To say it is one of the worst days in Bangladesh’s history would be insufficient
Certain tragedies are unfathomable.
The events which took place on December 14, 1971 are one such tragedy, a tragedy which saw the Pakistan Army systematically murder the brightest minds of our country merely two days before it came into existence.
To say it is one of the worst days in Bangladesh’s history would be insufficient -- the effects of that day continue to be felt even now in ways perhaps most of us do not even realize.
To kill more than 200 intellectuals in an attempt to cripple a newborn nation is perhaps one of the cruelest and most diabolical acts to have been carried out by a nation against another.
It is to take away the invaluable knowledge and guidance which would have been crucial for a nation and its people who were tasting freedom for the first time.
It was nothing short of an attempt to eliminate potential and annihilate hope, without which it would have been impossible for a country recovering from the destructive consequences of a bloody war to survive.
But Bangladesh did not accept defeat and has, instead, become a beacon of economic progress, growth, and social development, despite the odds.
On this Intellectual Martyrs Day, let us remember and honour the memory of those great individuals whose hearts and minds were brutally taken away from us almost 50 years ago -- as we should every day.
But that is not where our thoughts should end. On this day, their memory and their absence should provide us with the opportunity to revisit, relearn, and reenforce the importance of education, knowledge, freedom of speech, and research -- areas where, unsurprisingly, we often falter as a nation.
As a nation which has surpassed all expectations in the past, we must strive to ensure that we continue to do so in the future, and focus on the issues which threaten to harm the progress we have made till date.
It is in that pursuit that we can honour the memory of our martyred intellectuals and build a nation that they would have been proud of calling their own.