Manik Mia : Comrade in need
Ranesh Das Gupta :
Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia is a name to be remembered and adorable in the history of War for Independence of Bangladesh. The independent Bangladesh owes to him. It cannot be repaid because it is not repayable, nor can be reimbursed. But there is necessity to evaluate this debt. This evaluation is obligatory for the evaluation of our liberation war.
The events that marched through the fifties and the sixties were progressive in character and had a definite mission guided by both ideological and materialistic causes, which ultimately brought independence. But all those events did not go unabated. The conflicts in the struggle for independence emerged from within the revolutionary thoughts. Sometimes, it became necessary to design militant decisions to overcome evasiveness that wanted to stop journey to freedom.
The Pakistan government let loose reign of terror and communist phobia to confuse the agitating people. Fences of prison were created on all sides. To overcome fear and confusion, time needed fearless man like Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia, who never compromised his ideology and thoughts and supports for independence. In this regards, I like to mention four events, among many, that found him in the lead.
In 1961, the decision to hold Rabindra Nath Tagore's centenary faced obstacles. The then Ayub government wanted to jeopardize the holding of the anniversary in two ways.
Firstly, they convinced a section of the intellectuals to say that Rabindranath was a communal poet. In brief, he represented the Hindu community only.
Secondly, when it became evident that public opinion was in favour of holding the centenary, the government took an indirect way. But the campaign in favour of the centenary established Rabindra Nath firmly as the poet of the Bengali speaking people.
The government failed to resist the emergence of Bengali Nationalism. All the moves taken against Tagore by the government was back fired. The Ittefaq Editor Manik Mia played a historical role on this issue.
Thirdly, those who took initiative to hold the Tagore's centenary did not bow down their heads to the then government. He was one of those who stimulated all those who were dedicated to fight against the dictatorial rule of field Marshal Ayub Khan.
In 1962 Manik Miah was one of them who laid the foundation stone of the 'Chhatra-Janatar Andolan' against the Ayub government to make the mass uprising successful. I came in touch of Manik Mia in the prison. His tolerance to hear opposite views and skill in presenting his ideas and thinking greatly impressed me. In 1962 the people of the then East Pakistan became a decisive political force. Manik Mia was one of the pioneers who inspired and united the people for the mass movement of 1962. General Ayub Khan continued his autocratic rule until of the 11-point movement started by the student community in 1969.
The third one took place in 1964 during the communal riot. The anti-riot resistance inspired the religious tolerance. Manik Mia did all that possible to help the anti-rioters.
In 1966 Manik Mia was imprisoned for his role in the June 7 favouring the movement of 6-point. His paper The Daily Ittefaq was banned and his printing press was confiscated. But he did not surrender to the establishment. His sacrifice for the freedom of expression became an instance unprallal in our history. The spirit of our liberation war was inflamed by his words and deeds.
He not only made the prison life tolerable by telling the humorous stories to the in-mates in jail, on the other hand, he showed his ability to accept the hardness of life , on the other hand.
When we review and analyse the history of the last 25 years, we remember Manik Mia for the above four reasons, among others. He was not only a fearless journalist, he was a pioneer of our movement. We salute him to say, comrade we need you for our guidance.'
When we look behind and remember his role, we find him fighting against dictatorship as one of our companions. In the bad time he guided and led us to achieve the democratic goal. Let us pay our respect and heartiest congratulations to him.
â€”Translated by A.T.M.Nurun Nabi, Journalist.