We experienced major losses to deadly assassins in the twentieth century. If we explore history milestones and events that shaped our country's history, we find that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the supremo of our national struggle for creating Bangladesh and his true-blue lieutenants were four national leaders of the country:
Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, AHM Kamaruzzaman and M Mansur Ali.
These patriotic leaders were brutally killed in the Dhaka Central Jail in the wee hours of November 3, 1975. A 'hunter-killer' squad was formed by KhondokarMushtaque Ahmed to achieve his killing mission. He was a hunter hawk and had that look, that he was a smooth operator.
Mushtaque, calmly sitting on a swivel chair, lorded over the gruesome scene of murders in a room filled with killer soldiers and that brought an end to the lives of four national leaders with gun bullets and bayonet charges. The dead bodies lied scattered inside the room.
Tragic ends! We never got one call. That's the world we live in, and we just shake it off, and move on to the next horror story without whining like a bunch of babies. Their assassinations led to the collapse of the order in force and ushered in a black chapter in our history.
They laid down their precious lives and to them, the underlying factors, nationalism and patriotism and sovereignty, remain in constant. These assassinations were acts with far-reaching repercussions and ramifications and these ghoulish happenings represented the culmination, crystallization and resolution of opposition to the henchmen's nefarious activities to bury the values and spirits of our glorious Liberation War of 1971.
Robert G. Ingersoll has reminded us: "These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, and under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines.
They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for people living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead."
In fact, those fallen heroes were magnetic and charismatic figures, which led to their reputation of being great orators in line with the spirit of Bangabandhu's philosophy to garner support from the mass people for liberation of Bangladesh from the Pakistani rulers in 1971.
The four national leaders were icons of the battle for Bangladesh's independence from the Pakistani rulers, democracy for the country, and stood with patriotic spirits who have shaped the Bangladesh's events.
Their warmth, humility and simple ways endeared them to one and all. They had a special love for the country and its people. Like Bangabandhu, they taught us to dream big and made us believe that dreams can come true and establishment of Bangladesh is a burning example of this truth.
They are like our teachers and mentors which are immeasurable. They will remain in our hearts. More than this, they were the finest human beings of our times. They were towering and multifaceted personalities apart from being true statesmen.
We are pained because of their brutal murder. They were the favorite political leaders whose personalities were so amiable that they were liked by each one of us.
After 44 years, it is indeed difficult to believe that they are no more among us. Humanist at heart, their humility, simplicity, infectious positive spirit, who reached out to the powerful and the powerless with the same amplitude changed the contours of the desks of Cabinet of Ministers led by Bangabandhu and they deserve title of the "People's Politicians."
Nation will always be in debt for their contributions. Their deaths have caused an irreparable loss to the nation. They discharged their responsibilities to perfection and to the admiration of all. They were rooted to the ground and were humble even when they occupied the top posts in the country.
They are the most respected political leaders in Bangladesh's history. Years of their struggles brought plenty of highs for the country. Their murders are a great loss to humanity.
The enemies thought that the dust has settled to a great degree and news has died off on the case. That the party set up by those patriotic, public-spirited men, the enemies also thought that their assassination will cease to exist as a serious political force. But it was a miscalculation that recoils on its makers or for those mischievous culprits. It is proved that the names of those golden sons will live on, as will the spirit of the party organization.
Those noble souls were not meant to be 'hewers of wood and drawers of water.' The truth is more prosaic. They are the golden sons and true patriots of this land for whom one can be proud of. In the history of Bangladesh, only a few people had endeared themselves to the young and old, to the poor and the rich, to the educated and the unlettered, and to the people belonging to different classes.
They were Bangladesh's favorite sons and our favorite people. Those slain heroes of our independence struggle were symbols of Independence, even today; they are still hailed as heroes and Bangladesh's principal founding pillars.
They had represented a revolutionary time, with the dignity and self-respect to stand up and fight to win equality for all oppressed people; while also being outstanding role models, someone who sought to bring about positive social services; something they would take to new heights. If you ever wondered who were the movers and shakers, both past and present, of Bangladesh's independence, and then we all should salute them.
Jail Killing Day on 3rd November, 1975 is a black spot on the history of our nation. The four Liberation War heroes were killed in captivity by some Army officers under the leadership of a ruffian and sang-froid KhondokarMustaqueAhmed.
A noted journalist has correctly spelt out in his article: '15 AUGUST - 7 NOVEMBER 1975',"It was a bizarre moment for the country, medieval in its dark dimensions. The war that was won in 1971 would, in effect, be lost through the murders of 1975."
Their death is truly a loss to mankind which sorely needs the living light of those ideals of love and tolerance for which they strove and died. In our hour of deep sorrow Bangladesh is proud to have given to the world men of their imperishable renown and we are confident that their example will be a source of inspiration and strength in the fulfillment of their destiny... Bangladesh, indeed the world, will not see the like of them again, perhaps, for centuries.
Dr. RupakBhattacharjee has aptly said, "The brutal killing of four nationalist leaders in captivity constitutes one of the darkest chapters of Bangladesh's turbulent political history." Jail Killing Day is one of the darkest episodes of our nation. The nation lost few of the best of our leaders on that day.
Their death is also world loss. They were great and noble leaders. The utmost we can do now is to try and carry on and live up to the principles which they taught us. Our one consolation in this hour of unparalleled grief is that their lives of truth, tolerance and love towards their fellows may inspire our country to save itself by following their noble examples. My heart is so full that I am unable to find words. They exceptionally personified the Princes of Love and Patriotism whose loss affects all humanity.
Their lives ended in assassination. They are dead; but they live in each patriot's breast. We remember them with saddened heart. "Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, and no future," Elie Wiesel has correctly pointed out.
I hope the fighting spirit of heroism which was inscribed by the four national fighters and heroes who have fallen before us continues flowing on earth of Bangladesh. And I hope that my blood has also inherited the fighting spirit, so I can only say: I am proud of my Bangladesh; and I am proud of my national liberation war heroes, living and dead. I wish to quote a few lines from M. Michael's poem:
"We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies."
It is not the time to speak as it is an occasion of mourning. Let us weep. Let the nation weep and wipe off from its soul the stain of the innocent blood of the greatest men the world has ever produced. We must follow the path shown by them. They were born in Bangladesh with a specific mission, either to do or die. They did a lot and in the end they laid down their lives for what they wished to do.
Let us now accomplish the sacred task that has been left undone by them. Let us learn from the lips of death the lessons of life. Let us live truly while we live, live for what is true and good and lasting. And let the memory of our dead help us to do this. For, they are not wholly separated from us, if we remain loyal to them. In spirit they are with us. And we may think of them as silent, invisible, but real presences in our households.
The writer is a political commentator who writes on politics, political and human-centered figures, current and international affairs
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