Ray, Gopal Lal

Ray, Gopal Lal (1887-1955) The zamindar of Tajhat, Rangpur and a social worker, was born in Kolkata in 1887. He became the zamindar of Tajhat estate as a minor after the death of his father. As a minor zamindar, he was placed under the Court of Wards. Gopal Lal was admitted to Kolkata Hare School first for education. Later he studied in the Rajkumar College, Bhupal in Madya Pradesh. But before completion of the course, he had to come back to Tajhat following the sudden death of his mother Sharat Sundori Devi in 1905 and took over the responsibilities of the estate in 1908.

The British government conferred Gopal Lal Roy with the titles of 'Raja' and 'Raja Bahadur' in 1912 and 1918 respectively. He was the chairman of Rangpur municipality from 1914 to 1923. He also served the district board as a member for three years. In 1907, he was elected a member of the Rangpur Public Library Trustee Board. In 1917, Gopal Lal Roy founded the Rangpur zamindar Association and he was it president till the abolishment of zamindari system in 1950. Moreover, he was a member of the Bengal zamindars Association, India Landholders Association and the British Indian Association. He discharged the responsibility of the president of the British Indian Association during 1930-31. Earlier in 1916, the 9th conference of the North Bengal Literature Forum was held in rangpur. He was one of the pioneer organizers of this conference. He became a member of the Rajshahi Varendra Research Society in 1910. Gopal Lal Roy Hostel of Rangpur Carmicheal College, Rangpur Bar Library Building and 'GL Roy Road' of the town were built up with his money. As a patron of sports, he constituted the 'Tajhat Palace team' at Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1921-22 and introduced the Gobindo Lal Roy Shield, the KC Datt Shield and the Kumar Bahadur Chattenze Silver Cup to promote football in Rangpur. He was a member of the executive committee, Indian Football Association from 1944 to till his death. He introduced 'Bau Mela' (fair to wives) for women along with kite flying festival for Children in the Tajhot palace every year on the first two days of 'Pahela Baishakh' (Begali New Year). The last day of Baishakh and the first month of Bangla calender, was also celebrated there with grandeur and funfair. Gopal Lal Ray died in 1955. [Muhammad Moniruzzaman]