Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA) is a pioneering cultural school and organisation located at 7, Waizghat, Dhaka. Though there are controversies surrounding the permanent address of BAFA, the 200-year-old venue has a rich history as it was built during the reign of Nawab Sir Salimullah. Whatever may be the outcome of the present debate, there is little doubt that the renowned cultural organisation has promoted a number of noted artistes and luminaries who are now an integral part of the country's cultural scene.
Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts was named after pioneer dancer, painter and versatile genius Bulbul Chowdhury. On May 17, 1954, at the age of 35, Chowdhury died in Calcutta (now Kolkata). After his death, his wife Afroza Bulbul founded the Bulbul Institute of Culture in Karachi and the Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA) in Dhaka on the first death anniversary of the legend.
The reputed cultural school is celebrating its diamond jubilee today (June 10) with a grand programme at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium of Bangla Academy at 3:30pm. Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor will be present as chief guest while advocate Kazi Firoz Rashid, eminent writer-researcher, folklorist and DG of Bangla Academy Shamsuzzaman Khan and acting editor of daily Ittefaq Tasmima Hossain will be present as special guests.
To join the celebrations, dancer-writer Nargis Bulbul Chowdhury (Bulbul Chowdhury's daughter) has already arrived in Dhaka from London. Ajit Sanyal, BAFA's founding dance guru and a close associate of Bulbul Chowdhury, has also winged his way from Kolkata to join the programme in Dhaka.
Apart from discussions and reminiscences, the teachers, students and alumni of BAFA will take part in a cultural programme featuring solo and choral performance of songs, dances and musical orchestration. Hasanur Rahman Bachchu, President of BAFA, who was honoured with “Guitar Guru Award” at the India International Guitar Conference, held on January 7-11, 2015, will play Hawaiian guitar at the show. Directed by Sohel Rahman, artistes of BAFA will stage the Tagore dance-drama “Mayar Khela” at the event. A reunion of BAFA alumni is also on the cards for 8:30am on June 12.
To mark the diamond jubilee, a souvenir has been brought. Eminent artiste and cultural personality Dr. Sanjida Khatun notes that BAFA as a cultural school helped Chhayanaut's establishment by arranging cultural programmes, according to Hasanur Rahman Bachchu, the current president of BAFA.
“It is our logical demand to the government that it leases the land and residence of BAFA for a long time so that we can start our journey with new vigour and restore the lost pride and heritage of BAFA, something it badly requires. We want the removal of any confusion regarding fake organisations which are using our organisation's name,” said Hasanur Rahman Bachchu.
Rashid Ahmed Chowdhury, popularly known as Bulbul Chowdhury, was a Bengali dancer of British India, and later East Pakistan. He is regarded as a pioneer of modern dance in Bangladesh. Born in Chittagong, Chowdhury earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Scottish Church College in 1938, and Master of Arts from the University of Calcutta in 1943. In 1953, Chowdhury with his troupe visited Europe. He was declared as the National Dancer of Pakistan in 1949. Chowdhury was married to Afroza Bulbul Chowdhury, a dancer and actress.
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