Oldest arts academy of Khulna put for auction

Publish: 9:38 PM, January 9, 2022 | Update: 9:38:PM, January 9, 2022

Titas Chakrovarty, Khulna Correspondent
The Maheshwarpasha School of Art, the country’s first art-educational institution located in the Mahesh-Rapasha area of Daulatpur in Khulna, is about to be sold at auction. Six contractors have already submitted tenders. Cultural personalities of Khulna have demanded to preserve this traditional building as a historical and cultural monument.

It is learned that there is a dilapidated one storey building on the side of the road in Daulatpur area of Khulna-Jessore road. The building is made of limestone and brick masonry. The 60 feet and 30 feet wide building has 9 doors. Large doors and windows are attached to the roots of a banyan tree. The founder of this building is Shashibhushan Pal.

He established the first educational institution focusing on art in 1904. He built it as there was no other art academy in East Bengal at that time. Shashi Bhushan Pal served as the principal of this institution for about 41 years. Zainul Abedin also recognized the institution as the first arts and educational center in Bengal. In 2009 this institution came under Khulna University.

Earlier, a primary school was established there in 1980 and a secondary school in 1991. Even after the establishment of the secondary school, lessons were taught in the old building. Later, when it became hazardous, teaching activities were discontinued.

Meetings have been held at different times to remove the building since 2016. On August 29, 2021, Khulna City Corporation discussed the inclusion of the 100-year-old building of Shashibhushan Secondary School in Daulatpur in the list of risky buildings and wrote a letter requesting the authorities to demolish the building. In 2021, a meeting was held at the school under the chairmanship of State Minister for Labor Begum Mannujan Sufian.

Amirul Islam, acting headmaster of the school, said the tender for sale of the building was auctioned on December 21 and six tenders were received on January 4, the last day for submission of tenders.