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Bahadur Shah Park loses glamour

Friday June 17 2005 11:32:59 AM BDT

By Sheikh Arif Bulbon

Historical Bahadur Shah Park (Victoria Park) lost all its importance and glamour. The park is now showing wretched condition of the last relic of the Mughal Empire.( The New Nation )

Witness to many historic events and once a traditional place for sojourn have lost all glamour.

The park was built to pay tribute to the rebels who were hung for participating in the ‘Sepoy mutinee’of 1757.

The roof of the main structure was in ruins and tiles of its floor were broken. There has been no renovation work in the pedestrian walkway of the park.

The memorial that had existed in the park was built in 1884 during the time Khaja Hafizullah, grandson of Nawab Abdul Gani, was the Nawab.

Dhaka City Corporation took up renovation of the memorial but spread the construction materials all over the park. For this reason, people are facing great difficulties in moving absent in the park. Moreover, water from the only big artificial waterfall of the park could not be drained out and remained stagnant, local people said.

They also complained that lights of the park were out for many days and as a result, the park was dark after dusk.

“The environment of the park became so dreadful that people are scared to enter the park not only at night but also at day,” Abdur Rahman, a local schoolteacher said.

At nighttime, unsocial elements indulge in their nefarious work in the park. But the park caretaker Ashrafuddin denied this.

Asrafuddin said that in the past, some unlawful acts had taken place but it is no longer true. He also said, “This is difficult to monitor activities in the park for twenty four hours.”

There were many institutions around the park. These are Jagannath College, Shaheed Suhrawardy College, Kabi Nazrul College, City Corporation Mohila College, Government Muslim High School and Sunflower High School, among many others.

At daytime, students of these institutions gather and gossip in the park area and many health conscious people entered into the park for jogging and walking both in the morning and in the afternoon.

Although the morning walkers society has put up a no smoking notice in the park area, but the smokers ignore the notice.

Some of the smokers, belonging to the political elements of the Jagannath University College’, said, “We do not come and smoke regularly in the park, we sometimes come here and relax.”

Abu Karim Khan, a veteran health worker of Kaltabazar said people came here only for morning walk but its natural beauty could not attract the people.

From the historical background of Dhaka city, it was found that in the late eighteen century, Armenians built a clubhouse here.

The people at that time called it ‘Antaghar’ or ‘Andaghar’ for playing billiards there.

In the first nineteenth century, the Englishmen, who had by that time became it owners, sold this clubhouse and broke down the structure and named it ‘Antaghar Playground’.

In 1858, Queen Victoria declared from this ground the assumption of the rule over the unified India by the British crown from the East India Company. From that time the ground was named as Victoria Park.

In 1957, this park was renamed as the Bahadur Shah Park to commemorate the mutineers hung in the park by the British.


The New Nation

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