Volume 2 Issue 41 | September 13, 2008 |


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Behind the Scene

From Mymensingh

Comrade Mahadev Sannyal

Aminul Islam

Mahadev Sannyal has struggled against oppression and injustice throughout his life. He is no more but his work remains an inspiration to many. Sannyal was the only anti-British leader in Mymensingh. This great leader, a veteran of the language movement and an active organiser during the Liberation War breathed his last on January 31 this year at the age of 93 at his residence in the district town.

Mahadev Sannyal was born at the village of Nawapara in Kendua Upazila in Netrokona district on April 19, 1917. As a student at his village, he was inspired by Sudangshu Roy, an anti-British leader at his village and joined Anushilon Samity, part of the anti-British movement. He passed his Matriculation from his village school in 1936 and went to Kolkata for higher education.

Satish Chandra Roy was one of his maternal uncles. He was president of Netrokona Sub-Division Hindu Mahashava. The uncle wanted Mahadev to follow in his footsteps and take charge of the Hindu Mahashava. But Mahadev opted to go his own way.

After going to Kolkata, Mahadev got involved with the Workers' Movement of the Kashipur Gun Factory in Kolkata. Later he identified with communism. He also came in contact with well-known communist leaders of West Bengal - Joyati Bose and Bhavani Sen and was further inspired by that ideology. Later he returned to Mymensingh and joined Tebhagha and Tanka movements. He also got involved with the movements of Railway Workers and stood by them for a long time.

Mahadev was also a disciple of Comrade Moni Singh, Comrade Khoka Roy and Altaf Ali, well-known communist leaders of the subcontinent. He was put in jail several times for his anti-British movements.

He was sent to jail by the then Pakistan government in 1950 for helping with the language movement and spent three years in jail. He was arrested during the Pak-India war in 1965 and spent two years in jail for that. He played an important role in forming the “guerilla bahini” of the Chhatra Union, an organisation of the NAPE Communist party during the War of Liberation. During the war, he stayed at a refugee camp at Baghmara in Meghalaya, India. His organisational abilities impressed Prof Jatin Sarker, a columnist and writer. Mahadev never derailed from his communist idealism, Prof Sarker says. He was also involved with various socio-cultural organisations, such as Udichi. A rally to mourn Mahadev Sannyal's death was held at the local Shaheed Minar at Town Hall premises on February 16. Mahadev Sannyal Nagorik Shok Shabha, Mymensingh, organised the rally to remember this most senior comrade of greater Mymensingh.

Presided over by Abdul Aziz, the rally was also addressed by Azizul Islam Khan of Ganotantri Party, Ex-President of Udhichi Central body Prof. Jatin Sarker, Language veteran Ahmed Saleh, Principal Motiur Rahman, Prof. Sheikh Jinnat Ali, Advocate Anisur Rahman Khan, Advocate AHM Khalequzzaman, Prof. Amir Ahmed Chowdhury Ratan and Advocate Rokeya Begum.

The speakers said that Mahadev was a rebel throughout his life and worked to establish a country free from oppression. This got him put in jail several times during the British regime as well as the Pakistani regime but he never swayed from his ideology.


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