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|Volume 10 |Issue 24 | June 24, 2011 ||
Devoted to Peace
Jesmina Shanta Aksad
Writing a tribute to my late father, Ali Aksad is a tough job for me. The great comrade devoted his life for peace. Throughout his journey for peace, he became a national figure in Bangladesh. Ali Aksad was born on May 1, 1932 in Gadi, Bagnan of Howrah in West Bengal, India, to Safura Begum and Amzad Ali who was a founder of many educational institutes.
An MA in Political Science from the University of Dhaka, he started his journey from a village pathshala (elementary school). The young Ali Aksad did not get all the curriculum books but luckily got philosophers like Sarder Fazlul Karim and Anil Mukherjee as his guide. While in jail, the authorities supplied him with books that were defaced with black ink. He passed Matriculation examination from the Alia Madrasa Calcutta and came to be associated with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who inspired him to join the “Quit India Movement” led by his icon Mahatma Gandhi. Ali Aksad participated in a procession in Kolkata in February 1946 protesting the arrest of Netajee Shubhash Chandra Basu, INA's General Shah Newaz Khan and Colonel Rashid.
In Calcutta Madrasa he was the secretary of the debating council and leader of drama group and school magazine. As a member of Mukul Fouz, he met Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was on a Calcutta tour and also joined Gandhi's Jodhpur meeting.
In 1948 Ali Aksad participated in the Language Movement, and in the World Peace Movement led by the Nobel Prize winner scientist Julio Curie. In 1949 he obtained membership of the Communist Party of Pakistan led by Comrade Moni Singh and became the vice president of the Student Federation of Chittagong. He was arrested and tortured by the police for organising procession demanding release of political prisoners like Moulana Bhasani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
While underground he joined Nikhil Bharat Congress, and was arrested while addressing a meeting in Jagganath College. In two phases his imprisonment continued for eight years. In 1975 just after the killing of Bangabandhu, to avoid arrest, Ali Aksad went into hiding in India with his family.
Ali Aksad was the Assistant Editor of Daily Ittefaq and News Editor of the Sangbad. He was deeply loved by Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia and Ahmedul Kabir. His column 'Dipankar' and 'Mukhar Diganta', a novel, became very popular.
During the Liberation War Ali Aksad brought worldwide support for the newborn country. The Soviet Union officially recognised Bangladesh on 25 January 1972 and welcomed him in Moscow.
On 12 October 1973 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was given the Julio Curie medal by the World Peace Council which was initiated by Ali Aksad. The honour was a kind of recognition for the newborn country that lifted it to a new height.
The World Peace Council organised an international conference on ' Peace and Security in Asia' in Dhaka on 26 May 1973 that brought to Dhaka many foreign delegates like John Reed, Krishna Menan, Chitta Biswas, Rajeshwar Rao, Abani Sen, Bhupesh Gupta. Bangabandhu's support helped the activities of the Bangladesh Peace Council to flourish. He became member of the Presidium of the World Peace Council and member of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Council. In 1974 the WPC awarded the “World Peace Medal” to Ali Aksad.
He was the honorary instructor of foreign policy of the BAKSAL in 1975. And in 1979 he became member of the Central committee of the Communist Party of Bangladesh and the Vice President of Soviet Bangladesh Friendship Society. During his lifetime he came across many reputed world leaders such as Professor Julio Curie, Jetty Burnlas, Pablo Neruda, Salvador Alende, Nazim Hikmat, Okkarnath Tagore, Indira Gandhi, IK Guzral, Yousuf Dudu, Yasir Arafat, Dr Saifuddin Kichlu, Fidel Castro, Nur Md Taraki, and Luther King.
Ali Aksad is dead, but not his spirit. Let his friends and associates fight for peace again. I hope that our next generation will comprehend the ideology of the great peace devotee Ali Aksad and devote themselves for greater national peace.
Jesmina Shanta is a journalist and late Ali Aksad's daughter.
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