‘He wrote to change the world for the better’
Abul Mansur Ahmad has explained the world in his own way. He thought and wrote about the world in all its complexities -- exploring politics, economics and literature -- and envisioned how to create changes for the better, observed Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury of Dhaka University.
He must be remembered for his unique contribution to history, Prof Serajul noted during a prize giving ceremony for an essay competition on the eminent writer-historian organised by the Abul Mansur Ahmad Smriti Parishad at The Daily Star Centre in the capital yesterday.
"Abul Mansur Ahmad was involved in every major movement in some form, including the peasant movement, language movement, anti-Ayub movement and mass uprising movement of 1969. He was a journalist, lawyer and politician, but all in all he was an intellectual," said Prof Serajul Islam, who was the chief guest at the event.
"He explained the world through his own lens and wanted to create changes to the existing system. That is why he drafted the historic 21-point demand. He also drafted the explanation of the six-point demand. He played the role that an intellectual ought to play," he added.
Praising the writing of Abul Mansur Ahmad, Prof Serajul Islam said, "No Bengali Muslim after him has quite managed to write satires as powerful as 'Aina' and 'Food Conference'. No one would dare to write such articles today."
"There is an insight in everything he wrote," commented Serajul Islam Chowdhury.
Referring to a passage in the book 'Amar Dekha Rajnitir Ponchash Bochor', he said, "He (Abul Mansur Ahmad) said that the politics of Bengal came to an end when Chittaranjan Das died. Bengal politics then became a part of Indian politics. Had we kept the politics of Bengal separate from that of All India Congress or All India Muslim League, the history of the region would have been different."
"The death of Chittaranjan Das did not only mean that we have lost a great leader, it also meant the leadership that was supposed to keep Bengal politics independent had passed away -- that was the insight of Abul Mansur Ahmad.
"Then came Gandhi, Jinnah and their politics -- but that was not the politics of Bengal, not the politics of the peasants, the politics Abul Mansur Ahmad believed in," said Serajul Islam Choudhury.
He urged the youth to dream of changing the world and take action to make that dream come true.
Fakrul Alam, professor of English at Dhaka University, said Abul Mansur Ahmad was an indelible part of history.
If the youth does not learn the history, there is no future of the country, he added.
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, delivered the closing speech at the prize giving ceremony.
Arif khan, president of Reading Club Trust, was also present at the event.
Prior to the award ceremony, a day-long workshop on "Research Editing and Creative Practice" was held with 70 participants. Most of them were award winners from the last four years' essay competitions.
Rakhal Raha, editor-in-Chief of "Sompadona", Prof Mohammad Azam of Dhaka University and Prof Sumon Sajjad of Jahangirnagar University conducted the workshop.
Ishita Farzana won the first prize in the category of "Abul Mansur Ahmad and his cultural thoughts" while Asmaul Hussain won second prize and Tasneem Tisha and Mostafizur Rahman jointly received the third prize.
Aziz Sartaj Zayed, Muhammad Nuruddin Shaheed and Sulaiman Mahmud won the first, second and third prizes respectively in the category of "Abul Mansur Ahmad and his nationalism".
Mohammad Muhibullah, Alif Noor Sharmi and Kamrul Hasan Masuk bagged the first, second and third prizes respectively in the category of "Today's Media and Abul Mansur Ahmad's Journalism".
The first prize in each category was Tk 10,000, second prize Tk 5,000 and third prize was a set of books by Abul Mansur Ahmad. Each of the winners received a certificate and a crest.