Bird's eye view of Azimpur colony - year 2002
Azimpur road near Eden Girl's college
This building on Azimpur graveyard road was formally opened in 1950-51 by the then PM
Central part of the colony near bldg no.11,12,13
Blocks north of Azimpur graveyard road. In 1952, one of these buildings were allotted to the Italian nationals of Pak-Italian Dev Corporation engaged in the construction of Dhaka-Tongi-Joydevpur road.
Dormitory type north of 'China building', Azimpur
East west road through the middle of colony towards Skeikh Shaheb Bazar road
'Chapra Masjid' on right (near Daira Sharif)
Community Centre for wedding parties etc.
New buildings of 1970-80's near Azimpur graveyard
The semi permanent MLA 'Party Centre' (Sadashyya bhavan) once stood around
Agrani Girls' High School
decrepit bldg of Sir Salimullah Orphanage - south of Azimpur colony
Once a maternity center, now Family Planning Directorate on the east of Orphanage
Extn. block of Azimpur Girls' school built in 1980-90's. This space once used by the boys and girls of Azimpur and Polashi colony for games.
new academic block for BUET in Polashi north of Azimpur Girls' School.
Dhaka landmark- Salimullah Muslim Hall
Fuller road, between Salimullah Muslim Hall (left) and BUET, Dept. of Architecture (right)
After partition in 1947, the arrival of large numbers of migrants from India led to a huge increase of Dhaka population. Dhaka was then a small urban area of 6-7 sq. miles only what is now known as Old Dhaka.
In 1947 Dhaka could at best be described as a quiet provincial town with a university centre. Unlike most colonial major cities, Dhaka did not even boast of a cantonment. It had 1-2 commercial banks and few industries within its urban limits. Its population did not possess cosmopolitan characteristics. The first transformation that Dhaka experienced as a result of partition related to its demography. The city's population grew by 53.3% between 1947-51 and in the decade by a staggering 168.6%. With the responsibility of making arrangements for establishing the capital at Dhaka, the new rulers had little choice but to make use of the rudimentary physical infrastructure that existed in the city. It was initially decided to take over the buildings of several educational institutions to house the civil secretariat. Some of these buildings were expanded were expanded and various semi-permanent shelters constructed to house govt departments. For residential accommodation the Plassey Barracks in the Azimpur and Nilkhet areas left out by the British troops after WWII were used. These provided emergency accommodation to the 300 officers and 2000 clerks who converged on Dhaka in July-August 1947 to establish Pakistan in its eastern wing. In February 1948 a special committee headed by Coleman Hicks, a reputed architect, began to make detail plans. The first priority lay in securing the capital from the ravages of floods from which it suffered seasonally. Although the city's infrastructure was grossly inadequate to cater to the Capital function somehow it functioned. The official needs of Govt. were initially fulfilled by appropriating the buildings in the Ramna area built for the provincial capital of East Bengal and Assam in 1905 (subsequently annulled in 1912). Yet there was huge shortage of accommodation.
To tide over residential crisis, Govt. took up construction of colony in the year 1948-49 in the open space of Azimpur. 42 numbers of 3-storey apartment blocks were taken up in the first phase, each with 12 flats. For want of steel rods, the roof slabs of Azimpur buildings were built using the perforated steel plates (PSP) left over by the British army for building temporary landing strip of light aircraft and fencing. Work also began to built another colony in the marshy area of Motijheel.
Azimpur reckoned by the historians as the place of the nobles during Mughal rule was almost vacant during British rule. The colony area encompassed the land from north of West End High School to Azimpur graveyard road, leaving the space of Chapra Masjid and 'Daira Sharif' on the west and Plassey barracks on the east. Chapra masjid in 1950 was a dilapidated shed with 'tarja' walls and tin roof and hence the name. The area on the north of graveyard road was totally vacant. New market was under construction. It was marked for superior flats.
Government officials - civil, military and Anglo-British staffs working with Police, Fire Service and Railways were given allotment in the Azimpur colony. Two building blocks near pond were given to the staff and engineers of Pak-Italian Dev Corsortium engaged in the construction of Dhaka-Tongi-Joydevpur-Mirzapur road. A semi-permanent building named 'Party House' (Sadashyya bhavan) was built for the then Member of Legislative Assembly on the north-west the colony near new market. Agrani Girls' school came up much later. The colony area was expanded after independence, additional floor was added over the existing buildings.
It won’t be out of place to mention that most bureaucrats and intellectuals of the then East Pakistan lived in Azimpur colony. It was a nurturing place of first generation of Bengali talents in the political, administrative and cultural fields. The 'Community Centre' of the colony was considered a prestigious venue for holding wedding ceremonies and cultural functions.