The passing of Gaziul Haque
THE passing of Gaziul Haque on Wednesday marks yet one more step in the passage of an iconic generation into the past. For Gaziul Haque came of a generation which was to leave a lasting imprint on the psyche of the Bengali nation in terms of a shaping of its destiny. He was one of those young men who played an active role in the shaping of what eventually came to be known as the Language Movement of February 1952. Indeed, Haque's place in Bangladesh's history was assured when he chaired the meeting at Dhaka University which decided to violate Section 144 as a way of demanding the right of Bengali to be adopted as the state language of Pakistan. It was a seminal move that would have widespread ramifications for the people of Bangladesh.
That was how Gaziul Haque found his way into history. In the years after 1952, he was to play an important role in the evolution of politics in pre-liberation Bangladesh. His commitment to secular politics, like that of so many others of his generation, was to provide the foundations upon which the idea of a free Bangladesh was to be concretized. An important aspect of his political character was his principled refusal to kowtow to unconstitutional government. Which is why in 1969, Gaziul Haque joined the multitudes in the struggle against the autocratic regime of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Which is why, again, in 1990 his was a vocal presence in the agitation against the Ershad regime. His commitment to democratic politics, his belief that out of all the crises the nation faced would emerge a society finally on the path to a realization of its original principles were thoughts he never let go of despite occasional bouts of disillusionment.
Gaziul Haque's was a gregarious soul. He was a wit whose sense of humour brightened conversation. As a raconteur, he had few equals.
We pay our heartfelt tribute to the valiant freedom fighter that was the inimitable Gaziul Haque. His death diminishes us all.