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Paragalpur


Paragalpur a village in Zorwarganj Union of Mirsharai upazila in Chittagong. It is a historic site 60 km north of Chittagong city, west of Chandrashekhar (Sitakundo) range of hills and armed on the north and west by the river Feni. Paragalpur was the administrative centre in Chittagong area during the rule of Alauddin Husain Shah (1493-1519) and his son Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah (1519-1532) of Gaur. Alauddin Husain Shah occupied Chittagong in 1512 and appointed Paragal Khan as the army chief and administrator. Laskar Paragal Khan and his son Chhuti Khan, built up the place as their centre of administration and army cantonment. Paragal Khan established his cantonment within two km south of the river Feni.

This naturally protected area was selected on strategic ground to protect Chittagong from the invasion of the Tripura army from the northeast and from the Arakanese Magh pirates from the west. At the same time the place served as a convenient centre of administration. As it was a cantonment, the place was known as Laskarpur (laskar = commander/warrior). Later it was named Paragalpur after the name of Paragal Khan.

During the rule of Laskar Paragal Khan and his son Laskar Chhuti Khan, Paragalpur turned into a centre for the intellectuals. It was at the behest of Paragal Khan that court poet Kabindra Parameswar Das translated Mahabharata from Sanskrit into Bangla. In medieval time poetic metres calling it Mahabharata Kahini (1515-1519) which had been known as Paragali Mahabharata or Kabindra Mahabharata. A few years later Srikar Nandi, court poet of Chhuti Khan translated Mahabharata's Ashwamedh a episode (1518-1520) from Sanskrit into Bangla. It was known as Chhuti Khani Mahabharata.

Some remnants of the period of Paragal Khan and Chhuti Khan can still be seen. These include Paragal Khan mosque and dighi and Chhuti Khan mosque. Paragal Khan's mosque is now almost destroyed. Some near-destroyed buildings on the east bank of the dighi are noticeable. Even some years ago the remnants of one building on the east bank and two buildings on the south bank of the dighi were there. It is known that once there existed solidly built steps on the east bank of the dighi. Some sandstone remains of Chhuti Khan's mosque are seen around a newly built mosque in the village Dewanpur of mauja Paragalpur. There are several other dighi of the time in and around Paragalpur. In Hathazari upazila there is a Paragali Khal (canal) and in Raozan upazila there is a Chhuti Khan khal. [Ahmed Mumtaz]