Nitun Kundu |
M. Shafiullah ,Coordinator of City Beautification, Cultural Events and Media, Saarc Summit, 1993
How do we evaluate a multifaceted man who just has gone to the other world? The fallback position possibly is what he left behind. If we consider the name of Nitun Kundu, his solid works speak a thousand times more than words can express. A student of drawing and painting of the College of Arts and Craft, the present day College of Fine Arts of Dhaka University, Nitun passed out standing first class first in 1959.
Entrepreneurship was in his vein. If OTOBI caught the imagination of the people of Bangladesh for a new fashion design of furniture, it was nothing but his indigenous creative faculty. His inspiration behind the creation of "Shabash Bangladesh" on the Rajshahi University premises directly came from his participation in the historic Liberation War of Bangladesh. Through this piece of sculpture Nitun wanted to enliven the spirit of the Liberation War and the unknown heroes. It was great to see that the National Colour draped his body and he was given state funeral towards his eternal journey at the Central Shaheed Minar. It was a commendable gesture displayed by the BNP alliance government.
The late Nitun Kundu is best remembered in the Metropolitan Dhaka landscape for his Saarc Fountain at the intersection of the Airport Road in front of Sonargaon Hotel. Saarc was formally launched in Dhaka in 1985, and the seventh summit was due to be held in Bangladesh in 1992. The then foreign minister ASM Mustafizur Rahman persuaded the former foreign secretary Faruq A. Choudhury to become the Honorary Chairman of the Summit Preparatory Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The committee deliberated to give some uniqueness to the Summit. The Chairman led the Chief Coordinator QAMA Rahim [Director-General Saarc desk] and relevant coordinators of the Preparatory Committee for a meeting with the then Mayor Mirza Abbas at his Laksmibazar office. The Mayor listened to other ministries at the brainstorming session but leaned heavily on the foreign ministry. In his view diplomats live abroad for a long time to see many legends and landmarks and summits. Several proposals were made and a number of options were up on the table. Finally, the Mayor went along with the idea of a Saarc Fountain proposed by the Foreign Ministry Committee. The Chief Architect at the PWD was assigned to come up with the layout and design of the Fountain. I was the Coordinator of the City Beautification, Cultural Events and Media in the Preparatory Committee and was asked to go around the new part of the city to suggest a number of locations for the proposed Fountain. Considering the fact that the Kings, Presidents and the Prime Ministers of the Saarc countries would be lodged at the Hotel Sheraton for which the hotel was renovated and they would use the Airport Road during arrival and departure, it was decided that the Fountain would be built on the Airport Road. Faruq Choudhury knew the creative genius of Nitun well and thought that it was only Nitun Kundu who could translate the dream into reality.
If you ever pass by Saarc Fountain, you pause to remember Nitun.