May 22, 2013 | 12:04 AM (BD Time)
22 May, 2013 Wednesday
Dhaka University through 91 years of glorious journey
Oxford of the East
Ehsanul Haque Jasim :
Dhaka University celebrated its 91st anniversary on July 1, 2012 with a
call to take grater responsibilities to upgrade the country's quality of education to global standard.
Moreover the theme of this year celebration was to promote higher education for women's empowerment by creating more women friendly facilities on the campus so that they can play greater role in bringing change to the society at all levels.
This is the largest and oldest university of Bangladesh and in the
entire South Asia region. The university has traveled long distance both in term of changes it has been able to bring about in the society and also in terms of years on count starting from July 1, 1921.
It was set up on 600 acres of land with just 877 students in three
faculties and 12 departments. Currently, the university has grown in size and structures to accommodate over 34,000 students and about 1,800 teachers are employed here now to teach in 67 departments and 10 institutes.
Dhaka University was established in then East Bengal to bring socio-economic change in the down trodden Muslim society which was then dominated by the Hindu Zaminders.
Since then it has played a major role in defining education of the country and produced scholars and manpower to take responsibility of running the country which won independence in 1971. It has meanwhile won the fame of the 'Oxford of the East' in view of its outstanding contribution to the spread of knowledge to this nation.
Dhaka University worked as the Light House to bring socio-economic and political change to change the fate of this Bengali nation. The country has now many public universities, besides many other private universities. But Dhaka University stands on its own glory.
Its students ushered new era by launching the language movement in
1952, education movement in 1962, mass uprising in 1969 and then entering into the liberation war in 1971.
The British government had agreed to establish the Dhaka University
to remove the anger of the people of the then East Bengal which was created by the annulment of 'Bangabhanga' (Partition of Bengal). The British created the bigger East Bengal province together with Assam with Dhaka as its capital in October 16, 1905 to prompt the Banabhanga movement by Hindu zealots. Later it was annulled on December 12, 1911 to satisfy the demands of the Hindu community.
Even great poet
As compensation to this blow, the British government agreed to set up
a university in Dhaka. Nawab Sir Salimullah, Nawab Syed Nawab Ali Choudhury and Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huque played the pioneering role to press home the demands of the Muslim community at that time.
Governor General Lord Hardinge came to India in 1912 and as part of a compromise, he expressed their fears that the annulment of 'Bangabhanga' would retard the educational progress of the Muslim community. They urged the Governor General to reinstate the decision of the partition and moreover to set up a university in Dhaka.
Governor General Lord Hardinge came to Dhaka on January 29, 2012 and at the end of the visit ordered the setting up of a university at Dhaka.
The Hindu opposition to setting up of the Dhaka University was as stiff as that of a united East Bengal and Assam province. Even Poet Rabindranath Tagore was opposed to it as former National Professor Innas Ali made the case in his book 'Samaj o Rajnitee'.
After beginning of 'First World War', the establishment of the
Dhaka University was delayed for financial reasons. This caused misgivings in the minds of Muslim leaders. At the time, Nawab Syed Nawab Ali Choudhury raised the issue in the Indian Legislative Council on March 7, 1917. In response, the government reaffirmed its pledge to establish the university.
The Government of India passed a bill in 1920 to establish the university in the model on the Universities in England. The university was established on July 21, 1921 under the 'Dacca University Act 1920' of the Indian Legislative Council.
After the establishment of the Dhaka University, it helped to form the Muslim middle class that lead the country achieving its independence crossing over many steps.
From its beginning, the Dhaka University is playing glorious historic roles
in bringing change in politics and society. Its students played role in establishment of Pakistan in this part of Bengal. Then came the language movement and other events to lead to creation of Bangladesh to which the University played the role of catalysts to promote issues and give them final shapes.
Students of the university and played historic roles in overthrow of
Military dictator Ayub Khan, mass upsurge of 1971, in the liberation war of Bangladesh and finally in the removal of military dictator Hossain Mohammad Ershad.
The Liberation War was the result of great sacrifices made by the
students and teachers of the university. It is also mentionable that the first national flag of independent Bangladesh was raised by students leaders on the Dhaka University campus on 2 March 1971.
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