With due respect and heavy heart, the grateful nation will remember its intellectuals on their 48 anniversary of martyrdom today (Saturday). People from all walks of life across the country are set to observe the Martyred Intellectuals Day to pay rich tributes to the intellectuals.
Martyred Intellectuals Day is a black day in the country’s history as it lost its valiant and illustrated sons by the Pakistan occupation forces and their infamous local cohorts. On this day in 1971, sensing an imminent defeat, the Pakistani forces and their local collaborators like Al-Badr, Al-Shams and Razakar forces murdered the intellectuals systematically to annihilate the country's intelligentsia and cripple the emerging Bangladesh intellectually at the fag-end of the Liberation War in 1971.
The history’s heinous, barbaric and brutal murders had taken place just two days ahead of the country’s victory. And two days after the brutal murders of 14 December, on 16 December, Bangladesh became an independent country. 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 still 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, most wanted war criminals, 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.
The Liberation Affairs Ministry has requested all not to use loudspeakers in the concerned areas to protect the sanctity of the day. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the day, paying homage to the martyred intellectuals.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will place wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in city’s Mirpur area today (Saturday) morning. Members of martyred and freedom fighters will also place wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial and the Rayerbazar Killing Ground at Mohammadpur in the morning.
Later, people of all walks will place wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial, honouring the greatest souls of the nation. Bangladesh Television and private television channels will broadcast special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
Discussions will be held at district and upazila levels across the country. Marking the day, ruling Awami League and other political parties have chalked out various programmes. National flag and AL’s party flag will be hoisted half-mast at its central office, Bangabandhu Bhaban and important institutions at dawn marking the day while Black flags will be hoisted atop it’s all party offices across the country.
The ruling party will organise a meeting at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh at 3 pm today. 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.