Profiles of martyred intellectuals
In his early years, he was attracted by the communist movement. When the Communist Party was banned and the leaders of the party went underground, he worked as a messenger to carry letters and messages. He got the name Raihan from underground leaders and thus his original name Zahirullah was changed to Zahir Raihan.
In his student life, Zahir devoted himself to literature. His first book Surya Grahan, a collection of stories, was published in 1362 BS 1995. Other books written by him are Shesh Bikeler Meye, Hajar Bachhar Dhare, Arek Falgun, Baraf Gala Nadi and Ar Kata Din. He was one of the initiators in publishing the English weekly Express in 1970.
In 1952, Zahir went to Calcutta to learn photography and was admitted to Pramatesh Burua Memorial Photography School. He entered the film world in 1956. Kakhono Asheni, the first film directed by him, was released in 1961. Then came, one after another, Kajal, Kancher Deyal, Behula, Jiban Theke Neya, Anwara, Sangam and Bahana. Jiban Theke Neya depicted the autocratic rule of Pakistan and inspired the people to protest against the Pakistani rulers. He started making an English film Let There Be Light, which he could not finish. After 25 March 1971, he went to Calcutta and produced a documentary film Stop Genocide highlighting the massacre done by the Pakistani Army.
In December 1971, some members of the notorious Al-Badr took away Zahir's elder brother Shahidullah Kaiser, an eminent writer, from his residence at the University of Dhaka. Within days, on 30 December 1971, someone informed Zahir about an address, somewhere at Mirpur, where he might find his brother. Accordingly, Zahir left home to get his brother back. Alas, he never returned.
After completing Honours in economics from Presidency College in 1946, Shahidullah Kaiser enrolled for the Master of Arts in economics at Calcutta University, but could not sit for the final examination. As a student, he participated in various social, cultural and political movements. He was a member of the provincial Communist Party of East Pakistan and also played an important role in the Language Movement in 1952. As a consequence, he suffered imprisonment several times.
Shahidullah Kaiser started his career in journalism in 1949 with the weekly Ittefaq in Dhaka. In 1958, he was appointed associate editor of the Sangbad, and continued to work there until his death.
Shahidullah Kaiser was also a novelist of note. He came into the limelight with Sareng Bau (The Captain's Wife, 1962). Later, a film was made based on this book. His other novels include Sangshaptak (The Indomitable Soldiers, 1965), which was later made into a highly acclaimed television serial, Krishnachura Megh (Krishnachura Clouds), Timir Balay (The Circle of Darkness), Digante Phuler Agun (The Flaming Horizon), Samudra O Trisna (Sea and Thirst), Chandrabhaner Kanya (Chandrabhan's Daughter), Sangsaptak and the unfinished novel, Kabe Pohabe Bibhabari (When Will It Dawn). Shahidullah was the recipient of the Adamjee Literary Award (1962) and the Bangla Academy Award (1962). He was picked up by the Al-Badr on 14 December 1971 and never returned.
Santosh Chandra Bhattacharyya
He started his academic career as a lecturer in Jagannath College in 1939 and worked there until 1949, when he joined the History Department of Dhaka University as a Senior Lecturer. A scholar in Sanskrit literature and ancient history of Bengal and India, Bhattacharyya served Dhaka University as a devoted teacher and a scholar until his tragic death (14 December, 1971) in the hands of the cohorts of the Pakistan army.
Prof. Munier Choudhury
He became Reader in 1962 and Professor in 1970 and the Dean of the faculty of arts in 1971.
After the army crackdown in the university area from which he luckily escaped like many, he moved to his parents' house, near Hatirpool. He became a totally dejected and broken man. Many of his student-like well-wishers requested him to come to the liberated areas. But unfortunately Munier Choudhury couldn't mentally adjust to the idea of fleeing from his beloved motherland. He preferred to stay back and surrendered to his 'fate'.
His notable literary works include Raktakta Prantar, Kabar, Dandakaranya, Mir Manash, Palashi Barrack o Annanya, Bangla Gadyariti.
He denounced the title 'Sitar- I- Imtiaz' awarded to him by the Pakistan government (1966) during the non-cooperation movement (1971).
The members of the Al-Badr picked him from his residence at Hatirpul and subsequently killed him at the dawn of our liberation. His dead body could not be identified.
Mofazzal Haidar Chaudhury
He was picked up and killed by the Al-Badr on December 14, 1971.
He was a liberal democrat and a life long fighter against fundamentalism and communalism.
A close friend of Anwar Pasha, Rashidul Hasan was picked up together with his friend Anwar from the same flat within the DU campus. The two families were then living together in a flat in Isa Khan Road area.
Anwar Pasha made his debut as a writer with Hasnahena, a collection of literary essays. During the next two decades, he published novels, essays, poems, and short stories. He also edited four ancient and medieval Bangla poems. His writings were published in many journals, including the quarterly Kabita, published from Kolkata and edited by Buddhadev Bose. His notable writings include Nadi Nihshesita Hale (1963), Nid Sandhani (1968), Nishuti Rater Gatha (1968), Nirupay Harini (1970), Rabindra Chhotagalpa Samiksa (Vol. I 1963, Vol. II 1973), Sahityashilpi Abul Fazal (1968).
Anwar Pasha was picked up from his university flat and brutally killed with other intellectuals. He was posthumously honoured with the Bangla Academy Award for his literary achievements.
Guhathakurta taught in a number of colleges from 1944 to 1949, such as, AM College, Mymensingh, Gurudayal College, Kishoreganj, and Jagannath College, Dhaka. In 1949 he joined Dhaka University as lecturer in English. In 1963 he went to King's College, London University, on a British Council scholarship to do doctoral work on 'Classical Myths in the Plays of Swinburne, Bridges, Sturges, Moore and Eliot'. In 1967, Guhathakurta returned to Dhaka University and was promoted to Reader, a position he held till his death. A highly successful teacher, Guhathakurta instilled in his students a love for good literature and the humanist ideals that he cherished all his life. The Pakistan Army raided the Dhaka University campus on 25 March 1971, Guhathakurta's flat was broken into and he was shot. He succumbed to his wounds at the DMCH on March 30.
Dr. MAM Faizul Mahi
Mahi joined the Institute of Education and Research in 1968 after obtaining Ed. D (doctorate in education) and then soon became Senior Lecturer. He was a dedicated teacher.
The beastly Al Badr group picked him up on 14 December from his home.
Sirajul Haque Khan
A group of Al -Badr members took him forcibly in a bus in the morning of 14 December, 1971 to an unknown destination from where he never returned to his beloved family. The brutal collaborators killed him.
Accused of helping in the liberation war of Bangladesh he was taken to Dhaka Cantonment for questioning. He was released after a few days. Then again on 14 December 1971 he was picked up from Mohsin Hall by the Al Badar forces. On 4 January 1972 his clothes and mutilated body were identified in Mirpur area.
Mohammad Fazle Rabbi
He was known as a progressive political personality and social worker. He was first to talk about the concept of people-oriented health care system in 1969. Besides teaching he used to do research also. His research-based articles have been published in British Medical Journal and Lancet. He had started to write a book on medicine but could not finish it.
Dr. Fazle Rabbi married in 1957. He became a proud father of a son and a daughter. Regarding his death his wife Dr. Jahanara Rabbi has to say the following:
On 15 December the curfew was relaxed for two hours. Despite his wife's objection he had gone to see a non-Bengali patient in the old part of Dhaka. He had bought plenty of vegetables on his way back. Though his wife requested him repeatedly to move out from the house at 75, Shiddeshwari, he did not agree. On that fateful day he took some rest after lunch. In the afternoon, members of Pakistan army, Al Badar and Rajakars circled his house. They came in a microbus and a jeep. About six soldiers took him towards the jeep. As his wife came out running they pointed a gun at her and stopped her from advancing any farther. Dr. Rabbi walked towards the jeep with his head held high. It was known that on 15 December midnight Dr. Rabbi along with some other intellectuals were taken in a truck from the Lalmatia Physical Training Institute to the Rayerbazar brickfield and murdered in a brutal manner. His dead body was identified on 18 December.
Gobinda Chandra Dev
He joined Dhaka University as a professor of philosophy in 1953 and was later promoted as chairman of the department of philosophy in 1970. He taught in a college in Pensyvania, USA as a visiting professor. It was at this time that his admirers founded “The Gobinda Dev Foundation for World Brotherhood.” On return to Dhaka he founded the Philosophy Bhaban in 1971.
Among his publications are: A new defence and a new application; Aspiration of the common man; The philosophy of Bibekananda and the future of man; Amar Jibon Darshan; Tattabidyashar; Buddha, the humanist.
A life-long bachelor, Dr. G.C. Dev was brutally murdered by the Pakistani forces on the night of 25 March 1971 in his campus quarters.
Nizamuddin Ahmed was an ardent supporter of the liberation war of Bangladesh. He used to send news items on the atrocities of the Pakistani forces to various foreign news media. He had taken New York Times journalist McBrown to a guerrilla camp to collect authentic news. He provided BBC with authentic news under strict censorship. For this reason he was taken to General Rao Forman Ali's office on two occasions.
On 12 December 1971, Nizamuddin was taking his lunch when members of Al Badar picked him up from his residence. His body was never found.
On 25 April 1971, Pakistani soldiers brutally killed him.
On 25 March 1971, she was killed by some non-Bengali people in Mirpur.
Syed Nazmul Haque
He later took up journalism as a fulltime profession. He became the chief reporter of Pakistan Press International and Dhaka correspondent of Columbia Broadcasting Service. He prepared a full report on the proceedings of Agartala Conspiracy Case. He sent news items on the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani forces during the liberation war of Bangladesh. On 6 August 1971 he was arrested in Dhaka and sent to a prison in West Pakistan. He was given pressure to testify against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a secret trial. On getting release in November 1971 he came back to Dhaka. On 11 December 1971, he was picked up from his Purana Paltan house by the members of Al Badar. His dead body was never found.