JAMALPUR, Mar 27: Gandhi Ashram, a historical beacon of humanity, and Freedom Struggle Museum located at Kapashatia village under Jhawgara union in Melandah upazila of the district, are bearing the testimony of long history of anti-British movement and Liberation War of Bangladesh with rich collections of photos, documents and artifacts.
The two sites in one compound at the village are attracting a number of visitors and researchers from home and abroad.
One legendary local leader, locally known as anti-British revolutionary named Nasir Sarkar established Gandhi Ashram in Hazipur area under Mesta union of Sadar upazila in 1934 being imbued in non-violence and non-cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi. He engaged his elder daughter Razia Khatun as director of the Ashram to spread concept of secular, democratic and liberal ideas among the
The Gandhi Ashram was operating different programmes including weaving clothes, curricular activities, motivating for self-reliance and providing health services.
However, immediately after partition of India and Pakistan, the Ashram came under heinous attack of Muslim League in 1948 and the structure was demolished.
Afterwards, the debris of the demolished house was shifted to the home of Nasir Sarkar at Kapashatia village. Only signboard of the Ashram bore mark of existence of the institution at Hazipur Bazar for more than half a century.
Being organised, locals formed a trustee board comprising a director and 4 trustees and they rebuilt the Ashram at Nasir Sarkar's residence on October 2, 2007, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, with observance of International Non-violence Day called by the UN.
At the same time, Freedom Struggle Museum was established in the same compound with assistance of Jamalpur Zila Parishad to uphold history of the Liberation War of 1971. Architect Nahas Ahmed Khalil designed the structure of the museum. Foundation stone of the structure was formally unveiled in 2010 through observance of a victory festival.
In search of path of freedom of Bangalees, a number of public and secret meetings were held in the home of Nasir Sarkar. Sher-e-Bangla A K Fazlul Haque, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Moni Shingha, Barin Dutta, Shantimoy Roy, Robi Niyogi, Ranesh Dashgupta, Satyen Sen, Ismail Hossain Shiraji and Monmonath Dey were among others attended the meetings.
The home was also being used as shelter of freedom fighters and place for preserving arms and ammunition of them.
After independence of Bangladesh, the Ashram has been running with relentless works in the fields of patriotism, humanity, peace, tolerance and communal harmony so far, said Hillol Sarkar, one of the trustees.
At the same time, Freedom Struggle Museum is operating a number of projects including holding dialogues on inter-religious harmony and tolerance; dissemination of the spirit of Liberation War and Gandhi's philosophy of peace, non-violence, tolerance, humanity and equality; operating socio-economic growth programmes for women and collecting documents of genocide carried out in liberation war, the trustee said.
In recent years, prominent personalities including Artist Kaiyum Chowdhury, former Director of Shilpakala Academy Subir Chowdhury and former Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakrabartyi visited the heritage site and planted saplings of
The museum also observes international day of non-violence, victory festival and freedom festival.
A large number of visitors and researchers especially students visit the museum to educate themselves about the freedom struggle of our people in the colonial era and beyond, said Hillol Sarkar, who is optimistic of improvement of the museum day by day.