Opening of Rangpur University
I have not studied in Carmichael College but I went there for admission, during the late 70’s, and as a young boy from a remote village, admired the monumental building. It looked so tall and huge, magnificent in its look and structure. Line of unknown trees, rows of teachers bungalows, were all so vivid till I last visited during 2006.
Recently (22.10.2008) this college was officially declared a university. This college was built (Zamindar and Mughol architecture) on 300 acres of land by a few Zamindars. Much earlier than the premier Dhaka university, after the name of first Governor of Bengal Lord Carmichael with an initial collections (donations ) of RS 750,000 in 1916 and Bachelor of Science courses started in 1925.
Contrary to this with much opposition from powerful Hindu leaders and eminences including Rabindranath Thakur Dhaka university was initiated on the backdrop of Muslims lagging in education by the Muslim Nawabs of Dhaka only in 1921.
Today’s greater Rangpur is the symbol of poverty, destitute, impoverishment and unspeakable human sufferings. Who would believe that the district’s Zilla School was established in 1832. And the woman who is the pioneer in education for Muslims in the whole of Bengal or entire Muslim community in greater India, was born on the flank of this district town- Paira Bond.
‘Hoki garial bhai, hakao gari tui Chilmarir Bondore’, Abbas Uddin who made Bengali songs popular with a classical instinct of localised version so established today yet so uncared for, like its(districts) all other instincts, ‘Vaoia’.
‘Chilmarir Bandor’ is gone, and gone are all its prestige and dignity. Like the thousands in poverty and deprivation due to lack of economic activities and savage nature, that continuously have been devastating the homestead and the economic wealth of the people of Teesta and Jamuna’s deltaic plane in this district (greater Rangpur). They flee bus full, train full, to any possible destination that can provide them a piece of bread, a handful of rice just to sustain their body temperature of 37 degrees and of their families. What a human calamity that has befallen on the people of these districts. And it has been continuing like its inundation in past years, and without any structured planning it will perpetuate in following years with all likelihood.
What brought most prestige and hope, it took, almost one hundred chastised years to get only a recognition to operate as a university in a rented premise. Though 75% of this magnificent heritage now will be mutilated with obscure constructions to house classrooms, that, if follows the legacies of other contemporary institutions which are much touted with reprehensible quality, morality and ethics, people of Rangpur have to hope that it does not repeat or induce into their place of enlightenment that situated much in their hearts. Only keep up their hope.
I was so emotional while I took a tour around the area, which looked to me so small and so little for the purpose and what was intended by those Zamindars who donated 750 thousand Rupees (in today’s terms as its present value can be calculated in financial terms, should be more than 7 thousand crore taka roughly; it also demonstrates that Rangpur was wealthy hundred years ago).
I am not belittling it, but if it was, it was our successive governments in the name of nationalism, liberty and development who did nothing to improve our education, rather pamper and breed bundles of cronies in these institutions, their own sympathisers, who successfully hoodwinked – and have been playing to their favours only, our national interests.
Much hated, Ayub Khan, most of the great monuments as our educational institutions were built or initiated (consider the design of Jahangir Nagar University), while our infamous nationalists (it does not mean BNP) while failed to even ‘chunkum’ them, rather destroyed them literally (notice the Casanova teacher’s acts and the action of the syndicate and the Teachers Somity of the same or other institutions).
Once I asked a popular writer born in this district – do you have any write up/books on Carmichael College The answer was ‘no sir’. Try to relate this – when I asked another famous poet who was born in a district on the shore of Padma that often made destitute thousands of his neighbours or his own folks (if we can call it), he was silent and I couldn’t find any with little search. Kindly bear with my arrogance here – do you see how it relates to our own Michael, Madhushudhan Datta?
Another singer, ,all of whose albums I have in my collection and love and enjoy listening to, who said on a TV show, I am from Gaibanda but now settled in Dhaka. What does this settlement mean? I would have no hesitation to say despite their many credibility they are much delinked from their roots, not only physically but in their thinking as well. After the demise of Communism and its Communist International doctrine or even ‘Internationalist’, call it as you may wish, be it so. But if you do not know what is at your own home, all other should appear fictitious, rhetoric, nothing in real love for people.
Even the offspring of that great singer (Abbasuddin) , his daughter and sons are well known people in our homestead, in our system, yet with due respect to them, Rangpur’s deprivation did not lead them to any outcry procession for their birthplace.
Lobbying does many think in this world, even they can not claim to have shared the little good of those tyrant Zamindars in today’s context. None of them! I can make it louder, nothing to change the lives from those millions for a bit of better living. No wonder the whole nation is paranoid with ‘speeches’ that has no underlying values or meaning beneath, and let go unchallenged.
I was not crying but felt as ‘I have lost it all’, ask the driver to leave and since than I cried in every personal gatherings or in a few blogs.
In the media people are crying wolf on monga and other severity, yet I would think no serious thinking, I mean with real intention, is made by any. Had it been so, the hundred kilometres of irrigation canals that was built, again by another dictator (who happen to be from this district) would not have dried up or its sources wouldn’t have let to be silted. Talking about human rights!
There was not enough attention for the people, men and women, even who fought hilariously during the liberation war, mocked as Bir protik, had to survive malnourished and almost dying of hunger (only was rescued to save their faces).
Like in the west (or as we live in the planet) or the Federal Reserve who all of a sudden found trillions of dollars to rescue the wrongdoing that was derived from mainly greed, as doctrine by John M Cayenn or Milton Friedman, of nourished few; while their education and healthcare found not enough allocations.
Overnight a country with much touted highest per capita income goes bankrupt, yet nothing happens to those economic theorists or financial plunderers and no one raise question on ratings of these countries or those institutions!
If my information is correct, 16 crore taka to start a university (compare the private contribution of those Zamindars hundred years ago and its today’s value), an astoundingly paltry amount, what will it do? Is it political rhetoric or belittling the prestige of such a monumental institution (albeit with all its underutilisation)? Amount is not good for a primary school these days, where are our educators!
I love Rangpur, I love vaoaia, I love Begum Rokeya, have no meanings until one links oneself with the plight of the people of their own folks.
We have to rise, and voice for good class rooms, where thousands of students from middle and lower middle class can gain quality education to equip themselves to fight poverty, physical and psychological hunger, bring back their lost glory above all a good productive labour force.
The highest tax payer – Bharsha Pramanic, world famous model designer Bibi Russel, eminent singers, writers, judges, the popular bearded actor, all should forge unity to look into the issues that are crippling human lives in their forefather’s land. Should they come out of their current ghetto type thinking and embrace the issues and people as it should be embraced, to critically analyse and produce solutions to take part with the marching nation – only for well being of their own people their own children’s future.
Lets hope the opening and establishment of this university helps change lives for the better and bring much hope to wipe off their past insult and to gain their lost pride.
Mohd. Mostagousul Haque
The Financial Express