Photos: Prabir Das
When Faisal Arefin Dipan was killed, he was proofreading a manuscript, just like any other day, surrounded by his writing tools.
The day did not end like any other day, however. It ended with him soaked in a pool of blood after suspected militants hacked him to death.
“He left the manuscript and penholder stained with blood; the jute sack containing heaps of books and manuscripts too had spatters of blood on them. When I set up Jagriiti Prakashani's stall along with his pictures, I made sure to keep the things soaked in Dipan's blood,” says Dr Razia Rahman Jolly, Dipan's wife.
Why? Because Razia wants the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela visitors to take a moment to remember Dipan. She wants to remind them of the horrific death that took Dipan’s life for publishing secular books from Jagriiti.
True to her words, many people strolling around the fair were seen taking a moment to stand in front of the black and white themed stall of Jagriti Prakashani. While the way Razia gathers up all his memories is quite touching, the way people were paying silent tribute to Dipan by coming to his stall was, in a word, heart-rending.
Dipan, the owner of Jagriti Prokashani, was hacked to death inside his office at the capital's Aziz Supermarket on October 31 last year, leaving his wife and two children behind. A Senior Medical Officer of DU Medical Centre by profession, Dr Razia has made sure to keep on working on Dipan's dream and stalls 174-175 carry the testimony of that.
“It's only been three months of Dipan's death and I am yet to come to terms with the fact that he won't come back,” she says. “Even if I keep aside my trauma, there are several other things that I need to deal with every day - I need to take care of my children's' education and have to continue my profession as a doctor.”
“It has obviously been difficult for me to set up a stall successfully at the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela 2016 only three months after his death,” she continues. “I have seen Dipan spend years of dedication and devotion to set up his publishing house. I too have worked closely with him. The responsibility of continuing with Jagriti comes automatically within me.”
Unlike previous years when Jagriti used to publish 70 to 80 books annually, this year they have published 18 books. “There were many more manuscripts in Dipan's hard disc that we could not retrieve. Also within 7-15 days of Dipan's death, many writers were looking for an alternative publisher,” she says. “However, I am satisfied with the fact that nothing could hold Jagriti back from publishing good books. Each of the published books has a black badge and picture of Dipan on its back cover.”
“A commemorative book on Dipan will be published, but I am taking a bit more time to augment it with writings from many important personalities of our society.” she says. “Eminent journalist Golam Mortuza, editor of Saptahik, and I are working as the editors of the book. My father-in-law Prof Abul Quasem Fazlul Huq has been supporting me to continue with Dipan's passion.” Razia believes that Jagriti Prakashani has a long journey ahead, and it is not going to be an easy one.
As she says, she is shocked, but also believes that she needs to be strong and brave, for Dipan.