Dr. Humayun Azad's First death Anniversary Observed

Ajoy Roy 

Published on May 03, 2009


Dhaka observed late Dr. Humayun Azad’s first death anniversary. On this occasion daily Sangbad brought out a special page yesterday (11th August) containing three articles: ‘Humayun Azad ebang lekhaker swadhinata’(Humayun Azad and Independence of a writer)  by Janab Mohammad Ali, ‘Amar baba Humayun Azad’ (My father, Humayun Azad)  by Mouli Azad, ‘Humayun Azad o Asamapta Galpaguli’ (Humayun Azad and unfinished stories)   by Jemine Buli and ‘Nisanga Yoddha : Humayun Azad ‘ (Lone Fighter : Humayun Azad) by Azizul Haque.


Mouli Azad recollects her sweet memory of her brave father giving life fighting against communalism, fundamentalism and all sorts of narrowness. It touches everyone who goes through this article when she said, “…. Any way, on all a sudden the word (Baba) that vanished away from my life for good, is the great unconventional writer, poet, Professor and what not of Bangladesh. The media began to reveal that in his demise Bangladesh lost a great writer, and a vacuum had been created in the arena of Bengali literature and so many things were being written about him. But the deep wound or an unbound void that was created in the life of a daughter – who cares about it ? No media did ever want to know about it .“ “ I don’t know if the void created in the Bengali literature by his death would ever be filled up, but I know for sure the void in my heart would never be filled by anyone.”, continues Mouli.


Hasan Azizul Haque in his article pictured Humayun Azad a lone fighter against all sorts of wrongs and many vices of our society including obscurantism, communalism and religious fanaticism. Azizul Haque described feelings of Dr. Azad’s pain and agony against our society when he quotes from his famous poem ‘Sab Kichhu Nasthader Adhikare yabe’. Janab Haque discovers in the writings of Azad the story of defeatism of all good at the hand of evils. He identifies this as the characteristic of Azad’s writing opining that this might have been the weapon of fighting of Dr. Humayun Azad. Perhaps he wanted to whip the sentiments of our common mass so that one-day they would revolt against the evils, opined Azizul Haque.


Jesmine Buli revealed many untold stories of last days of Humayun Azad while he was in Germany for a week or so in her article “Humayun Azad and Unfinished Stories”.


Bhorer Kagoj also brought today (August 12, 2005) a supplement on Dr. Azad that contains three articles namely – Manabadhikar o Lekhaker Swadhinata (Human rights and Writer’s independence) by Humayun Azad, Humayun Azad, Ekti Alekhya (Hymayun Azad – a Pen picture) by Latifa Kohinur (wife of Dr. Azad), and Amar Smritite Humayun Azad (Humayun Azad- in my memory) by Arefin Siddique.


Latifa Kohinur, wife of Dr. Humayun Azad depicted late Dr. Azad as a great poet, a man of rationalism, freethinker and believer of intellectual freedom. He had many dreams centering his family as well as beloved motherland. But alas his dream remained unfinished as untimely death snatched away his life. Mrs. Azad says, “I saw him fighting through his writings against all forms of superstitions, against religionists and against all sorts of hypocrisy alone and single handed”. 


The article of Dr. Azad was reprinted from his newly published book ‘Amar Natun Janma’. He expressed his feeling of what he understood about human rights in relation to writer’s freedom of expression, more specially in the context of Bangladesh at his time. He began his writing with “I don’t know if I am dear to you, but be sure you are very dear to me. May be everyone loves me, or may be not everyone! May be a killer in disguise is waiting here, I don’t know. I did never think that I would be able to stand before you again. It was destined that my life would be terminated on February 27, but here I am. I have not been extinct, because of you, yes because of you. I learnt later that so much love, so much anxiety, so much uneasiness, emotion and obligation for me were waiting from my beloved countrymen, among my students and colleagues of Dhaka University.”


In the question of human rights Dr. Azad felt that our concept of human rights still centres on rights of ‘men’ only, women are not included. In his long article he however did not deal with much of writer’s freedom. He spent most of his time in describing the conditions obtaining in Bangladesh. In one place Azad writes, “ In our country too similar condition is prevailing. This state-religion is nothing but fundamentalism. Bangladesh now is a land of fundamentalists; I don’t say it has turned into a fundamentalist state. Afghanistan style fundamentalism has been imported in Bangladesh. …. “


First anniversary of Dr. Azad held at Business Studies auditorium, DU:


A seminar and discussion meeting was held remembering different aspects of Dr. Humayun Azad. The meeting, presided over by Poet Shamsur Rahman, was organized by “Humayun Azad Smaran Shava Ayojok Kamiti” and was held at the auditorium of Business Studies Faculty of Dhaka University at 4-30 p.m. It continued till 7 p.m. The meeting attended by hundreds of lovers and admirers of Dr. Azad, was addressed by myself (Prof. Ajoy Roy), Dr. Rafiqullah Khan (of Bangla), Prof. Anu Mohammad (Jahangir nagar), Mr. Soumitra Shekhar (Bangla) and Mrs Latifa Kohinur Azad. Janab Mohammad Ali read out a paper on ‘Lekhaker Swadhinata’ based on Dr. Azad’s write as referred above.


In my deliberation I highlighted the writings of Azad dealing with anti fundamentalism and anti communalism. I also tried to bring out his humanistic approach and his respect for human values and humanism. But I stressed that Azad’s real talent was revealed in his research work on linguistics dealing with Bangla language and literature. He has also shown envying talents in the world of Bengali poems. If he had concentrated on these two fields he could have contributed more significantly. But when Azad tends to become reformer like Sarat Chattapadhya, his literary talent was not seen as bright as should have been. This limitation we all have. You cannot excel in every field. The socially conscious and socially bound Dr. Humayun Azad consciously sacrificed his literary talents for fighting against all forms of superstitions, blindness, narrowness, religious fanaticism and communalism. He once said about our Bengali literature that our literature is traditionally full off emotional humanism and human values with little creativity with some exception. The same evaluation might be applied to his many writings.

Prof. Anu Muhammad criticized the present government for its failure to bring the killers of Azad to justice. It even failed to conduct an investigation of mysteries that still shrouded his death in Germany on August 12, 2005. Azad’s family has every right to know the circumstance and cause of his death. But alas our government is as callous as ever.          

Prof. Ajoy K. Roy, a reputed scientist of high esteem, retd. Physicist of Dhaka University, ardent activist of Human Rights writes from Bangladesh. He can be reached at avijit@citechco.net