Today marks Martyred Intellectuals Day, when our brightest minds were kidnapped from their homes in the dead of night and shot dead, in an effort to cripple Bangladesh. This is a dark day in our nation’s history, and one we cannot afford to forget.
Throughout our liberation war, many intellectuals had been systematically dragged away and executed by Pakistani soldiers and their cohorts, but on this night 42 years ago, over 200 intellectuals were executed, marking a great blow to our nation’s intellectual development.
These academicians, artists, journalists, writers and lawyers were our nation’s conscience. They planted the seed of nationalism and democracy in the people’s minds, so that they became aware of their rights, and fought for those rights.
Our intellectuals were a beacon who showed us how to be citizens who would care for and work for our nation’s growth.
We have come far in these 42 years, and achieved much, but we have a long way to go. Our nation remains caught in a web of corruption and political violence, and, so far, the human rights of all Bangladeshis have not yet been acknowledged, at least not in practice.
If we are to truly move forward and develop into the democracy we have dreamt of, we need to take our intellectuals’ ideals and teachings to heart, and practice them diligently. We must not let their deaths be in vain.