It was during the anti-British imperialism movement when the name of Krishna Gopal Sen, better known as Kala Chand Babu, one of the key architects of Chattogram's socio-economic reforms, first came into prominence.
After joining leftist politics at an early age, he was tasked with establishing a cultural organisation and he went on to form a youth-based organisation called Sakti Sangha.
In the turbulent times following the partition of India in 1947, an East Bengal Cultural Conference was held at the Horikhola Maidan in 1950 under the leadership of youth leader Mahbub-ul-Alam Chowdhury.
From Kolkata, the Gananatya Sangha, led by renowned songwriter Salil Chowdhury, attended the conference, which the Muslim League threatened to foil. Under the circumstances, Kala Chand Babu was entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring peace and order at the conference, which was aimed at promoting a secular political culture. Kala Chand Babu organised a voluntary brigade of 600 members from Shanti Sangha, Chawkbazar Nowjowan Club and Agrani Sangha, which he established earlier in 1948, and made the five-day conference a grand success. He also played a vital role in establishing Prantik Nobonatya Sangha, led by Mahbub-ul-Alam in Nandankanan.
Kala Chand Babu was one of the 14 individuals who were incarcerated after the language movement on 21 February 1952. He spent ten months behind bars and was freed only after he went on a 40-day hunger strike.
After the catastrophic tidal surge in the 1960s, he rushed to the aid of the masses, who were affected in the calamity. He donated Tk1000 and tasked 10 students from the Sangha to volunteer for the relief efforts.
During the liberation war, the then Constituent Assembly Member and Awami League leader Abdullah Al Harun handed him the responsibility to serve as the administrator of Dhajanagar youth camp in India's Tripura, where a number of Awami League leaders, including former Constituent Assembly Member M Kafiuddin, were staying.
On 25 November, 1971, Kala Chand Babu built a 100-bed hospital (developed with bamboo) within four days at the directive of the Indian government and his efforts were highly praised by both the Bangladesh and Indian authorities.
Loved by Hindus and Muslims alike at the Dewanji Pukurpar area, where he grew up, Kala Chand Babu dedicated his life to the socio-cultural development of the country. After the liberation war he revived the Agrani Sangha aiming to empower the youth as cultural elites. He developed a library and established the Agrani Sangeet Shiksha Kendra. He played a leading role in the movement to save the historic Dewanji Pukur. With prominent personalities of his area he established a Sarbojonin Puja Mandap on a 9-katha area. In honour of the liberation war martyrs Kala Chand Babu built a Shaheed Minar in his locality.
Krishna Gopal Sen, the beloved Kala Chand Babu of Chattogram, was born on 24 November, 1929 at Koyepara village of the port city's Raozan Upazila. His father was Jogesh Chandra Sen and his mother was Suhashini Sen. Krishna Gopal Sen breathed his last on 4 October 2018 at the age of 90.
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