Bangladesh decides to preserve Jyoti Basu's ancestral house

Dhaka: Bangladesh has decided to preserve as a heritage site former West Bengal chief minister and veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu's ancestral home at suburban Sonargaon, officials said on Sunday.

"A plan has been taken to set up a museum and a library of international standard at the home as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the initiative to preserve it," an official familiar with the decision said.

He added that a high-level committee was also formed in this regard with Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman for Cultural Affairs Obaidul Qader as its head.

The official said the Prime Minister directed the concerned officials to take quick steps for rehabilitation of the age-old two-story building on over two acres of land at Barudi union, some 8 kilometres off the Sonargaon sub-district headquarters and 10 kilometres off the Chittagong Road.

The Cultural Affairs Ministry, Communication Ministry and Works Ministry would jointly work for rehabilitation of the Basu's ancestral home, which the Basu family left when India was partitioned in 1947, he said.

The state-run BSS news agency, meanwhile, quoting Qader said he already contacted the 95-year-old leader and obtained his consent to the government decision.

"He (Basu) is a pride for the Bengali nation and therefore the Prime Minister took the decision to preserve his memories," said Qader, who visited the site two weeks ago.

Basu's father Nishikanta Basu, a doctor, hailed from the village of Barudi. Basu visited twice his ancestral home where he has sweet childhood memories though he was born and studied in Kolkata.

Local residents and officials said currently a caretaker, Mohammad Shahidullah, appointed by Basu himself was residing at the main house along with his family while another house in the complex is resided by several other families.

The Basu family earlier handed over the possession to one Ayetun Nesa of Sonargaon as she looked after Jyoti Basu in his childhood.

Basu last visited his ancestral home in 1997, local officials said.

An official familiar with the development said, the district administration prepared and forwarded a proposal last week to the government suggesting Basu's ancestral home to be developed as a museum and library.

Basu, the longest-serving Chief Minister in Indian political history, held the post from June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000.

Bureau Report