Rani Bhabani

Rani Bhabani (1716-1795) zamindar of Rajshahi, was famous for her sagacity, generosity and extensive social works. She was born in a Brahmin family of Bogra. Her father's name was Atmaram Chowdhury. On the death of her husband Raja Ramkanta in 1748 she became the virtual zamindar of Rajshahi. She managed the vast zamindari most efficiently and effectively for over four decades maintaining cordial relations with the nawabs of Bengal. Her veteran and faithful diwan Daya Ram greatly assisted her in managing the zamindari.

Rani Bhabani ran the vast zamindari with tact and tenacity during the most critical period of the east india company's administration. She lived a very austere and religious life. She gave large portion of her zamindari to the Brahmins as Lakhiraj (rent free lands) for their maintenance and other charitable activities. Writing in the Rajshahi Gazette O'Malley mentioned that the Rani established about 380 shrines, guesthouses etc, built many temples in different parts of the country and endowed money and lands. She constructed a big road that ran from Natore to Bhawanipur in Bogra and is still called 'Rani Bhabanir Jangal'. Besides, numerous tanks and sarais were built with her money. Doctors were entertained to give medical relief to the poor in different village and her charity extended to the animal world as well. She was a great patron of Hindu learning and bestowed large endowment for the spread of education. Rani Bhabani died in 1795 at Baranagar at the age of 79. [ABM Mahmood]