Page 34 - Foreign Service Journal - December 2012

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34
DECEMBER 2012
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
N
itun Kundu (1935-2006) was an artist,
designer and sculptor whose soft way of
speaking and gentle manner imme-
diately impressed everyone who met
him. Our paths frst crossed in 1959
at the U.S. Information Service ofce
in Embassy Dhaka (then known as
Dacca), where I was a young Foreign
Service ofcer.
Kundu had just begun working for USIS, designing exhibits
and graphics. His paintings consisted primarily of country land-
scapes that featured rivers, boat scenes and indigenous people.
Whatever he painted, he depicted scenes with an impressionistic
fair. Sometimes the colors fowed over the canvas as if soaked
up to create the scene.
Long after my wife, Harriet, and I departed Dhaka in 1961 for
our next Foreign Service posting, Kundu continued to work for
USIS. Harriet and I frequently reminisced about him, wondering
how he managed after we left. During that period, East Pakistan,
as it was then known, began to break away from Islamabad. Fol-
lowing various social and political upheavals, the country fnally
won its independence as Bangladesh in 1971.
Troughout this chaotic decade, civil disorder was rampant
throughout the region. Because Kundu was a member of the
minority Hindu population in a predominantly Muslim country,
we couldn’t help but wonder how he had survived those cata-
strophic events—if, indeed, he had.
Michael Kristula is a retired Foreign Service ofcer who served with
the U.S. Information Agency for 30 years in Dhaka, La Paz, Cali,
Bogota, Poznan, Mexico City and Washington, D.C. He received a Su-
perior Honor Award for his role in establishing a worldwide television
network for USIA posts.
NITUN KUNDU:
A SUCCESS
Those of us who were touched by this
great Bangladeshi artist’s personal
warmth will always remember his
many achievements.
BY M I CHAE L KR I STULA