Townsville, Queensland, Australia
September 16, 2005
Curzon Hall is named after George Curzon, an Englishman who was a brilliant scholar at Eton College and Oxford University in the last part of the nineteenth century. He was elected a Member of the British Parliament in 1886 and in 1891 was appointed Secretary of State for India, a position he held until a change of government in 1894.
His real influence on the Indian sub-continent began in 1898 when he was appointed Viceroy of India. He introduced a series of reforms which upset many of the traditional civil servants and he clashed with Lord Kitchener who became commander-in-chief of the Indian army. Perhaps his most controversial action was agreeing to divide Bengal into two states. This lead to a fostering of Muslim hopes of a permanent Muslim state and, of course, this ultimately led to the formation of Bangladesh many years later.
Curzon was eventually forced out of office in 1905 but not before the building of Curzon Hall has started. The hall was originally built to become the town hall of Dhaka after the partition of Bengal, then when the partition was annulled in 1911 it became part of Dhaka College. When Dhaka University was founded in 1921 the building become a central part of the university and it remains part of the Science Department to this day.
The Curzon Hall has attained a great significance in the history of the so-called language movement, which was one of the significant factors in the formation of Bangladesh. It was here, in 1948, the students of Dhaka University uttered their first refusal to accept Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s declaration that Urdu alone would be the state language of the then Pakistan.
From journal Dhaka City Sights