On November 10, 1987 a young Bangladeshi man named Nur Hossain was shot and killed by the forces of Bangladesh’s part-time poet and full time dictator General Hossain Mohammad Ershad. On that day Nur Hossain had joined thousands of other Bangladeshis in protesting the dictator’s rule. The protesters demanded a return to democracy. Nur Hossain stood out amongst the protesters. He had the Bengali words “Sairachar nipat jak” painted in bright white letters on his bare chest, and the words “Ganatantra mukti pak” painted on his back. “Down with autocracy” on his chest; “Let there be democracy” on his back. He died for those demands and became a martyr for the democracy movement in Bangladesh.Dhaka Shohor writes (in Bangla) that the Nur Hossain square at the zero point (city center) of Dhaka is in dilapidating state and not maintained by Dhaka city Corporation. He ponders: "are the lives of general citizens of lesser value than the elites and this is true even for the democratic governments!"
Today, two decades after his death, we remember and honor him.
Black and Grey wrote in an elegy for Nur Hossain last year:
Hossain's struggle--or statement so to speak--was not actually against a particular regime, it was a brave resistance against a brutal and corrupt economic system that had made the country a filthy playground for a class of nouveau arrivé bourgeois. One and a half decades after that nothing significant has changed.Sushanta writes:
"Look Nur Hossain how the renowned politicians of the country are remembering you with garlands. But did Nur Hossain die for this only?"Rehan at BangladeshWeb Blogs writes:
Nur Hussain is gone but not forgotten – his bare torso that had two lines written in Bangla on that day -- Gonotontro Mukti Paak, Shoyrachar Nipat Jaak (Long live democracy, down with tyranny) – will always be a glowing symbol for us and generations to come who long for a better Bangladesh.Eskimo says Nur Hossain is the lighthouse of Bangladesh democracy.
Let there only be one way for our nation to meander, the way towards democracy, equality and justice for all. Let not anyone take our nation of crores hostage to autocracy, corruption and injustice.
Tacit reminds us:
In Bangladesh, we had grown complacent in the last seventeen years, mistakenly thinking that our fragile democracy would endure without proper care and nurturing. We know our mistake today, we know that we need to strive to regain our cherished ideals, to snatch back what has been taken from us, to prove wrong those who contemptuously tell us that we are not deserving of our basic rights as human beings.Mash concludes:
Now, two decades after Nur Hossain paid with his life for a democracy he envisioned, Bangladesh is once again under a General’s grip. The story is the same. The new General, Moeen U Ahmed, is also fighting “corruption”. The new administration in Washington supports him. Meanwhile the democracy that Nur Hossain earned with his blood lies beneath the boot of another usurper.