The arrival, "forced" disappearance, and reappearance of a Rabindranath Tagore sculpture at Dhaka University has recently been the talk of the town.
The matter grabbed fresh headlines yesterday after some students and activists of left-leaning organisations in the university recovered broken pieces of the sculpture, including the severed head from a garbage heap at Suhrawardy Udyan and re-positioned it in front of the Raju Memorial Sculpture at TSC, by outlining the structure with bamboo.
However, the head of the sculpture was bent to its left side, protesting the university's steps to remove it in the first place. Besides, two new banners were placed next to it.
One of the banners reads, "Abolish the Digital Security Act and stop all forms of censorship", while the other reads, "In the pretence of pious prayer, I remain oblivious of you [Tomar Pujar Chhole, Tomay Bhule Thaki]".
Talking to The Daily Star, Nazir Amin Chowdhury, acting president of a faction of Chhatra Union's central committee, said, "Rabindranath's sculpture was removed and broken into pieces because we demanded freedom of expression through that. But we put the broken pieces together and placed it in its previous spot."
The sculpture was placed demanding freedom of speech and Rabindranath was chosen as a symbol of creative writing. But DU proctor demolished it, which proved that there is no freedom in the country.
"The sculpture was placed demanding freedom of speech and Rabindranath was chosen as a symbol of creative writing. But DU proctor demolished it, which proved that there is no freedom in the country," he added.
DU Chhatra Union President Shimul Kumbhakaar said, "We heard that the sculpture was removed by the proctorial team followed by an order from Proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani."
Some students of DU's Faculty of Fine Arts and activists of Chhatra Union placed the structure beside the Raju Memorial on Tuesday, protesting the "recent incidents of censorship and repression" in Bangladesh.
The sculpture portrayed Tagore holding a book that had a nail pierced through it, while his mouth was taped. The DU authorities removed the sculpture on Thursday, claiming it represented "the degradation of culture".
Soon after, the students placed a banner at the site of the removed sculpture which read, "Gum Hoye Gelen Rabindranath" (Rabindranath has disappeared).