5 Indians in Bangladesh | Dhaka | Day 1 | Beautiful Bangladesh

5 Indians in Bangladesh | Dhaka | Day 1 | Beautiful Bangladesh


From childhood, I have heard stories from
Grand Parents, Uncle & Aunts about how their lives were in Bangladesh before the partition. After Partition during 1947, my Grand Parents
shifted to West Bengal with families. Currently, my profession involves working
with people from Bangladesh Textiles and Garments field. I have made many friends over time. Finally the chance came. We five people, me with my parents and family
friends will be travelling across Bangladesh, to know and experience the country in depth,
to relive the history and to pay homage to the great minds who nurtured Bengal. Bangladesh is the home of my forefathers. The land of Bengali Language, the Land of
Rivers, the land of Nature and Royal Bengal Tigers. The country with the longest Sea beach and
the largest Mangrove forest in the world. The Land of rich Literature, Music, Culture
and Heritage and Festivals. Once a part of Vanga Kingdom, Once a part
of Nanda, Gupta & Pala Empire, Once a part of Delhi Sultanate & Bengal Sultanate, the
first independent, unified Bengal. Once a part of Mughal Empire, and once ruled
under Nawabs of Bengal. Once a part of earstwhile British India and
once a part of Pakistan and finally, proudly, The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. During British India, notable personalities
of Bengal Renaissance played a pivotal role in the anti-colonial movement. It suffered man made famines & riots. But emerged as a land of courage and sacrifice,
A land of defiance and humility. It is a land of agriculture such as Rice & Jute,
a Land of Textiles like Muslin, Cotton, Silk, Ready Made Garments and Leather goods. It has been a land of Ship building, Voyages
and Overseas trade. Bangladesh is one of world’s oldest Tea industries,
and is a major exporter of Fish and Seafood. A land of Natural gas and Pharmaceuticals
industry. During the Mughal era, Bengal Subah generated
12% of the world’s GDP, larger than the entirety of western Europe. Bengal had the largest GDP in the British
Raj. Bangladesh has come a long way and emerged
as a world’s 39th largest economy, which ranks second in South Asia after India. Bangladesh is also one of the world’s fastest-growing
economies. Bangladesh also has social enterprises, including
the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank and BRAC (the world’s largest NGO). Bangladesh is a member of the various international
organisations such as UN, WTO, IMF, The World Bank, ADB, OIC, IDB, SAARC, BIMSTEC and the
IMCTC. The country currently continues to face challenging
problems, including Poverty, Corruption, Terrorism, Illiteracy, and inadequate Public Healthcare. But as always, wish it will rise above all
adversities, like a Water lily rises above the water. We arrived at our Guest House at Sanskriti
Bikash Kendra Bhaban. Selim, my friend in Bangladesh, welcomed us
and arranged two cars to give us the first day tour of the famous city of Dhaka. This is the Buriganga River, the very lifeblood
of both this City and the Nation. Sadarghat is a major river port on the Buriganga
River located in Old Dhaka. The River is the major artery as it connects
various cities and towns of Bangladesh. This port has a recorded existence since the
Mughal Empire. It is Bangladesh’s busiest port in terms of
passenger traffic. It also has a floating market for fruits and
vegetables. The panorama of river life in Bangladesh is
fascinating. Triple-towered Ferries lean over pint-sized
Canoes, and country Boats bump against Ships & overladen Barges with barely an inch of
clearance above water. We are now visiting Bangladesh Brahmo Samaj,
at Patuatuli in Old Dhaka. Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahma Samaj
with Dwarkanath Tagore and Debendranath Tagore in 1828 as a social reformation to eradicate
the excessive religious rituals, prejudices, superstitions and cast discriminations among
the Hindus of British India. Braja Sundar Mitra formed the Dhaka’s Brahma
society in 1846. In 1869, Dhaka’s Brahmo Samaj academy got
its own house. The two-storey red and white coloured building
was built in British architectural style. The library situated at the right side of
the building, having a large collection of Brahma related books is known as the ‘Raja
Ram Mohan Roy Reading Room’. This library, once frequented by many eminent
personalities, such as Rabindranath Tagore, Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah (writer), Shamsur
Rahman (poet) and Kazi Motaher Hossain (author) Ahsan Manzil was the official residential
palace and seat of the Nawab of Dhaka. The building is situated at Kumartoli along
the banks of the Buriganga River. Construction was started in 1859 and was completed
in 1872. It was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival
architecture. Probably in the period of Nawab Alibardi Khan
around 1740, Sheikh Moti Ullah sold the property to the French traders. In 1830, the trading house was purchased by
the established landlord of Dhaka, Khwaja Alimullah. His son Khwaja Abdul Gani made a great flourish
to the property, and named it “Ahsan Manjil” on his son Ahsan Ullah. After the death of Khwaja Ahsanullah in 1901,
the glory of Ahsan Manjil was ended. In 1952, govt. acquired the property. In 1985, Dhaka National Museum acquired the
property and made it a museum following a massive restoration programme which utilised
historic photographs of the property. We are now at a place which reminds us of
the cosmopolitan nature of Dhaka in the 17th and the 18th centuries. The Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection
(1781) highlights a rich tapestry of the Armenian footprint on the textile, commerce, architecture,
politics, and education of East Bengal. It is a historically significant architectural
monument that bears testimony to the existence of significant Armenian community in the region. Following the domination of their homeland
by the Persian powers of the time, Armenians were sent by their new rulers to the Bengal
region for both political and economic reasons. In 1781, this famous Church was built on the
Armenian Street in Armanitola, then a thriving business district. The site was an Armenian graveyard before
the church was built, and the tombstones that have survived serve as a chronicle of Armenian
life in the area. Mother Teresa stayed here, in the church compound
during a 1996 visit to Dhaka. We are going to a Medical College where my
Paternl GrandFather and my Father’s both GrandFathers earned their Medical Degree. The Dhaka Mitford Hospital. One of the oldest hospitals in Bangladesh
is a part of Dhaka Medical School, founded in 1875 which was later renamed in 1962 to
Sir Salimullah Medical College. It is a state-supported medical college in
Dhaka. It was an emotional experience to visit this
place. We have come to Dhakeshwari Temple, which
is a Hindu temple built in the 12th century by Ballal Sen, a king of Sena dynasty. It is the largest Hindu temple in Bangladesh
and is state-owned ‘National Temple’ since 1996. “Dhakeshwari” means “Goddess of Dhaka”, and
it is said that the city was named after the Goddess. Since the destruction of Ramna Kali Mandir
in 1971 by the Pakistani Army, the Dhakeshwari Temple has assumed status as the most important
Hindu place of worship in Bangladesh. This temple is part of the famous Shakti Peethas
in Indian Subcontinent. It is believed that here the gem of Sati’s
crown had fallen. The original 800 year-old statue of Goddess
Durga, the Adi Shakti was taken to Kumartuli, in Kolkata, during the partition of India. Students from Dhaka Medical College and Dhaka
University and political activists were killed during the Bengali Language Movement demonstrations
of 1952. We are going to The Shaheed Minar established
to commemorate those killed. Finally we came back to our guest house and
called it a day. We had dinner, while we were treated with
great music performance by two bands.

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