Bashirul Haq (1942-2020): Marina Tabassum & Naila Khan remember

Marina Tabassum on Bashirul Haq
If I have been able to become an architect it is by standing on the shoulders of a few giants. Bashirul Haq is one of them. I saw Bashir bhai for the last time at a family dinner on 31st January 2020. It was the night before the Mayor election in Dhaka, a small gathering of family and friends at Dr. Syed Anwarul Hafiz’s residence watching his biopic; Bashir bhai was in a bright orange panjabi wearing his ever smiling face and that’s how I would like to freeze him in my memory. Bashirul Haq was a world class architect and a good human being, a rare breed and hard to find. His wisdom, generosity and humility will remain as inspiration and the values he upheld as a professional is a benchmark for us to follow. But most importantly his light hearted wit will always bring a smile to the faces who met him once. Bashirul Haq is and will forever be regarded as one of the few who held high the architecture culture of Bangladesh. His contribution in education and practice will remain a strong legacy to be revered by generations to come. We are desolated by his departure. He will be missed immensely.

Marina Tabassum is principal architect of Marina Tabassum Architects.


Naila Khan on Bashirul Haq
Bashirul Huq, architect par excellence, passed away a few days ago. This was the ending of an extraordinary professional. In the past four decades he had brought in a completely new desi style of designs to the many apartment building complexes he had designed across Bangladesh. As a Dhanmandi-resident myself during my childhood, I saw years later how plots of land emerged with his signature red-brick maatir (in my perspective) buildings, many with the typical uthans punched out in the middle and reminiscent of the typical uthans in all homesteads of rural Bangladesh. He did the same for the Chayanaut building on Satmasjid Road; the Kalindi Apartments on Indira Road and numerous other building complexes where so many families have raised their children in communal harmony. To me, an icon has passed away.

I never ever had any discussion with Bashir Bhai personally on these matters. In fact, I always saw him as my childhood friend Professor Firdaus Azim’s husband; and, also, a great friend of my late brother-in-law, the renowned and outspoken journalist, Enayetullah Khan. I would invariably meet Bashir Bhai at Chor’da’s aka Mintu Bhai’s aka Enayetullah Khan’s parties. Those were the glorious days! I hope that Firdaus and their two brilliant sons find solace in the fact that Bashir Bhai has left behind a legacy in the
architectural history of Bangladesh, among many other legacies about which I may never know about. Godspeed, Bashir Bhai!

Professor Naila Z. Khan is Director of Clinical Neurosciences Center, Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation.

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