While his primary identity was as a professor of Bangla, his true scope was much broader
We are all stricken with grief at the loss of one of the brightest academics of our country, National Professor Anisuzzaman.
For decades, Anisuzzaman has been a fixture in intellectual and public life in Bangladesh, always weighing in on issues that matter, always the progressive voice of reason standing tall above so many others cowed by fear.
He was born in 1937 in Kolkata, in what was then British India. His career has been long, varied, and brilliant, completing his academic degrees at the University of Dhaka, and subsequently fellowships in Chicago and London. And while his primary identity was as a professor of Bangla, his true scope was much broader.
Not only was he a master of research, filling many gaps in knowledge on Muslim writers of the modern era, he was an extraordinary teacher, as his countless students have said. Beyond academia, he actively worked towards pushing society towards more enlightened values, often taking a leadership role.
This great man was a participant in the Language Movement of 1952, the Mass Uprising of 1969, the Liberation War of 1971, and the movement against autocracy in 1990.
Because of his progressive, secular values and his outspoken nature, Professor Anisuzzaman received death threats from Islamic extremists, but was not deterred. He always followed his conscience.
But more than that, this great man, who passed away after suffering from the symptoms of what was identified as Covid-19, was, over the years, a conscience for the nation.
His death is a terrible loss for all of us. There will not be another one like him.