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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 98 | December 21 2008|


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Three Martyred Intellectuals of RU

Anwar Ali

Mir Abdul Quayyum
Pakistani occupation forces with their local collaborators masterminded the systematic elimination of our intellectuals. Beginning on March 25, the massacre continued till the surrender of the Pakistani army on December 16.

The long list of our martyred intellectuals includes three from Rajshahi University (RU). Prof Mir Abdul Quayyum is one of them. He was a teacher of the Psychology Department.

Born on July 6, 1939 at Ghagra village of Gafargaon in Mymensingh, he graduated from RU in 1962. Working as a research assistant and demonstrator for two years, he later joined the psychology department as a lecturer.

During his days on the campus as both student and teacher, Quayyum was known for his free and secular thinking. He did not hesitate to speak of independence even when it could pose a grave risk.

The fateful night came on November 25. Quayyum had left his own house at Malopara and was staying at his father-in-law's house at Ghoramara. His wife Mastura Khanam gave an account of how Quayyum was picked up by the killers. She has been serving as a teacher of the same department with the unbearable agony of having lost her husband 37 years ago.

Grave of Mir Abdul Quayyum

Perhaps Mastura had many things to tell, but she appeared a bit hesitant, even after so many years. “Rajshahi had become a dreaded place with the presence of Pak forces. Panic-stricken, we were living with my parents and did not feel safe at all,” she recalled.

Taiyab Ali, a non-Bengali stenographer of the then RU Vice Chancellor and a covert collaborator of Pak occupation forces, called him by his name at around 9:00pm. He was sick and asked Taiyab to bring the Pakistani soldiers (who wanted to see him) inside his home. As Taiyab insisted, Quayyum had no way but to go out with his identity card.

“Taiyab led him to the army vehicle and then went away, far away from my life”, added Quayyum's daughter Mahbuba Kanij Keya, also a teacher of the same RU department.

All kidnapped persons were usually taken to Shaheed Shams-uz-Zoha Hall where the invaders set up a torture centre. All dead bodies were dumped behind the hall. But Quayyum was not found there. The present-day RU teachers and students say that Zoha Hall is a “cantonment” of some student fronts.

However, after Liberation, 14 bodies of intellectuals including that of Mir Abdul Quayyum's were located at Bablatala on Padma riverbank near Boalia Club.

Quayyum's body was later buried at Hatim Khan-Kadirganj graveyard.

The Gana Tadanta Commission report revealed that the 14 bodies were tied with ropes and there was no mark of injury on their bodies. They were perhaps buried alive.

His family members still recollect with great anguish the sad end of a brilliant career, as Taiyab Ali was known and liked as a devoted teacher and mentor.

The psychology department seminar library was named as 'Martyred Mir Abdul Quayyum Memorial Library' and a memorial monument was set up at Padma Dam in 1995. No other initiative has been taken to keep his memories alive.

Sukharanjan Samaddar
It was April 14. The Pak army had already moved into North Bengal through Nagarbari river terminal and a day before they camped at house no. P-69 on the RU campus just in front of P-71, the building Prof Shukhranjan Samaddar lived in.

An associate professor of Sanskrit department, Samaddar was a simple, peace-loving, non-political personality. He was one of the very few teachers who did not leave the campus. There was virtually a curfew on the campus as the Pak invaders had let loose a reign of terror. At around 9.30am, the Pak army from the P-69 house entered his residence breaking open the door, kicking with boots.

The body of martyred Sukhoranjan Samaddar was laid to rest in front of Rajshahi University Central Library after its recovery from Kajla areas.

They were searching for members of East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) and at one stage they went back to their vehicle.

Dr Matiur Rahman, the non-Bengalee chairman of the psychology department of the university, called back the soldiers and told them that Samaddar was a Hindu.

The Pak military forces dragged Samaddar out of his home and took him away.

“I was almost insane then (after Liberation). My father Prafulla Narayan Basu, uncle Keshab Narayan Basu, cousin Kesta Narayan Basu and brother-in-law Dr Sunil Kumar Roy had embraced martyrdom by then”, said his wife Champa who retired as deputy chief residential teacher of RU Rokeya Hall a year ago.

“Later I came to know that the RU authorities on February 25 in 1972 shifted Samaddar's grave to a place in front of RU Central Public Library premises”, she said.

“None enquired about us for seven days since the Pak military picked up my husband. In July, an aide of the killers came to me and gave me my husband's broken glasses and sandals confirming his death”, she told in a choked voice.

“Many of the aides of the occupation forces are still active on the campus. It is unbearable as many of my near and dear ones were brutally killed by these beastly elements,” said Champa.

Habibur Rahman
RU teacher Prof Habibur Rahman is a Martyred Intellectual. He was the head of the mathematics department.

He went missing since he was picked up by some Pakistani soldiers and taken to the RU guesthouse, Zuberi Bhaban. Brigadier Aslam and Colonel Taj of the Pakistan army conducted the operation with assistance from their local collaborators.

Alas! Rahman never returned.

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