Madhu Da’s Madhu: An untold story

Happily it might be recalled, former U.S. President Bill Clinton called his daughter (Chelsi) as-“my honey”. However, talks of “Madhur Canteen” is nevertheless a household storm in the tea-pot at DhakaUniversity campus. The history of Madhur Canteen dates back to 1921, when Aditya chandra dey started the massive canteen in the campus of the university of Dhaka with his 15-year-old son Madhu, the nickname of Madhu Sudan Dey. Soon after the death of Aditya in 1935, Madhusudan Dey inheritably took over the charge of the canteen at his own initiative and proprietorship, and began to run it properly.

Gradually he became a popular figure to the student folk in the gravious floor of the campus and very fondly became to be known as “Madhu Da. Students in and outside the campus of D,U. always althrough the week rightly turn up here at “Madhu”, as it is called by all concern for its traditional honey (madhu)-tested lunch, tea-break, breakfast and for political talks and tit-bats. Days from memory, march towards to recollect the name of one of the former customers of Madhur Canteen who is no one but Bangabandhu Sk. Mujibur Rahman.

On and from 1950′ Madhur canteen happened to become the focal point of political horizon over the city of Dhaka and the epicenter of many significant movements of the country. During the rule of East Pakistan, before every political movements, student leaders, party members and the students in general used to assemble at the premise of Madhur canteen.

There are some amusing stories about this legendary canteen. Indicating Madhur Canteen, goes a local joke-oh! Madhur canteen, that’s the second Parliament, the Assembly House.” Not for jokes and amusement, Madhur Canteen is a house surrounding of where in, is widen to make room for social and political postering. This is a parallel school of progressive thinking, politics and the national debating dais. Its yard is filled in with the leaders of tomorrow.

Today’s Madhur Canteen was  once upon a time used as the Darbar Hall of Nawabs  for formal and informal meetings and as skating rink and ball room for enjoyment of the Nawabs and their better-halves. It was converted into a dinning space for students of the University of Dhaka since its establishment.

In the campus of Dhaka University Madhu Sudan Dey was far the more the canteen owner and its Director. He, by his inborn nature went on to help the students with all things they need possibly from any angle of vision and had been never very particular regarding retrieving the dues of the customers they owed to.

Terrible days, in the decade of 1960, are certain to remind each of the student of DhakaUniversity to the whole hearted contribution of Madhu Da. Madhu Sudan Dey unselfishly came forward by extending every kind of help towards the students in particular. He gave them shelter, even-food and lodging (in time of crying need) to safe their life from the attack of Pakistani Military. Mall of the “Oxford of the East” underwent trembling round the clock by the resounding of whistling, bombing and gun fire from the anti-Bangladeshi terrorists.

Towering popularity of Modhu Da by virtue of his personal soft, modest, gentle fellow-feeling and respectful dealing with people ranging from status group of Teacher, student, social and political personalities who put their footprints into the canteen -here, changed the Billboard and within years of its starting, with the proper guidance of Madhusudan Dey it was renamed as “Madhur Canteen”.

Over all and above, over the head of all, the interior phase of the roof of the building of Madhur Canteen has been finely finished up with the coloring of a big red circle at the centre of a large rectangular background of greenish color resembling the replica of our National flag.

Sree Madhusudan Dey is one of the inspiring figures and a role model especially for the student community and for the general mass also. Madhu sudan Dey is, to his sacrificing life, a martyr of our liberation War too. To the extreme cruelty in history just after the military crackdown by the occupation army,our Madhu Sudan Da was brutally gun down to death in the dark might of March 1971.

Man born and man dies, but who irrespective of caste and creed , knew that a man like Madhu Sudan Dey, a truly sincere and an honest man, honest to the truest sense of the term, had to die a fatal death at the early hours of our long-thirst freedom. Madhu Da is no more with us. Still his enchanting memory haunts every body of the campus specially at the time of passing by the side of Madhur canteen every day and night.

Might it be a harsh word, born as Bangalee, Bangladeshi’s have the bad name as “Voracious eater.” But one who is habituated to have dined in Madhur Canteen, cannot leave his dinning seat without eating everything according to his choice to the heart’s content. Once, for an instance, his highness President Clinton from the States, while during his state visit to Bangladesh, upon testing a piece of cake named ‘ ‘Patishapta” made in Madhur Canteen offered by the Royal host hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the President has been kind enough to carry with him quantities of “Patishapta” for his ‘honey Mom’ (Chelsi) having filled up his Presidential briefcase borrowing order from Bangabhaban.