Written by Fayza Haq for Daily Star
Published On: 2008-06-19
Rabiul Hossain, poet and architect, speaking at the programme “Dhaka Amar Dhaka”, held on June 17 at Bengal Gallery Café, said, “Dhaka as a capital city was established in 1610, to protect Bengal from the invading Portuguese pirates.” He said that our different traditional melas could be celebrated with more fervor in the following two years as Dhaka turns 400 years old. He added that our problems should be pointed out to the city’s policy makers.
Sagor Lohani said, “Dhaka definitely needs to be improved. We should take pride in it as people have done while celebrating 300 years of Kolkata. Local poets and artists have been drawn to help in this project.” “The celebrations,” Lohani said, “will begin in July this year with a carnival that will begin from Bahadur Shah Park and end at the Parliament building premises. This will include palanquins, horse-drawn carriages and traditional costumes. There will also be elephants, bajra (large boats) and a railway engine model.”
Lohani said the project hoped to print books on poems, paintings, photographs and other aspects of lifestyle pertaining to Dhaka. They also plan to have painting, fashion and photographic exhibitions along with a book fair and food festival.
Another noted artist, Murtaja Baseer said that he has been in Dhaka since his birth, like many others, and misses the beauty that he saw around him in his childhood. “In his youth,” Baseer said, “Dholaikhal was like some canal in Venice. Places like Noyabazar and Bangshal were once places of leisure. Dhaka, to me, is dying.”
Faiz Ahmed, journalist and writer, said, “To me Dhaka is more beautiful than Kolkata, London or San Francisco. However, it has not flourished, as it should have due to political reasons, in my belief. There have been people in the past like individuals from the Dhaka Nawab Bari who have contributed to its expansion.” “The British set up some schools and places of education but little else; after Partition, the growth in Dhaka was only at a provincial level,” said Faiz Ahmed.