Acharaya, S Birendra Sen
(Sonarang) Birendra Sen (Netrabati), Monaranjan Bhattacharjee, Naren Sen, Priyanath Sen. All of them
used to live as teacher, or as boatman of boats or as daily labour in disguise, the village was also

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searched several times by Police for the purpose of arresting the revolutionaries. But they were so
alert and protected that Police could not arrest them. Three political murders took place in the village
in one night - Kal1binoda Chakraborty, Rasul Miyana and his brother as they were follower and watchers
on behalf of British. One day many arms were detected in the vacant rooms of the house of Satya Lasker
but the Govt could not detect the main leaders behind such activities. So punitive police was deployed
at the village to harass the villagers un-necessarily. To apprehend the villagers one day black-watch
regiment demonstrated their activities. Lalita Barari and Haren Sen were always watched by strong
Police men. Thereafter, they were kept under internal custody. Headmaster, Atul Sen and Headmaster
Hemendra Mukhuti both were no exception. There were many others who were also on the list of the
suspected persons in the British police diary.

In fact Sonarang occupied a special place in the national movement and revolutionary activities.
Rawlatt Saheb has described that Sonarang was a main centre of revolutionaries in East Bengal. I have
reproduced some portion of this report at the end of the book:
“Before the National School stopped functioning,
Makhan Sen left the village and was disguise later.
It can be referred to here that nephew of Makhan Sen,
Sachin Sen (son of Deben Sen) was one of the delinquents
in the famous "Alipore Bomb Suit". After he was freed
he became a sage of Rama Krishna Mission.”

The aim of the National School was not only to expedite the revolutionary work but one of
the aims was how to give proper education to the nation and with that end in view work was started.
It was established in 1908 and wound up in 1911. Two students - Biren Sen of our village and Siren
Sen of Netrabati village - passed Entrance examination from this School. But University of Calcutta

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did not give recognisation to this School. But as a National College was established in Jadavpur,
the students of the School could be admitted there even if Calcutta did not accept them. This National
College of Jadavpur has turned into the Jadavpur University later on. Siren Sen passed BSc from this.
National College and then joined job at Bombay. He retired as Deputy Chief Chemist of G1P Railway.

Part II of Sonarang History

Role Played by Sonaranq in revolutionary movement of Benqal


The then Governor General of India (Baralatt) Lord Curzon divided Bengal in 1905. As a result of this separation two separate provinces were
established - one West Bengal, having capital at Calcutta and the other one was East Bengal and Assam having capital at Dacca. Prior to that
Assam was under a Chief Commissioner. This time Assam was placed with East Bengal. On 7th August of 1905 Lord Curzon declared the
separation and on 16th Oct of that year this came into being. Bengalees did not accept this separation and started movement which is known as
"Banga Bhanga Movement".
This National Movement was stepped ahead with an object to prevent separation of Bengal. Shri Arabinda joined and stated that "we should not
only move for prevent separation of Bengal, we want freedom and we must move for the same". To achieve freedom a movement was started and
that was known as freedom movement. This turned into a revolutatary movement. To run this movement Friendly Society was formed in 1905 and
according to Shri Arabinda in 1906, Anushilan Society was formed. These two movements were continuing in Bengal.
This National Movement was spread from village to village in Bangla Desh. As already said, it also found good recognition in villages. At that
time, perhaps in 1907, Makhan Sen returning to village after completion of education added strength to the movement and preached Shri Aravind's
messages, Shri Makhan Sen passed. At that time there was dearth of good teachers in the village School. He was appointed honorary teacher in the
village School. Makhan Sen coming in contact with the boys began to preach in firing languages the revolutionary messages, etc. and as a result of
the same all the School became a place of revolutionary activities. He later started Sonarang National School. To establish this School, Makhan
Sen was helped by Bagala Sen who gave all financial assistance for the School. At first, the activities of the School were confined to educational
activities only. But when 1n 1908, the Govt banned Dhaka Anushilan Samiti and Dhaka National School, the employees of both the institutions
joined Sonarang National School and added momentum to organise revolutionary activities from that School. Gradually, the common National
Movement of the village became fade. In turn, it was heard one day that Dacoities were taking place in surrounding villages by the revolutionaries
in order to collect money for National Movement and for freedom of the country. These were several murders, victims of which were either

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watches of British Govt or Followers of British Govt. The National School was banned by force in 1911 by police. But revolutiony activities were
going on in full swing and in fact it turned violent from 1914 to 1916. To ascertain the reasons as well as to find out remedy, the Govt formed a
Committee "named Sedition Committee" headed by Hon'ble Justice of High Court of England Shri S.A.T.Rowlatt, which was known as
"Rowlatt Committee" also. Some extracts of the report of that Committee are also given below:
Page 41
Both these dacoities were planned at Sonarang National School (dacoity of Rs.28000/- at Rajnagar, Dacca on 10.11.09, dacoity of Rs.16000/-
at Mohanpur, Tipperah on 11-11-09)
These dacoities were clearly the work of Dacca Society which it is observed was using a school for the organisation of such crimes.
Page 48
A dacoity was planned to take place in which conspirators of Calcutta, Mymensingh and Sonarang were to take part (1910). It
appears that the three last mentioned dacoities originated amongst the students and teachers at Sonarang National School which attained
greater notoriety in 1911. The dacoities are: Sep 1910 Haldia, Dacca, Rs.1500/- Nov 1910 Kalalgas, Faridpur Rs 12,660, one man murdered,
Nov 1910 Dadpur, Barisal Rs 49,368.
Page 49
Postal Peon assault case, 21-1-1911. 14 men arrested, 1 man sentenced to 4 M/RI, 1 man for 1 M/RI, 4 fined for Rs.25/- each (rest disposed).
Page 50
Murders, three men killed 11-7-1911. (Three men killed- Rasul, Dewan, his brother Kalibenode Chakrabarty).
Page 51 The Sonarang National School
In the year 1911 there were 18 outrages (in Bengal by Revolutionaries). The first of the outrages was an assault by the students and teachers of the
Sonarang National School who seized the bag of a postal peon with its contents including registered orders for money and cash. Fourteen teachers
and students were arrested and seven were ultimately punished by fine or imprisonment.
The Sonarang murders of the following 11th July appear to have been off shoot of this case for upon that date Rasul Dewan was shot dead and his
brother and another man (Kalibenode Chakraborty) were mortally wounded at their houses at Sonarang. They had been assisting the Police with
information and Rasul Dewan particularly had assisted the Police in the Postal Peon Case.
There is reason to believe that the students and teachers of the Sonarang National School participated in the Gaodia dacoity mentioned before. The
notorious school had been founded in the year 1908 and at the time of Dacca conspiracy (1910-12) had been attended by 60 or 70 boys. The
curriculum was the same as in the Govt. Schools up to the Entrance or Matriculation standard with the addition that Physical Exercise and Lathe
play was taught and a blacksmith's and a carpenter's shop were utilised for the teaching of practical carpentary and iron work.

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No syllabus of subjects taught or text books used at this school had ever been issued and it has not been ascertained what books were in use there
but on the occasion of a search there in August 1910 in connection with the Dacca conspiracy case, the following books were found in the
school library:
(i) History of Tilak's case and sketch of his life.

(ii) Chhatrapati Shivaji by S.C. Shastri and

(iii) History of the Sepoy Mutiny.


Page 105 Size of organisation.
It must not be supposed that the various organizations were necessarily small. The Dacca Anusilan Samity and the bodies which we call the West
Bengal and the North Bengal Parties were widely extended and overlapped each other's territory. The Dacca Samity throughout the whole period
was the most powerful of these associations. The existence of this body alone, if there had been no other would have constituted a public danger. It
was originally founded in Dacca by Pulin Behari Das ostensiblely as a society for social and religious culture. It took advantage of the bitterness
which animated the Swadeshi movement and altruistic spirit (admirable so long imparted) shown by the band of National volunteers, which, at that
period used to hold themselves ready to assist at fires, bloods and similar calamities. It penetrated the schools. The National School at Dacca
where Pulin and Bhupesh Ch.Roy were teachers was one of the chief training and recruiting centres of the Samity. The Sonarang National
School founded by Makhan Lal Sen who succeeded Pulin as leader of the Dacca Anusilan when Pulin was deported, exercised a most sinister
influence over the students and was responsible for several crimes detailed in the section dealing with outrages. In the Barisal supplementary
conspiracy case the High Court held that there was no doubt that a number of dacoities put forward as over tracts to the conspiracy case were
engineered and carried out from the Sonarang School.
For the first two years (1906-08) of it existence the Samity flourished openly. When at the end of 1908 it was declared an illegal association under
the Criminal Law Amendment Act of that year, Pulin Behari Das and others were deported, it rendered its Head Quarters to Calcutta where it found
an able leader in Makhan Lal Sen. In after years it spread itself over all Bengal and extended its operations to other provinces. While its
organisation was most compact in Dacca and Mymensingh it was active from Dinajpore in the North-west to Chittagong in the South-east
and from Cooch Behar in the North-east to Midnapore in the South-west. Outside Bengal we find its members working in Assam, Behar, Punjab,
U.P., C.P. and at Poona.
Page 113
Sri Hemendra Mukhu a well known head master and later an internee for several years is referred here.

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Girindra Mohan Das, approver in the Barisal supplementary conspiracy case submitted statements 1n which the following passage exists: Giving
details of methods of organisation in schools, he mentions of a High School (in Durgapore, Dt.Chittagong) Durgapur: Most of the teachers of
the local High English School are religious minded. Consequently most of the boys are religious minded. The idea (the revolutionary movement) is
not much in evidence. But the Head Master and Hemendra Mukhuti have it. Both are favourable to our work, particularly the later. It is necessary
that Religion and Patriotism should flourish side by side. Hemendra Babu speaks a little about these things in his classes. But very few can
catch or comprehend what he says.
Page 115
Another approver (in the Barisal Supplementary conspiracy Case) stated: "Pulin told both of us that we could do no good to the country by studying
and we had better take up appointment at the Sonarang National School and could do the Samity's work from there". The witness went on to
describe how he became a master of the school, how all the masters and some of the students were members of the Dacca Samiti, how a party
from the (Sonarang) school in conjunction with a party from Calcutta planned a armoured robbery and brought back money, clothes and a small
child's golden bangle as well as Rs.900/- in cash. These things were brought to the school Hostel. Some of the money was kept for the expenses of
the school and the rest was sent to Dacca. Another dacoity was carried out from this school. The proceeds were many gold and silver ornaments and
so on. At last the witness was convicted of assaulting a Govt postal Peon and suffered a month's imprisonment.
Page 116
We will not dwell further on the dreary record of the Sonarang National School which was rather an association organised for robbery and murder
than a place of education.
Page 222
Barisal Conspiracy Supplementary judgement, conclusion Note:
The Sonarang National School was one of the important centres of the organisation (Dacca Anusilan Samity). The Secretary (who was also the
proprietor) and several teachers and students of the school were active members of the criminal conspiracy and dacoities and crimes were
engineered and carried out from the Sonarang National School.
Page 223
Barisal Conspiracy Supplementary Case Judgement, conclusion Note:
Soon after passing his intermediate examination he (Ramesh Chandra Acharya) head of the Barisal Samity, an offshoot of the Dacca Anusilan
Samity and an accused in the present case was ordered to join the National School at Sonarang. He obeyed. While at Sonarang he committed
various crimes. The Sonarang School was closed after the Sukair Dacoity.

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From this report, we came to know that Revolutionary, movement of Bengal used to be organised from Sonarang Village and the leader
of the same was Shri Makhanlal Sen. It is a matter of pride that Sonarang took active part in freedom movement of Bengal.

Common living standard of village:

The mode of living of villagers was very simple and the village life was very peaceful. There were rich and poor in the village but there was no
hatred between these two classes. People of the village used to extend good hospitality to any new-comer to the village. The essential commodities
were available at a very cheap rate. Even in exchange of 1 paisa - 30 to 40 number little fish used to be available apart from one egg at 1 paisa.
There were play grounds in the village and people used to encourage games like Cricket, Football etc. For playing Football, a club by name
"Sonarang Separate Union" was established. This was established by, Dhiren Sen and Kshitish Sen by raising subscription from the villagers.
Football was patronised by everyone and once Sonarang village was famous for good Football teams. Badminton and Tennis were also played in
the village. Most attraction was the country games, Swimming, etc was also exercised, and, sometimes competitions used to be held. Kite playing
during Nov/Dec was one of the attractions in the village.
There used to be dramatic performance in the village. Charu Roy and Jiten Dasgupta used to teach acting to interested people. Dramas like
"Merchant of Venice", "King Henry VIII","Siddhartha", "Bilwa Mangal", Sirajudula","Durga Das", "Chandragupta" etc dramas were acted. Life of
the village people included going to market in the morning, then take meal in mid-day, roaming in the afternoon, joining to functions if any in
evening, reading of books and then sleeping in the night. There was relationship among all the villagers, irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
But social discipline was very superstitious, base1ess and full of injustice. Village people used to hate one who had gone abroad for higher
education etc. such person used to be treated "separate" from villagers and even did not have permission to dine in anyone's house in the village. In
the later stage, however, such discrimination was not prevailing. 1nter-caste marriage was also not permitted.
Worship by women folk of the village:
Women of the village used to keep themselves engaged in various pujas, etc. during the year. They used to devote themselves in pujas of
gods/goddesses like 'Mangal Chandi' 'Natai Chandi', 'Lalita Saptami' ,'Ananta Chaturdashi' etc. These were for adults. There were various functions
for little girls who used to take part in these as a social custom. But all these gradually vanished as modern age touched the village life.
Muslims in the village
Muslims in the village used to live outside the village in a separate Mohalla. They were considered to be low caste. Agriculture used to be the main
earning of Muslims. There were few Muslim students in the village school. Hindus used to torture muslims and did not look upon them with dignity.

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Lower Caste Hindus were also not looked upon properly, as a result of which some low caste Hindus turned into Muslims. For this reason, we find
surnames of 'Sarkar', 'Biswas', 'Majumdar' etc amongst muslims also. They deliberately joined muslim community due to torture on them. From
thia we may get an idea about the behaviour of the Hindus at that time and also the proportion of degradation of Hindu Samaj.
The medical facilities at the villaqe:
I would like to say something about the medical facilities available in the village. There was no charitable dispensary in the village at that time. But
some famous and prominent Doctors were in the village like Dinabandhu Roy, Kaviraj, Lalit Kaviraj, Homoeopath Dr Durga Mohan Sen, Surgent
Chandra Kumar Sheel and Chandra Kumar Dey, as well as Dr Pyari Mohan Das, a qualified pension holder Doctor. All of them could do common
treatment very well but it would became critical when Cholera broke out in the village, when they were a failure. 1 can recollect that finding no
other alternative, village folk used to do Harinam Sankirtan from one end to the other end of the village altogether.
However, it took a long time for a change of state. Later. on whenever Cholera qualified Doctor from Dacca used to visit and treat the patients.
We established a charitable Homoeopath Dispensary in accordance with the advice of Mr.Suresh Chandra Dasgupta after raising subscriptions
from the village people. It was started in the house of Shri Tarak Sen who took the responsibility of managing this Dispensary. At the later stage
this Tarak Sen earned fame as a prominent Doctor. Very soon, one allopathic dispensary was established also. Rai Bahadur Lalit Sen helped a lot
in establishing this dispensary.

Tales of the villaqe


I shall tell you about some of the stories which are in vogue. Although, these are stories, but these are real facts.
In history we have read that there was a great amount of torturing by tigers in Bangladesh. We used to listen that in every winter tigers used to come
to the village but they were not Royal Bengal Tigers--were little Wolves. We said "Kukur Bagha". An incident happened a little before 1900 AD.
The guru of Pathasala - Shri Jagadish Chandra Sen and his one student Hariprasanna Das (of 7/8 years age) and one tiger were the main characters
of this incident. Hariprasanna had a habit - he used to wear Dhoti, keeping a portion of it bundled at his back. One day Pathasala started. Suddenly
a hue and cry was raised that a tiger had entered the village and was going towards Pathasala. The Pathasala at once was closed and all the boys ran
towards homes. On the other hand the tiger was tried to be driven out but it ran directly to the Pathasala when it found Hari Prasanna wearing Dhoti
in the manner described above was trying to escape. The tempted tiger attacked Hari Prasanna and as ill luck as would have it, the tiger only could
catch hold of the bundled portion of the Dhoti and then and there the same Dhoti was torn in pieces with great sound. It is said that the tiger being
afraid with the sound of tearing the Dhoti, ran away for own safety from that place leaving Hari Prasanna, but on the way it came across guru
Jagdish who was attacked severely, as a result of which Guru Jagdish died within a few days.

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The 2nd story is also related to frightening of tigers. In our house, there was a big statue of God Kartika. This milk-white statue used to create
illusion during dark. One would think it to be a living man. In one moon-lit night, one tiger attacked this statue thinking it to be a man. When with
tremendous sound the statue broke down on the tiger it ran away with great fear.
The 3rd story is that generally colour of image of Durga Devi is 'white. But image of Durga Devi belonging to family of Prafulla Sen of Chhota
Uttar Para was of red colour. There was a story behind this anomaly. Long before when there was no other man in the temple, the family-head saw
that a he-goat was hanging from the mouth of the Devi and spontaneous flow of blood from it was making the colour of the image as blood-red.
From that time onwards the colour of the Devi had become red and for that reason the mohalla was re-named "Bakri-Para"
The next story was of a hilly snake. Perhaps in the year 1907/8, during rainy season one Gyana Das bought a fish in evening time from market.
Leaves of banana tree were required for cooking the fish. His mother went towards banana, garden for collecting banana leaves in the evening
alongwith a kerosine lamp in hand but she could not catch hold of banana leaves from the ground which was low. At that time she saw with the
dim light of the kerosine lamp that a big plank of wood or a pillar was laying on the ground. She got upon it and tried to get banana leaves, while
she realised that the said pillar was moving. When she was going to look upon it carefully, she understood it to be a snake and began to cry loudly
with fear. All the people of the Mohalla came and with great difficulties the big snake (about seven yards long) was killed. We went to see the
dead snake in the next morning. Such a snake was never seen in our village. Perhaps it was brought by flood water of some river during rainy
season and thus it reached the village.
The people who loved the village
Sonarang was a prominent village in Bikrampur area of Bangladesh. There were many educated persons. There were many graduates about 15 to
20 post-graduates in the village. In East Bengal and Assam, in about every Sub-Division and District town Sons of Sonarang established as Doctor,
Vokil, educationist as well as, Govt Servants during British regime. Rai Bahadur Anand Chandra Sen Bisarad was Dy Magistrate. Mahesh Sen of
Laskar Bari was a sub-judge. Two brothers of Munsif Bari ran Durlava Munsif and Padma Munsif - K.P.Sen etc all were Dy Magistrates at that
time. Many persons were also in high posts. Some of them were - Shri Sukumar Sen,ICS, Election Commissioner, Binay Sen ,ICS, President,
World food and Agriculture Organisation, Atul Chandra Sen, DFI, Naypur Ram Charan Banerjee, Accountant General, Dhirendra Mohan Sen,
Secretary of Education Department of West Bengal Govt, D.M.Sen, Advocate General of Govt of India (later justice of Assam High Court), Asok
Sen, Central Law Minister, Charu Roy, Collector of Calcutta, Roy Bahadur Atul Chandra Dasgupta, Deputy Secretary of Central Govt, Nagendra
Nath Sen, Under Secretary, Nila Lohit Dasgupta, Asstt Secretary of Railway Board, etc. Apart from them, there were Lawyers, Educationists and
business men etc. There were some prominent persons of the village - learned Khiti Mohon Sen, co-worker of Rabindra Nath Tagore, revolutionary
Makhan Sen who later on developed Ananda Bazar Patrika as a great journalist. Uma Charan Banarjee, Principal of Burdwan Raj College,

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Kalipada Sen,Principal of Lucknow College, Hem Chandra Sen, Chief Inspector of Schools. There were a few rich men in the village, but most of
the people were service holders.

Part III of Sonarang History


Biography of some of the persons who were great ‘sons of the village’ is given below:

Rai Bahadur Ananda Chandra Sen, Bisharad (1821-1921)

He was a teacher n the first life and became Deputy Magistrate in the later life. Was of a very
helping nature. He used to come to the aid of men in danger irrespective of caste and creed. For
benefit of the villagers, he got a road constructed from his own house to market. He used to visit
houses of patients in the village and even arrange for nursing and treatment/fooding etc.

Baikuntha Roy:

Name of Shir Baikuntha Roy should come at this top of the lost of persons who loved the
village too much. He was well-known in Dhaka, District. He was a Sub-Inspector of Schools.
Dhaka was his headquarter. Although, the post was not high, but his influence was very much.
We have heard that at the door of the house of Baikuntha Roy, there were elephants kept tied
always - which means that riding on elephants upper level Govt servant used to meet him at
his house. He died sucking diamond ring while returning from village Furmail his
father-in-laws' house.

Apurba Chandra Sen

He was Headmaster of the School at Sonarang. He was very much interested in village the development
of the. He reformed the village from economic and social disaster. He was fourth son of Kashi Chandra

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Sen. He was so dutiful to his parents that he remained in the village for their service. He died at
the age of 39.

Suresh Chandra Dasgupta

He was the eldest son of Bisheswar Dasgupta. He was a teacher of Sonarang School and later on
he joined the National movement and went to Calcutta to learn weaving. He came back to village from
Calcutta and joined the School again. He was co-worker of Apurba Chandra Sen and was equally interested
in the development of the village.

Bama Charan Banariee

He was the eldest son of Principal Uma charan Banarjee. He was very inte11igent student and
passed M.A. Examination with Scholarship and later became a Professor of Dhaka College. He was also
the Secretary of Sonarang High School. He retired as Accountant General at the last stage. He tried
his level best to improve the condition of Sonarang high school.

Chinmovee Devi

She was the first lady in the social life of the village. Was wife of Kali Mohen Das and was
a daughter of that village. She was a very good nurse and she contributed much towards the education
of girls of the village. She established “Chinmoyee Balika Vidyalaya” in the village.

Hema Chandra Sen

He was the eldest son of Vokil Girish Chandra Sen. He was Er~fessor of Presidency college and
Hooghly Mohasin College. Later he became the Inspector of Schools. He used to look after the village
directly or indirectly whenever he found time.

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Lalit Mohan Sen

He was the eldest son of Kaliprasanna Sen and entered into service life as a SI of Excise Department.
He became Superintendent of Excise later on and got title “Rai Bahadur”. He was a very helpful man
and he came to aid of many a people. He established a charitable Dispensary in the village, reformed
the cremation ground of the village. There were other persons like Smt Bhabani Sen, Dr.Abalakanta
Sen, Dr.Satindra Kumar Sen who also contributed much for improvement of the village.

The village Sonarang was dominated by Hindus. Muslims formed 1/5th of the population. The Muslims
were at the North, North East and North West side of the village. Among the Hindus, Baidyas were the
majority, and then Kaibarta. There were some Brahmins and some Kaistha families. The Brahmins were
of Baishnav community (Barari). However, there were washer man, Barber, Blacksmith, Potter, Carpenter,
Bhuimali, Nama sudra, Barujibi etc in the village.

The number of Baidya families were 960, Brahmins 40, Kaistha 50, Kaibarta 60, and others 100
and about 50 families of Muslims. Among the Baidya's Sen family was the majority.

Surya Sen and Descendants

Surya Sen of “Rosh Dynasty” came to this village about 500 years ago and started living here.
The village was full of deep jungle at that time. His son Hridayananda Sen was a Kaviraj. He used
to live in the village. His eldest son Gangadhar and his descendant, later crowded the village. They
were known as Sarkar, Laskar, Majumdar, Ramakanta etc. Munsipara, small Uttar para and Roshas of
Nairabari were all sons of Gangadhar. Descendants of Raghunath got the title of Bhuina and stayed
in the paternal house. Later on one branch of this Bhuina family left-Surya Sen’s house and went to
the other end of the village. They were known as Paschim para Bbuina.

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During our time there were three families of Raghunath Sen, who used to live in the Surya Sen
house. Baikunthanath Sen, Lokendranath Sen and Nibaran Chandra Sen - were the family heads of these
families. Baikuntha nath was S.l of Schools. After retiring of service he used to live in the village
and was also a member of Grama Panchayat. His eldest son Bhuban Mohon Sen was a Govt Servant at Simla.
Another three sons, Amarendra, Samarendra and Bhupati were the students of the village school.

Lokendranath and his two youngers Sailendra and Nagendra were in Govt Service at Delhi. In his
later life Sailendra occupied an important place in the social life of Bengalees at Delhi. He retired
as under Secretary to the Govt of India. Youngest brother Prafullanath then just passed Medical
Examination from Calcutta Medical College and started practice at Delhi. In the later life he joined
Indian Medical Service and visited many places and retired as Major from Army. He is passing retired
life at Delhi. Nibaran Chandra was practicing Kabiraji at Mekhligang Cooch Behar. His younger brother
Chinta Haran was unemployed. Bhuina of Paschimapara had six families. Akshay Kumar Sen, Prakash Chandra
Sen, Narayan Sen, Rajanikanta Sen, Lalit Sen, Ishan Chandra Sen. Three sons of Akshay Kumar - Satish,
Shrish, Jyotish - used to stay at Cooch Behar. Paresh, eldest son of Satish Chandra was of same age
group with me. Jyotish was in service in the office of the King at Cooch Behar, Shrish and Jyotish
were Kaviraj both. Prakash Sen was S.I of Schools. He had eight sons Gyana, Jatin, Nagen, Dwizen,
Mani, Hiren, Sailen and Jiten. Every one was educated and was established in life. Gyana and Dwijen
were Headmasters in Govt. High School. Jatin was Deputy Magistrate at Cooch Behar. Nagen and Mani
was working in Railway Department. Sailen and Jiten were Doctors. Jiten retired as Dy Director General
of Central Health Department. Hiren was a Professor. He passed Matric Examination from village school
with scholarship. Daughter of Dwijen Sen, Dr Bira Mazumdar was the first and the only lady Premchand
Roychand Scholar. She is the wife of Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.
Narayan had only one son Manu, who was of same age group with me. Rajani San had three sons - eldest
Upendra was residing in Kumilla. 2nd Son Khitindra was a Doctor. The youngest one became a Sanyasi.

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Lalit Sen was a Kabiraj in Mayamansingha Town. His younger Dhiren was a famous wrestler. The only
son of lshan, Jagyeswar alias Amritlal was a Govt Servant in Kumilla. 1 have seen his son Pramatha
doing business in Calcutta.

The other grandson of Surya Sen was Gangadhar. His descendants were all around the village.
I have already said that Laskar Family Sarkar Para, Ramakanta Para, Majumdar Para, Munshi Para, Chhota
Uttar Para, Naira Bari, etc covered 50% of the yillage area and in all these area they used to dwell.

There were 14 families in Laskar Para - Ratneswar Sen, Sashi Kumar Sen, Nirmal Sen, Sital Sen,
Satya Sen, Hari Kishore Sen, Tarak Sen, Rajen Sen, Bisweswar Sen, Baradeswan Sen, Jibeswar Sen, Ashu
Sen, Kalibinod Sen, Deben Sen and Suhrid Sen. House of Ratneswar was known as Sara Laskar Bari. Ratneswar
Srinath and Sashi - all these three brothers were sons of Mahesh Sen Laskar. Mahesh Sen was a Sub-Judge
(1870-90). All his sons were also well-established. Ratneswar started practice as a lawyer in Calcutta
High Court. 2nd Son Srinath became a Munsiff. The third son, Sashi was very learned man in English
language. He tried to improve the village. Srinath had two sons - Nirmal & Sital - both of them were
very much interested in improving the condition of the village. After mother’s death, Sashi left the”
viilage but used to come there off and on. The youngest son of Srinath joined I. E. S and retired
as D.P.l of M.P. State.~ He.is 83 at present. Ratneswar had four sons Kartick, Ganesh, Subodh & Dhanesh.
Srinath had three sons - Nirmal, Sital and Atul. Sashi had fiye sons - Paresh, Dinesh, Suresh alias
Munnu, Sadashiva and Burshiva. Munnu died at a very young age. They all were very intelligent.

Whether in the field of learning or wealth this Bara Laskar Family was the superior among other
families of the village. All the sons and daughters of the family were no doubt active in all respects.
Of this family, among the nephews, Pandit Khitimohon Sen, was the India famous learned man. After
that, Sukumar Sen, ICS. Asok Sen, Central Minister, Dr.Amiya Sen, India famous Surgeon, J .R.Sen,
IES, Principal, Presidency College and Chief Botanist of Govt, of India. After that Dibyendu Sen,

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Judge Assam High Court. Dhiren Sen, Secretary of West Bengal Govt. and Vice Chancellor of Burdwan
University. R.N.Sen, was sheriff of Calcutta, Dr. K.N.Sen was Vice Principal Calcutta Medical College
and many others.

Satya Sen Laskar was Headmaster. His two sons Kiran Sen and Manindra Sen were known to us. I
have not seen his third son Parimal. Harikishore Sen was teacher of Silet Govt School. He had four
sons - Kamakhya, Bimala, Makhan & Akshay. He later on built up dwelling house at Dakhinpara. Kalibinod
Sen had two sons - Santosh and Akimchan. His brother Diben Sen used to do serve in Assam but did not
come too much to the village. He had 4 sons. Suhrid Sen, nephew of Kalibinod Sen did not marry. What
Tarkeswar was doing was not remembered. He had 4 sons - the eldest Apurba was a famous Doctor in Rangoon,
the 2nd and the3rd were business man in Patna (Rohini & Rebati) the youngest was a Vokil in Rangoon.
I have heard that Tarak Sen left 4 sons and wife and went out of sight. Afterwards he returned to
the family. The younger of Tarak Sen, Rajiv Sen, was in our village. But later on he established dwelling
house- at Narayanganj. His second son Himangshu is the present Secretary of Sonarang. Sammilani
Bisweswar Sen had no sons. Bardeswar had three sons, Naren, Prafulla and Sasadhar. They used to stay
at Narayanganj;. Sibeswar was the Secretary of Narayanganj. He had two sons~ Santiprasad and Sakti
Prasad. Santi Prasad was a higher officer in the Department of Agriculture. Ashu Sen used to stay
at Singapore along with his son Sukumar. Sukumar was serving in some Rubber Estate of Singapore.
There was another family in the Laskar Para. Eldest brother of this family Prasanna Kumar Sen was
Moktar of Alipore. Younger brother Kalikumar was a Doctor in Tejpur Tea Estate. They were not Roshas.

Sarkars used to live in three houses- 1st,2nd and junior Sarkar Bari. There were two families in
1st Sarkar Bari. Kashi Chandra Sen and Durga Mohan Sen. Kashi Chandra was Serestadar in Kumilla. He
had fiye sons, Abinash, Atul, Anukul, Apurba & Anil. Abinesh died at a very young age. Atul was working

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1n Chittagang in Railway Department. Anukul was a Doctor in Kumilla. Anil was serving in Bengal
Secretariat. Apurba - the fourth - remained in village after being educated for service of parents.
Dr.Durga Homoeopath and he earned fame. His eldest son Biraj was in business at Dibrugarh. He was
arrested in allegation of political murder at Faridpur, but later was released from Jail for want
of proof. In the 2nd Sarkar house, there were five families. Tarini Sen, Mohini Sen, Bisweswar Sen,
Srinath Sen and Chandra Kumar Sen. Tarini had no sons. His grand son was a Doctor in Assam. His niece
Annada Thakurani was a famous lady. Mahini Sen was a Vokil at Munshiganja. Aaritkat ~ His two sons
Mohendra Lal and Amrit Lal - Amrit Lal was serving in Assam in Forest Department. 2nd son Mohendra
Lal was in the village and served the village for whole life. Bisweswar was at Rangpur Kurigram. He
had three sons - Brahmananda, Rajeswar and Satyendra. Brahmananda was Vokil at Kurigram. Rajeswar
was a doctor, Satyanandv was a teacher in Govt School at Assam. The only son of Srinath Sen, Santosh
was serving at Jessore Court. Chandra Kumar Sen was a Serestadar in Kumilla Court. He had six sons
- Nabin, Bhuban, Pratap, Radhoke, Abinash and Barada. There were three families in junior Sarkar House
- Srinath Sen, and his sons Lalit, Gyan, Jadu, Jatin and Surendra, nephews of Srinath - Abani and
Ramani and Roy Saheb Kalimohen Sen. Kalimohon was a Doctor in Assam. His son Binoy Ranjan Sen,I.C.S
was the President of World Food Organisation. One other son was Dr. I. R. Sen. We know about one of
Majumdar family. His name was Umanath Majumdar. He had no sons but daughters. Later Majumdar family
had no other people in the village.

Ramakanta Para was known for the people belonging to Ramakanta family. 8 families used to live
here- Jagabandhu Sen and his three sons - Kamakshya, Prafulla and Nripendra. Pramod

Chandra Sen, son of Kamakshya Sen was Vice Principal of Bangabari College at Calcutta. He was
President of Sonarang Sammilani. He was a talented student of Calcutta University. His younger son
Rabindra was a Doctor son Dr. Himanshu Sen, is now a reputed Doctor at South Calcutta. Jogendra Sen

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was a son of Dinabandhu Sen. Dinabandhu Sen passed his retired life in the village. Bipin Sen had
four sons - Binode, PUlin, Atal Behari and Nirod. Binod was a Doctor in the village. Pulin was an
officer of Chemical Department and Atal was a Agricultural officer. Bhagawan Chandra Sen was an employee
under the Zamindar of Maymansingh. His four sons were - Akhil, Atul, Pratul and Samtul. Bimalendu,
son of Pratul was a member of Sonarang Sammilani. Nandalal Sen died heaving no son behind. Another
family was Monmohan, Abani Mohan and their nephew Jogesh. The eldest son of Monmohon - Sudhir was
of our age group. He is established in Calcutta.

Gangadhar's descendants used to live in Chhota Uttar Para. Rajanikanta Sen was Serastadar. His
son Priyakanta, Sasadhar, Nalini and Jamini. Dr Abalakanta was son of Priya kanta. Harisadhan, Lakshmi
Sadhan and Bani Sadhan were the sons of Sasadhar. Nalinikanta had five sons and Jaminikanta had one
son - Arun. Priya Kanta was Inspector of Excise Department. His only son Abalakanta was a Doctor in
Calcutta. He was all along well-wisher of the village and now he is President of Sonarang Sammilani.
His wife, Bhabani Sen was a daughter of the village (Sonarang) and is very much interested for well-being
of Sonarang. Nalini Kanta was a servant in merchant office and Jamini Kanta was civil Surgeon. Sasadhar
Sen became sick at a very young age. Sons of Purna Chandra Sen, Satish, Khitish and Nitish started
living at the Village. Bhagwan Chandra Sen died without having any son.

Another family was Ananda Chandra Sen and Govinda Chandra Sen. Ananda Sen had three sons - Prafulla,
Anil and Bipul. Prafulla was well-wisher of the village and he used to render helpin all respects.
Anil was a veterinary Surgeon of the village. Bipul was a Doctor. Govinda Chandra used to be in the
village. He tried hard for education of the village girls. Biswambar was Vokil at Munshiganja. He
died without having any son. His brother Prasanna Sen was famous Vokil at Dhaka. He was also famous
as a great host in Dhaka. His son Dr Tarak Sen became famous as a Homoeopath.

One stream of this family used to live in other part of the village, which is called Naira Bari.

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There used to be six families. Nabakishor Sen had six sons. Hari Prasanna, Tara Parasanna, Nibaran,
Sarat, Monaranj and Nagen. Nagen Bharat Chandra, brother of Nabakishore, had two sons - Nityananda
and Ashutosh. Nityananda had one son. He was known as Nitai Sadhu as he lived a life of a saint.
Ashutosh was an intelligent student of the University. He stood first in Sanskrit in B.A. Exam and
obtained ‘Ishan’ scholarship. He was a teacher and in later life became a Professor in some College
at Patna where he diedin young age. Sons of Chandra Mohon - Kedareshwar, Jogyeshwar, Bhubaneswar and
Binodeswar and sons of Nabin Chandra Ratneswar, Tarakeswar, Khirodeswar used to come very little to
village.

Gangadhar’s descendants were also putting up at Munshiganja. Ramdas Sen had seven sons. Amongst
them Rup Chandra and Jaga Chandra were famous. They were known as Rupa Munshi and Jagat Munshi. After
their name, name of Uttar Para became Munshi Para. They had dwellinq house at the right side of Dighi
of Munshipara. Rupa Munshi left this house and built up a new one at west side of Dighi. Other five
brothers were without any son. Grand sons of second brother Ram Raja - Uma Charan, Kalipada and Haripada
were alive during our time. Kalipada was 2nd M.A. (1895). He courted Christianity and became professor
in a Christian College at Lucknow. His two sons - Sisil and Erik Sen were seen by me at Delhi (Erik
retired as Dy Secretary to the Govt of India). Even after becoming Christian and leaving own society
and village, he used to help his poor sister Bama Thakurani, and even after his death, his wife used
to extend help to Bama Thakurani - of course according to his will Rupa Munshi established a hatibari
on the cremation ground of his mother. His son Dy Magistrate Bhagwan Sen established a "Siva Linga"
thereby. Both these maths are known as Joramath at Sonarang. Rupa Munshi ahd three sons - Govinda,
Ananda and Bhagwan. Govinda had six sons - Pratap, Rasik,ish, Hem, Suresh and Jogesh. Ananda had
four sons Kalish, Kashi, Akhi and Sital.

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Part IV of Sonarang History

We have seen two families of Siva Sen. Uncle Rai Bahadur Bipin Sen and nephew Anukul Sen. Bipin
used to stay at Shillong along with his son Jvotish. Anukul was a employee of Railway Department
at Chattagram. The two brothers KaliKumar and Hara Kumar Sen were staying at Bhola of Barishal. Kali
Kumar had three sons - Chunilal, Amulya Ratan and Anil Kumar. Chunilal was a Vokil. Hara Kumar had
three sons - Saroj, Sachin and Sisir. Kaliprasanna Sen was in the village. His son Upendra was the
village Post Master. Upendra had three sons - Sanjib, Utfulla and Nihar.

Dr.Golok Sen had two sons - Jatindra and Satyendra. They were staying at Bakipur. Kalidas Sen
was an Astrologer and Kaviraj. He had five sons - Sailen, Jyoti, Khagen, Samar, and Benoy.

Like Roshas, Bisarads having ‘Sen’ surname were also very rich, educated and cultured. They used
to live in six areas - old Bisarad Bari, Iswar Kerani Bari, Janaki Bisarad Bari, Pyari Kabiraj Bari.
Iswar Chandra Sen was known as Iswar Kerani in the village. But I could not find out the meaning of
word “Kerani”. He was a very prominent person in the village. I have not seen him or his son Nalini
Sen, but have seen his grand son Paresh who died at a very young age. Dy Magistrate Jagabandhu Sen's
sons were Akhil Bandhu, Tarak Bandhu, and Priya Bandhu. "Mahisa Mardini” image was established in
their house and the image ,was regularly worshiped. Bhuban Bisarad and Barad~ Bisarad were two brothers.
Bhuban’s two sons were Chintaharan and Binoy. Chintaharan was a Doctor. Binoy had a son. Sushil first
son of Barada Bisarad, has a son. Janaki, Bisarads were two brothers - Janaki Nath and Gurunath. Janak
Bisarad was staying at Chittaganj. He had eleven sons - Debendra, Gyanendra, Bajendra, Surendra,
Nagndra, Upendra, Jogendra, Dhirendra, Khitendra and two others. Bajendra was a doctor in Singapore.
His daughter Ila Sen earned a good name in revolutionary life of Bengal. Surendra was a Deputy Magistrate.
Khitindra was at a high post in Govt of India. Debendra, and Gyanendra were employees in Secretariat.

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2nd son of Debendra - Sachin - was accused in the famous case of Alipore Bomb explosion. He joined
Rama Krishna Mission- after getting release of custody. Janaki's brother Guru Nath was a Doctor.
He had seven sons Makhan Lal, Hiralal, Motilal, Namilal, Rangalal, Jawaharla1 and Pannalal. Makhanlal
was one of the Chief leaders of revolution in Bengal. He was kept in custody by British Govt for longtime.
He returned to the village after being released from Jail and started National School at Sonarang.
In the later life he turned Ananda Bazar Patrika into one of the best dailies with all out efforts.
Rangalal was a Doctor in Calcutta; Nilkamal was without any son - Sailesh, son of his brother Karana
Kamal was a Doctor at Maldah. Nabin and Kamal, another brother, had five sons - Narendra, Nibaran,
Ravi, Sachin and Manindra. They all were at Chittaganj. Naren and Nibaran were Vokils at Chittaganj.
Priyakanta Bisarad, son of Srikanta Bisarad was a Doctor in the village in his first life but later
went elsewhere. Gyan Sen of this family was staying Chittaganj. His, son Binoy Bhusan Sen came to
Delhi after partition of the country. His sons are staying in Delhi. Nilkamal had other nephews -
Hem, Indra, Haran and Kritarth. They all are no house. Son of Haran stays in Delhi. Adindath Sen,
son of Naren Sen has been a Dy Secretary.

Ambika Sen and his brother Karuna of Naya Bisarad Bari had no sons. Their cousin, Sub-Judge Deben
Sen had a son (Dwijen Sen) who was a Dy Magistrate. Dibyendu, the eldest son of Dwijen Sen - Dibyendu
was a judge of High Court of Assam. Sarat Sen and Sorashi died without any son. Four brothers Rajkumar,
Chandra Kumar, Brajen and Mohendra all are no more. Rajkumar’ s three sons are now at Baharampur.
The eldest son of Chandra Kumar, Manindra was a Dy Magistrate and 2nd son Sailen was a famous Doctor
and became representative of Pakistan Govt and thus got opportunity to travel many places of the world.
Brajendra Sen was a Doctor. Mahendra was a Head Master. His only one, son was famous Doctor Satindra
Sen. Pran Kumar and Santosh Sen belonged to this family.

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Rai Bahadur Ananda Chandra Sen was a School master in the first life. He later became a Dy
Magistrate and served many years. He died in 1911. He had six sons - Kailash was a Doctor, Jogesh
- was a Sub-Dy Magistrate, Umesh - Magistrate, Ramesh - Commissioner of Income Tax, Suresh District
Sessions Judge - and Dhanesh - Sub Deputy Magistrate. Kailash died at a very young age and Jogesh
became sick. Haranchandra, son of Umesh was a Dy Magistrate, Ananda Sen had five nephews - Narayan,
Bhagwan, Hemchandra, Birendra and Mahendra. Mahendra renounced the house after his marriage. Tara
Prasad, the other family member of this house, was a Vokil at Faridpur. His only son Jyotish was serving
in Railway as a Medical officer. His son Kaliprasad was a Dy Magistrate.

The dwelling house of Pyarimohan Sen Kabiraj was at the west side of the village. He was a famous
Kabiraj at Mayamansingha. He had two sons - Monmohan and Binoy. Monmohan was a literateur. "Sishu
pathya", “Hasikhusi” and “Khokar Daptar” - are his books. He died while his father was alive. Biraj
was Kabiraj.Pyarimonan’s younger brother, Raj Mohan was a School Master in the early life. He became
very ill in the later life. He had four sons Prafulla, Naren, Bhupen and Gopen. Another brother of
Pyari Mohon, Bhuban Mohon was a Homoeopath, and was staying at Kashi. He had three sons Abani Mohon,
Dharanl Mohon, and Khiti Mohan. Abani Mohan was Head Master of the village School. He died at a very
young age. He had two sons. The elder one - Biren - was a big contractor in Calcutta. The younger
one - Dhiren - was the Education Secretary of the West Bengal Govt. He became Vice-Chancellor of Burdwan
University.

Dharani Mohan was in the village. He had two sons - Sanker and Lanker. Khiti Mohan passed M.A.
from Kashi and was a teacher in Santiniketan. He became a follower of Ravindranath Tagore and was
thus famous. His son Khemen is associated with Ananda Bazar Patrika in Calcutta. One stream of Bisharads
of Munsipara included five brothers - Manmatha, Pramatha, Naren, Jatin Sen. Another stream was Dr
Haren, Bhupen, Dhiren and Biren Sen. Manmatha was at Asansol where he was working in Railway department.

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Naren was at Dhaka. Pramatha was an employee of tea estate at Assam, Jatin was an overseer and Jiten
was in Coalmines as a employee. Dr Haren was a Medical Officer in Railway Department.

Sens belonqinq to Hindu Bansh

Of this dynasty, three families were living in the different parts of the village, Kaviraj Bari,
Sen Bari and Naira Bari. Kaviraj Bari had two families - one of Dinabandhu Sen and the other of Girin
Sen. Dinabandhu Sen was a SI of Schools. He had three sons, Syamlal, Kunjalal and Motilal. Motilal
died prematurely. Giren Sen was a famous Vakil at Chandpur. He was paid Scholarship from Dhaka
Collegiate School for his intelligence. He had two sons Suresh Chandra Sen and Hem Sen. Both of them
passed M.A. and were intelligent students of the University Hem Sen was a Professor of Sanskrit of
Nuakhalifeni College. He was at East Pakisthan till 1963. There were five families in Sen Bari. Khirod
and Kunjalal were sons of Anand Bihari and were residing at Rangpur. Kaliprasanna stayed at Bhola.
He was married with Paternal Aunt of Chittaranjan Das, who was sister of famous Kalimohan Das Aunt
of Chittaranjan Das. He had four sons - Rai Bahadur Lalit Mohan, Jatin, Nalini and Niren. About Lalit
Mohan I have already mentioned. Jatin and Nalini used to serve in Excise Department. Niren became
famous as the Headmaster of the School. Manmohan, brother of Kaliprasanna died without any son.
Taracharan Sen and his son Prafulla used to stay at Dhaka. Prafulla was a lawyer. Srish Sen was a
Pashker at Dhaka. He had three sons - Atul, Pratul, Gokul, Mukul and one more. Chandrakanta, uncle
of Srish used to stay abroad. He was without any son. This dynasty had eight families at Nainabari.
Srish Chandra, Akshya and their elder brother died keeping one son named Khitish. Khitish was my
classmate, but he had died in a very young age leaving one son behind. Srish had four sons - Leba,
Durga, Santosh and Akaina. Durga could play football very well. Akshya, Kakina was a Govt servant.
He had seven sons - Naren, Monindra, Gunendra, Upen, Bhupen and two more. They all used to play football
very well. Naren was an Oversheer at Rangoon. Gunen was a Doctor at Tropical School of Medicine.

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Rajeswar, Nibaran and Suren were three brothers. Rajeswar was a Homoeopath. In first life he was in
village. Later he went to Jamalpur of Mavmanshingha alongwith two sons - Kamakhya and Manoranjan.
There he earned any money and also fame. Nibaran worked as a Railway Employee at Chittagang. Suren
was in village, his son Promode was an active manner in Sonarang Samilani at Calcutta. Sorosi Sen
and his son Deven were in Jamalpur also. Sorosi had five nephews - Biren, Dhiren, Makhan etc. Dhiren
was a Veterinary Doctor. Dhiren was working in Public Works Department. There was one house named
Ulubari at the extreme end of Ramakanta para. Kumud Sen and his brother Chhaku used to stay in same
house. Chhaku died in boyhood days.

Other Sen families

Ananda Sen of Dakhinpara was a displaced person of Mulgaon. When Mulgaon was drifted away by
current of Padma river, he came to maternal house at Sonarang and started living there. He was a Kaviraj
and had four sons - Gobinda, Devendra, Upendra and Gyanendra. Gyanendra was excellent in all types
of games. In Laskarpara, Ananda Sen and his brother Girish San used to stay. Their previous village
was at Jasalong. Ananda Sen had four sons - Nakuleswar, Nripenda, Gopal and Chotka. Chotka died at
young age. Hariprasad and Kali Prasad, Sons of Nakul stay at Calcutta. Nripenda had three sons Kamakhya,
Chaitanya and Guru Prasad. His only one daughter Bhabani was married with Dr Abalakanta Sen of the
village. Girish Sen had three sons. - Upen, Suren and Jevan. Girish Sen was staying at Srimanga1.
Upen was a lawyer at Rangoon.

Dy Magistrate, Akshya Kumar Sen built up dwelling house at


Sonarang leaving his village Banari. He has seven sons - all
were well established in life. Sukumar Sen was an I.C.S. He was Election Commissioner in Central Govt

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Magistrate. Amiya Sen was a famous Sergeant in Calcutta and other sons are all in important posts.
Akshya Sen married the daughter of Srinath Sen of Laskarbari. Raj Kumar Sen and his brother all were
in Postal Department. Atul and Pratul were his sons. Atul became Headmaster of the School, but was
under custody for long period because he was not in the good book in British. He was a good Jokar
and as such was known as “Vechki Atul”. Dr Nibaran Charan Sen started living in the village permanently
after coming from Baligaon. He was son-in-law of Sonarang. He served the village too much in the rest
of his life.

Besides these, there were Guptas, Rays, Das’s and Dasguptas in the village. There were
Brahmins and Baisnaba also. Barber, Blacksmith, Bhuimali Nama Sudra, Kumbakar, Kayastha, Kaibarta
were also in the village. Their details could not be given here. The village was also having vaidyas
having surname Gupta and Ray. I visited the village in 1933, while I was in Army when I visited it
after long interval, all the people of the village recollected me in their village relations and I
could not forget the memories still today. The mates of child-hood, adolescent and young time are
not all present in the village and many of them have now been settled in different parts of the country,
but I do not know whether they have also been able to remember the village. Whatever may be, I feel
the attraction of the village among all those who were borne in the village has not became less and
all are cherishing the memories although being at a distance now. As I have already told about the
Sen dynasty of Sonarang, I would say that the Sonarang, have had produced a number of educated, and
famous sons who will be still remembered in the history as well as in the minds of the generation
to come.
The end

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THE SEN DYNASTY

Shri Harsha Sen (King of Sen Bhum)

1st Son Kamal was established in the paternal kingdom of Sen Bhum 2nd Son Bimal was established in a dwelling place
else where in the paternal kingdom

Bimal, Inayan, Danantapi, Rosh, Sanket, Manohar, Swaha, Kaistha, Lakshmipati, Urdharan, Bidhyadhar, Surja Sen**

SURJA SEN (KABIRAJ) alias Surya Sen

Hridayananda Sen (Kabiraj)

Gangadhar Sen (Kabiraj) Raghunath Sen (Kabiraj) Title BHUINA

Mahusudhan Sen Lakshman Sen (Kabiraj) Govinda


Ramkrishna
Ramram

Srihari Sen Ramakanta (Ramakanta Para) Gopal (Sarkar, Laskar, Mazumdar) Baidyanath
Shivchandra
Ishanchandra

Ramnath Sen (Munsipara) Jadunath Sen Gopinath Sen(Chhota Uttarpara) Mohimchandra

Bishashwar (Paschimpara Bhuina) Shivprasad (Dakshinpara Bhuina)


The Sen line continues

Note: **Surya Sen was the first to come to Sonarang and live there.

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SEN DYNASTY II (continued from Sen Dynasty I)

Jadunath Sen

Moniram Sen

Bhabani Prasad

Ram Das Ramkrishna (Shiv Sen’s house)

Ramraja Sen Rupchandra Munsi Jagat Munsi

Chandramohan Gibinda Anand Bhagawan Chandra

Umacharan Sen Kalipada Sen Haripada Sen Rashik Yogesh Akhil Chandra

Sisil Eric Manu Kanu Ana Ghana Bela Amalesh Dhirendra Sachindra Nripendra

Makhan Nani Pramodh Amodh Sumodhur

Kalyankumar

Kalish Kashi Srital

Paresh Naresh Prafulla** Bhupesh Sudhir Prabodh Moti Hira Mihir Jawhar

Khiritish Sudhansu Monindra Ranendra Rabindra Ajit Amiya Tarak Prakshit Sudhansu Nakul Kanu

Note: The Sen Clan is given in bold. **Prafulla is the author of the Sonarang History and Family Tree.

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MORE SONARANG HISTORY


SONARANG – THE VILLAGE THAT WE LOST
Prafulla Nath Sen
Sonarang is a village in East Bengal, now in Bangladesh, where our ancestors lived before partition of Bengal in 1947. Well before
partition, we, the Baidya Hindu community who settled in the village since ages, started moving out and after partition completely abandoned our
homes and hearth, leaving behind only a sentiment, a feeling of rootlessness and loss. My father, who was posted as Shipping Master of Calcutta
Port in 1940, somehow sensed that we are to lost Sonarang given the political situation and the rise of the Muslim League, wanted to give his
children a feel of the village and hence a holiday in Sonarang. Another reason to go was that his grand uncle, the doyen of Sonarang, Rai Sahib
Bhuvan Chandra Sen, who retired as Superintendent Home Department, Government of India in 1919 and was still living in the village, wanted to
see us. Known locally as Bhuvan Bhuiya (or landlord) a grand old Buddha sitting on his taktaposh ordering his servants, tenants and grand children
about, he could not be taken lightly. He was the last of the Civil Servants to settle in the village after return. So great was his reputation, that his
chief servant Bhima with me as an eight year old boy, his inseparable companion, went to buy potatoes “Potatoes! Potatoes, how lucky you are to
go to Bhuvan Bhuiya’s house.” Today, after 65 years, we may be the few survivors who can recollect the village as it was. It is still there. Dr. Mrs.
Jharna Gourlay, who made a documentary on Sonarang for BBC Channel 4, recollects the reception she got from the new residents, mostly
Muslims who, wonder of wonders, appropriated the title of Bhuiyas, the prominent Hindu family of Sonarang.
In Hindu folklore and legend, Sonarang is in Bikrampur, the ancient seat of Hindu kings. The English were more prosaic: they placed the
village in Munshigunge sub-division in the district of Dhaka. By 1940 Dhaka had already achieved the proud position of being Bengal’s second
biggest city and was the seat of a distinct Hindu bhadralok culture of East Bengal. This culture was spread all over East Bengal, nestled within a
cluster of villages, nurtured by a fairly prosperous Hindu middle class. The tenants and peasants of East Bengal were however mostly muslims. In
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the lower classes of East Bengal, who felt oppressed and discriminated against by the tantric Brahminism
practiced by the upper castes, converted en masse to Islam, influenced by traveling fakirs, who sang ballads about brotherhood of man. One such
example is that of Lallan Fakir. The scheduled castes like Kaybartas (fishermen), sonar (goldsmiths), and lohars (blacksmiths), etc., did not
convert due to strong ties but lived within their communities. So each village was a mix of communities but usually as Elphinstone has pointed out,
one community was dominant. So we have Brahmin villages, Vaidya villages, and Kayastha villages. It stands to reason that the dominant caste
was closely interlinked and related. Interestingly, however, due to genetic reasons (i.e., gotra, etc.) marriages were mostly with outside girls from
linked villages. This is important to understand the culture and ethos of Sonarang.
Sonarang was settled and dominated by a caste of Hindus known as Vaidyas, peculiar only to Bengal. Vaidyas community, a very minute
(2% of Hindu Bengalis), has somehow made its presence felt in Bengal through erudite scholarship and intellectual excellence. This community
today boasts about people like Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Miss Universe and actor Sushmita Sen -- a wide spectrum indeed. Sonarang itself

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has produced one Central cabinet minister, four Indian Civil Service members, about twelve justices, scores of teachers, doctors and scientists – all
from Sonarang School. The community owes its pre-eminence to Raja Raj Ballabh Sen, the Dewan of Serajuddaula, who conspired to overthrow
the nawab with the help of Robert Clive and bring in the English in 1757. He arranged a conclave of Vaidya leaders in Murshidabad and declared
“Henceforth we will call ourselves Vaidya Brahmins and wear the sacred thread”. The practice is still carrying on. The writer’s grand aunt once
told him that for all his treachery Raj Ballabh’s palace with all its gold was washed away by the Kirtinasha, a tributary of Brahmaputra. Later in the
Raj era, eminent Vaidyas included Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, V. Sengupta, Acharya Kshitmohan Sen and many others prospered. So
prominent was Sonarang in the national movement that Judge Rowlatt in his famous Rowlatt report mentions Sonarang 18 times as the home of
Bengal sedition against the Raj. Many Vaidyas have wondered where we have come from because there are unusual features like better looks than
the average Bengali.
Jogendranath Gupta, the historian of Bikrampur, surmises that when Ballal Sen conquered Bengal in the ninth century AD, he imported
about 13 families of Brahmins from Ujjain to oust Buddhism – Bikrampur was then the fulcrum of Buddhism. Dipankar Atish from Bajrajogini,
the adjacent Brahmin village from Sonarang, was summoned by the Tibetan king to convert his tribal subjects to Buddhism. The Buddhist elite
converted to Hinduism by force but retained their double barreled name like Sen Gupta, Das Gupta. Any way, this is conjecture. From the end of
Buddhism the religion and practices that dominated East Bengal now was tantric Brahminism with all its esoteric practices and rituals. One of the
eminent practitioners in the 13th century AD was one Surya Sen, who founded the village of Sonarang. Politically, there had been a change in East
Bengal in the 11th century when Bakhtyar Khilyi ousted Lakshman Sen, the last Hindu king and established Muslim rule in Dhaka. One of the
families of Sonarang had the sanad from the nawab as land grant, but now they are so dispersed that it is difficult to lay one’s hand on this
document. Our parents were aware that such a document existed. There are other records of public works on Sonarang mostly public spirited like
Bisheshwar Sen lost his entire wealth in digging the canal that gives access to the village or the king who dug the lake (dighi) but faced the curse of
his mother, who said he could not finish it. A very senior scientist in Iowa USA narrated this tale preserved in a ballad when he heard we were from
Sonarang. Therefore we can surmise that people of Sonarang were wealthy and progressive.
The Gangetic delta has been a most prosperous area since ages immemorial. Dhaka has been the focal point and gateway for trade in
eastern India because two major rives, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, join together to flow into the Bay of Bengal, creating immense riverine
routes. Vincent Smith has pointedly stated that the immense wealth of Bengal fuelled the British expansion. Munshigunge sub-division is actually
on the confluence of the two mighty rivers and this area is like a huge sea. When the writer saw this area it was absolutely jam packed with
steamers and boats. Commerce was huge. Barges from Assam carrying tea from the gardens, high rise boats moving in a line carrying jute, the
golden fibre grown in the area, opium, indigo coming from upstream, huge timber barges carrying mainly teak from Burma and Assam and finally
Dhaka muslin (thin silk) all moved along the rivers to the sea ports of Calcutta and Chittagong. Roads were a rarity, even people moved by boats
which had a life and rhythm of its own.
The terrain of North East India is uneven; mounds and ravines dominate and Sonarang is no exception. Sonarang was earlier known as
Sonartong or the mound of gold. Dhaka museum has a number of gold artifacts recovered from this hill feature pointing to a rich past, probably the

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capital of Senbhoomi a legendary Camelot of East Bengal. That it was prominent is evident from the fact that Bhiku Dipankar Atish came from the
neighbouring Brahmin village Bajrajogini. But obviously during Ballal Sen’s conquest of Bengal in the 9th century, Sonarang fell into bad days as
Surya Sen, founder of the village, settled it completely afresh. Although some legends say he was an orphan found in a mela and raised by a
Brahmin family, he was a man of giant intellect, a learned tantric practitioner who regularly meditated on the mound, left a large progeny and all the
Vaidyas in the village are his descendants. Some of his descendants tried to meditate on the mound but were found unconscious next day. There is
a prophesy that one of his descendants, most probably the 14th step, will be a world figure.
Within a short period, despite Bakhtiyar Khilyi’s conquest and establishing the Nawab’s rule in Dhaka, Sonarang prospered into what
Elphinstone has commented as “the insular, self-contained caste village”. Surya Sen’s descendants split into twelve clans initially. Later they
split further. They were called Varsya Bhuiya bari, Bisharod (lawyer) bari and Munshi bari (accountants) and so on. In the outskirts we had the
Brahmanpara or priests’ family, the kaybarta para (fishermen) and mussalman para (muslim area) and many others. Community leaders built
temples like “joradenl” (joint temple with tall twin towers), schools for boys and girls and medical clinics and in 1940 was almost like a small
town. As we have already stated, access was by canal, internal roads were non existent, only dirt tracks impassable during the rains, were
used. State aid during Raj period was negligible and what was achieved was by the people themselves, yet there were many gaps like medical
facilities.
What amazes one is the lack of sanitary facilities as late as 1940. When I mentioned this to Didima, she promptly marched me to
Munshibari where they were installing sanitary toilets with sewage tanks. She said, “Wait, this will soon come”, but famine, riots, disease and
death would sooner engulf the area due to war and political turmoil. The urgent problem then was employment for the youth. Due to lack of
development there was no employment for the youth and migration for the West was becoming a flood. Even then, the growth of Sonarang in
earlier days of the Raj was impressive, the Sonarang High School and the Middle Girls’ School came as early as 1880. But sad to say, the
concentration was on creation of the Babu class. Sonarang school, despite being in a village and under thatched roof, boasted of an excellent
library, which had a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica. The Headmaster was a extremely dedicated man devoted to education. But the need
of the hour was funds, the educational institutions needed buildings and equipment. With such a glittering alumni, the school was struggling.
The plus point of Sonarang was the closeness of relationships. In sadness or sorrow, in pleasure or enjoyment, human support and help
were maximum. Two simple examples will illustrate this. My grandfather, an expatriate in Assam, suddenly died at a young age. My father was
only 4 years old. My grandmother with six children moved back to the village for shelter. She could bring up the children only with the help of
other villagers. Another example after Independence was that of Late Rabi Sen, the President Emeritus of Price Waterhouse Cooper (the first
Indian to do so), my father’s cousin and senior most Bhunyan from Sonarang, on hearing of my retirement from the Army wanted to know if he
could help. As I was joining Union Bank, I did not need it but I was grateful for his support.
But this closeness had also some negative impacts. Revolt was frowned upon. Acquiescence to common norms was always desired. Yet
people did resist the straightjacket. Nibaron Kaka had a mistress and Didima strictly told us not to cross the courtyard but the lady was so nice, she

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offered sweets on the sly. The religion, the animal sacrifices, festivals, rituals and its commercialization revolted many, who became Brahmos or
Christians. They found it difficult to stay. One example is Kalipada whose descendants struck out on their own in the spread of education.
Even though we were small, three things were evident during our visit which we now realize led to the decline of the middle class Hindu
society and ultimate destruction due to partition. In no way can one claim a revival of East Bengal Hindu culture in relocation in India. The first
was the utter lack of any development and next tackling the fury of nature in disease, famine and calamities. This led to continuous migration. The
last was the political chaos engineered by the declining Raj. This has been brought out in great relief by the scholar Suranjan Das. In 1940 itself
there was an element of fear in the villages, hints of dark foreboding. The maulavis encouraged by the Raj administration preached jihad against
the gentry. Das brings out the Raj propaganda to encourage lower class muslims, that agitation for independence was actually anti muslim
conspiracy by the upper class Hindu, which led to a chain of riots in Dhaka starting from 1904. Therefore what we can claim today is
nostalgia. This inevitability of destiny led our parents to pay a last visit to Sonarang with their children.
Kolkata to Dhaka today by air takes 20 minutes and by bus about 12 hours. In 1940, though Bengal was politically one state, it took 24
hours to reach Sonarang. We took the night train from Sealdah to Goalondo, the steamer station on Padma. It took the better part of the day to
reach Narayangunje, the jute jetty, by huge paddle steamers with names like Kiwi and Emu. From Narayangunje a smaller ferry took us to
Munshigunje, where servants from Bhuvan Bhuiya’s household awaited us. Lazily we were taken by boat propelled by huge bamboo sticks called
logi with which the boatmen pushed the boat forward. By evening (dusk comes early in the East) we reached Sonarang to a very warm
welcome. We were not alone, a large body of expatriates was coming by the steamer to visit the villages on winter vacation. Later, I recollected
the same feeling of nostalgia from expatriates on the boat from Bombay to Goa, but what I remember most is the exquisite lunch on the boat either
curry (the haldi or turmeric is rare) or hilsa and rice. Rest of the days we spent in visiting almost all the houses turn by turn. On the night before
departure my father invited all the tenants to a sumptuous feast. Didima insisted that the tenants pay the necessary obeisance to us (a feudal
rite). Next morning we left after sad farewells and Bhima and others were literally in tears when the steamer cast off at Munshigunge. We never
went back.
In 1943, due to the Japanese invasion of Burma, all boats were destroyed in east Bengal, akin to all lorries carrying food in a metropolis. In
addition, the rice crop failed. Three million, mainly landless people died of hunger and that included Bhima and others. It was devastation without
a parallel. A family friend, Kalidas Roy, was editing “Sainik Samachar” in 1977. He asked me to write something for his paper. I wrote the
“Death of a Village”. Roy who was from East Bengal later told me he could not sleep for the whole night while reading the piece. Much later in
1987, I chanced to see an article in Economic and Political Weekly by Ashok Mitra, ex Indian Civil Service and later a noted demographer who was
Munshigunje’s Sub-divisional officer during the famine, who describes the utter devastation of a rural heartland in 1943. Sitting in Delhi, we could
do nothing. Absentee landlordism was meaningless. We had lost Sonarang. The partition of 1947 was a formality only.

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Rajballabh (Raja)
Rajballabh (Raja) the diwan of D haka and subsequently the faujdar of M unghyr. A Vaidya by caste, he started his career as a m uharrir
(treasurer)ofthe departm ent ofQ AN U N G O in 1717.From that petty officialposition,he rose rapidly in the service ofthe M ughals and becam e
the diw an of D haka (1756-57) w ith the title of m aharaja. Subsequently he rose to the position of the faujdar of M unghyr. H is father
Krishnajivan also w as a m uharrir ofthe nawara m ahal(fleet m aintaining establishm ent)and later on the m ajum dar.
A n am bitious m an,Rajballabh used his officialposition and w ealth to acquire landed estate that,w ith its attendant pow er and privileges,
w as considered as a hallm ark of respectability in the contem porary society. W ith the acquisition of lands from the districts of D haka,
Faridpur,Barisaland Tippera,he form ed the new pargana of Rajnagar and subsequently extended his zam indariby adding m ajor parts of
the estate of VIKRA M A PU RA by questionable m eans. Rajballabh soon im posed his authority over countless petty taluqdars scattered over
D haka,Faridpur and specially Barisal.
Rajballabh played a prom inent part during the years (1756-63) w hen the politicalsituation of Bengalw as a fluid one.A n accom plice of M IR
JA FA R and G H A SETI BEG U M , Rajballabh incurred the displeasure of N aw ab SIRA JU D D A U LA for the m isappropriation of a huge fund during his
tenure as the diwan of D haka. A t his behest his son Krishnadas fled to Calcutta w ith the em bezzled am ount and took shelter w ith the
English - a factor that subsequently becam e one of the causes of Siraj's arm ed conflict w ith the English EA ST IN D IA CO M PA N Y .N aw ab M IR Q A SIM
suspected him ofconspiring w ith the English and put him to death by drow ning (1763).
The Rajnagar ofRaja Rajballabh displays the architecturalskillofthe contem porary craftsm en and at the sam e tim e it speaks ofthe taste and
econom ic resources ofits patron.[Shirin A khtar]
The Sena rulers m ay or m ay not be related to us,although of course allSens duly claim kinship w ith the likes of BallalSen.The Senas w ere
originally feudatories of the Chalukyas (not Cholas) of Karnataka and m ust have com e to Bengal during one of the num erous Chalukya
raids. It w ould seem that they settled dow n in Senbhum (now Singhbhum ) before they consolidated their position and eventually
dislodged the PalD ynasty.incidentally,the Pals w ere the last Buddhist rulers ofBengal(indeed ofIndia).It w as during their reign that Tibet
w as converted to Buddhism by the great scholarD ipankar.Ifyou recall,the Tibetan script is alm ost exactly the sam e as the Bengaliscript.

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Summary of Sonarang History


A short summary of Sonarang History is given below, but don't miss reading and imbibing the culture and ambience of the days gone by.
Sonarang, once a vibrant tropical jungle, first became the dwelling place of the Sen Clan through SURYA SEN around the 15th century. He belonged to the Roksha(or
Roksa) Bansh (i.e. dynasty) which sprang from Raja SHRI HARSHA SEN, King of SEN Bhum (land), who reigned around four to five hundred years earlier in the same
region.
Sonarang village took its name from Sona, a cultivator who was zealous for his produce. He built a high tower (called 'tong' in the local dialect) to guard the precious fields
of corn. Sonar Tong soon became Sonarang, a part of Bikrampur District in Bengal. Sonarang had a population of 1032 according to the census in 1891 and 7000 according to
the census in 1941.
The house of SURYA SEN in Sonarang established important cultural and educational institutions in the village. Surya Sen was a kabiraj -- what we would call a 'quack'
doctor, but well known in all he did.
When Lord Curzon, the Governor General of India divided Bengal into West and East Bengal (including Assam), Sonarang became the centre of a national movement and
revolutionary activities in 1905. There are several interesting accounts of these activities in the main historical document that provide a host of information on the character of
the Sen Bansh!
Please don't miss the story of tigers in Part II. The poem on the left is a humorous account of Sen bravado in the face of the Bengal tigers! The poem was not written in
Bengali; the author is anonymous (inserted by webmaster).
Our ancestor, KALI PADO SEN, the first one mentioned in the Sen family tree of this website, was born in Sonarang. He was one of the prominent persons who hailed
from Sonarang. It appears that he belonged to the fifteenth generation of Sens that came from King Shri Harsha Sen. Perhaps he was the first one to get a double MA in 1895,
after which he became a Principal of Christ Church School, Kanpur.
The author writes that he had met Sisil Sen (Cecil) and Eric Sen, the sons of Kali Pado Sen in Delhi. That would be around 1940 perhaps.

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