I had my first footstep in the Dhaka University in the 70’s decade. As a student of Bengali Department in the session 1977-78, I completed my honours in 1980 and post-graduation in 1981.
Until the result, I and many of my contemporaries had stayed on the campus till 1983. While studying Bengali literature, I had the opportunity to study English literature and political science respectively as subsidiary subjects. After my university campus life, I have started my career as a teacher in 1984. Later, I have served the government as an officer in the BCS (Ansar) cadre in 1986. After completion of 32 years in service, I have now engaged myself as a regular column writer and editor of a monthly magazine. However my career discussion is not the issue here. The main issue is Dhaka University. Dhaka University is not just a centre for education; it is the centre for multidimensionality. After obtaining the highest degree from Dhaka University, I have been able to achieve a great and significant time in my life by acquiring a little bit of this multidimensionality. In that sense, it can be claimed that Dhaka University has made me a successful person. On the eve of going to write something about Dhaka University, the novel named ‘Srikantho’ of Saratchandra reminds me a lot. At the beginning of novel, he said, "I can't remember many words today in this declining time of life". The same thing happened to me. The expressions move to my mind is like a subject of no expression by language.
Dhaka University began its journey in the second decade of the twentieth century during the British colonial rule. On 2 February 1912, Lord Hardinge, the then Viceroy of British India, promised to establish a university in Dhaka. Nawab Sir Salimullah of Dhaka, Nawab Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury of Dhanbari, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque and other leaders met the Viceroy and requested for the establishment of the university. After going through many ups and downs, on 13 March 1920, the Indian Legislative Assembly passed 'The Dhaka University Act (Act No. 13) 1920'. The doors of the university were opened for the students on July 1, 1921. The campus was blessed with the footsteps of renowned academics. Harprasad Shastri, Muhammad Shahidullah, GH Langley, Haridas Bhattacharya, DWA Jenkins, Ramesh Chandra Majumder, AF Rahman, Satyendranath Bose, Naresh Chandra Sengupta, Gyan Chandra Ghosh and others.
The university has played a leading role in fulfilling the national aspirations by successful leading every democratic movement including the 1952 language movement and the great freedom struggle of 1971. Many students, teachers and officials and employees of this university sacrificed their lives in the language movement, mass uprising of 1970 and in the great liberation war. During the war of liberation, 19 teachers of Dhaka University fell victim to the Pak government's plan for killing of the intellectuals. On the night of March 25, 104 more students, one officer and 28 employees were martyred. On 2 March 1971, the Central Students' Struggle Council hoisted the first 'Flag of Independent Bengal' on the roof of Dhaka University arts faculty. On the night of March 25, 1971, many people were martyred when Pakistani forces launched a surprise attack on students, teachers, officials and employees of Dhaka University in the name of Operation Search-light. In order to immortalize the memory of the martyrs of the war of liberation, an 'intellectual memorial plaque' was inaugurated on 26 March 1994 on the road island in front of the Vice-Chancellor's building. The names of 150 martyrs including 19 teachers, 104 students, one officer and 28 employees have been inscribed on it.
The real purpose of the university is to spread knowledge by ensuring democratic rights and creating opportunities for everyone to express their views. I hope that the university cannot become a business organization. I would expect teachers and students not to run after promotion or power without the knowledge. Only then, the expectations and achievements of the century will be fulfilled. The campus environment will be congenial for acquiring knowledge, culture and free will. The Dhaka University campus will be a breeding ground for socio-cultural and free-thinking practices, creating researchers, policy makers, urban and state thinkers for the socio-economic development of the country. Dhaka University will create a brave and prosperous generation to strengthen the country's infrastructure for the purpose of economic growth. The university that was founded through many ups and downs and rose to prominence as the Oxford of the East is now a thing of the past. From the post-independence period onwards, our national pride, the quality of education at Dhaka University, began to decline. At this time, the question remains about the large part of the recruitment in the university. Complaints of hiring incompetent teachers, especially for political reasons, often arise. If the teacher is not qualified, then the students will not get quality education that is normal. As a former student of the university, there is no chance to disagree.
University students have to deal with many more problems. The quality of food is getting worse day by day. There is the lack of adequate classrooms. The number of seats in the library also does not match the requirement. There is no end to the dissatisfaction with evening courses and seven colleges. There is nothing new to say about the quality of education. Students have become liable to walk on campus due to external vehicles. Dissatisfaction with the metro rail running through the campus is not the less mentioned issue. The university is plagued with thousands of such problems and crises.
I pay due respect and love to all the teachers, students, elder brothers, younger brothers and staff to whom I had contact during my studies as a student in the Bengali Department from 1977 to 1983. I can mention the name of the teachers, Professor Kazi Deen Mohammad, Dr. Ahmed Sharif, Professor Sanjida Khatun, Professor Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, Dr. Md. Moniruzzaman, Professor Abul Qasim Fazlul Haque and others are all legends of the education society. Getting close to them was the sweetest part of my life. On the other hand, Taleb Bhai, an employee of Bengali department, Bazlu Bhai of Dean's Office and Monwar Bhai, Head Assistant of SM Hall used to love me very much. I can also mention Professor Nurul Momen of International Relations, Mr. Ahmad Ullah, Professor of Social Welfare, Mr. Shamsul Haque Mollah, Professor Dr. Ainul Islam of Mathematics and Professor Shamsuddin of Economics. I have to talk about many more including Gopal of Ducsu archive, Niranjan of Jaganath Hall, Arun of Madhur Canteen are never to be forgotten. Gopal used to love me very much. His brother Nepal was a student of IE&R. I had a special friendship with him. The canteen of Nepal was in a room next to the present Proctorial office on the ground floor of Arts faculty. I used to have tea in the canteen, play table-tennis and spend times with my friends at different times.
Every year July 1 is being observed as 'Dhaka University Day'. On the eve of its centenary, the institution was established by many national and international renowned scholars, presidents, prime ministers, ministers, members of parliament, political leaders, scientists, teachers and millions of graduates. They have been contributing in various important sectors at home and abroad and are brightening the image of the country.
The writer former Deputy Director General Bangladesh Ansar & VDP