BRIEF HISTORY OF BAWALI MONDAL FAMILY

At the very outset it may be recalled that the historical account about the mondal family is so far traceable Basudeb Ram who was an influential official of the Mughal Army probably that was the period of Emperor Akbar.

Basudebv’s Son Radheshyam took ‘Sanyas’ living behind his only son Shobha Ram who was actually a resident of Basantpur – a village of nadia District but as demanded by the profession he had to shift to village of Chandipur to oversee administrative job of a huge area centering around Budge Budge of 24 Parganas District on behalf of the Crown. Both Sobha Ram’s son Meghnaad and Grand son Raja Ram also holding high offices under the Regency.

Once Raja Ram had been able to put down insurgency at different parts of Bengal and also drove away the infamous ‘Bargi Hungama’ with sheer intelligence and valour and in appreciation he was rewarded with the ‘Royal Charter’ empowering them to exercise full control over fifteen villages namely Bawali, Budge–Budge, Kalinagar, Saheban Bagicha, Chakmanik, etc. as Mondal – the title of sub-ruler and therefrom the family has been bearing the Mondal Title.

This is the first time they were bestowed with the real dignity by the Moghal Royalty as well as the Nawab of Bengal.

Harananda Mondal, the grand son of Raja Ram fathered by Dasarath Ram was the most glorious successor who heightened the status of the family by acquiring great fortune by his business acumen as well as efficient ‘Land Reforms’ yielding good harvest as well as optimum revenue from the huge land holding comprising of Four Parganas e.g., Balia, Magura, Muragacha etc., on which he expanded “Zamindary” about two hundred seventy five years ago during the transition period between the Mughal Empire and British Rule.

It is hearsay that he was very pious as well as religious. He was also very compassionate with his tenants and subhordinates. It is also conveyed from generation to generation that during sleep on receipts of a divine ‘Oracle’ he constructed a temple where the deity Sri Sri Radhakanta jiu was installed probably in 1772 A.D. location Maheswarpur. This was the first temple raised by the Mondals. The name of the mason was Subal Chandra Mistry. In the following years an array of Vishnu Temple were built at different places by the descendants of which a brief account being placed in the following notes :-

a) Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Jui Temple. A nine-domed temple – huge structure bearing marvelous architecture laced with sprawling Nut Mandir with full flooring of costly marbles and Italian ‘Carar’ stones. This was built in 1799 A.D.
Name of mason : Ramkanai Mistry and his sibling Baburam Mistry
Location : Maheswarpur (Bawali)
Founder : Manick Chandra Mondal

b) 2nd Radhakanta Jui Temple
Location : Saha Nagar Tollygunge, Kolkata Raised by Ramnath elder to Manick
Year : 1796 A.D.
This is also a nine domed temple with good architecture.

c) Rashmancha of Sri Sri Gopinath jui
Raised by manick
Location : Bawali
Mason : Kalicharan

d) Radhaballab Jui and Sridhar Jui’s Temple
Founder : Ramkamal
Year : 1859 A.D.
Location : Bawali

e) 2nd Radhaballabh Jui Temple
Founder : krishnacharan
Year : 1813 A.D.
Location : Kachbagan near bakhrahat.

f) Shyamsundar Temple
Founder : Pyarilal Mondal
Location : Bawali
Probable Year : 1863 A.D.

It was a huge opulent structure bearing beautiful art work with full marble flooring but regret to mention that this temple has been destroyed and flattened by the miscreants taking advantage of the family’s inaction and callousness.

In this connection it may please be further noted that the above Deity had a huge Zemandari including entire Birlapur – (Erstwhile – Shyamganj in the name of the Deity).

g) Gopalji Temple
Location : Maheswarpur (Bawali)

h) Gopalji Temple
Location : Maheswarpur (Bawali)

i) Raj Rajeswar Temple (Lord Shiva)
Location : Bawali

j) Sri Sri Chandimata Temple
Location : Bawali

-: TOLLUGUNGE TEMPLE :-

a) Madan Mohanji Temple
Raised by Uday Narayan probably about 180 years ago.

b) A cluster of 12 Shiva Mandir

Special Notes : Mpst of the temple had been astutely constructed with ‘Terracotah’ art and magnificent architecture and marble floorings.

-: CHARIOT :-

It was a magnificent piece of Wooden Work adorned with a huge number of art work. It was thirteen domed much larger in height and width than that of the present Sri Sri Gopinathji Temple which means about 120 Ft. high and 70 Ft wide.

It was the biggest Chariot in India in all dimensions but now nonexistent. It used to require approximately 3 to 4 thousand people to pull the Chariot tugged with about 100 M. Tons of iron Chains.

In respect of the above temples and Deities harananda and his successors brought about 150 Nos. of Brahmin with their families from Mithila and they were given sufficient quantum of rent-free land.

It is unfortunate that no protagonist emerged to help steer the family restore the resilience.

They lived like marsupial creatures gyrated with old perception and culture without any redeeming feature basking in the stale glory of the past and engaged in family feuds and in – fights which has ultimately reduced them to most commoner or less than that. The old temples and land-mark palaces of Heritage value are getting dilapidated and ruined though the family had a great potential and huge land holdings of approximately 3 lacs acres.

Though of course the Mondals had a lot of good features :

In almost all the places there Zemindari was stretched or expanded they built good Roads, dug huge water-bodies. In that period of scarcity of good drinking water, the water bodies dug by them were the real boons for the Common people.

Vices like moral turpitude, addiction to alcohol, horse-baiting or other gambling very few people were negligibly involved.

On the contrary they were more plunged into religious festivities, cultural functions but indifferent to estate administration blindly depending upon Tehsildars, Gomasta or other subordinates though some of the scions had real grit and individually prospered.

-: SPECIAL NOTES:-

a) the original name of village Bawali was Santoshpur within the Sundarban area. A community named ‘Bauli’ was there who used to worship ‘Bonbibi’ or collect honey from the forest. After the name of the community ‘bauli’ the cillages name was given by the Mondals as Bawali.

b) The Mondal Family (Ram Family) is given to understand that about 700 years before came down to Bengal from uttarpradesh along the river Saraju in pursuit of fortune.

-: CONCLUSION :-

Still at this 21st Century without losing heart one can dream it possible with the buoyancy of ‘The Audacity of Hopes’ for the partial Ressurection of the family-glory if any Towering Personality within or outside the family comes up with the Romanticism of positive and conducive approach to life.

Because of so many Vishnu Temple and Deities Bawali had a 2nd name ‘Gupt Vridaban’ or the 2nd Vrindaban.

-: PALACES :-

1ST palace : panchavatika at maheswarpur about 300 years old. Some remains are still there.

2nd Udanarayan Palace is the landmark of bawali having two large court yeards. The larger one was used as Tebbis Play groung and smaller one were being used for social as well as Ritual Ceremonies probably built about 190 years ago. The massive as well as opulent building has a Gothic Structure attracting people through the ages.

3rd one is Nabakishore palace built in a sprawling area surrounded by large greenery and a huge square tank reflecting the Fort-like edifice with two lions upholding a large crown. But the half portion has been demolished and hence lost the beauty.

4th Palace Sarkari Bari : Massive Structure with large Court Yards : Space was so huge that Opera Drama or other cultural function used to take place there It was also spectacular but now flattened.

5th Palace : Gopikishore House : Nice and spectacular.

6th Palace : Rajkishore House with splendid statue with Greek Art but in Indian attire.

Jaltungi or Cottage on the water : A round shaped house with coloured glass panes raised in the middle of huge tank connected with a bridge surrounded by sprawling archaed with sea of greenery.

-:SPECIAL FEATURES :-

In all the above palaces / Buildings / Temple mortar was used : lime and ground bricks ‘Surki’

Lime : Collected from burnt water-shells. No cement was used, probably Cement was not invented that time but the strength and durability of the mortar is unquestionable since it is still strong through the ages. Particularly plaster made of lime and sand is unquestionably marvelous with the surface layer called ‘Ponch’ is still refulgent and durable through the century without any retouch or refurbishment.

‘Ponch’ : A miraculous solution made of shell-lime mixed with ample quantity of Egg yolk and some other costly ingredients.

-: FESIVALS :-

  • Rashmela
  • Doljatra
  • Jhulan Purnima
  • Rathayatra
  • Gostho Mela

The above ceremonial function used to be held with so pomp and grandeur that scores of people even from distant places were drawn to visit and enjoy.

-: EDUCAITIONAL ACTIVITIES :-

About 180 years ago the first school of primary education was founded and a few years later upgraded to Middle English School and subsequently uplifted to Secondary High School in the year 1899 and students from far-off places used to take admission here and many of them were patronized by the Mondals with free lodging and Boarding who were established at later period.

Now a good number of scions of the family is in miserable state due to the financial crunch caused by the abolition of Zemindari System and subsequent land qcquisition by the Govt. aided by the lack of far-sight. Failed to comply with the changing socio-economic scenario.