Meet a man whose kitchen is in India, bed room in Bangladesh

By Zaidul Haque,,

Kolkata/Bangaon: Rejaul Mondal (65), is a permanent resident of Boyra Uttar Para village under the Baghda Block of North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal and is a citizen of India. But his Kitchen is in India and bed room in Bangladesh. Don’t be puzzled for it is a reality!

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Local people know him as citizen of `India-Bangladesh’ and Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Border Guard Bangladesh know Rejaul Mondal as resident of 39/11S Pillar.

Meet a man whose kitchen is in India, bed room in Bangladesh

The partition of the country in 1947 had divided many families, but the story of Rejaul is most intriguing. His house is right on the border and is divided between India and Bangladesh.

Rejaul Mondal was born in India and his father, grandfather were all born in this part of the country that is present India. According to Mondal, his family belonged to the village elite, but they lost most of the properties, including land in partition. He is now left only with 16 Bighas land, half of which is in India and the other half in the neighbouring Bangladesh. What is even more interesting is that he pays land revenue in both the countries. For years he use to cultivate his land in Bangladesh and bring back crops to India, after going through proper document verification by security agencies of both countries to prove that he is an Indian citizen. However, the border security forces are stricter now and he is unable to bring back crops, as his field is on the other side of the wired-fences.

Every time Mondal needs to visit his field on the other side of the fences, he has to deposit his Voter Identity card at the local BSF check post and thus his free-movement is restricted in his own land.

On the other side of the North Boyra village, beyond wired fences is Gadadharpur village of Bangladesh. Gadadharpur village is under the sub-district of Chougacha of Jessore district of Bangladesh. According to paper records of Gadadharpur, Rejaul Mondal is marked as resident of that village too, since he pays revenues and taxes there.

Rejaul Mondal told TCN that, last year he paid the tax amount of Rupees 100 to the Swarupdaha Union Parishad of Bangladesh.

Narrating the interesting story of his ‘divided house’ between India and Bangladesh, he told TCN that surveys were done thrice in the border area and each time, they decided that my home is right at the border and hence in between my house “39/11S Pillar” was erected. Consequently his house got divided between two countries, and thus while his bed-room is now in Bangladesh, his kitchen, along with rice yard and cow shed fell in India.

Pointing to his dilapidated house, Mondal says that he is not allowed to even rebuild a concrete house in its place.

There are about 60 families living in the Boyra Uttarpara village, but they all are ‘full’ residents of India, and only Mondal’s house is right at the border. The yard outside his house is on Indian soil, and the local Boyra Grampanchayet levelled it by putting layers of soil cut from Mondal’s land in Bangladesh.

Rejaul Mondal has no qualms though and is a satisfied man. He has four sons – Yarul, Amirul, Habibur and Hafizur and two daughters – Marjina and Selina. Youngest Hafizur has got job in West Bengal Police.

Asked if they ever thought of settling in Banlgadesh, wife of Hafizur Aleya Mondal says that they are happy here, and living peacefully and has no plans to settle in the neighbouring country. Rejaul nodded his head in agreement, adding, as ‘half’ resident both of India and Pakistan, he feels, he can become a symbol of brotherhood between the two neighbours.