Amid outrageous violence against the Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has postponed an exhibition of the artwork of Bangladeshi artist Rokeya Sultana which was set to start from October 23 at the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi.
The exhibition was to feature over 100 artworks, 35-40 photographs, animation videos, film and sculptures of this Bangladeshi artist. The exhibition aimed to capture 40 years of the journey of Rokeya Sultana.
Sultana had worked in Santiniketan under ICCR’s scholarship as a student under the guidance of Somnath Hore, Sanat Kar and Lalu Prasad Shaw. Safiuddin Ahmed and Mohammad Kibria remained her mentors in Bangladesh.
The exhibition was jointly organized by the Bengal Foundation of Bangladesh and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The exhibition was planned to celebrate 50 years of India-Bangladesh diplomatic relations as well as Bangladesh ‘Mujibborsho’. ICCR had announced various cultural activities in India and Bangladesh.
Senior BJP MP and ICCR president, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe however did not disclose any reason for the postponement of the exhibition at the eleventh hour. He said that a new date will be announced later on.
But in the wake of killings of innocent Hindus, destruction of temples and brazen suppression of religious freedom Hindu minorities in Bangladesh by Islamic fundamentalists during Durga Puja the authorities in India probably thought such exhibitions and cultural exchange may trigger controversies.
This exhibition was to be followed by shows in Kolkata and other cities. It was to be showcased at Rabindranath Tagore Centre, ICCR, Kolkata, from December 11 to January 2, followed by Bengal Shilpalay in Dhaka from January 21 to March 9.
Luva Nahid Choudhury, Director General, Bengal Foundation said that such things happen sometimes and they are “waiting for a new date and are absolutely looking forward to this exhibition.”
In fact, the curtain-raiser of the programme aimed at Rokeya Sultana was launched at the Indian Cultural Centre, Gulshan in Dhaka. On this occasion, a monograph on Rokeya Sultana’s works was also launched.