The Legend of Bakarkhani

Nazir Hossain, a local of Dhaka gives an interesting story about naming of Bakarkhani in his book “Kingbadantir Dhaka.” The story goes in 1700 A.D. when Murshid Quli Khan came to eastern Bengal after obtaining the title ‘Dewan’ (chief officer), he brought along with him Aga Bakar Khan as a small boy. Aga Bakar grew up as a great warrior and during the reign of Nawab Shiraj-ud-Doula held a crucial role in the then Bengal politics. Aga Bakar was appointed the commander of military forces in the Chittagong district and his amour was a ‘nartaki’ (dancer) of Arambag called ‘Khani Begum’. However, Ujir-e-ala (minister) Jahandar Khan’s wicked son Kotwal Jainul Khan also had an eye for Khani Begum. One day jainul Khan attempted to take away Khani Begum by force. Learning this Aga Bakar went hastily for her rescue. There was a fight and Jainul Khan fled. A rumour spread that after assassinating Jainul, Aga Bakar had hidden his dead body. Both Khani Begum and Aga Bakar were arrested and taken to Murshid Quli’s court. As neutral judge Murshid Quli Khan gave the death sentence to Aga Bakar and put in the cage of a tiger. He fought valiantly with the animal for his life and eventually succeeded in killing it and escape. On the other hand, Jainul abducted Khani and fled to the forests of South-East Bengal. In search of Khani Begum, Aga Bakar Khan headed towards ‘Chandradip’ accompanied by his commander Kala Gazi. When Jainul saw that he had no hope for survival he plunged his sword into Khani Begum’s chest and Aga Bakar reached the spot only to find his beloved dying. After the death of Khani Begum, Aga Bakar almost lost his mind. He stayed in Chandradip which he eventually took under his possession besides Selimabad and Buzurg Umidpur (Bakarganj named after Baker presently in Barisal). On Murshid Quli Khan’s order, Aga Bakar had to wed to a respectable Shia family who gave birth to two sons Aga Sadek and Mirza Mehdi. Aga Baker was subsequently killed in a battle by his conspirators; his mutilated body was buried in old Dhaka in the field Aga Sadeq Maidan. Though Aga Bakar got married, he never forgot Khani Begum, and this he proved by naming the specially prepared bread 'bakar-khani’ roti thus making his love a part of legend.