A planned annihilation of our brightest minds
Killing of our intellectuals was conceived and planned by the Pakistan military and aided by local collaborators and abettors, the Razakars and Al Badrs. It was one among many acts of calculated, cold blooded killings that the occupation army of Yahiya Khan perpetrated in Bangladesh. Carried out on the very eve of our glorious independence and just before the surrender of the army of the much vaunted martial Pakistanis to the joint Bangladesh-India command, its sole objective was to deprive the nascent nation of the intellectual guidance that was so badly required to tide over the seminal but extremely crucial period of its independent existence.
Among them were litterateurs, politicians, journalists—in short, luminaries of the intellectual firmament who were targeted during the nine painful months under the rapacious occupation army. There were thinkers among our intellectuals and it is the thinker who controls our future, as one eminent American jurist had so wisely pronounced. And it was our future that the Pakistani army wanted to obliterate and force us to stumble upon even before we could take the first step forward in rebuilding a ravished country and healing a nation left intellectually impoverished.
We have traversed a long path, albeit chequered in many respect, in the last 50 years, and as we recall them and their sacrifices, we must admit our deep debt of gratitude to them for being icons of inspiration for us as a nation. The four fundamental articles of our national existence, the fundamental principles of the republic—Bengali nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism—admittedly were inspired by their ideals left behind in their work. But regrettably, it seems that the idea of nation which our intellectuals had espoused, a nation that would be made up of syncretic traditions, cultures and mores, an inclusive society living in a harmonious milieu, is coming under strain by those who want to see our culture or our creed in purely binary terms.
As we mourn our martyred intellectuals, we as individuals should spare a few short moments to ponder whether we have lived up to the ideals of our martyred intellectuals. If we have gone wrong where is it that we have faltered? It requires our collective efforts to thwart the multi-pronged coercive forces eating away at the very fundamentals of our existence.