Today, the country’s renowned fiction author, professor and activist Muhammed Zafar Iqbal got released from Combined Military Hospital (CMH). Before he left for Sylhet, the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, he said something surprising to the miscreants who were involved in the attack on him. He said, ‘I wish those who were involved with this crime, may come to their senses someday. And I hold no grudge or have no sort of complaint against them.’
Here lies the border of tolerance between a well-educated mind and a miscreant, who had little or ill-education. It is quite unprecedented that the professor said nothing vengeful against the person who nearly stabbed him to death. He only took pity on that person for he believed he was misguided.
We should not forget that the country once endured extreme oppression and sacrificed millions of lives to get freedom. So, how come its people not have the least dissent left in them today?
Muhammed Zafar Iqbal was not the first or one of the very few, rather he was one of the many who had to pay the price of being a secular voice in this country. It started on January 18, 1999, when the poet, columnist and journalist Shamsur Rahman was attacked by the members of a notorious militant group named Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami.
Six years later, Dhaka University Professor and Writer Humayun Azad was again brutally attacked at the Ekushey Book Fair. For being injured heavily, he was taken to Germany for further treatment. But, Dr. Azad was found dead in his apartment in Munich, Germany on August 11 in 2004.
In the same year, another teacher of Rajshahi University, Professor Yunus was hacked to death by assailants in Binodpur area near the University. From 2013 to present day, there had been fifteen attacks on people who held secular views.
The root of this horrendous practice originated when Ziaur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) initiated havoc upon the country by establishing an anti-liberation fundamentalist group, Jamaat-e-Islami. It did not stop there. BNP, to remain in power, gave birth to several militant organizations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). JMB was established to carry BNP’s hateful task of conducting the 21 August grenade attack on a rally of Awami League (AL). BNP induced terrorism and militancy to spread across the country within no time. In a nutshell, BNP has produced a revengeful culture of politics in the country.
We must bring an end to this forgetting whoever started what. People must learn to accept unorthodox opinions and respect one another, irrespective of whoever is right or wrong. People of this country must remember that Bangladesh is a name which has a glorious history of choosing secularism denying brotherhood based on a religion.
Last but not the least, at the end of the day, all comes down to the point of a proper education system. Yes, the country does not have the perfect education system for the young minds to develop into Einstein, Hawking or Sundar Pichai. But, it is the responsibility of the academicians of the country to ponder over the question, how the youths are getting involved with extremism so frequently. Do the teachers, who mold the students, need the training to increase their efficiency?