Filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak’s ancestral home turned into cycle garage

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13 social and cultural organizations have sent a memorandum addressed to the deputy commissioner of Rajshahi demanding the conservation of the internationally renowned filmmaker’s ancestral home

A section of the ancestral home of legendary filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak has been turned into a makeshift cycle garage by the Rajshahi Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital.

Civil society and film lovers of Rajshahi are voicing their displeasure and have announced the distribution of memorandums and the formation of human chains to protest this action.

13 social and cultural organizations have sent a memorandum addressed to the deputy commissioner of Rajshahi demanding the conservation of the internationally renowned filmmaker’s ancestral home.

The memorandum was received by Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Md Shariful Haque on Monday in the presence of Rajshahi Film Society President Ahsan Kabir Liton, Rajshahi University Film Society President Prof Sajjad Bakul, poetry organization ‘Kabikunja’ President Prof Ruhul Amin Pramanik, Ritwik Ghatak Film Society Secretary General Mahmud Islam Masud, and drama organization ‘Bhor Holo’ President Kamar Ullah Sarker Kamal.

According to the memorandum, the legendary filmmaker of Bangla cinema spent a part of his adolescence in the house situated in Miapara area of the Rajshahi metropolis. Renowned author Mahasweta Devi, too, lived for some time in the house.

The whole house was leased to Rajshahi Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital at a nominal price in 1989, during the Ershad era | Dhaka TribuneRitwik studied at Rajshahi Collegiate School and Rajshahi College during his stay at the house. He practised drama with famous writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay at Rajshahi College and on the field of Miapara General Library. He also edited a magazine called ‘Abhidhara’ during this time. It was also reported that he drew a poster for the movie ‘Bhabikal.’ He caught the attention of the cultural society with his work and all this happened when he lived at his ancestral home.

The whole house was leased to Rajshahi Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital at a nominal price in 1989, during the Ershad era.

The hospital administration have already started the construction of a multi-storey building in one section of the house and using the other parts for different purposes, including the rooms used by Ritwik and his family. The administration decided to build a temporary cycle garage by demolishing one of those parts.

Stating their disapproval of the destruction of the property, the leaders of the cultural organizations demanded the conservation of the house and declaring it as a heritage. They also demanded the creation of a Ritwik Ghatak memorial museum in the house.

Also Read- Ritwik Ghatak: One of the most underrated filmmakers of our times

Acting principal of Rajshahi Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital Dr Anisur Rahman said the 34 decimal land was leased to the college by the government as enemy property, according to which, the whole house falls under the allotted land.

“We are currently using only some of the rooms. Other rooms will also be demolished when the college becomes more solvent and prosperous. The room demolished for the garage was in a decrepit condition,” said the principal.

“The building being demolished cannot possibly have been used by Ritwik Ghatak as it was built in the 90s,” he added.

ADC Md Shariful Haque said the college administration was requested to stop the construction work and the issue will be resolved in discussion with both parties.