February 29, 2004

The fundamentalists strikes a blow to the free speech in Bangladesh

Humayun Azad, a professor of Dhaka University and a prominent writer (published 50 novels, poems, essays) was attacked by knife and seriously wounded on 27th of February night. He is fighting for his life and his family is getting death threats. Read more here.

It is believed that Humayun Azad's recently published satirical book 'Pak Sar Zamin Saad Baad' caused anger among the fundamentalist party activists in the country. The book focuses mainly on the psyche of an Islamic militant who wants to eliminate all opposition to his beliefs and establish a Taliban-style Bangladesh. The title of the book was taken from the Pakistani national anthem and symbolizes repression of the Pakistani rule till the 1971 War of Liberation, which gave birth to Bangladesh. The militant hero of the book wants to take Bangladesh back to the middle ages by creating a 'distorted Pakistan'. Some excerpts:

"We must seize power. Right now, we are with the power and the main party. At some point, power will come to us, we will become the main party. We are entering everywhere. Islam will be established. Pakistan will be created. There won't be any infidels, Hindus. There won't be any Hindu or Jew under the guise of Muslim. There won't be any university. Universities are places for illegal sexual activities where men and women sit together, walk and the devil lurks among them ..."

Read more about the book here.

However, this attack on Azad has put the "Nation in fury". Numerous protests and condemnations are taking place all over the country. The University teachers decided to suspend taking classes till the assailants are nabbed and the home minister resigns.

The protests in the Book Fair "Ekushey boi mela" was very well voiced as many people from all walks of life joined it spontaneously.

So it seems the time has come for another war. I am inspired by the fact that people are slowly seeing the evil in the double faced fundamentalist politicians. Lets see how the secular & peace-loving people of Bangladesh resist these fundamentalists, the ghosts of Pakistan from coming into power.


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