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Pari Sundari – Name of a struggle against Nil Cultivation

Ratna Bagchi - October 4th, 2010

Pari Sundari (1800? – 1870?) : Pari Sundari was a female

zamidar. She ruled at Sadarpur in Mirpur in Kushtia region. She was one of the dedicated souls to wage a fight against oppression and aggression of British Raj in the issue of Nil Chas (Indigo plantation).

She was born of Ramananda Singha and Tara Sundari. Her father Ramananda Singha served as a Nayeb in Kumarkhali Silk Kuthi. Ramananda took over two parganas (a former administrative unit of the Indian subcontinent) —Begambad of Kushtia and Islamabad in Pabna¬† from Murshidabad Estate. He probably also had waterbody of Birahimpur Pargana. After Ramananda, Pari Sundari and her sister Braja Sundari succeeded the Estate. They hailed from Sadarpur in Mirpur under the district of Present Kushtia. The people in this region were subjected to oppression and tyranny¬† by Thomas Ivan Kenny, one of the infamous indigo planters in British Raj. At first the Nil planters urged the general poor farmers to go for Nil cultivation. The farmers were not interested to cultivate¬† Nil as it was not a very profitable business in the 19th century in India. But the planters started torturing and oppressing the poor farmers to force them to cultivate Nil . Pari was shocked to see the miserable subjection of her people. She gathered people to protest this harmful cultivation which was about to destroy our traditional farming.

Those tales of oppression and successive revolts of the peasants find their expression in the famous writings of Mir Mosarrof Hossain in his books Udashin Pathiker Moner Katha and in the book Moner Katha Onek Katha by Raicharan Das.

Pari’s fight against Kenny started when Kenny’s people destroyed the paddy fields of farmers to cultivate Nil in Bharal-Poradaha region. In retaliation Pari organised her people and attacked Kenny’s Shalghor Modhua Kuthi several times. A police officer was killed by Pari’s people. Then British Raj took hand on Pari. The government seized her estate. Pari filed a case to Dewane against the seizure. Later she got back her Zamindari.