The untold story of Pt. Barin Mazumder and Govt. Music College | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 23, 2018

The untold story of Pt. Barin Mazumder and Govt. Music College

Government Music College, Bangladesh's sole state-run music school has a rich tradition that dates back over 50 years. Starting out as a kindergarten in Kakrail, today it is up and running in an aesthetic campus. Many legends and artistes are associated with the institution. Among the luminaries are Dr. Kazi Motahar Hossain, Kamruzzaman Ilias, Sawkat Ali, Sheikh Luthfar Rahman, Abdul Ahad,  Ustad Khadem Hossain Khan, Hemaet Ali, AKM. Muztaba, Narayan Chandra Bashak, Abdul Alim, Ustad Mir Kashem Khan, Azad Rahman, Layla Arjumand Banu, Ila Mazumder, Indra Mohan Rajbongshi, Sheikh Sadi Khan, Ifat Jahan, Sajedul Islam, Sadi Muhammad, Tapan Mahmud, Kaderi Kibria, Khalid Hossain, Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, Ferdous Ara, Leena Taposhi Khan, Yaqub Ali Khan, Abida Sultana, Khurshid Alam, Abu Bakar Siddiki, Mangal Chandra Mandal and Rashidunnabi.

According to veteran journalist and cultural personality Kamal Lohani, apparently an inebriated sailor came forward in order to build a music-loving nation with infrastructural discipline and morality. In 1963, during Pakistani era, Pandit Barin Mazumder decided to establish a college of music with a mere 75 taka. Panditji`s associates in the endeavour were AKM Muztoba, engineer Abdul Hai and Hemayet Ali. 

After taking over the mantle of principal, Panditji worked hard to popularise the college. In 1970, he organised a successful three-day music festival at Dhaka Engineering Institute on behalf of the College of Music. Many legends from India and the country participated in the conference such as Ustad Nazakat Ali and Salamat Ali, Ustad Amanat Fatheh Ali, Ustad Mehedi Hasan, Farida Khanam, Suraia Multanikar, Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Ustad  Bunde Khan, Ustad Khadem Hossain Khan and Mir Kashem Khan.

To support classical music, he organised the prestigious Alauddin Classical Music Conference at the Dhaka Stadium in Bangladesh after the Liberation War.

Barin Majumdar and his wife Sri Ela Majumdar lost their child Modhumita Majumdar during the Liberation War. At that time, a musical instrument museum was established at the college which was demolished and the college of music was converted into a torture cell of the Pakistan army. Pt. Barin Majumdar was arrested during post-Liberation period. He was imprisoned due to the false cases slapped on him by vested quarters. After he came out of jail, he began concentrating on college work. In extreme grief, he spent the rest of his life in debilitated condition. He died on March 3, 2000.

 As a reflection, the music college became a token music college. Unfortunately, even after so many years of independence, legendary Pt. Barin Mazumder has not been honored as the founder of the music college.

However, Professor Kristee Hefaz, the present principal of Govt. Music College, took the initiative to celebrate the birth anniversary of Panditji. She organised a ceremony at the college with the support of vice principal Indu Prova Das. Bappa Mazumder, the prolific son of Pt. Barin Mazumder joined the ceremony and thanked everyone on the occasion, and said, “All of you are my father's ideal successors.”

To keep his memory alive, on his birth anniversary, a black and white portrait was placed in front of the main gate of the college.

 

The writer is Assistant Professor and Head of Classical Music Department, Govt. Music College.

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