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Dhaka Tribune

Library, museum in honour of Language Movement martyr Rafiq still neglected in Manikganj

In 2008, Manikganj district administration built the museum at a cost of Tk90 lakh at Shaheed Rafiq’s birthplace

Update : 05 Mar 2020, 12:11 AM

The Bhasha Shaheed Rafiq Uddin Ahmed Library and Memorial Museum still to this day fails to collect memorabilia or books about Shaheed Rafiq to preserve his memories to educate the future generations.

In 2008, Manikganj district administration built the museum at a cost of Tk90 lakh at Shaheed Rafiq’s birthplace.

Since then, the library was never able to acquire enough books or any memorabilia about the valiant son of the nation in whose honour the museum was built.

Currently, only one librarian, one guard, and one cleaner, are appointed for maintenance of the whole museum, which sadly very few people visit these days.

Born to Abdul Latif and Rafiza Khatun of Parli village in Baldhara union of Singiar upazila in Manikganj, on October 30, 1926, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed of Manikganj was one of the first martyrs of the Language Movement of 1952.

The librarian and Shaheed Rafiq’s nephew, Farhad Hossain Khan, said there aren’t any memorabilia of Rafiq in the museum. The library has more than 9,000 books, but only two of them are about Shaheed Rafiq. Of them not many are about the Liberation War either. 

Farhad also said the library, being in a secluded village, does not get many visitors.

Various arrangements by the Ekushe Parishad

The Ekushe Parishad arranged many programs in Rafiq’s hometown on this year’s Mother Language day. Starting on February 15, poetry recitations, art competitions, handwriting competitions, singing, dancing, and reading activities were arranged at 51 educational institutions.

The President of Amar Ekushe Parishad, Freedom Fighter and Engineer Tobarok Hossain Ludu, said that on February 21 we brought a morning procession and flowers were laid at the Shaheed Minar on the premises of Rafiq’s home.

Also, Barrister Ashfaq Memorial Hospital and Diabetic Association of Bangladesh jointly arranged a blood donation program and provided free treatment.

Honouring Shaheed Rafiq’s memory

To honour the memory of Shaheed Rafiq, the district council built the Library and Museum in 2008. However, there is nothing once owned by Rafiq in the museum: only the family has some of his belongings. 

There aren’t enough books about Rafiq either, which is why the library and museum fails to attract the new generation.

In 2000, Chairman of charitable organization Proshika, Dr Qazi Faruq, built a house for Rafiq’s family on his paternal land.

His older brother Abdul Khalek’s wife Golenur Begum,73, and their son Shahjalal, live there now.

Rafiq’s only living brother Khorshed Alam’s son Abdur Rauf said: “Journalists and media houses crowd the house on February 21, but they forget about us during any other occasion.”

Manikganj District Council Chairman, freedom fighter Advocate Golam Mohiuddin, said: “The government has built a library and museum for Shaheed Rafiq. The district council has built a Shaheed Minar in his house compound, and a mural has been built in front of the museum.”

What happened to Rafiq on February 21?

On February 21, 1952, Rafiq was going toward Lakshmipur bazar with his cousin, when police blocked their path near the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. They then entered the hospital premises and reached the northwest gate near the college hostel when they saw more armed police officers. 

Rafiq was standing at shed 22 of the hostel when a group of police entered the premises and shot him in the head, killing him instantly.

The information was obtained from researcher Bashir Al Helal’s book Bhasha Andoloner Itihas (Language Movement’s History) which took the details from the Rafiq murder case.

The Pakistan Army buried his body in Azimpur graveyard in an unmarked grave. His mother could not even visit her son’s grave once.

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