The nation still waits for a comprehensive list of how many intellectuals were killed by the Pakistani occupation army and their local collaborators as the successive governments remained reluctant to preparing the list.
Forty-six years after independence, the nation is still in dark about how many of its bright sons and daughters made their supreme sacrifice for the country.
Successors of the martyred intellectuals have alleged that they do not have a comprehensive list of intellectuals because of the successive governments’ sheer neglect when Martyred Intellectuals Day will be observed today.
Roquaiya Hasina, daughter of martyred intellectuals and Dhaka University English teacher SMA Rashidul Hasan, and Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, widow of martyred intellectuals Alim Chowdhury, an eminent physician, both demand a proper and comprehensive list of the martyred intellectuals.
‘A proper list of martyred intellectual is an urgent need. We know some names from different sources such as publications and books,’ Shyamoli told New Age.
‘A day is observed every year but I am doubtful about how much honor martyred intellectuals are shown,’ Roquaiya stated.
‘There should be a gazette notification on them [martyred intellectuals]. We want to know why government is indifferent to that,’ she asked.
There is no list of martyred intellectuals although top officials of liberation war ministry had told New Age in December 2013 that they would soon make a comprehensive list while liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq told the parliament on February 6, 2014 that the list would be published by June 2014.
AKM Mozammel Huq on December 14, 2016 while placing wreaths at the memorial at Rayerbazar recalling contribution of martyred intellectuals had said that they would publish a book containing the names of martyred intellectuals.
During the last four years, the government’s initiative to prepare the full list of martyred intellectuals was limited to sending a letter to the deputy commissioners in 2014 seeking names of intellectuals.
Liberation war affairs ministry officials said that only six or seven DCs sent names to them. Now the government is planning to send another letter to the DCs seeking names of the
Mozammel Huq said that the ministry was yet to have a comprehensive list of martyred intellectuals but it was trying to prepare one.
‘It is true that only five to seven DCs sent names,’ he confirmed.
‘We will send another letter to DCs soon in order to collect the names,’ he added but refused to give any time line for publishing of the list.
The liberation war affairs ministry has no complete and comprehensive list of martyred intellectuals while figures provided by various government and private documents range between 232 and 1,111.
Independence war researchers believe that even the figure 1,111 was not correct and it should be 10 times the number.
Shaheed Buddhijibi Koshgrantha, a biographical encyclopedia of martyred intellectuals published by the Bangla Academy, defined intellectuals as writers, scientists, artistes, singers, teachers from universities to primary schools, researchers, journalists, lawyers, physicians, engineers, architects, sculptors, government and non-government staff, people involved in film making and theatre, and social and cultural activists.
When their defeat appeared imminent towards the end of the war, the Pakistani occupation army and their local auxiliaries Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams abducted members of the Bengali intelligentsia blindfolded, with hands tied, from their houses to camps or other places. They never returned.
Members on Buddhijibi Nidhan Tathyanusandhan Committee, set up in 1972, had made a list of 20,000 of the finest minds of the nation who were killed.
Shaheed Buddhijibi Koshgrantha, reprinted in 1994, put the number of intellectuals executed then at 232, but said that the list was neither complete nor comprehensive.
The book defined martyrs as people who had been either killed by the Pakistani army or their collaborators or had gone missing between March 25, 1971 and January 31, 1972.
‘Bangladesh,’ a documentary publication of the government in 1972, said that the Pakistani occupation army and the local death squads had killed 1,109 — 21 university teachers, 59 college teachers, 270 secondary schoolteachers, 637 primary schoolteachers, 50 physicians, 41 lawyers and 13 journalists and 16 others.
Banglapedia, or the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, estimated that 1,111 intellectuals were killed.
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