Photo: Amirul Rajiv

Editor's Note

They were our bright stars

It is rare in the annals of history that a people have struggled in defence of their language, that in upholding the dignity of their mother tongue they have achieved supreme glory through martyrdom. When all those young Bengali men fell before the might of the Pakistan state on February 21, 1952, they were not only telling us that in their death lay embedded the dignity of those who would live on. They were telling us something more, which is that dying in defence of Bangla was effectively and truly a giant step toward a revival of the culture that had consistently fortified the Bengali's dealings with the rest of the world. All these decades after the supreme sacrifices of our earliest martyrs, it becomes our particular responsibility to recall the reasons for which they died, to remember that the life we collectively live today is a gift that has come down from them.

And it is a gift because those martyrs first showed us the path to struggle, the road we needed to take if we were to thrive in freedom and dignity as a society, indeed as a nation. Ekushey 1952 was a pointer to the tortuous road which lay before us. It was also, in that expansive sense of the meaning, a pointing out, through the light of the stars, to the gleaming history which beckoned us. In short, Ekushey would broaden out into a larger mapping out of experience through a concerted national struggle for autonomy. It would then take a radically new dimension through launching us all on the path to national freedom. The road from 1952 to 1971 was thus paved and smoothened by Ekushey.

It is to those brave young men who died in order for us to live, back in February 1952, that we do obeisance this morning.

Mahfuz Anam
Editor & Publisher