Physicist and freedom fighter Professor Ajoy Roy, father of slain popular science writer Avijit Roy, died at the age of 84 in BIRDEM hospital in Dhaka on Monday afternoon.
On November 25, he was admitted to the hospital with fever and breathing problems and was on artificial ventilation since November 27, doctors at BIRDEM said.
He breathed his last at about 12:35pm at the intensive care unit of the hospital, BIRDEM hospital director Shahidul Hoque Mallik said. He is survived by a son and a daughter.
Born on March 1, 1935 in Dinajpur, Ajoy retired as a professor of physics from Dhaka University in 2009.
A noted human rights activist and a freethinker of Bangladesh, he was awarded with Ekushe Padak in 2012 for his outstanding contribution in the field of education.
Ajoy’s youngest son Anujit Roy said that his father’s coffin would be kept at BIRDEM mortuary and would be taken to their Sidweshwari Eastern Housing residence on Bailey Road in Dhaka at 9:00am today.
His body would be, later, taken to the Central Shaheed Minar on Dhaka University campus at 11:00am and would be kept there for an hour for all walks of people to pay tribute, Anujit said.
He said that his father’s body would be then taken to Curzon Hall premises and, later, it would be handed over to BIRDEM hospital as per his father’s desire to donate his body to the hospital.
As one of the founders and the advisers of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Ajoy played an important role in the movement for the trial of war criminals.
After completing MSc in 1957, Ajoy joined Cumilla Victoria College.
In 1959, he joined Dhaka University and taught physics there until 2009.
He obtained PhD from Leeds University of England in 1966 and completed his post doctorate from the same university in 1967. As a physicist, he published many articles in local and foreign journals.
Ajoy was also a prominent activist who participated in language movement in 1952, education movement in 1962, mass-uprising in 1962 and in the liberation war in 1971.
He was the founder and president of Shikkha Andolan Mancha, and an honorary member of planning cell of Mujibnagar government.
He was the general secretary of Bangladesh Shikhok Samity between May and December in 1971 and encouraged teachers to take part in the liberation war.
After the independence, he became the general secretary of Bangladesh Asiatic Society. He was also the president of Sampriti Mancha and vice-president of Bangladesh Itihas Parishad.
As a writer, Ajoy authored Biggan O Darshan: Jor er Shondhane, Adi Bangali : Nritattik O shomajtattik Bishleshon, Swatantra Bhabna, Biswash O Biggan, Rabindranath O Upanishad, Leela Nag: Shoto Borsher Sroddhanjoli, Podartho Bidya: Resnick/Halliday, Bangla Academy Biggan Kosh.
As the chief editor of Bangla quarterly magazine Muktanwesha, Ajoy initiated Muktamana blog in the nineties and became an advisor of the blog. Later, his eldest son Avijit Roy took charge of the blog.
Ajoy’s eldest son, Avijit, was hacked to death near Teacher-Student Centre at Dhaka University on the evening of February 26, 2015 after he came out of Ekushe bookfair. Islamic extremist organization Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ajoy lodged a case with Shahbagh police station in this connection and he gave evidence in the case before a Dhaka court as a prosecution witness on October 28.
President Md Abdul Hamid in a condolence messages mourned his death.
In separate statements, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Socialist Party of Bangladesh, SPB (Marxist), Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad, Bigyan Andolan Mancha, Ain o Salish Kendra condoled his death.
Dhaka University vice-Chancellor Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman, cultural affairs state minister AKM Khalid and secretary Md Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal condoled the death of the famed academic.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country