His steadfast role and wisdom during different crises of the nation including “1/11” and Hefajat-e-Islam's demonstrations in 2013 has made him immortal like his father, speakers said yesterday at a memorial meeting for recently-passed minister Syed Ashraful Islam, former general secretary of Awami League (AL).
Syed Ashraful Islam, eldest son of Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of the Mujibnagar government in 1971, died on January 3 at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand at the age of 68.
“I saw him committed to ethics on face of continuous military pressure… Syed Ashraful Islam never became confused as the acting general secretary [of AL] during 1/11 while many [of the political leaders] were puzzled,” said former information minister Hasanul Haque Inu at the event, held on the Central Shaheed Minar premises in Dhaka.
Sammilita Sangskritik Jote (SSJ) organised the event where renowned politicians and cultural personalities spoke of how they had come to know Syed Ashraful Islam as a political colleague. Hundreds of people from all walks of life joined the event.
“He was a virtuous man, a brave man… [Ashraf is] the able son of an able father. Syed Ashraf has written his own path,” said Inu.
“We have lost Syed Ashraf right at the beginning of victory in two wars: political victory against razakars and communal forces of BNP-Jamaat, and economic victory against poverty and discrimination,” he added.
Former Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor said, “He performed responsibility as the general secretary of the party [AL], but this position never allured him.”
Recalling the role of Ashraf during Hefajat-e-Islam's movement in 2013, he said Syed Ashraf played a “steadfast role” and restored hope among non-communal quarters in the country.
At the beginning of the programme, guests expressed respect to Ashraf by placing floral wreaths at a makeshift mural at Shaheed Minar.
Eminent elocutionist Syed Hasan Imam recited Jibanananda Das' “Abar Ashibo Phire” in his memory, while a “letter of mourning” was read out by cultural personality Nasiruddin Yousuff.
Several songs were also performed as part of the programme.
Presided over by SSJ President Golam Quddus, State Minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, also the organising secretary of AL; Dhaka University Pro-vice Chancellor Prof Muhammad Samad; and President of Bangladesh Chhatra League Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon, among others, spoke at the programme.