Karatia Zamindari

Karatia Zamindari a traditional zamindar family of Tangail district. One Bayazid Khan Panni of Panni zamindar family settled at Karatia in early seventeenth century and since then the family came to be known as zamindar family of Karatia.

In early nineteenth century Sadat Ali Khan, zamindar of Karatia, got involved in litigation on the issue of ownership of property. He recovered the paternal property with the help of Khwaja Alimullah, zamindar of Dhaka. But on the issue of violation of terms by Sadat Ali Khan, Khwaja Alimullah filed a suit against him and got the decree of right of possession in his favour. Sadat Ali Khan in his turn transferred the ownership of the property by executing a deed of gift in favour of his wife Jamrudunnesa Khanam. Later the parties came to a compromise and as per terms of the settlement of the dispute Sadat Ali Khan handed over seven anna (seven-sixteenth) share of the property to Khwaja Alimullah. Subsequently on 9 Poush 1227 BS, Sadat Ali Khan and his wife Jamrudunnesa Khanam jointly executed a deed wherein the entire property was divided into two halves, the first half being preserved for maintenance of the family expenditure and the other half being donated as waqf property meant for religious and charitable purposes. In the deed, provision was made for appointment of a mutawalli for the maintenance of the waqf property. After the death of Sadat Ali Khan Panni, his son Hafez Mahmud Ali Khan Panni was the mutawalli of the waqf property. After the death of Hafez Mahmud Ali Khan Panni (1896), conflict and litigation ensued between his son Wajed Ali Khan Panni (Chand Mia) and Wajed's grandmother Jamrudunnesa Khanam as two claimants to the post of mutawalli. Wajed Ali Khan Panni won over to administer the estate as mutawalli.

Wajed Ali Khan Panni was the most distinguished figure among the zamindars of Karatia. He expanded the jurisdiction of the zamindari estate and was very keen in ensuring the welfare of his subjects. He established the Hafez Mahmud Ali Institution in 1901 at Karatia. It was by his initiative that the All Bengal Muslim Education Conference was held in 1906 at Karatia with Nawab Sir Salimullah in the chair. He also organised the Muslim Education Conference at Karatia in 1910. Wajed Ali Khan Panni was the vice president of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee and vice president of the Mymensingh district unit of the party. He protested against some wrong measures of the British Government and was imprisoned in 1921. He founded the Sadat College in Karatia in 1926 and established Rokeya High Madrasa in the same year. He donated vast landed property for charitable purposes in 1926 through a waqf deed, the net annual income of which was estimated in the deed as 80,000 rupees. Out of the total annual income of the waqf property only 20,000 rupees were to be kept for the maintenance of his family, and the balance being spent as donation to the schools and colleges, hospitals and mosques. Wajed Ali Khan Panni died in 1936.

Under the patronage and financial support of Hafez Mahmud Ali Khan Panni a monthly Bangla magazine titled Akhbare Islamia used to be published since 1884 from Karatia with Munshi Naimuddin as editor. The books like Atiar Itihasa of Rasiklal Basu, Bangla translation of Fatwa-e-Alamgiri, Jubdatul Masael of Maulana Naim Uddin were printed and published from the printing press of the Karatia zamindars. Hafez Mahmud Ali Khan Panni established the Mahmudia Madrasa and a secondary school at Karatia.

Khurram Khan Panni, grandson of Wazed Ali Khan Panni, was the chief whip of East Pakistan Provincial Assembly and an ambassador. Another grandson Humayun Khan Panni was the deputy speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad of Bangladesh. Wajed Ali Khan Panni II, son of Khurram Khan Panni, was the deputy minister of the Government of Bangladesh.

Some of the historical relics at the residence of zamindars of Karatia such as steel made strong room, Rokeya Mahal and Daud Mahal still survive. [Khan Mahbub]