Dhaka: Yesterday, today and tomorrow |
The Daily Star (TDS): What is your most memorable event in Dhaka?
Jamaluddin Hossain (JH): I came to Dhaka in 1959, to watch a cricket match between West Indies and Pakistan. At that time I was a student of Chittagong Government College. Naturally it was a very memorable experience. There is another funny incident that I will never forget. Actor, director Abul Hayat has been a close friend since school days. We also studied together at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet). Once he asked me to accompany him to his aunt's house in Mohammadpur. So, we boarded a bus from Buet campus to go to Mohammadpur. In those days, all the areas seemed too far from one another. On the way back to Buet, I asked Abul Hayat, "Is your aunt insane? Why does she live so far from the main city?:
TDS: What do you miss most in the city as compared to your early days in Dhaka?
JH: I miss the vastness of certain parts of the city like Tejgaon industrial area, which was on the outskirts of the city in the early sixties. The most beautiful place was the Dhaka University (DU) campus. The Krishnachura trees, the openness, the clean and fresh wind, and the environment -- everything was so pleasant and special. The area was not dangerous at all like it is today.
TDS: How has the change in the city influenced your life?
JH: Dhaka has changed into a very big and busy city from a calm and suburban type. Nowadays life has become very competitive and too fast in Dhaka. The traffic jam, pollution, population inflation, and unplanned urbanisation all these have made our lives difficult.
TDS: Which part of Dhaka, in your eyes, we should be proud of?
JH: Sadly the architectural structures and traditions of the city have begun to decline. I am proud of the Shahid Minar and Sohrawardi Udyan, which unfortunately have now turned into a crime zone. But still there are many things in Dhaka I feel proud of. The world-class architectural beauty of the parliament house, the open fields in front of it and the lake adjacent to it -- every structure and open space makes me proud.
TDS: What do you envisage for Dhaka in the future?
JH: It is difficult to say, as the city can get either worse or better. The population growth in the city is becoming uncontrollable. The policy makers and the government must take this issue seriously mainly because the civic amenities have not increased. If a reverse process of the population growth begins, it would make the city liveable. The economic activities outside Dhaka are very limited. So the decentralisation process must be made a priority.
Jamaluddin Hossain, actor and theatre personality spoke to Novera Deepita of the Star City.