The martyrs had died and we lost our democratic way
The nation observed the Martyred Intellectuals Day on December 14 with due solemnity to recall the countless intellectuals who were brutally killed in the hands of the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators on this day in 1971.
It should be easy to know whether they could be tolerated in Bangladesh with their belief and commitment to democracy for which they along with the people struggled and so many of them also sacrificed their lives. They sacrificed most for the freedom to live with rights and protection of democracy.
Among the martyred intellectuals -- we had our great and bold fighters for mobilising the the people's struggle to make realisation of their dream possible -- are Prof Munier Chowdhury, Dr Alim Chowdhury, Prof Muniruzzaman, Dr Fazle Rabbi, Sirajuddin Hossain, Shahidullah Kaiser, Prof GC Dev, JC Guha Thakurta, Prof Santosh Bhattacharya, Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury, journalists Khandaker Abu Taleb, Nizamuddin Ahmed, SA Mannan (Ladu Bhai), ANM Golam Mustafa, Syed Nazmul Haq and Selina Parvin.
There were others also among hundreds of intellectuals. But the truth is that they were killed when the country was going to be free from the clutches of Pakistan army and the war was going to end within a few days. Pakistan army knew that they have no way to fight but to surrender.
We were shocked beyond words and observe the day every year with all the solemnity. We on our part have been most sincere in realising their loss and express our deepest sympathy to their family members. At the same time our conscience is in agony to seek answers for the loss.
The question that has been bothering the nation: Why our freedom fighters who used to enter the country or especially the government in exile had no idea what was happening within the country and had done nothing to help us in anyway. We felt we were forgotten.
It is pathetic that they had no intelligence about the butchering going inside Bangladesh. For any war inside intelligence is essential to keep high the moral of suffering people and make them hopeful. If our valuable intellectuals had information about what was being planned they would have been alive and could have been a great force in steering the country in the right way. All that was necessary for them was to stay away from their known addresses only for a few days.
If not others, our exiled government in India also felt no concern to be helpful to us in anyway. They also remained helpless in India. They failed to raise alarm and put fear in the minds of Pakistan army that there would be reckoning for their inhuman treatment to our people. They killed and tortured fearlessly finding our people most helpless.
An exiled government is established not to forget the people under occupation. It did not show any boldness on the part of our exiled government to stay in touch with the people they left behind. Nobody reminded them about the promises of the leaders that they would build fortresses of resistance in the country against the Pakistan army.
Our democracy is dying in Bangladesh because those who are in power made no commitment to the people. The leaders who made the victory achievable have also been killed.
There is no greatness in mourning the loss of so many intellectuals and others who became ruthless and humiliating victims of genocide. But it will be important for their departed soul to know what was done to save them and why they had to die when Pakistan army was in retreat for surrender.
We mourn again the death of our most honoured intellectuals with heavy heart and many unanswered questions.