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Forging a Bengali identity through modernist architecture | The Daily Star

After completing his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Oregon, Eugene, in June 1952, the 29-year-old Muzharul Islam (1923-2012) returned home to find a embroiled in acrimonious politics of national identity. The fragility of the pan-Islamic polity that sought to consolidate the impossible geography of Pakistan was evident. The religion-based, two-nation partition of the Indian Subcontinent into India and Pakistan was designed to create two separate domains for Hindus and Muslims, respectively. Yet, Muslim Pakistan was already in trouble soon after the 1947 Partition. The newly minted country's two regions – East and West Pakistan, separated by almost 1,000 miles of Indian territory – were themselves on a collision course because of their asymmetric power relationship, different languages, and, most of all, conflicted attitudes regarding how their divergent ethnicities and Islamic nationalism intersected. The country's political power was centred on West Pakistan. This lopsided power structure was further exacerbated by an ideological difference.


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