By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Dec 4 (IANS) A sculpture of Madhusudan Dey, who was brutally killed by the Pakistan Army in March 1971, was partially damaged by some unknown miscreants in the Dhaka University (DU) campus premises.
The incident took place on Wednesday night.
Arun Kumar Dey, youngest son of Madhusudan Dey and current operator of Madhur Canteen, said: “I was busy inside the canteen. At around 7.45 p.m., one of my staff suddenly noticed the partial damage of the sculpture and told me about it.
“I immediately informed the matter to Dhaka University proctor and officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station. They visited the spot and took measure to repair it.”
The left ear of the sculpture, placed in front of the iconic cafeteria named after him on the DU campus, was found broken and it was repaired at midnight.
Madhusudan Dey, who was fondly called as ‘Madhu da’, was far more than a mere cafeteria operator.
He had always kept the doors of his canteen open to accommodate all progressive minds and nurture their thoughts and dreams.
During the Pakistan era, before every political movement, student leaders and activists used to gather at his canteen situated on the Dhaka University campus and conducted movements from there.
He had to pay the price for this. After the military crackdown on the fateful night of March 25, 1971, Madhusudan Dey was murdered along with his wife, eldest son and daughter-in-law.
Following the independence of Bangladesh, the canteen was formally renamed as Madhu’s Canteen (Madhu’r Canteen).
When asked about the incident, DU Proctor Professor AKM Golam Rabbani said: “It is not yet known if the sculpture was hit intentionally or unintentionally. The authorities concerned have been asked to investigate the matter.”
In honour of Madhusudan Dey’s contributions and memory, the sculpture was inaugurated before the canteen on April 18, 1995.
Sculptor Toufiq Hosen Khan had engraved it.
The incident comes at a time when Mamunur and Babunagari, the leaders of the fundamentalists backed by Jamaat-e-Islam and Hefazat-e-Islam, has threatened to throw the sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman into the Buriganga River.
They have declared that ‘statues’ are against the Sharia and that they will pull down sculptures across the country.
Earlier, supporters of the fundamental and anti-liberation Islamists Hefazat-e-Islam condemned and against setting up a statue of Icon of Bengali culture, prominent Bengali philosopher and social reformer in British India Lalon Fakir in the airport intersection in 2008 with the banner of ‘Murti Protirodh Committee’.
During that caretaker regime of Bangladesh, they forced the government to take defensive strategy by placing a Arabic word sculpture there.
The fundamentalists stopped implementing the Education Policy 2010 and Women Development Policy 2011 in the face of their demands.
Instead of taking steps to modernise the syllabus of Qawmi madrasas, the fundamentalists made 29 changes in the Bangla medium textbooks following Hefazat’s recommendations.
In the face of their demands, the incumbent Sheikh Hasina-led overnment relocated the sculpture of Greek Goddess Themis from the front of Supreme Court to another side in 2017.