Sayed Ahmed

Architecture in the poetic mind of Hason Raja[1].

-Ar. Sayed Ahmed[2]

 

Music is the most powerful formation of all arts. It is the ultimate destination for all other section of art, because all the arts meet to an end on music. Again the proletariat literature, the sub-alter literature and folklore music might have the most intimate relationship between the nature & human mind. The reason has its origin to reflect over human mind as an immense impact of nature. For instance, Water’s wave splashes to the shores creates some sound, breeze passing the branches of trees also left some sound, the rhyme of fountain, songs of birds, mysterious moonlit night, and so on. Actually music is the first artistic realization of human mind. Thus development of interaction through language is mostly indebted to music and the first music of human kind should be a folk one. That’s why the appeal of folk music is universal. If we consider the social context of Sunamgonj, the barren land of Haor in winter gives opportunity to gather and music becomes the first choice for enchantment. On the other hand, water in rainy season or vastness of green by the paddy field, the instinct of human mind drives him to feel the indifference. The Haor basin in Vatiali region, where all the villages in island like ‘VITA’s, where they can experience horizon less water in rainy season & vastness of green in the winter’s paddy field, which helped them to create a ‘poetic mind’. This also brought emotion, love & renunciation of this region’s songs as mind of widow or virgin about retrospect & divine love respectively. Probably Sunamgonj bored famous-infamous 500 folk & mystic poets on her thousand year’s musical history. We can say, if the rice is the product of Hoar’s fertile soil, than the folk music of Haor basin area is creation of its influence over the renunciation of human mind. The topographical setting of the Hoar basin and its vegetation: the nature was the best possible catalysis to run the diversified mind of Hason Raja, especially its ability to respond with the periodical changes of seasons.

Synthesis of Sufism & Vaishnavism is not only unique to his songs but also had some influence-

“লোকে বলে, বলে রে; ঘর বাড়ি ভালা না আমার ।

কি ঘর বানাইমু আমি শূন্যর মাঝার ।’’

“People say, my house & its room are no good

What kind of house can I build in the midst of a void?

…………………………………………………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………………..

He cries and wonders when Allah will take him

If Hason Raja knew how long he would live,

He would build himself a colorful and beautiful house.”

 

Again, he found his mind captive in his hut. Thus he said:

“মাটির পিঞ্জিরার মাঝে বন্দি হইয়া রে,

কান্দে হাসন রাজার মন ময়নায় রে।

‘In the cage of mud, while captivity is sustained

The bird (soul) of Hason Raja’s mind is crying’

Sunil Gangopaddhayalso found hason’s architectural thought most distinct in his songs. In ‘Desh’ newspaper published from Calcutta, his poem ‘HasonRajar Bari’ in ‘KabboSangraha, Bishwabani’ is famous for reading.He wrote:

“কওতো হাসন রাজা,

কি বৃত্তান্তে বানাইলে এ মুনোহরবাড়ী?”

“Tell me Hason Raja,

Why have you built a charming house like this? ”

Amio Shankar Chowdhury later explained Hason Raja’s philosophy from a modern point of view-

“To understand Hason Raja, we can assume “creator” & me first and for the question of pantheism. He put me into the creator’s position. Matter & mind these two couplets & conflict brought matter before the mind in the philosophy of Hason Raja. Reflex action involves adaptability with process of elimination. This power of translation helps reflex action to coordinate correlate to create three steps-

Perception, where ‘space’ & ‘time’ is the condition for the existence of ‘matter’ causes ‘mind’. “Matter is thinking” & ‘Mind’ is creator of ‘Thinking’. Pantheism reflects the theme like this- Our brain got power of translation through successive evolution along with reflex action. That’s why Tagore told about Hason Raja ‘The Man of his Heart’.

 

The influence is expressive in his speeches & poetries over philosophical contexts, like Tagore believed —

“The eternal Dream

is borne on the wings of ageless Light                                

that rends the veil of the vague

and goes across Time

weaving ceaseless patterns of Being.

The mystery remains dumb,

the meaning of this pilgrimage,

the endless adventure of existence

whose rush along the sky

flames up into innumerable rings of paths,

till at last knowledge gleams out from the dusk

in the infinity of human spirit,

and in that dim lighted dawn

she speechlessly gazes through the break in the mist

at the vision of Life and of Love

rising from the tumult of profound pain and joy………………”

Santiniketan

September 16, 1939

(Composed for the Opening Day Celebrations of the Indian College, Montpelier, France)

 

Hason raja was afraid of earth quake after 1897 and preferred to follow the vernacular and traditional practice ofSylhet region’s architecture. Such practice includes no visual barrier in their common court. They have arranged their houses towards north-south direction for the protection of their houses from any windy air. They have planted many trees surrounding their houses to prevent the storm. The inner court is slopped from middle towards north and south for the water extraction. It is true that during the rainy season, all the settlement becomes isolated island and boats become only one means to transportation in Haor basin areas of Sunamgonj. Eventually, I would like to say that; my writing is an opportunity to grab the philosophy of Hason Raja which did mean something much deeper, something more than humane and its relation to architecture and landscape. I observed that Hason Raja, although born in feudal aristocracy, ignored all the luxuries. “Where I was &where am Inow ?” – This was the exact question that Raja wanted to reveal throughout his life. I hope, to promote our folklore culture as well as to uphold our very much own identity.

[1] Topic chosen from author’s B.Arcthesis dissertation in SUST, 2012; which later published from open science repository.

[2] Ar. Sayed Ahmed, Lecturer, Dept. of Architecture, Bangladesh University, 3/3 Asad Avenue, Dhaka-1207

Greek architecture and Greek philosophy: two interwoven disciplines

It is really mysterious to find relationship between Greek architecture and Greek philosophy, but certainly there is! Again, it is also difficult to make people understand who do not belong to these two disciples. This article will try to touch the intangibility from a common platform.  Let’s begin. 

Like all other ancient civilizations, they also followed to imagine a cosmology and their architecture reflected such order. Once Plato said, proper orientation within the universe is imperative for aesthetics and virtue. East-west orientation of Greek temples reflects the importance of sun’s journey or movement of Apollo’s cart only for lighting convenience. But two of Apollo temples one at Epicurus (430 BC) and Another at Thermos (3rd century BC); are stretched toward the Milky Way’s northeast to south orientation. Why these exceptions in entry approach? In fact, it is the same orientation to Anaxagoras’s (died in 428 BC) imagination of Milky Way. And Apollo temple was always a center for unconventional thinking, only Corinthian order appeared here. If Ionic order is female and Doric order is male, then this composite type of order was combination of both, the divine theory of love inscribed by Plato in his book of Symposium. You cannot find Corinthian column exposed in any Greek architecture but Romans introduced them in elevations.

Now, Cella (core room of temple) is the darkest part and surrounded by walls. Again, the wall is enclosed by columns and again, columns are surrounded by steps- a perfect reflection of Parmenides’s seven layered bands of cosmogony. These are the examples how scientific thoughts shaped the myth and how myths shaped their architecture.

Sphere is Arial or heavenly and reflects Hera’s ability to birth. Cube reflects earth and concrete concept of Aidoneus’s (brother of Zeus) underworld. Thus Heaven and underworld captured in a single structure of Greek temple. Together, the cube (earth) and the sphere (air) form a dual pair, but in a perverted rectilinear form proportioned with golden section. Cylinder is the shape of planets and that’s why cylindrical columns reflect the movements of the series of planets around a cosmic core. Plato’s ideal objects those are only findable in shadows. Around the world, still 5 solids are imaginable and they are called platonic solids.

Agonistic Protagoras has been misjudged as he told; man is the measure of everything. Both Anaxagoras and Protagoras were close friend and contemporary to Pericles, the rebuilder of Acropolis after the battle of Salamis. Did these two philosophers inspired architects like Ictinus and Callicrates to take any decision urged by Pericles? It’s really possible.

Number 3 means the first true male number and number of harmony to Pythagoras. Again, the number 2 is the first even or female number and number of opinion. The number five is for marriage (2+3). Thus squares of 2 and 3 were adopted to construct their temples in such ratio 4:9.

What about theaters? ‘Allegory of cave’ was concept of Socrates later narrated by Plato, could be described as real and unreal at the same time. From timeline, when Greeks started to parody drama to humiliate Persians, Socrates was a child of 10 years. So, did the childhood experience of him let his mind to go for such imagination of landscape and architecture in a same ‘blenscape’?

Pythagorean numbers, Platonic ideal form, Aristotelian abstraction all are the same conception to constitute the Greek realm of architecture. That’s why Greek architecture remained relevant, ideal and classic over times and always will be.