27 Jul, 2013

last evening in Dhaka…

Sehba Sarwar
27 Jul, 2013

People viewing street photo exhibition at Shahbag Square.

I end my time in Dhaka with a trip to Shahbag Square, where historical photos of the 1971 Liberation War are being displayed. Since February 2013 when the International Tribunal convicted Abdul Quader Mollah for war crimes, and community members rose up in protest demanding a death sentence for Mollah and others, part of the street has been taken over by activists, who resist police attempts to revert one section of the main road as a space for cars. Now, alongside adda gatherings next to food carts that sell tea and snacks, Dhaka residents use the main road as a place to gather, talk and organize.

Down the street, in the entrance of what used to be a race-course created by the British, and the site where Mujibur-Rahman gave his historic speech in March 1971, a group of artists called the Chobbir Haat have created a public art space where they hold exhibitions, gatherings and art workshops. Over many cups of brown-cha and doodh-cha, artists express interest in participating in VBB’s Borderlines production.

Even though I’ll be leaving tomorrow, I feel certain that this is a city I will visit again—soon.