Photographed by one of the protesters on 21.02.2014
Protest is going on in Bangladesh right now! “No wall-On Kahn” is the statement of the protesters – who are trying to protect one of the most important modern monuments of Bangladesh – The National Assembly Building designed by Louis I. Kahn in 1965.
The National Assembly Building [JatiyoShangshadBhaban] has given Bangladesh an important place in the architectural world. It is considered to be one of the most important work of Kahn’s architectural career. Architects from all over the world knows Dhaka – the capital of Bangladesh because this master piece. As I recall, associate professor of the University of Florence, Dr. Giacomo P Pirazzoli told me last summer that he visited Bangladesh only because ofthis monument!
Now simply the question arises – what is this protest all about? The Bangladeshi government planned to erect a high boundary wall around this monument. Apart from that many unauthorized internal changes are taking place every day. Bangladeshi architects are afraid that their most proud possession is at stake now. This process will not only block the view of the monument but also brings a big question about the national identity issue. The national assembly hall of a democratic country is caged! Under that circumstance, what is the definition of “democracy” in 21st century? It is even a direct violation of the Constitution of Bangladesh as there is a clear mention “The State shall adopt measures for the protection against disfigurement, damage, or removal of all monuments, objects, or places of special artistic or historic importance or interest.”(Article 24)*
In order to create a public awareness there already had been a peaceful protest in front of the monument on 21st February – The International Mother Language Day, 2014. Architects and scholars are putting tremendous effort to save this magnificent work of modern era. “This edifice is our pride, our place, symbol of our independence. Let us work to keep it safe; but not destroying the view of the building. Let us work to save the original intent of Kahn: that the building was dedicated to the people of the ‘Peoples Republic of Bangladesh.’” Said Professor of Dammam University, Dr. Zainab F. Ali (17th February, 2014).**
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