Friday, November 24, 2017

Rose Garden Palace in old Dhaka ‘represents Francophonie values’

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-03-21 01:31:28 BdST

Photo: Abu Sufian Mohammad Khaled via Facebook

The French Embassy in Dhaka has celebrated the annual Francophonie Day on Monday in a different style.

This time, they have celebrated the day at Rose Garden Palace in old Dhaka’s Tikatuli to promote history and culture. The Palace is a living tribute to many historical and political events of Bangladesh.

Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, France Ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert and Canadian High Commissioner Benoît-Pierre Laramée were present at the discussion organised by the French embassy in collaboration with Alliance Francaise de Dhaka and travel magazine ‘Vromon’.

Every year, the Francophone community celebrates and promotes worldwide the use of the French language as well as cultural and linguistic diversity on Mar 20.

The French language is spoken by 220 million people worldwide, and it is the official language of 32 countries.

The Francophonie missions present in Dhaka are the High Commission of Canada, and the embassies of Egypt, Switzerland, France, Vietnam, Morocco and Qatar.

The Canadian high commissioner said the day is being dedicated to promoting democracy, respect human rights and the rule of law.

“The Rose Garden Palace is a testament to diversity and inclusiveness of this country,” he said. “It represents the values that we celebrate today”.

Hindu zamindar Hrikesh Das built the Palace in the late 19th century. Later Khan Bahadur Kazi Abdur Rashid bought it from him in 1936.

During 1940 to 1960, Rose Garden was well known as a major landmark where all famous would mingle and hang out. It is a registered heritage property of Bangladesh now.

The ruling Awami League which is the oldest political parties in Bangladesh held the first major inaugural meeting in this Palace. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was also present at that meeting.

Laila Raquib, the widow of the Palace’s latest owner Kazi Abdur Raquib who inherited the property from his father, is living in this Palace since 1964.

She sought the cooperation of relevant department for “expensive and time-consuming” renovation and repairing of this palace.

The French ambassador said they chose the venue for the Francophonie Day discussion “to promote this beautiful house which is part of Bangladesh’s heritage”.

“For us, tourism means sharing our culture and discovering heritage,” she said.

The tourism minister said this house was part of Bangladesh’s history. “Awami League was born here,” he said.

He highlighted government’s efforts to promote tourism in Bangladesh and said the government had declared 2016 to 2018 as ‘visit Bangladesh’ years for drawing foreign tourists.

“Tourism sector is growing in Bangladesh and government has announced it as a thrust area. We have started it lately so that we can take lessons from Francophonie countries,” he said.