Devi, Hemantakumari

Devi, Hemantakumari (1869-1942) the last Maharani of the Panchani (one fifth) estate of the puthia raj family in the district of Rajshahi. Born in a middle class family in the village Dhulla of the present district of manikganj, Hemantakumari Devi was married in 1880 to Jatindranarayan of the Puthia raj family. Three years later at the tender age of only fourteen, she lost her husband.

She took upon herself the responsibility of the management of the estate in 1887 and within a short time demonstrated her ability as an astute estate administrator. The estate income rose sharply under her management. She earned a great reputation as a patron of learning and public works. Notable among the institutions she set up are the 'Hemantakumari Boarding', 'Maharani Hemantakumari Sanskrit College' and 'Maharani Hemantakumari Water Works', built in the city of Rajshahi. In recognition of her welfare activities the government awarded her the title of Rani in 1901 and Maharani in 1927. [Kazi Md Mostafizur Rahman]