By Mizanur Rahman, Dhaka
There should never be any resentment if a private establishment is installed and named whatever its owner thinks suitable. But the situation is different when an establishment is created by the state. In such a case we would always anticipate that it will be named after those who are widely respected by people. For example, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, Nawab Salimullah, Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Sher-e-Bangla etc.
I, therefore, propose to the caretaker government to immediately change the names of institutions and establishments which smack of party politics.
From Ahsanullah Engineering College (AEC) to BUET
By Anas Khwaja, NY
Name Change in 1962: In order to create facilities for postgraduate studies and research, Ahsanullah Engineering College was upgraded to the status of a University on the 1st of June 1962 and was named East Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology (EPUET). In 1971, the university was renamed as the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
Background History: Engineering education The history of engineering education in Bangladesh dates back to 1876 when the Dhaka Survey School was founded at Nalgola (west of Salimullah Medical College) in a rented building to train surveyors for the government of Bengal in British India. From 1897 it started to offer sub-overseer course.
On the 22nd of July 1902 Sir John Woodburn Lt Gov of Bengal laid cornerstone of Engineering School. In order to facilitate and promote education of the Muslims, Nawab Khwaja Salimullah donated 1.12 lac Rupees in 1902 for the upgrading, development and expansion of this institution that had been promised by his father Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah.Starting from 1905, a three-year overseer course in area of Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering was offered in the school.
In 1906 the school building was constructed at government initiative near the present Shahidullah Hall of Dhaka University. Even a few years ago a tall chimney that existed at this location used to bear testimony to this institution. In recognition of the generous financial contribution from Nawab Salimullah, it was named Ahsanullah Engineering School (AES) in 1908, after his father Khawja Ahsanullah. It moved to its present premises in 1912 or in 1920 (date varies). Initially the school was affiliated with Dhaka College and later it was brought under the Director of Public Instruction. A.S.E. was one of the top rated engineering schools in the British India.
After World War II the government took up large-scale plans for industrial development in Bengal. A government appointed committee made recommendations for establishing an Engineering College at Dhaka. They also recommended that the Ahsanullah Engineering School should be shifted to the site of the Plasssey Barracks.
In August 1947, the School was upgraded to Ahsanullah Engineering College as a Faculty of Engineering under the University of Dhaka, offering four-year bachelor’s courses in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and finally declared a full fledged university in 1962 with a new name -EPUET.
Conclusion: What triggered the authority to drop Nawab Ahsanullah’s name from EPUET or BUET. What purpose did the new name serve at that time? Whatever the ambiguous reason was, the name change surely undermines the legacy and the contribution of the Dhaka Nawab Family. In the light of the case mentioned below I would like to add that it is never late to fight to restore the well deserve name back.
“The Dhaka High Court in May 26 2004 ordered the government and the Dhaka University authorities to add the word “Muslim” with the name “Salimullah Hall” of the University of Dhaka.The order came upon a writ petition filed by Rakib Uddin Ahmed, a former student of Salimullah Hall, challenging the decision of Dhaka University authorities to pen through word “Muslim” from the name “Salimullah Muslim Hall”.A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Joinul Abedin and Justice Sharif Uddin Chaklader also declared illegal the decision taken by the Dhaka University authorities to strike off the word “Muslim”. – Independent, 26 May”