Sitlai Jaminder Palace on verge of ruin

Published : 24 Mar 2022 01:18 AM | Updated : 24 Mar 2022 02:54 PM

The remnants of Maitra Jaminder Palace at Shitlai village under Nimchora union of Chatmohar upazila is on the verge of ruin. This last leftover of Maitra heritage is now waiting for demolition. Shrouded by shrubs elsewhere, innumerous cracks have been formed on its walls, the mortars and bricks from the roofs and surrounding walls of the building are falling apart.

According to sources, the village Shitlai under Chatmohar was founded by one Shital Khan during the Pathan rule in Bengal, at the end of 14th century. Later on, the Maitra Jaminder Palace was founded by Jogendranath Maitra in the village which is also known as Shitlai Jaminder Bari.  

According to the book ' Chalanbeel er Itikotha' by Principal Mohammad Abdul Hamid, Jaminder Chandi Prasad Maitra founded the Jaminder heritage in the village. His grandson Lokenath Maitra worked as a Pleader at Rajshahi Court. He later founded Lokenath High School in Rajshahi which is still a renowned school in Rajshahi city. After the death of his only daughter Raj Rajewari, Jaminder Lokenath also died soon.  

It is learnt that Jogendranath Maitra founded the Shitlai Palace during the first half of the 19th century. He also founded Shitlai Higher English School at the village and according to his name, a village under Gurudaspur was named as Jogendranagar. 

Jogendranath Maitra married Sarala Devi, daughter of Jaminder Kishorilal Goswami of Sreerampore area under Hooghly district. Being insisted by wife Sarala Devi, Jogendranath also built two palaces named 'Shitlai Bari' and the 'Shitlai House' in Pabna. 

Though Jogendranth Maitra did many beneficial works for his tenants, he was branded as an anti-Muslim Jaminder. He is learnt to intervene the religious practices of Muslims and allegedly tortured them. In protest against his anti-Muslim activities, several thousand Muslims of surrounding villages headed by Maulana Ruhul Amin, former Secretary of Jamayate Ulema along with Kamal Uddin Sarker of Barbaria village under Bhangura (now upazila) arranged a protest meeting and gheroed the Jaminder Palace at Shitlai for about a week. Later, under the mediation of Maulana Abu Bakar Siddique, Peer of Furfura Sharif, Jogendranath Maitra and his family members left Shitali Palace and started to live at the Shitali house in Pabna. 

Jogodindranath Maitra, elder son of Jogendranath Maitra, establised Gandhi High School ( now Central Girls School) in Pabna.  He also established a charitable dispensary and a Post Office at Shitlai. He is known as a beneficial Jaminder and during the famine in 1338 and 1350 BS, he established several gruel kitchens (Langar Khanas) and fed the famine stricken people. He died in 1369 BS. After the partition in 1947, most of the Maitra family members left the country.

Elderly Hasan Ali of village Nimaichora informed the forlorn Shitali Jaminder Palace was once one of the beautifully decorated and ornamented buildings of the region. There is a pond covering 100 bigha beside the house. Now, the palace is on the verge of ruin.

Abdul Malek of Shitlai village informed, the grandeur of Shitali Jaminder Palace was once pride of the region. After the partition in 1947, most of the Jaminder family members have left the palace and went to India but some local dishonest people have grabbed the landed properties of the Jaminder. He said, the Jaminder Palace should be repaired and renovated.