Jagannath Hall- Background:
It may be useful and interesting to many of my young friends to know about some history of Jagannath Hall. So far I know Dacca University was established as a residential University some time in 1920-21,There were originally three residential Halls, namely-Jagannath Hall (for Hindu students); Muslim Hall (which was renamed as Salimulla Muslim Hall in 1931. Salimulla was the Nawab of Dacca); Dacca Hall (for all non Muslims students). Jagannath Hall was meant to provide accommodation for the students from Jagannath college (established long ago by a Zaminder family of Jagannath Chandra Choudhaury); Dacca Hall was meant for the students from Dacca college (established before).

Demographic picture shows that only Hindu students used to live in Jagannath Hall; only Muslim students Lived in Salimulla Muslim Hall and non-Muslim students (mainly Hindu students) used to live in Dacca Hall. Some times during Second World War (1943-44) Government took over the whole of Jagannath Hall areas by requisition-and used for different purposes in different time. For example – Jagannath hall North wing was once used for Accountant General Office (A,G.P) until it moved to present A,G,B office. South wing was used for the offices of University Registrar and Controller of examinations until recently it was return to Jagannath Hall, Similarly Jagannath Hall Assembly Hall was used for East Pakistan Legislative Assembly where Deputy Speaker Shahid Ali was killed during Assembly Debate, It was also used for Pakistan Supreme Court Sessions until 25th December 1961. In fact 1944 to 1956 there were no students living in Jagannath Hall, All non-Muslim students (mainly Hindu students) used to live in Dacca Hall, However the record was maintain as Dacca Jagannath Hall jointly and there was only one Provost for both the Halls from 1948 to 1956.

After 1947 partition Hindu students were largely reduced, Increased Muslim students from adjacent FazIul Haque Hall and other places started moving into apparently vacant places in Dacca HalI, Dacca University Authority also took a policy to make Dacca Hall a cosmopolitan HaII. Dacca University Authority also became majority in Dacca Hall and the Hindu students were pushed out. Some Hindu students protested against this policy and went on hunger strike, but all were in vain, in the mean time the third floor of Jagannath Hall North Wing was constructed, Provost office was constructed and the House Tutors residence was also constructed. According to the plan- AGP office was transferred from Jagannath hall North wing to the present A.G.B office . On 1st July 1957 Dr. Govinda Chandra Deb, the acting provost of Dacca Hall was appointed as the first provost of Jagannath Hall. Mr. Santosh Bhattacharjee and Mr. Jyotirmoy Guhathakuratha were appointed two House Tutors of Jagannath Hall. Most of the Hindu students of Dacca Hall moved into the North wing of Jagannath Hall with the Provost and two House Tutors. I came to Jagannath Hall in 1958.

In those days student leaders used to play influential parts in Pakistan politics. Student leaders had opportunities to meet the President of Pakistan, Governor of East Pakistan Ambassadors and Representatives of foreign countries. In 1964 Jabbalpur riot in India created a devastating reaction in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Nearly ten thousands minorities lost their lives, Thousands of Hindus took shelter in temporary camps. Some eye witness reported that the Dacca Medical Hospital’s dead house was almost full. Jagannath hall Students could not go out for shopping. Friends from Students Union group and DUCSU helped us, Nearly 800 people took shelter in Jagannath Hall area. East Pakistan Assembly session was adjourned from 14th January ‘64 to 30th January ‘64 for the riot. Three MLA’s took shelter in Jagannath Hall. I personally visited ten refugees camps. It can not be described in language the pains sufferings, anguish and fear those people were undergoing. We contacted Police authority (I.G.P) but they assured us in words only. NSF Students leader made procession in street, organised meetings in Dacca University Campus attacked Madhus’s Canteen. They declared we want the head of Jagannath Hall’s leader’ Dr Mahmud Hussain telephoned Jagannath Hall office and advised not to go out. The same scenes were repeated in 1971 and again in 2001. As a minority I sometimes tend to think- ‘Was it worth to have freedom in 1947? Was it worth to have freedom in 1971? What have we got? What have the minorities of East Pakistan or Bangladesh achieved? The Minorities are always the victims of so called Freedom. WHY? I can not answer the question. Most probably you can not either Let our young friends or their future generation find the answer in a completely changed world.

DHIRENDRA NATH HALDER
M.A. LL.B, BARRISTER -AT-LAW
EX-VICE-PRESIDENT OF JAGANNATH HALL STUDENTS UNION. D.U.