Bangladesh’s martyred intellectuals: Lest we forget

“If blood is the price of independence, then Bangladesh has paid the highest price in history” –reported the London Times in December 1971. The nine-month-long Liberation War of Bangladesh is a history of massacre and bloodbaths.


On the night of December 14 1971, over 200 intellectuals of Bangladesh, including professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, and writers, were rounded up in Dhaka. During the entire duration of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, a large number of teachers, doctors, engineers, poets and writers were systematically massacred by the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators


Nine months ago, on the night of March 25, the 18th Punjab, 22nd Baluch, and 32nd Punjab regiments, along with several battalions of Pakistani troops with heavy weaponry, took positions in different campus gateways and entered the residential halls and the teacher’s quarters.


Their bloodbath continued for the next couple of days while the total number of the martyrs are still unknown. Nine hundred and ninety-one teachers and professors, 49 doctors, 42 lawyers, 13 journalists, and 16 others (artistes, engineers, and non-journalistic writers) are estimated to have been killed.


According to the report of Dr Mafijullah Kabir, at least ten teachers died at the beginning of this operation. Due to their deep support towards the independence movement and strong position against the Pakistani state machinery, they were targeted by the military.


Dr G C Dev of Philosophy, Prof Muniruzzaman of Statistics, Dr Jotirmoy Guha Thakurta of English, Dr Fazlur Rahman Khan of Soil Science, Prof Sharafat Ali of Mathematics, Prof Abdul Muktadir of Geology, Prof AR Khadim of Physics, Prof Anudaipayan Battacharja of Applied

physics and Mr Mohammad Sadeque, teacher of the University Laboratory School were killed inside their own houses while Prof Muniruzzaman, Dr Fazlur Rahman and Dr G C Dev were killed along with their family members.


The Bengali Literature professor and famous author Anwar Pasha, who was later killed on December 14 1971, alongside many other intellectuals, stated the mayhem in his book Rifle Roti Awrat (Rifle, Bread, Women).


There are some nights that people can never forget and as a nation Bangladesh had experienced the darkest night of its history on March 25 in 1971. Family members of the intellectuals who were killed in 1971 still carry their wounds with them. Son of the martyred teacher Munir Chowdhury, Asif Munir said, “all the teachers who were killed during the

Liberation War were progressive, philosopher and humanist as persons.


December 14 is celebrated as Martyred Intellectuals Day. The day is to never forget the heart-wrenching pain as Bangladeshi intellectuals were brutally murdered in the second half of 1971 just before Bangladesh was liberated from the cruel clutches of the Pakistani military junta.


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