Saha, Ranadaprasad (1896-1971)
entrepreneur, philanthropist and patron of learning. Better known as RP
Saha, he hailed from Mirzapur under Tangail district. He was born on 15
November 1896 at his maternal uncle's house at Kachhur under Savar. Son
of Debendranath and Kumudini Saha, Ranadaprasad came of a very poor family
and could not have much education. He lost his mother at the age of seven
and in his tender age had to suffer much. He fled home to Calcutta at
the age of 16.
At the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Bengal Ambulance
Corps and went first to Iraq and then to Karachi. As reward for
his services rendered to the wounded, Ranadaprasad was commissioned
in 1916 in the newly formed Bengal Regiment. After the war was
over, he got an opportunity to meet George V. He, as war veteran
got a service in the Indian Railway department. He, however, lost
the job in 1932 and started a small business in salt and coal
in Calcutta. Out of the profit he bought a ship named 'Bengal
River'. Ranadaprasad was appointed one of the agents to buy food
grains for the Government.
He bought 3 powerhouses at Narayanganj, Mymensingh and
Comilla and owned the 'George Anderson Company' of Narayanganj that used
to make jute bales. He also started a leather business.
Ranadaprasad, now a fairly rich man, dedicated himself
to the service of the suffering humanity. During the famine,
1943 he maintained 275 gruel houses to feed the hungry for 8 months. He
established a charitable hospital at his native village Mirzapur on the
river Lauhajang. On 27 July 1944 Mr Kessy, the Governor of Bengal, formally
opened the 750-bed Kumudini Hospital.
To spread female education he founded in 1942 a fully
residential school at Mirzapur and named it 'Bharateswari Bidyapith' after
Bharateswari Devi, his grandmother. In 1945 this institution was renamed
'Bharateshwari Homes'. He also founded the 'Kumudini College' at Tangail
in 1943 and the 'Debendra College' at Manikganj in 1944 to commemorate
his mother and father respectively. Subsequently he set up the 'Mirzapur
Pilot Boys' School', 'Mirzapur Pilot Girls' School', and 'Mirzapur Degree
College'. The Maternity Wing of the Dhaka Combined Military Hospital was
established with his financial support. In appreciation of his bounteousness
the British Government conferred on RP Saha the title of 'Ray Bahadur'.
After the partition of 1947, RP Saha donated his entire
property in the name of the 'Kumudini Welfare Trust' for the realisation
of his ideal 'Education-Service-Unity-and-Peace'. On 7 May 1971 he was
killed along with his son by the Pakistani occupation army. [Mir Shamsur