Rangapur Sahitya Parisad

Rangapur Sahitya Parisad a literary association formed on 12 Baishakh 1312 BS (late April 1905). It served as a centre for historical research as well as a forum for contemporary writers of Rangpur district. Its activities included collecting historical materials such as inscriptions, coins, manuscripts, icons and other relics, publication of a journal, republication of old books, and holding periodical conferences of writers and researchers. It also encouraged research on Bangla language.

Several zamindars were directly involved in founding the association and supported it with financial and other help. Mrityunjoy Raichoudhury and Surendra Chandra Raichoudhury, zamindars of Kundi, as well as the members of the vangiya sahitya parishad of Kolkata took leading roles in its establishment. Prominent Bengali zamindars who contributed towards the association and became its members included Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandi of Kashim Bazar in Murshidabad, Maharaja Rajendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur and Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur of Cooch-Bihar, Maharaja Jagadindra Nath Ray of natore and Kumar Sarat Kumar Ray of Dighapatia.

The association started its journey with 28 members. It had a 13-member executive committee with Raja Mahima Ranjan Raichoudhury of Kakina and Surendra Chandra Raichoudhury of Kundi as president and secretary (for life) respectively. After the death of Surendra Chandra Raichoudhury in 1945, his eldest son, Soumendra Kumar Raichoudhury, was elected secretary of the association. It was during his tenure that the association came to an end along with the termination of the zamindari system in 1950.

The association had two organs: the Uttar Banga Sahitya Sammilani and the Rabgapur Sahitya Parisad Patrika. It was the only branch organisation of the Vangiya Sahitya Parishad that originated and flourished outside Kolkata. Rangapur Sahitya Parishad Patrika, the mouthpiece of the association, was launched in Sept-Oct 1906, as a quarterly literary journal. It consisted of two parts: the first part included articles on the folklore of North Bengal, archaeology, various historical relics and a description of unpublished puthis of the region; the second part included reports of the annual and monthly proceedings of the organisation and descriptions of ancient and rare manuscripts and their writers. Twenty issues of the journal were published under seven editors from 1906-40. After the publication of the 1939 issue, the journal discontinued. All copies of the Rangapur Sahitya Parishad Patrika along with other rare documents and collections of the association were destroyed in the war of liberation in 1971. The Rangapur Sahitya Parishad has a museum with a collection of some old relics, icons, manuscripts of rare Puthi from Tibet, Assam and different parts of Bengal. [Muhammad Maniruzzaman]