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Martyred Intellectuals Day: A black day of our history

  • Published at 12:00 am December 14th, 2018
Martyred Intellectuals Day
The individuals whose contributions shaped our cultural sector the reason for which they were killed during the Liberation War

This year, we highlighted the individuals whose contributions shaped our cultural sector the reason for which they were killed during the Liberation War

Martyred Intellectuals Day is a black day in the history of Bangladesh. Forty-seven years ago today the Pakistan Army and their infamous local cohorts targeted some of the best minds of our country with a plan to destroy the nation intellectually in future. 

On this day, martyred intellectuals were abducted from their homes and killed in brutal manner in the killing fields of Rayer Bazar and other similar fields across the country. 

This year, we highlighted the individuals whose contributions shaped our cultural sector the reason for which they were killed during the Liberation War. 

Altaf Mahmud

“Amar Bhaiyer Rôkte Rangano Ekushe Februari, Ami Ki Bhulite Pari,” this song inspired the language martyrs of Bangladesh in 1952. Altaf Mahmud composed this song while Abdul Gaffar Choudhury penned the lyrics. 

Altaf Mahmud came to Dhaka in 1950 and joined the Dhumketu Shilpi Shongho. Later, he became the music director of the institution and worked in 19 different films including “Jibon Theke Neya,” “Kaise Kahu,” “Kar Bau,” and “Tanha.”

He also was associated with politics and different cultural organizations. 

The martyred freedom fighter of the Bangladesh Liberation War posthumouslyreceived the “Ekushey Padak” in 1977.

Munier Chowdhury

Munier Chowdhury was abducted around 1:30 in the afternoon on December 14, 1971. He was a victim of the mass killings of Bangladeshi intellectuals because of his involvement in politics and the education sector. 

He was also a successful playwright and literary critic. He authored the iconic plays, “Kabar” and “Roktakto Prantor.”  

Munier Choudhury was the founding father of modern Bangla drama in Bangladesh. Throughout his life, he fought against fundamentalism and religious extremism.

The legacy of Munier Choudhury lives through his creations. He was posthumouslyawarded the “Independence Day Award” in 1980. 

Shahidullah Kaiser 

One of Shahidullah Kaiser's most memorable quotes was: “I became a novelist because Ayub Khan sent me to jail.” 

Novelist and writer Shahidullah Kaiser played an important role in the Language Movement in 1952, and was imprisoned after it by the Pakistan government. He served a total of eight years behind bars. During his time in Jail, Shahidullah Kaiser wrote a number of remarkable plays, short stories and novels, including “Sareng Bou”, “Shangshaptak”, and “Rajbondi'r Rojnamcha”. His first plays written within the four walls of the cell were “Naam Nei” and “Jadu-i Halwa”.

“Kobey Pohabe Bibhabori” (When will the night end?) was his only novel written from outside jail, and he could not complete it. In his writings he depicted the atrocities by the Pakistani forces

During the war, Shahidullah Kaiser provided support for freedom fighters in any way he could and would often supply rations to them using ration cards.

On December 14, 1971, a few masked men took Shahidullah Kaiser away from his residence. He never returned, and his body was never found.

Zahir Raihan

Bangladesh film industry would have been different if Zahir Raihan was still alive. His films like “Jibon Theke Neya” had great impact on our Liberation war. In 1971, he made “Stop Genocide,” a 20-minute documentary film which portrayed the killings and atrocities carried out by the Pakistan Army on the people of the then East Pakistan. 

It also depicts the plight of the refugees and the activities of the Government in exile.

He also actively participated in the Gano Obhyuthyan in 1969, and joined in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. 

Raihan never came back when he went out on 30 January 1972 trying to find his brother, the famous writer Shahidullah Kaiser, who was captured and killed by the Pakistani Army during the final days of the liberation war.  

It is believed that Raihan along with many others was attacked when they went to Mirpur to look for the abducted individuals. 

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