Travel to Bangladesh: Narayanganj, Mymensingh, Kishorganj, Pabna
Narayanganj is Dhaka's deepwater port; Mymensingh is en route to Kishorganj, the boyhood home of that extraordinary atavistic curmudgeon, Nirad Chaudhury; Pabna is a town across the river from Kushtia. They have little in common, except that they lie on the very circuitous path to the Tagore home at Kushtia.
Downstream from Dhaka, Nayaranganj is the headquarters now of the Bangladesh ferry corporation, which in the colonial era was a private company that ran steamers through Bengal. Alongside the big vessels, the port also handles hundreds of tiny boats, unloaded one heavy basket at a time. In this case, the burden was melons.
Not far from the harbor: the childhood home of Rumer Godden. When this picture was taken it was an office of the Bangladesh river-transport corporation.
Inside, it's a huge house but one with only few enormous rooms. The fireplace can't have been used very often. Judging from the paperwork stacked on the mantelpiece, it isn't used at all now.
The Mymensingh Rajbari, literally the "government house" but in fact the home of a zamindar, or estate owner. Mymensingh was once the most populous district of British India and a major jute-growing center. This mansion, built between 1905 and 1910, was paid for with the rent collected from jute farmers in a neighborhood known at Muktagacha, a dozen miles west of Mymensingh. Today it houses a women's teacher training academy. Many such places survive in Bangladesh.
Kishorganj, southeast of Mymensingh and the boyhood home of Nirad Chaudhuri, author of Autobiography of an Unknown Indian. He writes that corrugated sheetmetal roofing was present early in the 20th century. The use of English has declined a lot since then, but not the love of cricket.
A quilt shop in Kishorganj--and a study in elegance.
The Taras Rajbari in Pabna, across the river from Kushtia. It was built in the late 19th century for the zamindar who held the Taras zamindari, the wealthiest estate in the Pabna district. It presently houses the records of the custodian of abandoned property, the property abandoned by Hindus who fled to India after partition.
Pabna certainly: a mill for grinding mustard seed to oil. The air was very irritating to the eyes.
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