Bangalees need to study their cultural history more and more to know their glorious identity, noted scholars and researchers told the inauguration of a four-day biennial international conference in the capital yesterday.
People out of a natural propensity dig out their cultural history and heritage to relate their identity to the ancestors, said University Grants Commission Chairman Prof AK Azad Chowdhury.
It is however unfortunate that there is no scope for studying ancient and medieval Bengal art in the country's 75 public and private universities, said noted historian and museum expert Prof Enamul Haque, founder chairman and founder director general of ICSBA and Bangladesh National Museum respectively.
The International Centre for Study of Bengal Art (ICSBA) organised the 11th “Congress on Bengal Art” at Brac Centre Inn.
Monarchs and monks built mosques and monasteries in Bengal but many of its historical relics are being ruined despite government's conservation efforts, said Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Ranjit Kumar Biswas.
Bengal's history dates back to the Indo-Gangetic civilisation, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith as chief guest.
The ICSBA awarded Muhith, Prof Nazma Khan Majlis of Dhaka University and Dr Sudipa Ray Bandyopadhyay of Calcutta University honorary fellowships for outstanding interest and contribution to the study of Bengal's history, art and archaeology.
Around 28 of the conference's 55 participants are foreign scholars from India, Germany and Austria, said the organisers. The conference will have research paper presentations and be hosted on two days onboard a water vessel in the Shitalakkhya river.
Founded in 1995, the ICSBA is dedicated to studying archaeology, architecture, sculpture, painting, epigraphy, numismatics, religion, ethnography and the spectrum of folk and decorative arts.
It has brought out 20 books and annually publishes “Journal of Bengal Art” containing research works on Bengal's art and cultural history.
Prof Enamul and late Prof Zulekha Haque, former chairperson of Eden Girls College's history department, donated their personal collection of 20,000 books and 60,000 photographs to the ICSBA.