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Dhaka: a city of lost heritage – by Tanzia Islam

111111Picture source: Internet*

Demolition of heritage is becoming the daily news of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. One of the fastest growing densely populated cities in South-Asia is now losing its historical identity every day. During the past four months, at least 33 to 50** buildings from the Mughal and the British colonial period have been demolished. These happenings were documented and reported by the volunteers of an organization called “Urban Study Group” (USG) lead by Ar. Taimur Islam. The volunteers consist of everyone who is concerned about heritage, professionals, students or citizens. So far this organization is trying to prevent the demolition of many historical buildings in Dhaka.

2222Photographed by Urban Study Group volunteer (published 2nd February, 2014)

As a matter of fact, the demolition outnumbers the preservation efforts. Dhaka is a conflicting city where power and political plays and the ignorance of the city authority fight between the fast growing population and the monopoly of real estate developers – everything taking place at the same time.

USG is working in such a city, where the fight does not end even after bringing cases to the high court!* Authorities like the Urban Development Committee, Rajuk (the city development authority of Dhaka), the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Archaeology etc. are busy puzzling to decide who is responsible for what and what not – which is nothing but a catastrophe. After a lot of puzzling, if one single case achieves a possible definition, the next challenge comes – “possibly there will be enough budget in our planning during next fiscal year” – this is the never ending ‘deja vu.’          

For further reading:

*http://education.randmcnally.com/classroom/rmc/viewLargerMapImage.do?mapFileName=Asia_Population.png&imageTitle=Asia%20Population%20Density%20Map&skillLevel=Adv&oid=1073906999

**http://www.thedailystar.net/historical-buildings-plundered-15906

 http://www.ittefaq.com.bd/index.php?ref=MjBfMDNfMjBfMTRfMV82XzFfMTE3MDYw

*** https://www.facebook.com/pages/Urban-Study-Group/241851761085

http://issuu.com/dhakatribune/docs/140206200414-462a0b2c3aa74b4d8956bbae39d398cd/16?e=6924309%2F6638076

http://www.thedailystar.net/preserving-history-11354

http://www.thedailystar.net/our-heritage-under-threat-16018

http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/141649/%E0%A6%AE%E0%A7%8B%E0%A6%97%E0%A6%B2_%E0%A6%B8%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%A5%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%AA%E0%A6%A4%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%AF%E0%A7%87_%E0%A6%B9%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A4%E0%A7%81%E0%A7%9C%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%B0_%E0%A6%98%E0%A6%BE

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