Today is the Martyred Intellectuals Day. In 1971, when a few local collaborators of the Pakistan occupation army became sure that the travail of independence of Bangladesh was almost over and history would soon give birth to a new nation to be named Bangladesh which would be independent and sovereign for the first time in history, the Al-Badrs, Al-Shams and Razakars then resorted to the heinous act of harming the nation by annihilating its talents of different disciplines. The best sons of the soil in the fields of teaching, medicine and medical practice, literature and other forms of art, media and journalism, were picked up from their residences, blindfolded and were taken to unknown destinations. In those horrific days their relatives and friends were in so frightening helplessness that they could not try to inquire about their beloved husbands, fathers, sons and daughters. Despite many of them were killed and lied down lifeless not far from their houses, in those days of mayhem none dared to sense anything for several days.
It was after many days of Pakistan army’s surrender on the 16th of December after inhalation of heavy stinky wind curious people around Rayer Bazar went nearer to the place that was then a marshy waste land and found deformed bodies. They could identify some of the bodies and informed the freedom fighters who with the help of army personnel and civil officials salvaged some of the bodies and which of them were beyond replacement were buried there. The place that reminds us of irreparable loss and saddest memory has been named as Rayer Bazar Baddhya Bhumi. In recognition of their talent and contribution to the development of Bangalee nationalist spirit a mausoleum has been built and the day is observed annually as the Martyred Intellectuals Day with honour and solemnity.
The people constitute the nation and they build its infrastructure with the help of their muscle and brain and the intellectuals are the nucleus, create abstract ideas which is called nationalism that inspires the people to build and to love their country and the people. Other groups of intellectuals create or apply technology on the blueprint of which the common people create the actual thing. The role of the intellectuals, therefore, is significantly important in a society and nation building for any and every country. The dastardly Pakistani collaborators knew that and to cause immense harm to the new-born Bangladesh they killed more than one hundred intellectuals of the Bangalee race. But history is always with the just cause and the Bangalees have triumphed and the collaborators have been thrown to the dustbin of history.
This morning, our heads are bowed in gratitude, our lips move in prayer and our hearts beat in remembrance of the sacrifices of these brave men and women, our martyred intellectuals. We have not forgotten. Memories have remained sacrosanct.