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     Volume 2 Issue 120| May 24 , 2009|


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Kabi Nazrul University
a tribute to the rebel poet

Aminul Islam

THE people of Darirampur in Trishal still remember poet Kazi Nazrul Islam as one of their dear ones who has spent a few years in Trishal during his teenage days. To keep his childhood memories alive, the government established a university at Namapara in Trishal named Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKKNIU) that began its academic journey in 2007. The university has become a hub of creating talents of various disciplines including music and literature.

The university is set up on 20 acres of land, three kilometers away from Trishal Upazila headquarters, some 22 kilometers away from Mymensingh town and about 100 kilometers away from Dhaka. The location of the university at a green and solitary place inspires teachers and students alike to devote to study in a cheerful mood.

Nazrul in Trishal
Kazi Nazrul Islam stayed and studied in Darirampur High School in Trishal for two years. Kazi Rafizullah, a Muslim Police Sub-Inspector posted at Bardwan in West Bengal, took interest in Nazrul, an extraordinary boy who was working at a bakery in Asansole of Bardwan. The police official who had no issue sent Nazrul to Darirampur in Trishal in 1914 so that he could receive education. Nazrul was admitted at the school where he continued his study from the house of Kazi Rafizuddin for several months. However, the school happened to be several miles away which was difficult for him to cover on foot every day to attend his classes. Thus he shifted his lodging to the house of one Bechutia Bepari at Trishal Namapara, near his school. Nazrul left Trishal in the same year after completion of his annual examination. He used to receive free studentship as a brilliant student.

Every year three-day long national programmes are being held to celebrate the birth anniversary of this great poet. The programmes include cultural shows of different variety. A good number of cultural organisations from greater Mymensingh as well as outside perform at Nazrul Mancha in Trishal. The cultural functions continue from morning till night with a short interval at noon. The programmes also include discussions on the life and works of Nazrul, musical soiree on Nazrul songs, dance drama, baul songs, poetry recitation, poets' gathering, drama and dance sequence with the ever appealing songs of this rebel poet of Bengali literature.

Background of the university
A project to establish an university after the name of our National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam at Trishal of Mymensingh was taken at a meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Commission (ECNEC) in February 2004. Following the meeting's recommendations, the official activities in establishing the university was started to fulfil the long desire of the people of Trishal as well as the people of greater Mymensingh. In 2005, the foundation stone of the university was laid to make this dream come true.

Former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia laid the foundation stone of the university on 1 March 2005. On 25 May 2007, Prime Minister inaugurated the activities of the two faculties at a function organised marking the birth anniversary of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

The classes of the first batch students of JKKNIU started on 3 June 2007. Eminent folklore researcher and educationist Dr. Ashraf Sidiquee attended the inaugural programme as chief guest along with the first Vice-Chancellor of JKKNIU Dr. Mohammad Shamsur Rahman.

A total of 185 students were given opportunity to get admitted for the first batch in the departments of Bengali Language and Literature, English Language and Literature and Music under the Arts Faculty and in Computer Science and Engineering Department under the Science Faculty.

The present status and future plans of the university
Now the university runs six departments. The other departments are Economics, Accounting and Information System. There are 475 students studying in these six departments of three faculties. A total of 92 skilled teachers are engaged in teaching. Students come from different corners of the country. The university has only two residential halls, one each for male and female students, with accommodation facilities for only 201 students.

According to sources, the university will open 15 more departments totaling the number of departments to 21 by 2015 to open the vast horizon of knowledge in all sectors. Around 5000 students will then get opportunity to continue their studies in different departments.

But at the present time, the prevailing problems should be addressed immediately to render a unique academic facilities needed for higher education for the students. The university needs more buildings to accommodate increasing number of students. The construction of residential halls is a crucial need, as the students admitted here have to travel a long way to reach the university.

The university has no transport facility of its own. Due to lack of transport facilities for the students, teachers and the employees, they have to make their own arrangements, which is costly and time-consuming as well. The transport facility should be introduced urgently to mitigate the sufferings of the students and the university staffs. A proposal for transport facilities has been placed to the higher authorities but no action has been taken till date. The university is also faced with traffic congestion, so a bypass road to reach the university from Trishal Upazila headquarters should be constructed soon.

It is also a long-felt need that the university should have an auditorium with 1000 seats to conduct cultural functions and other programmes.

However, a source in the university informed that work of all the related infrastructures including the construction of academic buildings, dormitories for both male and female students, boundary walls and a central auditorium would be completed as soon as possible.

Both the Vice Chancellor Dr. Syed Giasuddin Ahmed of the university and Controller Dr. Md. Ataur Rahman, said that the university would offer more subjects to make it a full fledged cultural university. Many subjects like Folklore, Film and Drama, History and Culture, Fine Arts, Archeology and Journalism would be introduced soon to widen the horizon of higher education.

Sazia Khanam Oni, a first year student of Music Department of the university said that the university should be developed following the model of Shanti Niketan of Tagore.

Many institutions have been established in the country but an institution like this would meet the demands for a specialized university for art and culture.

(Aminul Islam is Mymensingh Correspondent of The Daily Star)


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