The Abhaynagar land office in Jessore is not your average government office. Besides offering the upazila’s 262,000 residents hassle-free services, it also provides free lessons on the Liberation War history.
The once empty and unused patches of land within the office’s vicinity now showcase more than 50 historical photos and sculptures depicting the Bangali's struggle for freedom and the horror unleashed by the Pakistani occupation force on the people of Jessore in 1971.
The concept is the brainchild of Abhaynagar’s new Assistant Commissioner of Land, Mondip Gharai, who took charge last month.
"I have a deep emotional connection to Jessore," he said. "My father Ranjit Kumar Gharai was Abhaynagar’s UNO. He took part in the Liberation War from Jessore."
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The land office showcases more than 50 historical photos and sculptures depicting the Bangalis struggle for freedom DHAKA TRIBUNE
Mondip's colleagues were as excited as him when he told them about his long-cherished idea to inform the people, particularly the new generation, about the nation's struggle for freedom.
But funding was the main obstacle. He roped in the district administration and contributed from his own pocket to make the project a reality. His initiative won accolades from all quarters. Jessore's Deputy Commissioner Humayun Kabir opened the "Swadhinata Angan" on April 11.
"Jessore was the first district to be freed from Pakistani occupation. As the son of a freedom fighter, I felt the urge to tell everyone, particularly the young, about our glorious Liberation War," Mondip tells the Dhaka Tribune.
Mondip, who studied English at Jahangirnagar University, worked for Prothom Alo and hosted his own show at the Independent TV before joining the civil service through the 31st BCS.
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Jessore's Deputy Commissioner Humayun Kabir opened the "Swadhinata Angan" on April 11 DHAKA TRIBUNE
Since coming to Abhaynagar, he has brought sweeping changes, much to the delight of the people, by banning brokers and making himself available for everyone.
Despite limitations, he has introduced e-attendance and e-filing systems, a mistake board, a free WiFi zone and brought the office under CCTV surveillance. He also set up a prayer room on the office premises, a waiting room for women and a public toilet.
The land office recently launched a hotline to provide information over phone. Before this, people had to go to the office to enquire about minor issues.
"I intend to serve the people wholeheartedly," Mondip said. "I am working tirelessly with my colleagues to transform this land office into a transparent and people-friendly one."