Nazmul Abedin Kanto, a teacher of Chandpur Government Technical High School, puts a great effort into conserving and protecting heritages, which are becoming extinct.
Currently, the museum set up by him has more than 2,000 items of 300 types of heritages.
He has been collecting items from different parts of Bangladesh and different countries in Asia for 33 years and conserved those in a part of the house which is named Cumilla Museum. It is located in Mogbari Chaumuhani area in Cumilla city.
In early 2021, a seven-member team, led by the then director of the Department of Archaeology (Cumilla region), visited the museum as per the direction of the cultural affairs ministry. The ministry then decided to provide a licence for the museum.
If licenced, it will be the second private museum in Bangladesh.
The museum has a British-era fan weighing 32 kilogrammes, hijack lamp, Koler gaan, British-era ax, gaiti, giant copper pot, sedimentary rock, Pharaoh-Cleopatra mummy, gramophone record, wheel, pickle, brass hookah, hundreds of years old silver coins, British period watch, camera, buttons; Chikka, Buddhist prayer wheel, coins of 93 different countries, singing bawl, lock of Gautam Buddha's time, bronze pot, various musical instruments, etc.
How the museum was built
In 1988, Nazmul Abedin was then an 8th grade student of Cumilla District School. At that time, he used to collect antique items from his grandparents. At one point, he saw the museum getting bigger.
After completing his post-graduation from Cumilla Victoria Government College, he took a job as an assistant teacher at Cumilla District High School.
During the holidays, he travels to India, Bhutan, Nepal, Malaysia and Thailand to collect items that are disappearing. Besides, he traveled from one district to another in Bangladesh to collect lost items.
He has suffered a lot in collecting these things because people do not want to give their heritages easily. He collects these items from people in the hope that these will be preserved in the museum. So far, he has bought items worth around Tk20 lakh.
Among the collected items, the copper pot had to be collected at the highest price. In 2017, he collected the pot, weighing 20 kilograms, from Chandpur at a cost of Tk15,000. Besides, the teacher has collected a lock of the Gautam Buddha-era in 2005 from a place near the India-Nepal border.
Nazmul thinks the three most important heritages in the museum are Dheki, traditional rice crasher, a boat made of the palm tree and the palanquin, a traditional bridal carriage.
He said, "We, our ancestors, used palanquins in marriages. Mothers and sisters used to break rice in Dheki. Our ancestors used palm tree-made boats as the main means of transportation."
"These are on the verge of extinction before our eyes. But no one feels the need to save all this."
Nazmul said through a visit to the museum, the lost tradition will re-emerge before the eyes of the new generation. Through this museum, there is an opportunity to gain a very good knowledge about the monarchy, those days of the British period, the struggling life of our ancestors, the traditions of different parts of the country.
"Now it is a museum. I will get the license soon. If I could find a good place, I could open the museum to the visitors," he also said.
Cumilla City Corporation Mayor Monirul Hoque Sakku said, "I have visited the museum. It's a laudable initiative taken by teacher Nazmul Abedin. I will arrange a place for the museum."