The history of Bangladesh has great moments of happiness and sorrow. At times, Bangladesh reached great heights of happiness; at times she spiraled down to bottomless pits of sorrow. December 16, 1971 and December 6, 1990 are great days of happiness for Bangladesh. On the other hand, August 15, 1975 and November 3, 1975 are very tragic dates which should have never happened in the first place.
Jail Killing Day is undoubtedly a very tragic date, and also extremely shameful. How could a few misguided and power-hungry people so brutally kill four architects of our independence, four great personalities who worked so sincerely to give birth to the liberated Bangladesh?
Foreign instigation should not have made them stoop so low. Or, for that matter, how could they kill the main leader of our independence, an elected president commanding great respect around the world?
And his family, including his 10-year-old youngest child? We only wish such things had never happened, that it had never tarnished our image.
The jail is supposed to be the safest place on Earth. It is the jail authority or the government’s sacred duty to ensure the safety of prisoners. But the then government of Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed failed to protect the lives of four of our greatest sons.
Reports tell us that Ahmed rather wanted to have them murdered; his actions truly resembled Mir Zafar’s brutality.
How could Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed kill four patriots with whom he spent almost the whole of his political life? We are sure a sense of guilt infiltrated at least his subconscious mind, till his last day.
Our four national leaders were around 50 when they were killed, only Mansur Ali was 57. They had still so much to give to the nation. For them, politics really meant serving our millions of people who were suffering and not in any way to gain personally or amass wealth.
Syed Nazrul Islam retired prematurely from the Pakistan Civil Service for the sake of politics. He wanted to be a friend of the people, not their ruler. He became a college teacher and later, an advocate. His honesty, merit, and sincerity turned him into Bangabandhu’s most trusted deputy.
When he was killed, he left neither a house in Dhaka nor a car for his wife and six children. He used to console his worried yet loving wife that her meritorious children, by the grace of the Almighty, would take care of her in his absence. He was an idealist, and politics to him meant serving the people and nothing else. His glorious role in 1971 gives him a permanent place in the history of Bangladesh.
He was also an elected VP of the Salimullah Hall Students’ Union, like Prof Munier Chowdhury and Asaduzzaman Khan, a hockey and cricket player and, last but not the least, was a Bhasha Shainik.
Nowadays, a few years in power means expensive cars and bungalows even for a mediocre politician.
Bangladesh never again saw the likes of Syed Nazrul Islam or his brilliant friend, Tajuddin Ahmed, a genuine idealist, who served the nation as well as the first prime minister of Bangladesh, during her greatest crisis.
Tajuddin Ahmed’s patriotism, honesty, and dedication to his job are still incomparable. He had great concern for our people’s suffering during our war of liberation.
As a prime minister, he lived a very, very simple life, washing his own clothes and passing sleepless nights worrying about his people.
Mansur Ali was a graduate of the Aligarh University and a man of high moral values. His loyalty to his country and his leader was beyond measure. He gave his life but, like the other three, refused to join the cabinet of Khandaker Mushtaq.
Kamruzzaman was a poet and a patron of classical music and worked as an editor of a newspaper. He was a famed athlete during his student days.
He also vehemently resisted all proposals of the cunning Khandaker and remained loyal to his country and her people.
What rewards did these four patriots get for their dedicated service to the nation? A few ungrateful Bangladeshis got rid of them brutally with outlandish support. We are not going to forgive these killers. We want them punished by the court of law. There should be no further delay of the trial.
The BNP government of 2001-2006 publicly stated that they wanted a proper trial for the murder of these national leaders but the trial was delayed, indefinitely, or so it seems.
At present, our media, both print and electronic, show respect to the four national heroes by remembering them with proper honour. This was only done after respective media houses became powerful and influential, during the last decade or so. Earlier, they couldn’t even tell the truth to the nation.
A generation has grown up knowing very little about Syed Nazrul Islam or Tajuddin Ahmed. Our youngsters know the villains of our history more than the true heroes. Now is the time to rectify ourselves.
Our school textbooks should carry a description of their life and work. Our youngsters don’t know that Syed Nazrul Islam was a Bhasha Shainik or that Tajuddin Ahmed was the best student of his class at St Gregory’s High School and Dhaka University.
No more negligence for four of our best patriots. And there can never be a repetition of the Jail Killing Day in our country.