Ananta: a promising writer
His outlook on life was very simple, yet broad: evaluating issues, arising from his experiences of the society, against the touchstones of intellect and rationality.
Ananta Bijoy Das hardly missed any issues, including the attempt on the life of blogger Asif Mohiuddin, murder of Avijit Roy, sexual harassment of women during this year’s Pahela Baishakh celebrations and the cops’ action to foil a protest programme against the sexual assault, to give his opinion on.
His active life, writing, Facebook posts and blogs indicate that he dreamed of a society where superstition and backwardness are overcome by science, intellect and rationality. In his dream society, the women are equal to men and kids grow into secular adults through education.
After hearing the news of Ananta’s death, his brother paid tributes to him by calling him a “gentleman”. To his neighbours, he was a calm, kind and polite young man.
Still he never shrinked from criticising illogical acts. In his last Facebook status yesterday, he blasted a Sylhet MP for promoting “localism”. The lawmaker had labelled a teacher of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) as a man working against the interest of local people.
Born on October 6, 1982, Ananta passed from the Social Work department at SUST and joined Pubali Bank Limited two years ago. He was working at Jhauyabazar branch of the bank in Sunamganj. He regularly travelled to his workplace from Sylhet by bus.
His father Rabindra Kumar Das and mother Pijush Bala Das are living retired lives at their home in Subid Bazar Nurani area of Sylhet. Youngest among four siblings, Ananta grew up in Sylhet although the family was from Sunamganj.
According to his friends, the 32-year-old was a regular writer of Mukto-Mona and Somewherein blogs. Ananta was an active organiser of Gonojagoron Mancha in Sylhet. He recently wrote several write-ups on the brutal killing of Avijit Roy.
He authored several books that include: Parthiba (co-writer Saikat Chowdhury); Soviet Unioner Biggan O Biplob: Lysenko Adhyay; and Darwin: Ekush Sataker Prasangikata ebong Bhabna. He wrote the preamble of Avijit Roy’s book Abishwaser Darsan (first edition). He was the editor of local science magazine Jukti.
Last year, he along with Siddhartha Dhar translated a book of Francisco J Ayala, a professor of California University, on evolution into Bangla.
He was given “Mukto-Mona-2005” award by the blog site authorities for his activities and contributions in secularism, rationalism and scientific thoughts. He had been working as the coordinator of the Bangladesh chapter of Mukto-Mona blog. He was also the founding general secretary of the Biggan and Juktibadi Council in Sylhet.
Two co-organisers of the council said apart from organising meetings and seminars, Ananta regularly came up with write-ups to inspire scientific thoughts and to build a rational society. Through his organisation and magazine, he played a key role in fighting superstition, and encouraging the youths in free thinking. He might have been killed for all these activities, they added.
Ratneswar Das, the elder brother of Ananta, said his brother used to leave the house around 8:00am daily for office. “The killers chose the time and killed him in a planned way.”
Ananta had donated his eyes to help someone else to see. He had signed a contract with the Sandhani unit of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College. But the voluntary institution couldn’t collect his eyes as there was no arrangement for preserving eyes at the hospital, said Sandhani sources.