Azaduzzaman

Amanullah Mohammad Asaduzzaman (occasionally spelled Asad) (Bengali: আসাদুজ্জামান) (10 June 1942 – 20 January 1969), was a student activist whose death at the hands of police during an unlawful protest on 20 January 1969 "changed the nature of the student-mass movement and ... turned into a mass-upsurge against the Ayub regime and its repressive measures", according to Banglapedia.[1] The Daily Star reports him as one of three martyrs of the 1969 uprising in East Pakistan which "set the stage for the liberation war".[2]

Biography

Born in Shibpur, Asaduzzaman graduated from Shibpur High School in 1960 and subsequently studied at Jagannath University (then known as Jagannath College) and Murari Chand College. After passing the latter in 1963, he entered the University of Dhaka, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in 1966 and a Masters of Arts in 1967. In that year, he organized the Krishak Samity in Shibpur, Monohardi, Raipura and Narsingdi areas at the direction of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, President of National Awami Party and Krishak Samity.

After studying at City Law College in Dhaka, Asaduzzaman sat in 1968 for a second M.A. exam in an effort to receive a better result.[3] At the time of his death in 1969, he was in the final year of his M.A. at Dhaka University's Department of History.[1] He was the president of the Dhaka Hall unit of East Pakistan Students Union and General Secretary of the Dhaka branch of what was at the time the East Pakistan Students Union (EPSU, Menon group).[4]

In his political activities, Asaduzzaman was interested in the educational rights of the poor and powerless. He founded a night school named Shibpur Naisha Biddalaya and collected funds for setting up a college (Shibpur College) for local people.[1][3]

20 January 1969

Background

The catalyst for the events leading to Asaduzzaman's death include the Six point movement of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Agartala Conspiracy Case at which Rahman and dozens of others were charged with sedition by the Government of Pakistan. Student groups were already experience considerable unrest when, in December 1968, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani organized a march against the Governors House, in conjunction with several labor associations arranged a Repression Resistance Day on 6 December 1968, and proclaimed a hartal against merchants.[5] On 4 January 1969, an 11-point programme—an expansion of Rahman's six point movement—was publicized by a coalition of student group leaders, including the group for which Asaduzzaman served as an officer. In a meeting at Dhaka University on 17 January 1969, student protestors decided to unite all campuses of East Pakistan on 20 January 1969, in strike.[1] Governor Monem Khan sought to prevent the action by imposing Section 144 on the students, under which no more than four persons were permitted to assemble.

Procession and death

At around noon on 20 January 1969, the students enacted their planned protest, with a procession in front of Dhaka Medical College Hospital heading towards Chan Khar Pool. Police charged near Chand Khan's bridge, but the protestors resisted. About an hour into the conflict, Asaduzzaman and other student leaders tried to continue the procession. Asaduzzaman was shot from very close range by a police officer. Seriously injured, Asaduzzaman was admitted to the hospital, where he was declared dead.[1][6][7][8]

Aftermath

Thousands of students and common people mourned Asaduzzaman together in procession, carrying his blood-stained shirt to Shaheed Minar. The Central Action Committee announced the 22, 23 and 24 January as a "mourning-period" for him, also striking on those days. On the final day, police once again opened fire. As a result, the administration of Field Marshal Ayub Khan was forced to terminate within two months from the day Asad died.[1][3][8][9]

Remembrance

In many places of the country, people replaced the nameplates of Ayub Khan with the name of Shaheed Asad. In time, Ayub Gate was renamed Asad Gate, Ayub Avenue as Asad Avenue and Ayub Park as Asad Park.

In 1970, on the first Asad Day, people constructed a monument, Unsatturer Gono-aubyuthaner Swarak O Aumor Asad, at the point in front of the central gate of Dhaka Medical College Hospital where Asad was shot dead. The local people of Shibpur and Dhanua established Shibpur Shaheed Asad College in 1970. In 1991, the inhabitants of Asad's own village Dhauna founded Shaheed Asad Collegiate Girls School and College.[1][3]

Shaheed Asad Day is observed on 20 January each year in recognition of Shaheed Asad's sacrifice, which led the nation towards mass upsurge and independence.

References

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