• Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:42 am

Debate on sculptures: 'Government won't take repeated provocations lightly'

  • Published at 11:20 pm November 30th, 2020
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud
File photo of Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

‘Idols and sculptures are not the same’

The government will not sit idle if provocative statements are repeatedly made about sculptures.

Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said this to the media at the secretariat on Monday. 

He said: "We have been saying this from the beginning that there is a difference between sculpture and statue. 

“A group is deliberately trying to confuse people by comparing sculptures with statues.”

“You will see sculptures in the streets of many Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia,” he added, reports UNB.

Also, numerous sculptures were set up in our country at different times, but no one raised questions about them. Even no one in Saudi Arabia sparked controversy about the art form, Hasan Mahmud said.

Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Monday said an extremist communal group is trying to spread hatred among the pious people of the country by misinterpreting Islam.

“Unexpected and motivated speeches of an extremist communal group centering the construction of sculptures of great architect of independent Bangladesh, greatest Bengali of all times Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of the ‘Mujib Year’ are a challenge to the spirit of the Liberation War and eternal culture and tradition of the country,” he said.

“They [communal group members] are trying to spread hatred among the pious people by misinterpreting the Islam,” Quader added while virtually addressing the inaugural function of the 22nd Nabin Shilpi Charukola Prodarshoni organized by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, reports BSS.

The government will resist any ill attempt of destroying religious harmony by raising religious issues, he said, adding, “You should not treat the government’s simplicity as weakness. 

“No speech will be tolerated against the Liberation War, the spirit of the Liberation War, constitution, and the state.”

Noting that the practice of art supplies food for the mind, the ruling party general secretary said the artists of the country fought in 1971 with paintbrushes and portrayed the atrocities of the Pakistani invaders on the canvas.

The artists fought for ensuring the practice and development of native culture and the flow of free mind, and breaking the circle of practicing controlled culture, Quader said, adding, “What are we seeing now? A radical communal force is out to oppose the construction of the sculpture, which is the strongest means of arts.”

Mentioning that idols and sculptures are not the same things, he said, idols are made for worship while sculptures are made for beautification.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a poet of politics, who is immortal for his speech and eloquence, the minister said.

“Bangabandhu was the artist of changing the lifestyle of the common people of the Bengal,” he added.

Bangabandhu was the bearer and carrier of Bangali culture, who established a united bridge of culture, Quader said.

'It's not up to hardliners to decide on sculptures'

Sculptures are here to stay in Bangladesh. It is not up to the Islamist radicals to decide if there will be any sculpture. The government will decide on that.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira said this to the media on Monday at the secretariat, reports UNB.

On Friday, Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Junaid Babunagari said: "All the sculptures in the country will be torn down no matter who they represent."

Fazilatun Nessa Indira said: "We see sculptures in many Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey. 

“And the hardline Islamist organizations' threat to tear down Bangabandhu's sculpture cannot be tolerated.”

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