Law Faculty Open Discussion Series, a lecture series initiated in early 2017 by the Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka (DU) aims to impart knowledge on various multidisciplinary issues and subjects outside the realm of law and legal studies. The series attracts tertiary level students from all disciplines with its unorthodox choice of topic. On November 28, 2017, the 2nd Law Faculty Open Discussion titled ‘Another Tagore: A Campaigner of Emancipation of the Peasantry in Bengal’ was held at the Kazi Motahar Hossain Building of DU. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Professor, Department of Development Studies, DU and former Governor of Bangladesh Bank was the guest speaker of the event.
The event kicked off with the inaugural speech by Mr. Syed Masud Reza, Assistant Professor, Department of Law, DU. Mr. Masud Reza welcomed everyone to the event and gave a brief background of the initiation of this series. He then introduced Dr. Rahman and highlighted his career accomplishments. He concluded by saying that it would be a great learning experience for the students to listen to Dr. Rahman speak on Rabindranath Tagore and to delve into an unexplored area of Tagore’s work.
Afterwards, Dr. Rahman delivered his lecture for the audience. He expressed his astonishment at the instance of so many law students being eager to know more about Rabindranath Tagore. He asserted that Rabindranath was such a zamindar who always thought of the emancipation of the helpless peasants and campaigned for achieving the same. In this regard, Rabindranath wanted the peasants to believe that earned independence trumped any other form of independence and urged them to strengthen their inner will by getting united in order to free themselves from the shackles of poverty.
The discussion then encompassed various steps undertaken and policies adopted by Rabindranath to modernise agriculture, to strive for rural independence and development, to uphold the rights of the cultivators, and to ascertain self-governance and self-reliance among them. Dr. Rahman also pointed out the works of Rabindranath to ensure justice for the peasants and accurately termed him as a human rights activist. He lauded Rabindranath’s effort to bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas of that time by spreading education as well as arts and culture.
Furthermore, he mentioned the accomplishments of Rabindranath in the economy of East Bengal where he established numerous agricultural banks and cooperative societies to uplift the financial condition of the poor peasants and remarked that the economists of that time failed to think and act accordingly. Towards the end, Dr. Rahman propounded that he was deeply influenced by Rabindranath’s contribution to rural development and thus, focused on alleviating poverty while working as the Governor of Bangladesh Bank.
The lecture was followed by a short Q&A session moderated by Mr. Mohammad Golam Sarwar, Lecturer, Department of Law, DU. Mr. Masud Reza then presented a token of appreciation to Dr. Atiur Rahman on behalf of the Law Faculty. The program ended after a photo session of the participants with the guest speaker. Law Faculty intends to host more such programs in future to build a society based on rule of law and equality from the multidisciplinary knowledge gathered from these discussions.
The event is covered by Ali Mashraf, student of law at University of Dhaka.