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Travels of Tagore

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Between 1878 and 1932, Tagore visited more than 30 countries on five continents; many of these trips were crucial in familiarising non-Indian audiences with his works and spreading his political ideas. In 1912, he took a sheaf of his translated works to England, where they impressed missionary and Gandhi protégé Charles F. Andrews, Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, Robert Bridges, Ernest Rhys, Thomas Sturge Moore, and others. Indeed, Yeats wrote the preface to the English translation of Gitanjali, while Andrews joined Tagore at Santiniketan.


Seven Icons of History at Dhaka

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Bangladesh was liberated in 16 December 1971 , after a decisive nine months of War of Liberation against the oppressive rule of the then Pakistani Military Rulers. Therefore, December is the month of Bijoy (Liberation). Many statues and sculptures were built all over the country to mark our glorious Liberation War. There are a good number of beautiful statues and sculptures at Dhaka that speak of the history.

Shahid Minar : The Shahid Minar was erected in memory of the Martyrs of Language Movement. Peoples of Bangladesh honour this sculpture as the prime sign of love and dedication of their mother tongue. The Language Movement, which culminated in 21 February 1952, was later turned into the movement of self-emancipation and War of Liberation in 1971. Recently, UNESCO declared February 21, as the International Mother Language Day. Architect Hamidur Rahman designed the structure

National Memorial :
Seven pointed L-shaped concrete structures with variable heights and widths are sequentially placed to look like a huge 153 feet high pointed triangle that seems splayed out at the base from the front. Built in the middle of a spread of an 84-acre area, designed by the architect Abdur Rashid, it includes the original mass grave, the early bhittiprastar (foundation stone), helipads, a parking lot, a stretch of wall for mural and gardens. Seven harmonious structures correspond to 52, the year of the Language Movement, the dates of freedom and independence days, respectively 16 and 25 (when the two digits are added it is number 7).

Aparajeyo Bangla : Aparajeyo Bangla is the reflection of the student movements that helped shape a political culture of dissent that culminated into movements and lastly resulted in the freedom struggle. The Dhaka University Students' Union, DCSU and the University authority joined hands to give the spirit of liberation a physical and symbolic shape. The sculpture now stands at 17 and half feet in concrete structure, including the height of the base. Syed Abdullah Khalid, the sculptor who built the first national monument argues, “There are monuments recognised and built by the government, and there are monuments that are build by the people, mine is of the second kind.”

Swoparjito Shadhinota : Built in 1988 by an eminent architect Shamim Shikder the small but elegant sculpture depicts the struggle of the Liberation War and the surrender of Oppressive army. The sculpture is situated in a small island in front of Teachers' Students Centre of Dhaka University.

Rayerbazar Badhabhumi Smritishoudha : Built by two friends Farid Uddin Ahmed and Md. Jami Al Shafi, the Rayerbazar Memorial is a homage to the intellectual martyrs. It was completed in 1999. Alongside the sporadic killing that took place, at the last moment of the war, when there was only two days left to the surrender of the Pakistan force, the collaborators, the local quislings gave the wholesale killing by the army a final and freaky touch. They implemented their master plan to wipe out the intellectuals who had the courage to stand against them while not leaving the country.

Martyred Intellectual Memorial : During the whole nine months struggle, the Pakistan Armed Forces with its collaborators started annihilating intellectuals of the country so the backbone of the country can be crushed. Specifically, on the nights of 14 and 15 December, the collaborators killed more that a few hundreds (total figures could not be ascertained) of doctors, professors, journalists, social workers, politicians and other intelligentsias. Their decomposed bodies were found at the brickfield at Rayer Bazar. A very sullen and solemn structure was built at the site.

Shikha Anirban : Shikha Anirban is situated inside Dhaka Cantonment. It was situated in memory of the members of the Armed Forces, who laid their lives in the War of Independence. A very simple but solemn structure has a flame burning at the centre.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 21:51

Lalbagh Fort: A Mughal archaeological relic at Dhaka

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Lalbagh Fort or Fort Aurangabad, is an incomplete Mughal palace fortress at Dhaka on the river Buriganga in the southwestern part of the old city. The river has now gone further south and flows at quite a distance from the fort. Though in eighteenth century more than half of this east-west oblong fortress touched the water of the river on its south and southwestern sides.

The construction of the fort was commenced in 1678 AD by prince Muhammad Azam during his 15 month long vice-royalty of Bengal, but before he could complete the work, he was recalled by Aurangzeb. His successor, Shaista Khan did not continue the work, though he stayed in Dhaka up to 1688. His daughter Bibi Pari (Lady Fairy) died here in 1684 and this led him to consider the fort to be ominous.

The fort was considered to be a combination of three buildings (the mosque, the tomb of Bibi Pari and the Diwan-i-Aam), two gateways and a portion of the partly damaged fortification wall. In the present fort area of 18 acres, excavations have revealed remains of 26/ 27 structures with elaborate arrangements for water supply, sewerage, roof gardens, and fountains. Renovation work by the Archaeology Department has now put Lalbagh Fort in a much-improved shape and has now become an interesting spot for tourists and visitors. Of the three surviving gateways, the southern one is the most imposing. Seen from the front it is a three storeyed structure with a fronton, bordered with slender minarets. From inside it gives the impression of a two storeyed structure. The gateway on the northeast is a much smaller and simpler structure.

The southern fortification wall, runs westward from the South Gateway, went up to the huge bastion in the southwestern corner of the fort. The fortification ran northward and then it is lost. On the northern side of the southern fortification were placed utility buildings, such as the stable, the administrative block, and its western part accommodated a beautiful roof-garden with arrangements for fountains and a water reservoir. The residential part was located on the eastern side of the western fortification, mainly to the south-west of the mosque, where the remains of a sewerage line have been found. The southern fortification is a twin wall, the outer one is about 6.10m high and 1.37m thick, while the inner one is 13.72m high with same thickness. The two are solid up to the height of 6.10m and there are regular openings in the upper part of the inner wall.

The fortification wall on the south had 5 bastions at regular intervals and the western wall had 2 bastions. Among the 7 bastions the biggest one is near the main southern gate at the back of the stable, which occupies the area to the west of the gateway. The bastion had an underground tunnel. Among the five bastions of the southern fortification the central one was single storeyed, the rest are double storeyed structures. The central one contains an underground room with veranda on three sides, and it can be approached either from the riverside or from its roof. The double-storeyed bastion at the southwestern corner of the fort was possibly a Hawakhana, with a water reservoir on its roof. Two lines of terracotta pipes have been found, which connected all establishments of the fort with this reservoir. Extra-strong terracotta pipelines made with double pipes, one inside the other, have been uncovered in the area between the Hammam and the tomb of Bibi Pari.

The central area of the fort there are the Diwan-i-Aam and the Hammam on its east, the mosque on the west and the tomb of Bibi Pari in between the two - in one line. A water channel with fountains at regular interval connect the three buildings from east to west and two similar channels run from south to north, one through the middle of the ground in between the Diwan-i-Aam and the tomb forming a square tank with fountains at the intersection with the east-west channel, and the other from the water reservoir passing through the bottom of the tomb. The water channels and the fountains, a very common feature of Mughal architecture, set an atmosphere not very unlike north Indian Mughal forts. A big square water tank, placed in front of the Diwan-i-Aam and in between the southern and northern gateways, adds to the beauty of the building. There are four corner stairs to descent into the tank.

The double storeyed Diwan-i-Aam attached with a single storeyed Hammam on its west is an imposing building. The Hmmam complex includes an open platform, a small kitchen, an oven, water storage area, a masonry brick bath-tub, a toilet, a dressing room and an extra room. The Hammam portion has an underground room for boiling water and a passage for sweepers. A long partition wall runs north-south along the western facade of the Hammam dividing the whole fort area into two divisions.

The building in the middle, the tomb of Bibi Pari, is the most impressive of the surviving buildings of the fort. Eight rooms surround a central square room, containing the mortal remains of Bibi Pari, which is covered by a false dome, octagonal in shape, and wrapped by brass plate. The entire inner wall of the central room was covered with white marble, while the four side central rooms had stone skirting up to a height of one metre. The wall in the four corner rooms was skirted with beautiful glazed floral tiles. The tiles have recently been restored; two of the original tiles have been retained. The southeastern corner room contains a small grave, popularly known to be of Shamsad Begum, possibly a relative of Bibi Pari. The Lalbagh Fort Mosque is a three-domed mosque with a water tank in front (on the eastern side) for ablution.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 21:52



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