The Geopolitics of Jatio Sangsad Bhaban in the Cold War Era

Bayezid Choudhury, Dr. Peter Armstrong


The Jatio Sangsad Bhaban (JSB) or National Assembly
Building in Bangladesh, is an emblem of Bangladeshi identity. It
was commissioned by the then Military dictator of Pakistan Ayub
Khan in 1962 and designed by renowned American architect
Louis I Kahn. Commissioned in the period of intense global
political activity during the Cold War, the building has become
iconic because of its cultural and historical significance in the
context of immense change in Bangladesh. During this period,
developing countries, including Pakistan, were given large
amounts of technical, cultural and military aid by the US in an
attempt to stem the growth of communism. Architecture and the
arts became cultural weapons. Against this backdrop American
architect Louis I Kahn was commissioned to design the National
Assembly Building in East Pakistan in 1964. Ksiazek, an
architectural historian describes this as a form of US cultural
imperialism. This paper investigates the underlying issues that
relate to the notion of American cultural imperialism in
connection to JSB and considers Ksiazek’s hypothesis as the
pivotal argument in its investigation.


Jatio Sangsad Bhaban, Cultural Imperialism, Bangladesh, America, Cold War, Geopolitics

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