Little has been done to remember my father | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 11, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 11, 2008

Little has been done to remember my father

Laments son of language martyr Abdul Jabbar


A PRECIOUS PICTURE: Language Martyr Abdul Jabbar, extreme right, with his colleagues while taking part in training at an Ansar camp in 1951 at Mymensingh circuit house.[Photo Courtesy: Nurul Islam Badal] 2) The house given to Abdul Jabbar's mother by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman at Tejkunipara in the city.Photo: STAR

Language Martyr Abdul Jabbar's son, M Nurul Islam Badal, has lamented that till date little has been done to remember and respect the memories of his father.
"The Language Movement was the seed of the Liberation War. Had there been no Language Movement, there wouldn't be any war. The Language Movement clearly delineated that the Bangalees and the Pakistanis are two different nations. But how much do we know about them [language martyrs]?" Badal, who is also a freedom fighter, told this correspondent, last week.
Nearly 60 years have gone since the Language Movement -- a struggle that inspired the independence movement -- took place, but the nation is yet to know much about the lives of the language martyrs, observed a historian.
"As yet, little is known about the lives of the language martyrs. More research should have been done on the history of the language movement. But it is time we shed more light on it," said Dr Sharifuddin Ahmed, professor, Department of History, Dhaka University (DU).
Junaid Murshid, 26, a service holder residing at Uttara, said, "All I know about them are their names." He also said he does not know any place where he can learn details about the language martyrs.
"A museum and a library is being built in Jabbar's name at Gafargaon [the martyr's birthplace], but none of us lives there now. All of his relatives now live in Haluaghat thana," Badal said.
"The person whose father purchased our ancestral house at Gafargaon now claims to be a relative of Jabbar," Badal alleged saying that the museum and the library is being constructed under the new homeowner's supervision and Jabbar's living family members.
"We appealed to the authorities and the deputy commissioner (DC) of Mymensingh was assigned to resolve the matter. The DC however proposed Gafargaon [as the site of the museum and the library]," Badal went on saying, "A meeting was held with families of language martyrs, but we came to know about the meeting from newspapers. We staged hunger strikes and many reports were published in newspapers, but nothing happened."
"It is our desire that at least one road or a sculpture is named after him," he added.
Badal also alleged that since the Language Movement, Jabbar's family received irregular government allowances. " Sher-e-Bangla in 1954 allocated an annual allowance of Tk 2,000 for the families of four language martyrs. We received it till the marshal law days of Ayub Khan."
"In 1973 Bangabandhu donated a house [165/1/A, Tejkunipara] in the name of my grandmother Shafatunnessa, but the house was handed over to another woman. Finding out, we appealed to Coordinator Control Cell in March 1978," Badal said adding, "After a six-month-long investigation, the cell in September declared that my grandmother was the true claimer. We have been living in that house ever since."
"In the fiscal year 2005-06, Khaleda Zia sanctioned a Tk 5,000 monthly allowance and we collected the allowance from Gafargaon Upazila Treasury Office in 06-07 fiscal year. However, later the allowance was stopped. We were told that the fund was not available," Badal said.
Abdul Jabbar's life in short
According to Badal, Abdul Jabbar was born in October 1919 or Ashwin 26 of Bangla year 1326 at Pachua village of Gafargaon thana in Mymensingh. He studied up to class four in a local primary school. He had to give up studies and take up the responsibility of his family due to his father's illness.
At the age of 15, Jabbar boarded a train and arrived in Narayanganj -- a bustling river port of the time, renowned for jute trading. From there he managed to get on board a British ship that took him to Rangoon.
There he got a sailor's job and voyaged out to different countries in Africa. He returned to Rangoon after five years and later came back to his home village in 1939.
The British were recruiting soldiers for the World War II and Jabbar joined the navy. However, his knee joint was broken during the training.
After the war was over in 1945, he became actively involved with anti-British movement under the leadership of Maolana Shamsul Huda Panchbagi, a member of the national council and chief of Emarat Party.
After Pakistan was created in 1947, the government summoned those who served in the military during the WW II. The war veterans were sorted out and assigned different positions in the armed forces. The most qualified ones were posted to Pakistan National Guard while the rest were sent to the army, police and Ansar. Jabbar was a member of the Ansar till his death in 1952.
On February 20, 1952, Jabbar came to Dhaka to see his ailing mother-in-law who was suffering from breast cancer. She was admitted at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and needed surgery.
He spent the night in the hostel of Aliya Madrasa at Bakhshibazar with Maolana Abdul Hai Ron Bhawali. In the morning of February 21, he walked to DMCH to see his mother-in-law who had the surgery the previous night. He knew about the Language Movement and on his way he witnessed the intensity of the situation.
At around 4:00pm, as he came out of the hospital, he saw a large crowd consisting DU students and general public blocking the convoy of then chief minister Nurul Amin on his way out of the national assembly (now Jagannath Hall).
As the crowd were chanting slogans saying rashtrobhasha bangla chai (we want Bangla as the state language) at the chief minister, the police suddenly open fired on them. The first bullet hit Language Martyr Rafiq in his head and he died on the spot. The second bullet hit Jabbar in the right knee. The police shot him in the waist again while he was trying to get up.
He was taken to the DMCH with profuse bleeding. He passed away at eight in the evening the same day.

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