SM Mizanur Rahman
Today is Martyred Intellectuals Day. With heavy heart, the nation is set to observe the day paying rich tributes to the intellectuals on the 47th anniversary of their martyrdom.
On this day in 1971, just two days ahead of the country’s victory on this day 47 years ago the retreating Pakistani forces and their collaborators – Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams – sensing inevitable defeat dragged off the frontline Bangalee intellectuals and worthy professionals from their houses and assassinated them with the intention of crippling the newborn nation intellectually.
Many intellectuals–including 991 teachers, 13 journalists, 49 physicians, 42 lawyers, and 16 writers, artists and engineers– were picked up between December 12 and 14 in 1971 from different places including capital Dhaka and most of them did not return.
These eminent personalities were dragged out of their homes, blindfolded and taken to unknown places and then brutally tortured and slaughtered.
Their bodies were later dumped at Rayerbazar, Mirpur and some other killing fields in the capital Dhaka and other places in the country.
Sons and daughters are stilling yearning for lost fathers and grown men and women are sobbing raw grief on the hard stone bearing the names of slain intellectuals at Mirpur and Rayerbazar in capital Dhaka and other mausoleums across the country.
Of them, Prof Muneir Chowdhury, Dr Alim Chowdhury, Prof Muniruzzaman, Dr Fazle Rabbi, Sirajuddin Hossain, Shahidullah Kaiser, Prof G C Dev, JC Guha Thakurta, Prof Santosh Bhattacharya, Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury, journalists Khandaker Abu Taleb, Nizamuddin Ahmed, SA Mannan [Ladu Bhai], ANM Golam Mustafa, Syed Nazmul Haq, Anwar Pasha and Selina Parvin were brutally tortured and killed by the anti-liberation force.
However, this year the country is going to observe the day with a sense of relief from the stigma of impunity as the top assassins, who managed to make their room in the national politics with the patronage of influential vested quarters emerged after the August 15, 1971 assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, were hanged.
A memorial erected in memory of the martyred intellectuals at Mirpur in the capital has been readied as national leaders and people from all walks of life will pay tributes by placing wreaths there.
Meanwhile, the government has taken elaborate programmes to observe the Martyred Intellectuals Day today.
Marking the day, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina will place floral wreaths at 7.05am and 7.06am respectively at the Martyred Intellectuals’ Mausoleum at Mirpur.
Besides, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the day.
Bangladesh Television and private television channels will air live programmes from the spot.
Members of the martyrs families and valiant freedom fighters of the country led by Liberation Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haq will place floral wreaths at the memorial at 7.22am and Rayerbazar Killing Ground in the capital at 8.30 am.
Other private television channels including Bangladesh Beter and Bangladesh Television will broadcast special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
To observe the day, discussion programmes will be held at all district and upazila level across the country.
The Liberation Affairs Ministry has requested all not to use loudspeakers at the concerned areas to protect the sanctity of the day.
Marking the day, ruling Awami League and other political parties have chalked out various programmes.
The ruling party will organise a meeting at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh at 3 pm on December 14. Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will preside over the meeting.
Dhaka University authorities will observe the day by taking different programmes.
Different political, professional, social and cultural organisations, including Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka Reporters Unity, Bangabandhu Gabeshana Parishad, Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, Bangabandhu Parishad, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Sector Commanders’ Forum and Liberation War Museum, have also chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day.