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Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah illuminates Dhaka with electric light by Anas Khwaja

Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah illuminates Dhaka with electric light by Anas Khwaja

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A history of electricity in Dhaka in chronological order and contribution of the Dhaka Nawab family
A history of electricity in Dhaka in chronological order and contribution of the Dhaka Nawab family

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Published by: Dhaka Nawab Family Digital Library on Jul 13, 2010
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10/25/2012

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Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah illuminates Dhaka with electric light
Edited by Anas Khwaja
The citizens of Dhaka waited long three hundred years for electric light since Dhaka was firstclaimed capital of Bengal. The electrification of Dhaka took place 19 years after New York, whichboasted of electricity in 1882 and thirteen years after London, which was electrified in 1888. This wasmade possible by none other than Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah. Let us flashback and revisit someimportant historical dates from this era in Dhaka’s history.
1608
: Dhaka is proclaimed capital of Bengal by Mughal Subedar Islam Khan.
1869:
Dhaka civil surgeon Dr 
 
 
prepares a report on sanitary improvement andmodernization. This report is prepared at the request of Dhaka municipal chairman and magistrateGeorge Graham. In his report Dr Cutcliffe prefer kerosene oil lamps over gaslights to illuminateDhaka streets. The street light project is based on Kanpur model (1).“if implemented properly it willbring drastic changes to Dhaka. The city will turn into desirable habitat and hell will become heaven”comments Khwaja Abdul Ghani on Dr Cutclihh’shis overall report (2) But on the financial aspect of the planning his reaction is “In the light of the proposed plan, it is not possible to collect fund from citizensof Dhaka to solve the sanitary problem. The citizens of Dhaka are very poor and unable to investhuge sum for heath improvement” (3).
1870: 
Khwaja Abdul Ghani establises a gas light factory (4).
1871:
Khwaja Abdul Ghani honored with Companion of Star of India(CSI).
1877:
To observeQueen Victorias proclamation as Empress of India a citizens committee is formed in Dhaka.
 
The celebration included among others, a program for permanent improvement of DhakaCity
.
With this aim the committee donates
 
6,500 rupee for installing 100 lamp posts. Starting fromMunicipal office in Wiseghat through Chowkbazaar 60 kerosine lampposts are installed in 1878 (5).
 
 
Queen Victoria is proclaimed first Empress of India at the Delh Darbar in1877 Lord Lytton.
1879:
On the other hand in the western hemisphere
 
Thomas Alva Edisonmakea the first publicdemonstration of his incandescent light bulb, in Menlo Park. It is during this time that he said: "We willmake electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles”.
1886:
When Nawab Khwaja Abdul Ghani was about to be knighted, his son Nawab KhwajaAhsanullah promises a reward to every person who would illuminate his residence in honor of thatevent. If you maintain my fathers “
Izzat”,
he promises “I will make you “
khooshie (  )
”.
1886:
Khwaja Abdul Ghani is rewarded withKnight Commander of Star of India (KCSI).
1886:
“The enthusiasm displayed by our fellow townsmen on the occasion of my father’s investiturewith the insignia of a Knight Commander of the Star of India, has so touched and gratified me that asa token of appreciation of the good feeling shown today by both Mohammedans and Hindus of Dhaka, I propose to light such main roads and streets of the city as are now lighted with oil lamps,with gas, entirely at my own costs, on the condition that the Municipality will, on their part, undertake
 
to expand on improved sanitation and the purchase and maintenance of fire engines, the sum thatnow expend on lighting the town.” Nawab Ahsanullah declares in an interview with Kolkata newpaper 
Englishman
.
1888:
Three reasons are speculated for Lord Dufferins (Governor General and Viceroy of India 1884- 1888) Dhaka visit. One of them is to lay foundation of Dhaka gas light which was earlier promised bythe Nawab Bahadoor (7).
Lord Dufferein Khwaja. Abdul Ghani Khwaja. Ahsanullah Khwaja Yusuf Jan
1891:
Nawab Ahsanullah’s
l
egal secretary G.L.Garth writes a memo to Dhaka Municipality notifyingnawab’s interest to replace existing street kerosene lamps with gas lights. The municipalitycommissioners accepted nawabs proposal with gladness, enthusiasm & gratitude. They agreed tospend the saving in this sector for betterment of the civic health as per the condition set forth by theNawab (8).
1897
:Nawab Khwaja Yusuf Jan,(1897-1901) brother in law of Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah is electedChairman of Dhaka Municipality.
1898:
Dhaka
 
Prokash, the leading Bengali newspaper reports
Twelve years ago Nawab KhwajaAhsanullah promised to light Dhaka with gas light. Probably he did not fulfill his promise due tosuspicion towards muninicipality. With the election of his brother in law Nawab Khwaja Yusuf Jan atthe helm of municipality that suspicion ebbed. Hopefully the promise will be fulfilled now” (9).
1901:
To relieve the sufferings of Dhaka, magnify its beauty and modernize it Nawab Ahsanullaharranges for electric lights in 1901 (10). He donates
 
450,000.00 rupee for Dhaka Electric light fund(11). The money is to cover both construction and maintenance expenses.
1901
5 July
:
The Dhaka Electric Light Trust is formed under the auspices of Dhaka municipality. Thefollowing notice is published in the newspaper by the trust
.
“The Dhaka Electric Light trustees do hereby give notice under section 3 clauses iii of act 1895 thatthey are applying to government for a license under the said act to supply electricity in and near thefollowing streets and places:
Rahmatgonj Road (upto the water works), Chowk circular Road, Mogultully Road, Nulgolla Road,Babu Bazar Road, Committeegonj Road, Armenia Street (upto Ray Bahadoor’s street), Islampur Road, Ahsun Manzil Road, Patuatuly Road, Wiseghat Road, Patuatuly lower Road, Patuatuly Ghat Road, Bangla Bazar Road, Dal Bazar Road, Farashganj, Road to Iron suspension bridge, Dig Bazar Road, Victoria Park, Lakhshmi Bazar Road (as far s R.C.Chapel), Sadarghat Road, Shakhari Bazar 

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