Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Let not past be lost

Coming into being, developing and passing away is a universal law under which the old vacate the room for the new and the fresh supersede the obsolete. In a similar manner, what is fashionable now turns into outmoded with the passage of time. Nothing is everlasting and unchanging in this material world. These phenomena are applicable to both animate and inanimate objects including Dhaka’s hackney carriages that were once a symbol of aristocracy and the only fashionable means of transportation introduced roughly one and a half centuries back. But with the advancement of technology, especially introduction of rickshaws and later motorised vehicles like cars and jeeps, and also changes in people’s test and culture, those buggies – once a part of old Dhaka’s tradition and history – have already lost their appeal and are on their way to museum of antiquities. The cost of maintaining such a vehicle is said to be no longer affordable.
These historic carriages are heading fast toward their inevitable and irresistible doom; there seems to be no way to protect them against the verdict of time. However, we must not allow everything to be lost; we need to make concerted efforts to conserve that deserve to be and can be preserved. The massive cannons namely Bibi Mariam and Kale Jamjam added by Mughal Subahdar Mir Jumla II to his armory are of no practical use now but yet we preserve them as those depict a part of our history. It is for the same reason that we have dedicated museums to conserve thousands of archaeological relics and artefacts. The ancient Buddhist monasteries, mosques and temples are our prized possessions.
Why we preserve artefacts of olden days is that those symbolise our rich history and connect us to our roots. Without those we would become rootless. Every history-conscious nation attaches immense importance to their historical remains. We cannot and must not be otherwise.