Legacy II:

Osmani Jadughar (Museum)

  • Founded: 4 March 1987
  • Address: Naiorpool Road, Nur Manzil, Sylhet, Bangladesh
  • Contact details: [T] [F] [E]
  • Opening hours: April-September:
    10.30 – 17.30 Sat – Wed
    15.00 – 18.00 Fri

    October-March:
    09.30 – 16.30 Sat – Wed
    15.00 – 18.00 Fri

    Closed on Thursdays
  • Entrance fee: Free

One of the most famous memorial museum in Bangladesh is the (General) Osmani Jadughar (also known as Osmany Museum) that was founded to honour the country’s most renowned freedom fighter. The museum is in fact a small, colonial-era house located at Dhopa Dighir Par (also known as 'Nur Manzil') area in the heart of Sylhet City Corporation. The jadughar is walking distance from Sylhet Central Jail and Zinda Bazar at the centre of the city and about 8 miles (12km) from the Sylhet Osmani International Airport, also named in the General's honour.

The foundation stone for the humble jadughar was laid on 16 February 1985 and it was inaugurated by the then president of Bangladesh H. M. Ershad on 4 March 1987, three years after the great General had sadly passed away.

'Nur Manzil' is by and large a tin shade building having few rooms and other amenities including an exquisite piazza in the front. One has to cross few meters from the main gate to reach the Museum. A huge portrait of the General, placed in the centre of the entrance hall greets the visitors. Receptionist welcomes the guests. One has to write name and address in the register placed in the reception. A befitting sitting place is also available in the lobby.

Wikipedia - Osmani Museum

The jadughar comprises of three galleries displaying artefacts from General Osmani's life and breathtaking works of art relating to his struggles. The galleries exhibit personal items, photographs and military gear used by Osmani to remind the public and educate visitors about this remarkable man. Amongst the items on display is his bed, dining table and chair, and a photo of young Osmani on the lap of his beloved father.

A handful of staff work tirelessly to take proper care of this precious establishment and preserve the historical items for the younger generation.

Artefacts showcased in the Osmani Jadughar (Osmani Museum)

Gallery 1:
  • The entire room has been decorated with showpieces similar to a bedroom.
  • There are four chairs made of cane and two centre tables, one simple wardrobe and one wooden bed with two side tables.
  • The favourite wrist watch, which General Osmani wore till the last hours of his life.
  • Military stick, two briefcases, a telephone set, number of books and used crockery, are kept on one side.
  • The other side is decorated with an Alana, which contains two suits, two uniforms (khaki and deep green), two shirts (white and light blue), two panjabi, a brown sleeveless coat, four pairs of shoes including one military boot, a black umbrella, brown colour well decorated walking stick.
  • A round table and a wooden book shelf with many books and magazines from home and abroad including “Who’s Who in the World” (editions: 1978–1979 and 1980–1981) are placed in a corner.
  • A man size portrait in military attire is placed on the wall along with Osmani on the lap of his beloved father and many other historical photographs are also kept for display.
Gallery 2:
  • Decorated as a drawing room, there are few furniture made of cane, which includes chairs – four 1 sitter, one 3 sitter, one 2 sitter, a centre table, two side tables etc.
  • There are three showcases filled with many valuable and historical items. First one contains the badges, medals, ranks of General and the passport of General Osmani. The second one possesses the mementos, souvenirs and crests. And the third one displays number of credentials, which includes the Certificate of Independence Award – 1985 along with the invitation card and brief biography of the award winners. One card contains the autograph of Mrs. Indira Gandhi of India along with envelop sent to General Osmani.
  • Eight huge paintings are hanged on the upper wall of the room.
  • Numbers of historical photos are also hanged on the walls of the room. Among them the important few are: General Osmani speaking to the audiences after the ceremonial guard of honour presented by the army on the occasion of the grand arrival of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 10 March 1971, landing at Sylhet airport in 1972, General Osmani with the sector commanders of the liberation war of Bangladesh, with acting president of Mujib Nagar government Syed Nazrul Islam, with president Justice Abu Sayeed Chowdhury, with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, with Shaheed president Ziaur Rahman, with ex-president Hussain Muhammad Ershad, with the martyrs family at the East Bengal Regimental Centre in 1981 etc.
Gallery 3:
  • A black reading table and chair, bed, prayer stand, Jaynamaz (Prayer Cloth), prayer cap etc. are lay down meticulously as exhibits.
  • The other items include one black almirah, one fridge, dining table with six chairs, antique crockery and others.
  • The operational map of Bangladesh (scale 1: 2,50,00), used by the General during the liberation war of Bangladesh, is also displayed in this room along with numerous credentials presented by the civil society.

Though there are not much to be seen for the thrill-seekers, the jadughar is an excellent reminder of the simple life and possession of this eminent liberation war hero.

As is evident from the possessions of his old house, he lived a soldier’s life and was not prone to extravagance. He is now buried at the Shah Jalal Mazar like a fellow warrior saint. A few war slogans also decorate the humble museum.

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Walking through the Osmany Museum honors the sacrifices and strength of General Osmani, and gives admirers a place where they can be close to their liberating champion and retrace his life and the significant moments in the history of Bangladesh.

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The museum authority celebrate the birth (1st September) and death (16th February) anniversaries of General M. A. G. Osmani along with Swadhinata Dibosh (26th March) and Bijoy Dibosh (16th December) at the museum premises.

Osmani Trust & Osmani Centre (London, UK)

  • Founded: 2009 (Osmani Trust)
  • Address: Osmani Centre, 58 Underwood Road, London, E1 5AW, UK
  • Contact details: [T] 0044 (0) 207 247 8080 [E] This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Opening hours:
  • Website: www.osmanitrust.org

Osmani Trust – named in honour of General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani - is a youth and community organisation based in Tower Hamlets area of London, UK. The Trust offers a wide range of community, health and sporting initiatives tailored to the needs of the community. Founded on the vision of "helping ordinary people do extraordinary things", Osmani Trust seeks to address issues impacting the community including substance misuse, racial tensions, criminality and anti-social behaviour, territoriality and gang-related violence, unemployment and overcrowding, lack of training and employment opportunities. It also places strong emphasis on the health and social welfare of the community.

Osmani Trust was created following the merger of Elite Youth and Brick Lane Youth Development Association in 2009. One of the key drivers for this was the Tower Hamlets Council's decision to invest the sum of £4.4 million towards the development of the new Osmani Centre.

The Trust has had a rich history of serving the local community of Tower Hamlets and Newham spanning over 30 – 40 years. Originally this was focussed at the needs of the Bangladeshi youth and the issues that were affecting them such as racism, gang violence, drugs misuse and sports inequality.

Over the last decade we have opened and expanded our range of provision. We are now increasingly working with the wider diverse community of Tower Hamlets. Our service now include mentoring, employment, education, as well as adult health & well-being. The Trust engages well over 800 people on a weekly basis. This equates to over 40,000 contacts on an annual basis.

Osmani Trust (2014)

Projects ran by Osmani Trust include:

  • Aasha Project = Geared towards cutting crime, reducing the fear of crime, promoting citizenship and bridging the gap between communities. Focuses pre-dominantly on young people from the ethnic minority community aged between 16-21, who are at risk of becoming socially excluded or engaging in youth conflict, crime and drugs or anti-social behaviour.
  • Amaal Girls Project = Works with young women aged between 8 and 25. Delivers a range of activities and opportunities for girls in a culturally sensitive environment with the aim of encouraging more young women into mainstream provision such as education, training, employment and community work.
  • Can Do Community Grants = Donates small grants of up to £500 to individual community members or informal community groups who encourage members of your local community to be more physically active or to eat well and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Community First = Donates small grants of £250 – £2,500 to community members and groups who are working in or from the following wards: Mile End and Globe Town, Bethnal Green North, Bethnal Green South.
  • The Education & Employment Project = Offers a comprehensive support programme to help young people (15-25 years) into education, training and employment. Supports young people who are traditionally ‘hard to reach’ and those who are classified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training) to access education, training and employment opportunities.
  • The Health Trainers = A scheme which follows recommendations made in the government's white paper "Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier" (2004) and is part of the government’s plans to encourage healthier lifestyles after evidence of widespread obesity and ill-health. The move reflects the concerns raised by local communities over the inequality of standards of health.
  • OC Active = Aims to reduce child obesity in Tower Hamlets by instilling healthy lifestyles for young people in Tower Hamlets. Does this through the promotion of healthy eating, physical activity, sports coaching and focused support for young people who are above a healthy weight.
  • Shaathi Mentoring Programme = Implements an early intervention approach in working with disadvantaged and deprived members of the BAME (Black, Asian, Minority and Ethnic) communities.
  • Youth Academy = A weekend school for young people between the ages of 9-16. Combines 3 quality services (Supplementary Education, Self-Defence and Arts, Languages and Religious Education) under one roof at an affordable price, all delivered from the new state-of-the-art Osmani Centre.
  • Youth Club & Holiday Project = Aims to empower young people through advice, information, education and practical support, to allow them to make informed decisions about their lives. The Project aims to be more than just a 'youth club' and sees the development, needs and aspirations of young people as paramount. It takes a leading role in representing the views of young people at all levels.

"O General My General..." book by Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar Raja

On September 2010 the Osmany Memorial Trust published the book “O General My General – Bangabir General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmany, Command-in-Chief Liberation War of Bangladesh, 1971” written by Lieutenant Colonel Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar Raja, the great grandson and direct heir of the mystic poet Dewan Hason Raja from Sylhet.

The 541-pages long book covers General Osmani's life in detail. It gives insight into General Osmani's upbringing, his colourful career within the Pakistan Army, his leadership during those dark days of 1971 and his brief political ambition in independent Bangladesh.

The book also contains testimony from those privileged to have met and/or work with Papa Tiger and the strong lasting impression he made on them.

Obviously, the varied accounts of Osmany's life and achievements are encapsulated in what is truly a paean to the late general. The author goes on a long trajectory to sketch and then flesh out the details of Osmany's background, both in terms of his upbringing and his education. For Raja, Osmany remains a true Bengali commander as well as a pragmatic commander. That last bit may not sit well with others who have observed Osmany. During the war, the commander-in-chief of the Bangladesh forces often drew attention to himself for his acerbic tongue and for his repeated threats, every time his views were opposed by others, to quit command of the Mukti Bahini. There is little question that eccentricities sometimes held sway over him. Despite his threats, though, he did not quit, but there are reasons to think that being the straightforward soldier he always had been, Osmany may have felt piqued by the reluctance of others to take his point of view without question.

The author certainly keeps such perceptions of Osmany out of his lexicon. His appreciation of the Mukti Bahini commander-in-chief brings to focus the overall impression that he made on people around him, especially on journalists, scholars and soldiers. In this work, Raja reproduces what they have to say about Osmany. You can safely include among them A. M. A. Muhith, Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacob, J. N. Dixit, Mohammad Ayoob and K. Subrahmanyam. The annexure to the book says much that has so far remained a matter of speculation about Osmany, particularly where his absence at the surrender of the Pakistan army is concerned. Indeed, the fact that it was General NIazi and General Aurora who affixed their signatures on the surrender documents has often set off a good deal of debate about the importance given to the role of the Mukti Bahini in forcing Pakistan to a defeat in December 1971.

..."O General My General" is a fascinating addition to the archive of Bengali history. It is a totality of a portrait of the War of Liberation which emerges from this study of the man who fashioned the military struggle against Pakistan.

Journalist Syed Badrul Ahsan’s review of "O General, My General..." of Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar Raja

In 2000 Lt. Col. Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar Raja also wrote “Hason Raja Shomogro” (Hason Raja’s Oeuvre) in dedication to the other famous son of Sylhet (and Raja’s great grandfather) Dewan Hason Raja.

  • Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar Raja (Born 15 Oct 1967) Lieutenant Colonel in Bangladesh Army. Born in Sylhet. Great grandson and direct heir of mystic poet Dewan Hason Raja from Sylhet. Father Dewan Talibur Raja – a Masters in Law graduate from Aligarh University, India - is the second son of Khan Bahadur Dewan Eklimur Raja (Kabbo Bisharod). Mother, Syeda Mina Raja, a dedicated social worker, is the daughter of Syed Habibul Huq, Zamindar of Baulai in Kishoreganj. Youngest and only brother to two sisters. Primary education from Sylhet Blue Bird School, and passed SSC and HSC from Sylhet Cadet College with distinctions. Earned Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) from Chittagong University, Masters in Defence Studies (MDS) from National University of Bangladesh and Masters of Science (MSc) (Warfare) from Baluchistan University, Pakistan. Commissioned from Bangladesh Military Academy with 20th BMA Long Course on 23 June 1989. Commanded the Tank Regiment 12 Lancers, which became the Best Unit in the formation in 2008. Served in Armour School and Infantry School as ‘Distinguished’ tactics instructor. Participated in UN peace missions in Iraq-Kuwait in 1996 and Sudan in 2007 and awarded with ‘Peace Medal’ twice. Completed Staff Course from Mirpur, Dhaka & Quetta, Pakistan and was honoured with ‘PSC’. Has had armour training from China & USA. Presently, he is a Directing Staff (Instructor) in the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC), Mirpur. Visited 45 countries of Asia, America, Europe and Africa. Performed holy hajj in 1996 and umrah with family in 2008. Publication includes: "Hason Raja Shomogro" (2000), "Bangladesh Armoured Corps" (2010), "O General My General - General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmany" (2010) and "Kabbo Bisharod Eklimur Raja Shomogro" (upcoming). Established and patronizes Hason Raja Foundation, Talibur Raja Memorial Library, Educationist Dewan Talibur Raja Trust, and Museum of Rajas. Member of Bangla Academy and Kendriyo Muslim Shahitto Sangshad, Sylhet. Married Mosleha M. Raja, daughter of freedom fighter Dr. Moslehuddin Ahmed of Faridpur in 1996. Have two sons (Musawwar & Muassar Raja) and two daughters (Late Fatima Tuz Zahra & Taswarin Fatima Raja).

What others say about him...

General Osmani was a proud Bengali and was a proud Pakistani before 1971. He is an example of principle, discipline, punctuality, trustworthiness, and was honest to the bone. He was a good orator and a well-dressed person. He never compromised the question of principle.

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