Yesterday was your Happy 85th. We, Rafique, Tanna and Dalia, your children, as well as Nazia, are so proud of you. We are proud because you have given us a great life, more than we could ask for. We are proud of you, because you have taught us the best things in life. You have always wanted us to be honest, compassionate, selfless, truthful and most importantly, conscious, both socially and politically.
We feel proud when we look at your creations like the (then) Public Library, the Art College and the NIPA building in the University area as well as the National Archive in Agargaon. Even when we step out of the city, we can see your beautiful complex, of the Jahangir Nagar University, in Savar.
There is no doubt that the city of Chittagong is also proud to have a whole University Complex to their credit.
We, as your children, remember, how you would come back home from work and make us laugh with your jokes. We would be astonished to hear you yelling at someone who discredited our country. We especially enjoyed the new words that you invented when you wanted to express something, as well as the hilarious verses you created.
You and Amma always welcomed any guest at anytime of the day and there was always enough food to provide for them.
Funnily enough, you were the softer of the two, whereas, Amma would make us adhere to the rules of the house. But no doubt, you liked the discipline at home.
The days of our lives have passed ever so swiftly and we have all reached our prime. And Abba, you have become so detached with life.
Remember, when we would joke and state that you look so much like our National Poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam. You would instantly respond, that, he gave you “Ha te khori” when you were 2 years old and so he was your idol and mentor.
But, Abba, is this why you have become so silent and aloof? Is this why you don't want to participate in any activities relating to your profession and politics?
It is really heart-rending and over-whelming to see you like this.
Your grand-children, Ramit, Tanuja, Silma, Diran,Tusheet and Ayaan, all want to see you in your previous form. You are a source of inspiration and resourcefulness for them.
We all, including Nazia, Rahi and Azad, pray that you maintain your present health condition and be with us for many more years to come!!!
We believe you had a great 85th birthday, Dear Abba, on the 25th of December and remember we all love you more than anything in this world!!!
On 29 March 2012 Muzharul Islam was sent to Bangkok Hospital in Thailand for better treatment after his physical condition deteriorated critically due to old-age complications. The master architect had been receiving treatment at a Dhaka hospital for 50 days prior to being sent abroad.
Muzharul Islam returned to Bangladesh and was admitted to the United Hospital in Dhaka’s Gulshan area. Sadly, on 15 July 2012 the 88-year-old passed away. He breathed his last early morning around 12.06 am.
His body was taken to Bakultala at the Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka University (DU) from the hospital around 12:00 noon where friends, colleagues and well-wishers paid him their last tributes.
The once indomitable architect Mazharul Islam passed away quietly around midnight of 14 July 2012, ending a life-time of pioneering and establishing modern architecture in Bangladesh. As the body of the architect was taken to the Art College, friends, former disciples, admirers, even one time detractors, and quite a few people who know little about this legendary man gathered there to say goodbye to the last modernist.
The final journey of Mazharul Islam took him to his first designed building, the Art College, with which he began an astonishing career that bridged the art of building with the project of nation-building, and the ethos of modernity with the spirit of place. Those who knew him remarked that the passing away of Mazharul Islam marked the end of an epoch. He himself defined that epoch. He summarised modern architectural culture in Bangladesh, from its tentative beginning in the 1950s to its proliferation at the present moment. The life and work remained for a long time as a barometer of contemporary dynamic as it negotiated modernisation, westernisation, tradition, and nation-building.
Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, architect, urbanist, writer, and Professor at the University of Hawaii
His first namaz-e-janaza was held after Zuhr prayers at DU Central Mosque where he was accorded a guard of honour by a police contingent. The body was then taken to his house at Gulshan Circle 2 around 2:30pm where a whole host of prominent people came to pay their condolences. Amongst these were Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, architects Mobasher Hossain, Iqbal Habib, Hamiduzzaman Khan, journalist and cultural personality Kamal Lohani, the agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, and the state minister for Liberation War Affairs Tajul Islam Taj and others.
Various cultural organisatioins and clubs, including the Dhaka Club and Chhayanaut, also paid their tribute to the late architect.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went to his house at Gulshan about 4:00pm and paid her homage to the deceased. Hasina conveyed her sympathy to the members of the bereaved family and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul.
The second namaz-e-janaza was held at Azad Mosque in Gulshan after Asr prayer. Amongst the funeral prayers attendee was planning minister A. K. Khandaker. The coffin was then taken to the Central Shaheed Minar for public viewing where several thousand people turned up to pay their homage to the legendary architect and urban planner.
People from all walks of life as well as different organisations expressed deep shock at his death and prayed for the departed soul.
Muzharul Islam was finally buried around 8:00pm at Martyred Intellectuals' Graveyard in Mirpur area of the capital. He left behind his wife, two sons, one daughter and a host of relatives and admirers to mourn his death.
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