The last Zaminder of Korotia, Wazid Ali Khan Panni, was, for a while, in 1921 imprisoned for his membership in the anti British association Swadeshi. Subsequently chairing the meeting at which the Muslim League was formed, his independence activism earned him the nickname ‘Atiar Chand’.
He was the grandson of Sa’dat Ali Khan Panni, who seems to have acquired the Zamindari of Korotia in the latter part of the 19th Century. But his family history goes back hundreds of years, including the last Pashtun King of Bengal Daud Khan Karrani who was executed on the orders of the all conquering Akbar, the first of the great Mughal Emperors.
|Korotia Rajbari, Tangail|
The family of Daud’s brother, Sayeed Khan Panni, having won the favour of Aurangzeb, the 6th Mughal Emperor, was awarded an estate at Atia in Tangail, and so this distinguished family arrived in the area.
|One of the pavilions at Korotia Zamindari|
The two main pavilions of the Rajbari were built in 1899 and 1906, both splendid examples of the architecture of their time with Chinese, Islamic and neo classical influences detectable on the palace built in 1906, which is now occupied by a school.
The grandson of the great Wazid still lives in the earlier palace and is active in local affairs, as one might expect of the grandson of a man so distinguished, but whose history cannot rescue the Rajbari from its steadily advancing state of decline.
It is probable that the history of the Zaminders of Korotia is more accessible than most, not only because of the lineage and their involvement in the independence movement, but also for the considerable patronage given to enhancing the lives of the those within the influence of the zamindari, especially in the field of education through the founding of local schools and colleges.
Heading from Dhaka to Jamuna, many tourists pass close to this fascinating illustration and illumination of the rich history of Bangladesh, but sadly few are aware that only a short detour from their route would lead to discovery.