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Monday, August 27, 2012


Architect Munzaharul islam : The Doyen of Bangladesh architecture ( A personal perspective)

By architect Tanwir Newaz

Architect Munzharul islam was a man of vision multi talents. He a man of discipline . he was also a man of high personal integrity , though that was not exceptional for man of his generation . There were many people I know of that generation that of varying accomplishment who were men of very high integrity. What sets him apart was that though the present generation knows him primarily as the pioneer bangalee architect of Pakistan and Bangladesh, he was much more than that, I had the privilege of knowing him for more than sixty years from 1950 to his recent passing. I have seen him as an elder, a contemporary of my father’s generation, and studies under him as an architectural student, worked with him on a number of projects as an architect , established the department of architecture, government of Bangladesh with his assistance and seen the artistic and humanitarian side of the man at close proximity. I have also seen the changes in his architectural styles over decades. It has been a privilege . He belongs to the elite contemporaries of that generation,  some of whom includes the likes of artist jainal abedin , ustad  ( captain) aminur Rahoman . all pretty much pioneers in their fields, art, Music, Flying  and architecture . they were renaissance men of Bengal and Bangladesh

My memories of  Architect Munzaharul islam go back to 1950, when i was only six years . we living in 10 K. M das lane near wari. Sher e bangla AK Fazlul haq used to live close by in 1, K M das lane. Faizul haq and I are contemporary and used to be friends at the time. I used to sometimes wake up late in the night to the sound of flute and classical music coming from our living room. The students of my father, late ustad aminur rahman were playing and practicing music late into the night. We had at the time of partition moved from Calcutta to Dhaka in September of 1947 . my father the first and a long standing disciple of pundit panalal  Gosh and disciple of binkar ustad  dabir khan, was a classical musician and flute par excellence and was one of the first grade a artist of Radio Pakistan, Dhaka . besides , playing in the radio, he had taken a few disciples to impart training in classical music and flute playing. He also enrolled in the first flying club in Dhaka to learn flying and eventually emerged as the first civilian pilot to come out of Pakistan . my father came to be known as captain aminur rahman. He was a close friend of silpacharya  jainul abedin and came to know each other in the mid nineteen forties and their friendship continued till the death of silpacharya .
Mr.Muzharul islam was cousin of Mr. Abdullah, one of the disciples of my father and often used accompany him and sit in the musical practice session was very frequent . This was in 1950 and 1951 . his love of music, particularly of classical music remained throughout his life and was brought in touch with my father again and later through him with other eminent musicians such as dhrupadia ustad zahiruddin khan dagar and ustad Faiazuddin khan dagar in the mid 1980 in contact with theses musical maestros, Mr Muzaharul islam become an enthusiast of dhrupad classicalmusic in the late 1950 our paths crossed again. We had moved into gulfishan on baily road . by this time my father was chif pilot of government of east Pakistan. He had also flown bangabandhu and husein saheed shurawardy all over Bangladesh in the mid fifties. Mr manzaharul islam was now senior architect with rhe C & B Department of government east Pakistan . Mr Raymond McConnell was the chif architect at the time. This department as I remember was responsible for the most of the public civil works in Dhaka . mr munzurul islam had three children , Rafiqul Munzhar islam, Tanveer (Tanna) Muzaharul islam  and dalia Muzaharul islam . in the same compound of gulfishan, kahkeshan and ahsain were a number of other families including famous orthopedic surgeon professor Dr. K S alam < surgeon Prof . Dr. asiruddin , and civil servant Mr .ghaisuddin ahmed. The children of all these familes though of varying ages 

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