• Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 07:20 pm

Bangabandhu, Rabindranath, Zia and others have sculptures in Bangladesh

  • Published at 01:45 am November 30th, 2020
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's
File photo of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's sculpture Dhaka Tribune

The recent events and controversies do raise the question – is this Bangabandhu sculpture the first one in the country?

The construction of a sculpture of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has recently stirred up a lot of unwanted debates.

Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Junaid Babunagari issued threats during a rally in Chittagong on Friday that all the sculptures in the country will be removed after Mawlana Mamunul Haque, the joint secretary general of the organization, publicly sparked the controversy over the matter.

Other hardline Islamist organizations of the country have also joined the debate saying that Bangladesh cannot have any sculptures as it is “against the religion of Islam.”

Meanwhile, the ruling party-affiliated organizations have taken a strict stance against such claims and said that there is no space for “communal differences in a secular Bangladesh.”

The recent events and controversies do raise the question – is this Bangabandhu statue the first one in the country?

It is quite evident that Bangladesh has had a long history of sculptures and busts being made and preserved – including political, social, and of prominent personalities and figures – all across the country.                                                   

Also Read - ‘Sculptures, idols not the same’

Construction of sculptures of Bangabandhu has increased Since 2008. But sculptures of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman were established before that. And statues of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, Fakir Lalon Shah, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Ray Bahadur Jadunath Majumdar, Begum Rokeya, Pritilata Waddedar, and many other important figures of this land were constructed and cherished long before all of these debates.

According to the information collected, one of the oldest busts in the country’s Bogra – the one of King Edward VII of England – made between 1901 and 1905.

Two statues of Rabindranath Tagore were erected in Naogaon to immortalize his memory. There is also another one of the Nobel Prize winner poet at Shilaidaha in Kuthibari of Kushtia. There is another in Shahjadpur.

Although several murals of the National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam can be seen in different parts of the country, his statues are rare to find.

A bust of the poet was established at the Bangla Academy premises in 2002, when the BNP government was in power.

Zia’s sculpture made before that of Bangabandhu

Although Islamic organizations have been resisting the construction of Bangabandhu’s sculpture, the country has had statues of BNP founder and former president Ziaur Rahman for quite some time.

The BNP founder’s sculpture was constructed in front of the Zia Memorial Museum in Chittagong on September 7, 1993 – way before anyone could make a one of Bangabandhu.

Also, Wadud Bhuiyan, a BNP MP during 2001-2005, installed another statue of Zia at the Muslimpara intersection in Khagrachhari.

In light of the recent objections and controversies over the construction of Bangabandhu’s sculpture, one thing that needs to be addressed is that full-size statues of the country’s architect have been made in different parts of the country since 2010.

Also Read - Babunagari: All statues will be torn down

A sculpture of Bangabandhu was inaugurated in front of the academic building of Gopalganj Government Bangabandhu College on March 17, 2010.

This statue  – financed solely with the donations collected by students – aimed to pay a tribute to Bangabandhu.

The Barisal Press Club unveiled a 10 feet high sculpture of Bangabandhu on 16 December 2016, 45 years after independence, to honour the great leader.

The Rangamati Hill District Council has also built a statue of Bangabandhu – taking inspiration from his iconic and historic March 7 speech – in Rangamati. It was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 23 February 2013.

Besides, sculptures of Bangabandhu can be seen in Narayanganj, Jhenaidah, Comilla, Manikchari of Khagrachari, Gazipur Safari Park among other places. 

Meanwhile, two more statues of the great leader are under construction in Rangpur and Narsingdi.

Besides, statues of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu can be seen erected in the open spaces of various intersections, parks, and in both public and private spaces of different parts of the country.

Although the four national leaders and heroes of the country’s Liberation War – Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain Mansur Ali, and AHM Quamruzzaman – have huge portraits and murals of them in their native places.

Sculptures of prominent figures of this land

Several sculptures and busts have been made of Fakir Lalon Shah in Chheuria of Kushtia. Also, a handful of busts and a full-size statues of the great poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt can be seen in Sagardari village of Keshabpur upazila of Jessore.

A sculpture of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain – the pioneer of women emancipation, social reform, and progressive struggle in this land – was constructed in Mithapukur of Rangpur, her birthplace.

A statue of Pritilata Waddedar, the first female martyr of Bengal in the anti-British movement, was erected in front of the European Club at Pahartali in Chittagong.

When contacted, renowned sculptor Hamiduzzaman Khan, said: “There are sculptures in every country. There are many of them in the Arab land as well. These must be seen as a form of art.”

“A writer composes literature, painters draw pictures, sculptors make sculptures. If one sees all these as they are, the matter becomes easy.

“We keep portraits of a person to show respect, it has to be seen in that light,” he added.

Mentioning that sculptures are made in an attempt to keep the one we respect among us for a long time, he said: "Thinking it this way makes things easier, and there remain no more controversies.

“If you look at them [sculptures] as art, it becomes very beautiful.”

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