Dhaka University: Evolution and History
Published: 05:31 PM, 1 July 2019 Updated: 05:44 PM, 1 July 2019
Dhaka University started its journey on July 1, 1921. After hundreds of years of exploitation, the Banga bhanga (Partition) 1905 emerged as a great blessings to the people of the region especially to the Muslim majority Bangla and Assam. Because of the deviation, the long neglected people of the region got the opportunity to be educated and prosperous. But anti-Muslim alliance of the then Hindu community leaders opposed it rigorously. And opposing this deviation ‘Banga bhanga’ they made a strong public revolution. Following the mass-uproar, the then East Bengal British authority dissolved the deviation ‘Banga bhanga’ in 1911. Later the East Bangla leaders asked the British colonial authority, who were dedicated to the betterments of Hindu community; to establish a University in Dhaka for the education of the Muslim majority areas as a compensation of the Banga bhanga dissolve.
Today’s University of Dhaka is fruit of herd labor of Nawab Sir Salimullah, Nawab Nawab Ali Chowdhury, and Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq. Although it was in the face of strong opposition from some fanatic Hindu communal leaders in its beginning, yet after the establishment, it remains open to all communities.
Since its inception, the organization has been fulfilling the national leadership crisis and has played an appropriate role in the national crisis moments. The memories of '52, '69, '71, '90 reminds the University’s role repeatedly.
With the establishment of Dhaka as the capital and the status of a new state comprising East Bangla and Assam, on October 16, 1905, the British government established the ‘Banga bhanga’. When this new province was formed, the progress of the people of Muslim majority East Bangla got opened. The Hindu leadership, who had been being patronized by the English for a long time, started a very strong movement against it.
In the face of intense opposition of Hindu leaders, on 12 December 1911, in the court of Delhi, Emperor the 5th Jorge officially announced the annulment of the ‘Banga bhanga’ partition. This declaration makes people of Muslims this majority East Bangla and Assam ferocious and they started strong movement as the Banga bhanga was only the way to get the chance to live as human being for them.
Nawab Sir Salimullah was very angry at the betrayal of the English government, and in the protest he rejected the 'KCI' title given by the British Government. Even among Muslim youths, there was severe dissatisfaction and they were extremely offended. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq led them. At a meeting of the Calcutta Mohammedan Association, a resolution was passed that demanded to meet the losses, where there was a demand for establishment of a university in Dhaka.
After observing the displeasure of the Muslims of East Bengal, the visiting Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, came to Dhaka on January 31, 1912 to visit the situation here. When he expressed interest to discuss with Muslim leaders, a Muslim delegation led by Nawab Sir Salimullah, Nawab Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq met with him.
Referring to the damage caused by the dissolve of the Banga bhanga partition, they demanded the establishment of a university in Dhaka. If the cancellation of the partition of Bengal is not abolished then the Muslims of eastern Bengal will be badly damaged from all sides. Because even before the partition of Bengal, this area was backward, neglected, especially Muslims were oppressed, tortured. After the partition of Bengal, the government arranged the education and initiation of social development of Muslims. And it became very widespread within short time.
Meanwhile, they said, “our demand - at least a university in Dhaka should be established.” Lord Hardinge accepted the demand and declared to establish the University of Dhaka.
However, according to this announcement, the matter was passed on 2 February 1912 in a government declaration. On the 4th April of that year, when the matter was taken by the Indian Secretary of London, the Government of Bengal was asked to present detailed plans and financial reporting on the establishment of University of Dhaka through a letter from the British Government.
On the other hand, some Hindu leaders oppose the establishment of the Dhaka University, BBC Bangla has stated that Sir Ashutosh Mukhopaddhay, Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University and politician Surendranath Banerjee are noted.
A delegation team headed by Dr. Rasbihari Ghose submitted a memorandum against the establishment of Dhaka University to Viceroy Lord Hardringe during the British official's visit to Dhaka on 12 February 1912, BBC recalls.
BBC has reported that some Hindu leaders in West Bengal had presumed that budget for Calcutta University would be slashed if Dhaka University was allowed to emerge.
In the British governments latter to the Bengal regarding the establishment of Dhaka University, special instructions were given to keep an eye on the interests and needs of the Muslims of Bengal. In the field of education, there is a special characteristic of the Muslims, and in order to ensure that Muslim students are able to protect themselves, it was mentioned in the paper "There was a faculty of Arabic and Islamic studies in the university." On 27 May, a 13-member committee, led by Barrister R Nathaniel, made 24 chaptered report after discussing thoroughly; and submit it.
The Commission had 13 members with R Nathaniel, Bar-at-Law, as the President. The other members were GW Kuchlu, Director of Public Instruction, Bengal, rashbehari ghosh, Advocate of the Calcutta High Court, Nawab Syed nawab ali choudhury, Nawab sirajul islam, Ananda Chandra Ray, Pleader and Zamindar of Dhaka, Mohamed Ali of Aligarh, HR James, Principal of Presidency College, Calcutta, WAT Archbold, Principal of Dacca College, Satis Chandra Acharji, Principal, Sanskrit College, Calcutta, Lalit Mohan Chatterjee, Principal of Jagannath College, Dacca, CW Peake, Professor of Presidency College, Calcutta and Samsul Ulama abu nasar muhammad waheed, Superintendent of Dacca Madrasa while DS Fraser, ICS, was appointed the Secretary of this Committee.
The Nathan Committee acted with promptitude and thoroughness, obtaining the advice of 25 special sub-committees, and submitted its report to the government of Bengal in the autumn of 1912. The Committee recommended that the University of Dacca should be a State University maintained by the government and staffed by government officers. The Director of Public Instruction would be the Official Visitor, with full powers to inspect all colleges and departments. This scheme foreshadowed the establishment of a unitary teaching and residential University at Dacca in which the College was to form a unit of the University, combining teaching and residential facilities. The number of students in each college would be restricted to 600 and the scheme provided accommodation for 2899 students studying in seven colleges, the other six being Dacca, Jagannath, Muhammadan, Women's, College for the Well-to-do and Teachers' College. The Muhammadan College was to specialise in Islamic Studies. The scheme recommended special university departments for Science, Engineering, Law and Medicine as well as post-graduate studies in Arts and Sciences.
Another special feature of the Nathan Committee Scheme was the Department of Islamic Studies in the proposed University of Dacca. This department would render university-level instructions to the students of the reformed Madrasas.
The Nathan Committee also had proposals for the existing Engineering and Medical Schools, which were to be raised to the status of Colleges and were to be reconstituted as two departments of the University. Similarly the Eden Girls' School was to be upgraded to a women's college while the Teachers' Training College at Dacca' [Dhaka] would form a constituent part of the University. The inspection of schools and their recognition was to be accorded by the University of Dacca.
Under the recommendations of the Nathan Committee the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, Convocation and Council were to constitute the University authorities. The Governor of Bengal would be the Chancellor of the University while the Vice-Chancellor would be appointed by the government and would act as the Chief Executive Officer. The Council of Twenty with the Vice-Chancellor as Chairman would operate as the supreme executive body.
In the Convocation and Council, provisions would be made for the representation of Muslims. Finally the Committee suggested that a splendid site of about 450 acres forming part of the Civil Station of the Government of eastern bengal and assam at Ramna would be chosen for the upcoming University campus.
The Nathan Committee Report published in 1913 received its final approval from the Secretary of State in December 1913. The outbreak of the Great War in 1914 and the subsequent financial stringency of the government made the implementation of the report a virtual impossibility. A modified scheme, however, was later approved, both by the government of India and the Secretary of State.
Finally, on 1 July, 1921 the University of Dhaka started its official journey. From then on July 1, the University Day was celebrated as Dhaka University.