Top Historical Landmarks in Dhaka Reminding Liberation War of 1971
Publish- December 16, 2020, 04:23 PM
Rifat Tabassam - Contributor
Update- December 19, 2020, 09:27 PM
Top Historical Landmarks Dhaka
Monuments and structures can be more than some blocks of concretes. Some of them can serve as the memoir of the significant historical events that we can’t afford to forget by generations. Dhaka city, the capital of Bangladesh, is enriched with several priceless landmarks that remind us about the glorious history as well as the bloody sacrifice of the nation during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. Do you want to visit those top historical landmarks of Dhaka? Read this article to know about these places.
Jatiya Smriti Saudha (National Martyrs' Memorial)
Jatiya Smriti Saudha (National Martyrs' Memorial) is built in the remembrance of people who lost their precious lives in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. This monument is the symbol of valor and sacrifice of the Bengali nation that separated Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) from Pakistan (then West Pakistan) and gave birth to a new sovereign country. Located at Savar about 35 km away from Dhaka city, this national monument of Bangladesh was inaugurated on the 16th December of 1982.
Through a nationwide design competition, Syed Mainul Hossain’s – a Bangladeshi architect and structural engineer – the design was chosen to build this top historical monument of Bangladesh. The wonderful design of Jatiya Smriti Saudha is the combination of 7 pairs of triangular-shaped walls that look like prisms. Interestingly, the outermost pair is the widest in span; but the shortest in height. And, the sequential pairs gradually maintain the aspect ratio. The innermost pair stands the highest forming the peak point of this monument.
You may be thinking, what is the meaning of these 7 pairs of walls and the sky-piercing peak of Jatiya Smriti Saudha? These 7 wall-pairs represent the 7 momentous chapters in the history of the nation, namely, the Bengali Language Movement in 1952, the provincial election victory of the United Front in 1954, the Constitution Movement in 1956, the movement against Education Commission in 1962, the 6-point Movement in 1966, the Mass Uprising in 1969, and finally the climactic event of liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.
Swadhinata Stambha (Independence Monument) & Museum of Independence
Swadhinata Stambha (Independence Monument) is a national monument of Bangladesh that was established to commemorate the chronological historical events concerning the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. This monument is located at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka.
Suhrawardy Udyan (then Ramna Race Course ground) is the witness of several significant historical incidents concerning the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. On the 7th March of 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman asked the mass people of this country to prepare themselves for the Liberation War through his historical speech known as ‘7 March Speech of Bangabandhu’. On this ground, East Pakistan Army’s Chief Commander Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi surrendered to the joint force of Bangladeshi Mukti Bahini and the Indian Army on 16th December 1971.
To restore the memories of these historic events and 1971’s Liberation War of Bangladesh, the Government of Bangladesh built the Swadhinata Stambha in 1999 on a 67-acre complex at Suhrawardy Udyan. This project is designed by two Bangladeshi architects – Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury and Marina Tabassum. The focal attraction of this project is a 50-meter high tower constructed with stacked glass sheets. At night, every single inch of this pillar releases rays of light, and the whole structure turns into the ‘Tower of Light’ creating mesmerizing beauty. The adjacent water body reflects the whole tower that enhances the aesthetics of this landmark.
The master plan of this ‘Suhrawardy Udyan project’ includes an underground museum called, ‘Museum of Independence’ preserving the history of the Bengali nation since Mughal regime to independence in 1971. The museum displays more than 300 photographs with historical significance, terracotta murals of war-heroes, paper clippings, and other memoirs regarding the events of 1971’s Liberation War of Bangladesh. Besides these, there are a 2000-seat auditorium, an amphitheater, and other ancillary facilities.
The Shikha Chirantony (eternal flame) symbolizing the eternity of Bengali nationalism is placed beside the Swadhinata Stambha tower.
The Muktijuddho Jadughôr(Liberation War Museum) is built with the vision of preserving the memory of the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. This museum aims to introduce the young generations to the indomitable spirit of their forefathers who fought against the violation of Pakistan (then West Pakistan) and encourage them in holding a firm stand against the acts of genocide and violations of human rights in 1971.
The journey of Muktijuddho Jadughôrstarted in 1996 as a non-government initiative with a vision for preserving the memory of 1971’s Liberation War of Bangladesh. As an outcome of the citizens' effort, this crowd-funded museum has collected more than 21,000 artifacts, including freedom fighters’ weapons, an archive of documents, and personal histories related to the war. What is more? The Muktijuddho Jadughôrpreserves and displayshuman-remains including skulls and bones excavated from two mass graves of civilians, – found in the Dhaka suburbs – killed in genocide by Pakistani forces in 1971.
However, the lack of space made at the original premise made it difficult to display the collected artifacts. In 2017, the museum was relocated at Agargaon – accommodating an area of about 20,000 sq. m. with ample gallery space – based upon a new design by Bangladeshi architects Tanzim Hasan Salim and Naheed Farzana.
Here different galleries focus on different chapters of our liberation war. Some galleries remind the training and operations of the Mukti Bahini. Some galleries focus on the tragic genocide of the mass Bengali population carried out by the West Pakistani army in 1971. While some other galleries tell about the conspiracy of ‘Operation Searchlight’ that killed Bengali intellectuals during the liberation war.