An Observer on Short Description of Boro… Florus Geraedts on Cannons of Borokuthi
The Borokuthi project suddenly getting huge momentum, all credit goes to Mr. Sigfried and Mr. Liton. I find every thing going very smoothly and closing towards the achievement of our goal. Only threat, we fore-see, may come from varsity authority which I think Mayor can handle. I am posting few selected mails on Borokuthi for every one’s consumption.
Monday, August 22, we had a follow up meeting for Boro Kuthi. In the city of Utrecht this time. Present were mr. Florus Geraedts, mr. Jean Paul Corten (National Heritage of Ministry of Education, Culture and Science), Engineer Dick Ter Steege (Architect, planner and Built Heritage Expert, email@example.com) and myself. We agreed that Boro Kuthi building in relation to its (historical) environment has potiental. It has a long and interesting story for Bangladeshi and Europeans, specially Dutch and English, on a local and a national level. A story that must be told and which mr. Anarul Haq, mr Mallick, Lt Col. Lutful Haq and we, are trying to reconstruct. A story which still has to be completed. A first glimpse of idea: tourists are guided along the spot, telling them the history, they can look at an exposition of the history in the building and afterwards drinking tea in the Boro Kuthi tearoom enjoying the beautiful view of the Padma River. From this first starting point it can grow and create possible bigger potential in the future.
Looking at the pictures I took of the Boro Kuthi when in Rajshahi in January, Jean Paul Corten and Dick ter Steege both think the building is in reasonable condition. It needs elemental re-establishment inside and outside and good maintenance, especially because of humid conditions in Bangladesh, which makes buildings green. Broadly speaking this confirms our findings in January 2011 when in Bangladesh.
Build heritage expert mr. Dick ter Steege is able to do a scan / survey of the Boro Kuthi building and its historical environment. Survey can be very useful for further boost and development of the masterplan. Besides being a build heritage expert, mr. Dick ter Steege is especially fitted for the job because he lived and worked in Bangladesh for some years around 1990 and returned to Bangladesh later on for several projects. He has some local knowledge. Presently mr. Ter Steege is connected with PUM, organisation of elder experts. “PUM Netherlands senior experts” is a non-profit organisation, which has been advising needy businesses in developing countries and emerging markets for over thirty years. To this end, PUM links these businesses, at their own request, to Dutch professionals who voluntarily devote their considerable experience to creating a better world.
We all think Rajshahi University in cooperation with RCC can play a big role in further development of the overall plan (what role students can play?). Can Rotary Club of Rajshahi (Padma RC) give support? I know Rotary clubs are supporting heritage efforts elsewhere alongside their social and human projects. Rotary Padma can search for international partner clubs for support.
If you decide to use his expertise Dick Ter Steege requests for the following documents to prepare the enquiry:
1. Latest plans, preferably 1:200 (or more detailed) of the layout of the plot and the (different floors of the) building
2. Sections 1:200 or more detailed in two directions
3. Elevations 1:200
5. Site plan
6. If any older plans are present in the archives, then copies (scans?) would be most appreciated
1. Present situation of the building
2. Maps of an older date showing the location (and the building) in relation to its environment
How and when does the building appear in the archives (title deeds, lists of building materials, licenses, etc.
Are there old photo’s, artist drawings, paintings on which the building appears (often as backdrop for portraits of military)
Finally, what Dick ter Steege would need for a visa is an invitation from Bangladesh or a request from the RCE. Mr Dick ter Steege estimates the costs for doing the quickscan on € 2.500,-, mostly for fly, local transport and lodging.
These are the possibilities we can offer you at the moment. Keep in mind that a Bangladeshi engineer with relevant experience and knowledge on preservation and restoration of old (between 1600 and 1900) buildings certainly might be a good advisor to you on the maintenance and rehabilitation plan of Boro Kuthi as well. That option might be less costly than asking the already mentioned service from PUM’s expert engineer mr. Dick ter Steege.
I kindly request you to provide me feedback on these ideas, which I will communicate back to mr. Dick ter Steege, mr. Jean Paul Corten and mr. Florus Geraedts.
Kind regards for you and your family.
Received your mail yesterday and after I went through the details, I got so impressed that I called an emergency meeting with my engineers. I am really glad that you have made so much progress about ‘Borokuthi’.
Today I forwarded your mail to the Vice-Chancellor and also talked to him and arranged a meeting with him tomorrow or day after tomorrow. You will get the details by tomorrow from our Chief Engineer and I agree with you that we need an expert like Mr. Dick Ter Steege for consultancy.
Invitation letter,air fare and others can be arranged.
Thanks a lot,
4 Sep 2011
Dear Sigfried Janzing,
Nice for your explicitly writing to our honorable Mayor Mr. A.H.M Khairuzzaman Liton about Boro Kuthi in Rajshahi. Your ideas and advices are very remarkable and draw attention to all of us who are interested on the expedition of the development of Dutch-English historic building. We are pleased on introducing Mr. Dick ter Steege’s knowledge and experience towards heritage infrastructure as an Architect, planner and Built Heritage Expert and accordingly he is warmly welcome to Rajshahi. His experiences no doubt will enrich our ideas and will be very applicable to prepare a comprehensive master plan of Boro Kuthi Project in and around and its implementation as well. His requirements like drawing, maps, description; photos will be prepared and supplied to him in time. Finally an invitation letter for visa processing of will be sent very soon if he desires to visit Rajshahi. Moreover our honorable Mayor is very kind in consideration to arrange the cost of air fair, food and lodging during his travel to Rajshahi.
Thanks and best wishes
Rajshahi City Corporation.
5 Sep 2011
Dear Ashraful Haque,
Thank you for your kind mailing and information about procedure. I´ll inform Mr. Dick ter Steege about honourable Mayor´s welcoming him for doing a scan / survey at Boro Kuthi Rajshahi. That documents can be prepared and supplied to Dick ter Steege in time and formalities can be arranged. At the moment mr. Dick ter Steege is for a short project in Zambia, he´ll be back second half of September. As he´s very flexible he can do the scan in short term after retruning. As soon as he´s back I´ll talk things over with him. In the meantime it would be helpful to give me an indication what time is most suitable for you, honourable Mayor and RCC for doing the survey. With that information Mr. Dick ter Steege can take concrete steps and communicate back directly with you and Mayor. I´ll give him mail-adresses of you and Mayor Khairuzzaman.
Finishing this mailing with expressing my happiness for being able to work for the good of Boro Kuthi and the city of Rajshahi.
6 Sep 2011
Seems the wheels are moving now. Today, I just had a meeting with Prof. Mahabub, a teacher of Raj. University and the founder of an archives and on my request he gave me some important old documents regarding ‘Borokuthi’.
Another encouraging information is that probably we have found the lost cannon. I will confirm this matter tomorrow after seeing it in my own eyes.