You are on page 1of 4


Dhaka, one of the most populated city in the world with 6970105 number of
population living in the 300km2 area. Dhaka is known for the capital of
Bangladesh and also known for the chaotic capital and for its extraordinary
masterpiece, which is Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban. Majestic building that have its
own sacred to it. The building that have its own definition of modernity. But does
it follow the principle of modernity to its best? Holy, when the idea to fuse the
water element and materiality give more spiritual essence to the building.
Reflection of the building on the water and the impressive shadow drama when
the light strikes the building makes it reached the whole new level of its poetic
and beauty. But the beauty was just the surface that covering all the secrets
deep within. Secret or agendas that still remain unknown until now to the
community of India. The power that they have form this magnificent building, it
was not a statement but its a question for the citizen. Do the power concealed
within the building really belong to them? And who should weep the tears of joy
and gratified after the completion of this sacred building? India, or the parasitic
The enormous monolith architecture, known as Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban by Louis
Isadore Kahn was known for its monumental. It stands undeniable like a fortress,
and integrate well with the scenery. The clarity of the geometrical form and mass
of the building, fulfil the grand intention of Louis Kahn which is timeless. It will
stand as eternal monument, with his immortal material. Concrete, bricks and
His architecture is modern, yet eternal.
Said Frank Gehry.
But does Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban really a masterpiece of modern
Respecting the materials, as even a brick wants to be something.
Said Kahn in one of his lecture with University of Yales student.
The philosophy that Kahn hold to which made him well known for his bare
concrete and bricks. Thus he used his expertise in understanding the behaviour
of each materials and gave it up into this masterpiece. This monolithic building
was designed to unite the geometrical structural form without hiding its weight
and volume. Its all started with a diagonal square, tartan grids and circle at the
middle of the geometry. The process evolved to the zoning phase where the
rectangle were arranged in a ring, with the same identical squares were facing
west, north and east. As a result, Louis Kahn managed to come up with an axial
symmetry which have the essence of modernist.
Scully once said that.
One of the most successful examples of modern architecture on the

But referring to the stand of the early modern architecture which is form follows
function and by looking at the early stage of Louis Kahns design process, he
started it with a shape, a form. He wanted his building to mimic and have the
essence of the ancient and timeless concept thus he started his work with a raw
geometrical which were square and circle. This was one of his journey
ramification after travelling to Egypt and Italy, it was his peak point of finding his
own styles and purpose of design. The starting of his holy awakening in
understanding the architecture. But the way Louis Kahn expressed his way of
architecture have huge contradictory with one of the famous architect, Louis
Louis Sullivan said that,
Form ought to come from the function of the building, not historical
At the end, its still subjective on how each of the architects expressed his own
way of modernity and how each of them have their own philosophy towards the
very basic question for architecture.
what is architecture
Tremendous in scale, this masterpiece was meant to be a primal figure and a
mandala. Mandala is a spiritual symbol in Indian religion, representing the
Mandala comes from Sanskrit and means a circle, an image with a
centre. But also a square and circle-square combinations and images
derived from them, for example the octagon. A vertical axis grows out of a
mandala centre, connecting us with the universe. When mandala images
unite, energetic systems emerge, which could operate as extremely
powerful implements.
Said Vilen Knnapu.
Architect, lecturer in Tallinn University
Appreciating the view, by standing in front of this masterpiece near Manik Mia
Avenue. I could clearly see the beauty of the geometric and the massiveness of
Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban. But, the beauty and astounding view suddenly gone
when I turned my head and faced the other side of Dhaka. All I could see is one
major problem, poverty. An urban poverty. Slums, poor migrants might be the
one that suffer the most behind all these tremendous building. Despite, being
one of the most populated city in the world having 300 000 to 400 000 poor
migrants with poverty everywhere, they still managed to pay 1.29 billion for this
particular Parliament Building.
It makes me triggers a few question How is it that this enormous extraordinary masterpiece was built on
one of the worlds most densely populated and poorest country?
Accepting the fact that the building itself was designed and built by an American
architect, I could called it one of the product of cultural colonisation, using
architecture. Referring to my previous research stating that architecture during

post-colonial period, under the patronage of American may be seen as product of

What are the stories behind this masterpiece? Does this building
conceal political issue, between American, British and India?
British & America
After Indias First War of Independence against the British in 1857, British
reorganise the army, financial system and the administration of India. This shows
that the British still infused their own influence inside the government through
the legal system. Then, soon after that the Britishs primary focus of governance
at first was to extract wealth and colonise the Indian people were no longer
benefitial, they left India in 1947 after finding their occupation of India no longer
financially and politically practical.
When it comes to Architectural project, Americas aim during postcolonial period
was dubious, which was more to political instead of the interest towards the arts.
Commissioning Louis Kahn, which was an American architect to complete the
intention of Ayub Khan to create a landmark to portray power and politics for
Power of the Powerless ?
The story behind this masterpiece have a strong root and associated with power.
The colonisation of British provoked a storm of rebellion between Indian citizens.
They want their freedom to lead their country back, and soon they managed to
get it after the First War of Independence. To solidify their own stand in their own
country, they need power. Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban were built to demonstrate
power and politic of the East Pakistan (Bangladesh). But here comes the big
question, does it successfully shows the power of Bangladesh by commissioning
Louis I. Kahn to build the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban? Was it just a mirage of
Bangladesh on the surface but deep inside it, it was the power of American or it
was a legacy of British ideas and thought in the postcolonial situation.
Even though the formerly colonized territories gradually had their political
sovereignty returned to them, they nevertheless remained subject to the
effective control of the major world powers.
Said Young, 2001.
The legacy of British is everywhere in India, even after they left. Common, civil
and criminal law, a uniform legal system, the introduction of British style
administration in education system and the defence. It was indeed one of the
colonisation that we called the colonisation of the mind.
This colonisation of the mind was arguably one of the most tractable and
damaging legacies of the colonial rule.
Bush states, 2006
All I could say from my own perspective when reading and observing the law I
could say that during the post-colonisation India, the lawmakers of the particular
country could not generate a new vision and identity thus the structure of the
administration of India was mimicry from the previous British India system. The

parasitic British still controlling India from the deep within the administration
and on the other hand, the Indian were praising them and saying that theyre
fortunate to have this impressive masterpiece on their land.

Power Configuration
During the postcolonial period in India and Pakistan, the elite members consist of
bureaucrats and members of the military had to undertake the additional task
which are to sustain the super structure of the state, which the British had
established during the colonial period
It is true that town planning in British colonial possession was derived from
British town planning legislation, practise and principles.
Said Njoh, 2007




I made this diagram to show the flow of what actually happened and who were
the one that structured everything at the very beginning. British was actually
maneuver everything, from deep within. How it was actually started during their
colonisation of India, and how they planned everything for the sake of their own
benefits. They make sure everything was systematic enough, so that they can
control India and make used of everything that they had. Clever enough. And
unfortunate for the citizen, as it seems like they got their independence in 1948
but it was not. And all their elites that leading the country were actually following
whats the British had provided. For me it was like youre buying a furniture from
the British company that you might need a manual to install it. Youre referring to
the manual as it was a guide in order for you to complete it. Its the same thing
happened to India. As theyre following what the British had provided before it
left the country. Sadly, the citizens of India did not know this. They believed that
they actually get their independence and their life were no longer tied up to
British. It was very unfortunate for the Indian community but as for British, they
did very well and succeeded in continuing their propaganda and owning India.
The power of the powerless?
Well, they still remain as the powerless when in reality the British still
controlling them from the inside, Smiling.
The end of colonial rule did not necessarily mean the end of
Said Leela Gandhi.