Nawab Faizunnesa Chowdhurani and Nawab Bari

Type: Palace
Contributed By: Nayeem


Nawab Faizunnesa Choudhurani (1834–1903) was Zamindar of Homnabad-Pashchimgaon Estate in present-day Comilla District, Bangladesh. She is most famous for her campaign for female education and other social issues. In appreciation of her social work, in 1889 Queen Victoria awarded Faizunnesa the title of “Nawab”, making her the first female Nawab in South Asia.

Early life and background: Nawab Faizunnesa Chowdhurani was born in 1834 in the village of Pashchimgaon under Laksham in the district of Comilla. Her father was Ahmed Ali Chowdhury, a descendent of the Mughal emperors and zamindar of Homnabad-Pashchimgaon estate. Faizunnessa was raised in a conservative Muslim family, where the women would maintain a strict purdah system. She received no formal education but she educated herself in her library during leisure time. She was proficient in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Bengali language. In 1860, Faizunnesa was married to a distant cousin and neighboring Zamindar, Muhammad Gazi, becoming his second wife. But the couple became separated for an unknown reason and Faizunnesa began to live with her paternal family.

Career and philanthropy: After her mother’s death in 1883, Faizunnesa inherited her property and became Zamindar of Pashchimgaon. She became increasingly involved in social work after becoming Zamindar. In 1873, Faizunnesa Choudhurani established a high school for girls in Comilla, which is one of the earliest female schools privately established in Indian subcontinent, which is now called Nawab Faizunnesa Government Girls’ High School. She also founded a school at Pashchimgaon that was later upgraded to a college and now named as Nawab Faizunnesa Degree College.

In 1893, Faizunnesa established a charitable dispensary in her village for women in purdah, particularly destitute women. She also built a hospital for women, Faizunnesa Zenana Hospital in Comilla. In addition, she built mosques and contributed towards the development of roads and ponds. Faizunnesa patronized different newspapers and periodicals, including Bandhab, Dhaka Prakash, Musalman Bandhu, Sudhakar, and Islam Pracharak. Before her death in 1903 she donated her entire property to the nation.

How to go

This spot is located in Laksam. So, after reaching at Comilla, take local buses to reach Laksam Upazila at Pashchimgaon Village. Take rickshaw to reach that place.

How To Reach: Comilla District

Comilla has excellent transport and communication system. Comilla and Dhaka are linked by both road and railway. There is also an airport in the district, but it is not currently being used.

The road distance of Comilla from Dhaka is 97 kilometers. You can take a bus from Dhaka to reach Comilla. Some of the bus services are listed below for your assistance:
1. Upakule Royal
Komolapur Bus stand
Contact: 01981-002 932, 01981-002 942
2. Tisha
Contact: 01731-217 322
Komolapur Bus stand
Contact: 01770-493 775
4. Prime Service
Hatchel Road
Contact: 02-9554496
Buses leave from Dhaka every fifteen minutes starting from 6:15am until 8pm.

Where to Stay

Some of the hotels/motels in Comilla are listed below for your assistance.
1. Ashik Residential Resthouse
Address: 186 Nazrul Avenue, Comilla
Contact: 68781

2. Hotel Abedin
Address: Station Road, Comilla
Contact: 76014

3. Hotel Noorjahan
Address: Dhaka-Chittagong Road, Comilla
Contact: 68737

4. Hotel Sonali
Address: Kandirpar Circle, Comilla
Contact: 63188

Eating Facilities

Referred to where to eat in Comilla, click here


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