Today (August 1) is the 101st birthday of Ekushey Medal winning light peddler Palan Sarkar. He was born on this day in 1921 in the village of Nurpur Malchi in Bagatipara upazila of Natore. After the death of his father Hayat Ullah Sarkar at the age of just five months, he moved to Bausa village in Bagha upazila of Rajshahi district with his mother Maifun Nesa after finishing fourth grade. On the occasion of this day, a limited readers’ meeting and remembrance meeting has been organized at Palan Sarkar Library in Bausa village on Sunday afternoon.
His parents named him Harej Uddin Sarkar. However, from the time of birth, the mother used to call him “Palan”. Later he became known as Palan Sarkar. After fleeing to the sixth grade, the government ended its formal education. At the beginning of his career, Palan Sarkar used to collect rent from the zamindari of Nana Moin Uddin Sarkar and when the zamindari system was abolished, he got a job as a tax collector in Bausa Union in 1982. At one time, he played the role of a clown in the Jatradal and copied the manuscript of the Jatra by hand. On the other hand, he used to tell dialogues to the actors and actresses from behind the stage. This is how his addiction to reading books was awakened.
The book-loving Palan Sarkar, who became a bright beacon of illiteracy in the rural areas of Bangladesh, started a book-reading movement by buying books with his own money and delivering them from house to house. For this he was awarded the Ekushey Padak in 2011 as a state honor. In 2009, he officially established a library in his backyard. On September 20, 2014, on the occasion of ‘Impact Journalism Day’, reports on him were published in 40 different language dailies around the world. In the shadow of his life, Golam Sarwar Dodul made Eid drama ‘Abadan’ for BTV. Unilever Bangladesh Palan awarded the title of ‘White Minded Man’ to the people for creating interest in reading books by distributing books for free.
Finally, the enlightened people who left the world at home in Bausa village of Bagha upazila of Rajshahi on March 1, 2019, fled.