Mohsin Fund

Mohsin Fund an endowment founded by haji muhammad mohsin of hughli in 1806. Mohsin was the zamindar of Saiyadpur Estate, which was spread out over Khulna and Jessore districts. He inherited the zamindari from her half-sister Mannujan Khanam, who died childless. Mohsin, himself a celibate, had an otherworldly bend of mind. His name appears in the government records of 1769-70 as a philanthropic person setting up several langarkhanas (gruel houses) during the famine of 1769-70 and donating money to government Famine Fund. In the absence of any direct heir either from his own line or from his half sister's, Mohsin resolved to set up a waqf or endowment as a safety measure to save the family vestiges and to sustain the religious functions of the family's imambara for ever. The waqf (bequest) included the whole zamindari income which was meant to be used in maintaining the Shi'ite Imambara, the Imambara Bazar and supporting the living dependants and menials of the family.

But unfortunately, after the death of Mohsin in 1812 the waqf was mismanaged to the extent of chronic revenue default and dismemberment of the zamindari through collusive plundering of the assets of the estate by the mutwallis of the Trust. They even got the zamindari settled among themselves on patni or perpetual leases. One member of the family, a mutwalli, had even challenged the legal validity of the waqf executed by Mohsin. The government, to save its own revenue, attached the zamindari and dismissed the mutwallis under Regulation XIX (1810) until the suits were disposed of at the Sadar Diwani Adalat. The case went up to the Privy Council where it was resolved in favour of the Fund in 1835. The waqf was managed by government for about 30 years. During the period, the Mohsin Fund grew enormously in income. Its surplus income reached over a million Taka. Out of the Mohsin Fund was established the Hughli College in 1836. Earlier the Hughli Madrasa was founded in 1817. Because the mutwallis were challenging the bona fide of the Mohsin Fund and furthermore, because their manifold embezzlements were established in the court they were deprived of their authority and management of the fund was vested in the government permanently.

Under the government management the Mohsin Fund's resources were more and more diverted to education of Muslim and Hindu students. But in 1873 it was resolved that the educational allocation of the Mohsin Fund would be exclusively used for Muslim students. Scholarships were henceforth introduced for Muslim students at schools, colleges and universities. Hostels were established at many schools and colleges with the contributions from the Mohsin Fund. The original objects of the Fund: maintaining the Imambara, funding the religious festivals and ceremonies and supporting the associated institutions were, however, not neglected. Out of the fund an imposing new imambara building was built, old buildings were maintained regularly, religious festivals and ceremonies were also funded liberally. The Mohsin Fund is however well known for the crucial role it played in promoting education among the poor Muslim masses of Bengal. [Sirajul Islam]