To the people of North Bengal, the legendary name is Mother Bakhsh. His role in the expansion and development of education in Rajshahi is everlasting. Mother Bakhsh has left many exemplary examples in social service. His social activities will always move the people of the country including the residents of Rajshahi, this is normal. Prominent politician and social worker Madar Bakhsh was born on 14 February 1906 in the village of Sthanstadighi in Singra, Natore district (then Natore subdivision) to a peasant family. His father’s name was Baliuddin Mandal. He obtained his first class matriculation from Chowgram High School, Singra in 1922, IA degree from Rajshahi College in 1924 and BA degree from the same college in 1926. He passed MA in History from Calcutta University in 1926 and obtained BL degree in Law from Presidency College in 1929. After teaching in Murshidabad and Naogaon, Madar Bakhsh became a lawyer in Rajshahi in 1934. At the same time, besides his legal profession, he also concentrated on social work. Mother Bakhsh gained a reputation for handling unpaid cases on behalf of helpless people. He became involved in politics in the early forties. Then in 1947 he was elected a member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly of undivided Bengal as the representative of Rajshahi (Atrai, Bagmara and Manda). Mother Bakhsh was a member of the Pakistan Legislative Assembly from 1947 to 1954. He was also the first elected chairman of Rajshahi Municipality (now City Corporation) from 1950-1954. The talented man died of cancer on Friday, January 20, 1987. He was buried at Kadirganj Cemetery in Rajshahi.
Mother Bakhsh was involved in the politics of the Muslim League, yet was one of the organizers of the great language movement. Many people including Salam, Barkat and Rafiq were martyred in the firing incident on 21 February 1952 in the procession of All Party Chhatra Sangram Parishad in Dhaka University area. In this context, Mother Bakhsh was one of the organizers and keynote speaker at the rally held at Bhuban Mohan Park, Rajshahi on 22 February. He was the only MLA of the then Muslim League in East Pakistan who was imprisoned on February 21, 1952 for criticizing his party government. His distance from the Muslim League leaders was due to his clear stance against the party’s policy makers and the government on the question of maintaining the dignity of the Bengali language. Addressing a public meeting at Bhuban Mohan Park on February 8, 1953, the public leader addressed the Madar Bakhsh government, saying that if a university was not established in Rajshahi, we would be forced to claim North Bengal as a separate province. His statement was discussed at a high level of government. Following this, the Rajshahi University Establishment Act was passed on 31 March 1953 in the Provincial Legislative Assembly. Mother Baksh founded Rajshahi University in 1953, Sobhania High School (now known as Court Academy) in 1954, Ladhipur Girls’ High School in 1960, and Rajshahi Homoeopathic Medical College in 1986. Under his leadership, the first private medical school was established in Rajshahi in 1949, which was governmentized in 1955 and renamed as Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital in 1956. He also established Rajshahi Mahila College, Rajshahi Girls Madrasa (now Girls High School), Rajshahi Muslim High School and many more. Mother Baksh’s daughter Monowara Rahman (1934-2010) was a linguist and her son ANM Saleh (1952-2011) was teaching in the Department of Psychology at Rajshahi University. In honor of Mother Bakhsh’s memory, a residential student hall under construction at Rajshahi University was named ‘Mother Bakhsh Hall’.
A college called Mother Bakhsh Home Economics has also been established in Rajshahi metropolis. A dormitory of Rajshahi Teachers Training College is named after Mother Bakhsh. The bridge adjacent to the petrol pump on the Natore-Bogra highway in Singra upazila of Natore has also been named after Mother Bakhsh. Has the unforgettable role played by Mother Bakhsh in the development and expansion of education in Rajshahi been properly evaluated? Is his birthday or death anniversary celebrated in different educational institutions established by Rajshahi City Corporation and Mother Bakhsh? January 20, 2022 marks the 55th death anniversary of Madar Bakhsh, a politician, lawyer, linguist and social worker. The contribution of Madar Bakhsh in the development of Rajshahi region is undeniable; But 55 years after his death, there is no national recognition. He may also be awarded the Independence Award or the Ekushey Padak for his contribution to the social service and language movement. A humble tribute was paid to Madar Bakhsh, a former unpaid teacher of the law department of Rajshahi University, a passionate lawyer and a public-spirited educationist.
Fattah Tanvir Rana: Alumnus and Banker of Rajshahi University.
Source: Bhorer Kagoj by www.bhorerkagoj.com.
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