Mahilara, Gour Nodi, Barisal, Bangladesh
The Oppressed, the Vanquished Rising from the Ashes
Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar
Probini Foundation Report; January 20, 2019
It is really wonderful to witness firsthand when some oppressed groups are able to rise from the ashes. Mahilara, especially the historic 300-year old Mahilara Mott Sri Krishna temple has just done that. In a recent January 2019 visit by a Probini Foundation delegation revealed that. In early 1990s when Probini supporters first visited, the place was barely surviving. A campaign by this writer to both the pro-Islamist and pro-secular governments resulted in repairing the temple, which was promised in writing to this writer, is the temple is now listed in a book “Hindu Temples of Bangladesh” by UNESCO. Probini supporters have built a Nihar Kana Bhaktabash O Bidyalaya (Nihar Kana Devotee Quarters and School) in 2001. The place came under attack during pogroms of 1990, 1992 and 2001- just months after the school was opened, but survived. During 2001 pogrom all the Hindu minority, except one, were denied from voting, and many, including the head teacher, a Hindu monk, had to flee before the election. This writer and three of his family members met with the winning pro-Islamist Member of Parliament in December 2001 at the Gour Nodi Circuit House to protest such violence – the M.P. promised that it won’t happen again, as well as met with the American Embassy officials seeking protection for the American-built building, as well as to protest inaccurate reporting by the Embassy on the election. Now the poor, the oppressed, the penniless raised funds to build the semi-permanent second floor of the Probini building on top of the brick-and-concrete building, a separate brick-and-concrete structure for religious services, a tin-covered meeting place, a Sankar Toron (Sankar Arch) and more. There is lot more to do including a school building and a concrete wall on the pond adjacent to the Nihar Kana building to protect the building’s foundation from erosion by the huge pond. That concrete barrier was approved three times by the local Member of Parliament, Bangladesh but was never acted upon. The local project is being run by the monk Dayamoy Sadhu. During the delegation's visit a huge crowd of local villagers welcomed them with garlands, shower of rose petals and rice grain, ululating, conch blowing and sloganeering "Long live Probini Foundation" and "Joi [Victory] to Bangladesh and Probini."
Note by Bangladesh Archeology Department
Monk and Head Teacher Rev. Dayamoy Sadhu
The Builder's Tablet
The Nihar Kana building was built with donations from Dr. Shefali Sengupta Dastidar, Miss Joyeeta G. Dastidar, Master Shuvo G. Dastidar, In Memory of the Late Rajlakshmi Mitra’s (Pirojpur) by son Sushen, In Memory of the Late Sudha Sengupta by son Ashish, Dr. Kusumita Priscilla Pedersen, In Memory of the Late Anil Kumar Mazumdar’s Memory by son Chitta Ranjan, In Memory of the Late Dhirendra Kumar Saha by son Bidhu Bhusan, Mr. Angan Haldar, In Memory of the Late K.B. Roy Choydhury by daughter Ruma, SriMadbhagabat Gita Sangha of New York, Dr. Sabyasachi Ghosh Dastidar.
Check https://empireslastcasualty.blogspot.com/2008/12/saving-of-300-year-old-mahilara-mott.html for additional information.
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The Sankar Toron (Gate) Built in Memory of Dr. Sankar Ghosh Dastidar
(Medical Doctor in Kolkata, India)
A Memorial with Lord Shiva built on First Floor Roof
with Ashes from Mrs. Nihar Kana
(Annually on Shiv Ratri Day of Lord Shiva Thousands of Devotees
pour Milk and Water -- a Traditional Ritual of Thousands of Years)
The Encroaching Pond
Memorials on Site