Even decades later, the brutality of the violence has not gone away. The house has made its mark on the history of Bangladesh
The house stands quietly and silently—a reminder of the bloody history of August 15, 1975. The building remains shrouded in the memories of that gruesome and shocking night.
Even decades later, the brutality of the violence has not gone away. The house has made its mark on the history of Bangladesh.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman spent most of his life in this home, and from here he led the Anti-Ayub Movement of 1962, the Six-Point Movement of 1966, the general election of 1970, and the Non-Cooperation Movement leading up to the country’s struggle for independence in 1971.
The house was the centre of all of Bangabandhu’s activities, including planning activities, exchanging views with leaders and activists, and listening the grievances of the people.
Bangabandhu had prepared the framework of the historic March 7 speech at the conference table of this house. In the upstream days of 1971, local and foreign journalists had rushed to this house.
After the Liberation War, when Bangabandhu served as the president of an independent Bangladesh, he used his home as a base of operations to make decisions on running the government.
How a home became a museum
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is the daughter of Bangabandhu, returned to this home in 1981, after she was elected the President of Awami League.
Within a year of her return, Sheikh Hasina received an action notice issued against the house from the House Building Finance Cooperation. She paid the due Tk12,000 and saved her home from being auctioned off.
Later, she handed over her ancestral house to the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust. On August 14, 1994, the trust turned the house into a museum. The home became the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum, the pride of the Bangladeshi people.
What’s in the museum?
At the entrance, a poem about the life and impact of Bangabandhu greets visitors, along with his portrait.
The poem- “Jotokal robe Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Gauri bohoman, totokal robe kirti tomar Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” which roughly translates to, “As long as the rivers Padma, Meghna, Jamuna and Gauri continue to flow, the legend of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will remain alive in the hearts of the people.”
The first room of the museum features many photos of Bangabandhu—alongside his conversations and interactions with heads of state and government representatives from across the globe.
This room was previously used as a drawing room by Bangabandhu, where he held meetings with different political personalities visiting from both home and abroad.
The adjacent room was the reading room of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. During the liberation war of 1971, he drafted and released the declaration of Independence from this room.
The remnants of the black night of August 15 become painfully apparent while ascending the stairs. Blood stains on the windows, and a painting of bullet-riddled Bangabandhu, can be found here.
The bedrooms of the father of the nation, and his daughter Rehana showcase images and memorabilia related to Bangabandhu and his family members. Bangabandhu’s son Sheikh Russel’s bloodstained t-shirt, and his sports equipment, are also displayed here.
These rooms also house objects belonging to Bangabandhu, such as his glasses, diary, and tobacco pipe.
From the second to the fourth floor of the six-storey building, there are photographs depicting different periods of Bangabandhu’s life. A library and research center are housed on the fifth floor.
The museum has a book of mourning, where visitors may write about their feelings. There is also a visitor’s guide to provide people with directions.
An extended section of the museum, housed in a new building, was opened to the public in August, 2011. The new section was named after Bangabandhu’s parents “Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Sheikh Sayera Khatun Gallery.”
“I am very happy after visiting this museum, as it portrays the authentic history of our country,” said a ninth-grade student named Saba Bin Alam.
“I am proud after taking every step in this house, because our independence was declared from here. However, I am also frightened of the brutality that occurred here,” she said.
Another visitor, Ayesha Begum, 42, came from Comilla with her son to visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.
“I learned about the history of Bangladesh, and the achievements of the father of the nation. It’s not just a museum, it’s an important part of our nation—the history of our country. It is our pride,” she told the Dhaka Tribune.
She added that everyone should visit this museum at least once in their life to learn about the real history of this independent nation.
What to know before visiting
The museum is run by the state. Police and paramilitary forces are deployed around the building for security reasons.
Visitors are not allowed to bring: food, mobile phones, bags, and cameras into the museum. There is also a sales centre in the building, which has books and magazines for sale.
Schedule and tickets
Apart from Wednesday, the museum is open to visitors from 10am to 6pm for the remaining 6 days of the week. The tickets cost Tk5, and children under 3 years enter free.
The museum is located in the Dhanmondi 32 area in Dhaka. Visitors can use any public or private transportation methods to reach the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.