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Shaheed Noor Hossain Day today

Photographer Dinu Alam recollects memories

Published : 09 Nov 2022 10:27 PM | Updated : 10 Nov 2022 12:06 PM

Noor Hossain participated in the democratic movement against the then dictator HM Ershad as a living poster by writing ‘Swairachar Nipat Jak’ (Down with dictatorship) on his chest and 'Ganotantra Mukti Pak' (Let democracy be freed) on his back at GPO intersection in Gulistan area of the capital Dhaka on November 10, 1987.

Journalists and photographer Dinu Alam appeared in front of the media with the memory of his photographing Shaheed Noor Hossain on the eve of his 34th death 

anniversary on Wednesday. He made public his 35 pictures of martyr Nur Hossain shot in the anti-dictatorship movement through 'free to use' license which was taken on November 10, 1987. 

Dinu Alam said that on November 10, 1987, he was present in Gulistan area since morning to take pictures of the protest and Dhaka siege. The police clashed with the protestors. The entire Gulistan area from Purana Paltan circle to Secretariat turned into a war zone that day. 

When the protesters tried to move forward, the police chased them with batons. They were firing tear gas and bullets. Shortly after the call for Zohar prayers, a protest march came forward and was stopped by the police. The then opposition leader Awami League President Sheikh Hasina was leading the procession. Nur Hossain was a little ahead of her car. At that time he took some pictures of Noor Hossain from the front. 

He said, “During that time I was not working in any particular newspaper. After the incident, I printed the picture and went to various newspaper offices. But nobody printed the picture. The picture was first published in the weekly Ekta newspaper on the first martyrdom anniversary of Noor Hossain in 1988, a year after his martyrdom.” 

He moved to Canada that year. Later in 1991, the Department of Posts issued a commemorative postage stamp of Tk 2 on Shaheed Noor Hussain Day.

 He also said that he did not return for a long time as he was busy with his life abroad. And the picture has also been published by many people, in many places. 

However, BBC journalist Moazzem Hossain contacted him from London in 2020 and said that he will do an investigative report on Noor Hussain on BBC. Based on that source, he wants to know about photographing the front view of Noor Hussain’s chest with ‘Swairachar Nipat Jak’ and to use the pictures in the report. 

However, before this, the picture of Noor Hussain with ‘Gonatantra Mukti Pak’ written on the back taken by famous photographer Pavel Rahman was published in many media in the country and abroad, it became a symbolic picture in the anti-dictatorship movement. 

Dinu Alam said that he has kept the camera and film for a long time. He digitized the original negative from Canada’s ‘Blacks Photography Toronto’. 

Ever since the BBC’s report came out, the subject of the film has come back to haunt him. He felt the historical value of the pictures. He felt the urge to highlight the events of that day and his experience. 

He tried to return home. But due to the pandemic he could not come to the country. He recently returned to the country as the situation is now normal. 

During the commemoration, Dinu Alam said that in the afternoon, the police started firing batons and tear gas to disperse the protest march of Awami League. There was a police van next to the GP. At one stage, firing started from there and from the police box of platoon circle. Three people including Noor Hossain were shot dead. He also took pictures of the other two. But who the other two are, what ultimately happened to them, remains unknown.

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