• Shahadat Choudhury Expired: A tribute

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Shahadat Choudhury Expired: A tribute
Ajoy Roy
I knew Mr. Shahadat Choudhury as a heroic and brave freedom fighter operating inside
Pakistani occupied Dacca city as a guerilla fighter in our colourful days of ‘Mukti-yudha’
operating under the directives of Shahid General Khaled Musharraf, the valiant freedom
fighter and supreme commander of K forces. However in those days we had not met with
each other. I first saw or rather met him at his newly found Weekly Bichitra office at his
request some time early 1973. We had discussed so many things over cup of tea(s) and
cigarettes (I was a heavy smoker at that time). We had difference of age – he is mush
younger, he could have been my student if he studied Physics in DU, had difference in
political view. He used to address me as ‘sir’ a common practice among our younger
generation. He was a theoretical and radical Marxist believing in revolution through
armed struggle. He had outward sympathy if not active participation in Charu
Majumder’s brand of Naxalite socialist revolution. I had never much faith in Charu
Majumder’s doctrine ‘Chairman Mao is our Chairman’ or his doctrine of cutting throat of
bourgeois intellectuals like university professors, vice chancellors, principals,
headmasters and local jotdars (land owners in villages) and destroying sculptures of ‘Ram
Mohan, Vidyasagar, Bankim .. .. . I know many dedicated meritorious college and
university going young men and women joined his party and suffered lot for the dream of
revolution. But it had always appeared to me as romanticism. The main reason of failure
of the movement was it had never appealed to the middle class in west Bengal nor it
gained militant mass support among the peasants in rural belt of west Bengal, Andhra or
Kerala. The reasons are many- why the movement failed, but this is not the time to go
into it.
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Since the day we first met, I many a times saw him in and out of Bichitra. In those days I
too contributed to Bichitra. He was the real founder of Bichitra, although it carried the
name Poet Shamsur Rahman as its editor by courtesy- as the magazine was an appendage
of the then ‘Dainik Bangla’ of which Shamsur Rahman was its Editor. It was a trustee
publication along with Dainik Bangla. But Shahadat was the real lifeblood of the very
popular weekly. He drew some talented young men around him during those days, soon
to be known as ‘Bichitra’ group in socio-cultural circles. It was anti establishment in
outlook and very critical of government misdeeds whenever the group thought it so. The
circle made an impression, if not impact, on the inquisitive minds belonging to middle
class talented young men. He started his career in Bichitra as its assistant editor ending as
editor until the government decided to close down its publication in 1997. He also edited
another cine-magazine named ‘Ananda Bichitra’ that too got some popularity.
After the close down of Bichitra he started a Weekly Magazine ‘Saptahik 2000’ in 1998
with himself as its editor and another entertainment type magazine ‘Paksik
Anandadhara‘. Both these magazines are quite popular though could not be compared
with erstwhile Bichitra. The impetus was lost.
Though a professional artist obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts, specializing
in ‘painting’ from the Institute of Fine Arts, DU late Shahadat Choudhury chose his
career as journalist after Bangladesh was liberated from the Pakistani occupation forces
in late 1971. Shahadat immediately joined our war of liberation following the Pakistani
crack down on the population of East Bengal on the night of 25th March, the blackest day
in the history genocide. Ultimately the Pakistani ‘operation search light’ which followed
a total war imposed on us killed 3 million people of Bangladesh. As mentioned above
Shahadat Choudhury was an active and skillful guerilla fighter who operated in Dacca
under the supervision of General Khaled Musharraf and Captain Haider, then
Commander of sector-2. He was the coordinator of various guerilla groups operating in
and around Dhaka city. He himself took part in different operations with success with the
brave cooperation with his co-fighters including Shahid Rumi, eldest son of Shahid
Janani Jahanara Begum.
A staunch anti rajakarism and anti fundamentalism late Shahadat took active part and
cooperated whole heartedly with Shahid Janani Jahanara in floating a platform later to be
known as ‘Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Kamiti’ (A committee for eliminating Killers and
Collaborators) under the dynamic leadership of Jahanara Begum.
On his death nation should remember the contribution he made in our liberation war in
the world of journalism in our country. He showed how a mere weekly magazine could
be effective in soci-poltico-cultural life of a society.
Personal life
Late Shahadat, son of a district judge Mr. Abdul Haque, was born in 1943 on 28th July.
After matriculating from Dacca Graduate High School young Shahadat got admission
into Institute of Fine Arts, DU in 1963. Subsequently he obtained bachelor degree in
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1968. Shahdat in eighties lost his eyesight in one eye- a cornea replacement enabled him
to see again. The cornea was donated by little known personality late Mr. Inamul Haque,
an engineer by profession. Late Mr. Haque, a close friend of mine, was a social worker,
truly secular and a liberal democrat politically, who had deep interest in literature and
history too. He was a member of the Executive Council of Asiatic Society many a times
and I had the opportunity to work with him for a long time in the society. He presented a
paper on reformation of Bengali letters and alphabets based on Roman scripts while I was
a general secretary of the Society. It infused lot of interest and lively discussion. He
proposed the recommendation, though not accepted by literary community and most of
the members of the Asiatic Society, for scientific reason and modernity.
Mr. Shahadat fell seriously ill because of heart attack and taken to BARDEM hospital
where he succumbed to death in the early morning of (1-30 a.m.) November 29, 2005. He
was only 62 years in age.
At his death starting from Rastrapati Dr. Iazuddin Ahmed to political leaders of all shades
including AL chief Shaikh Hasina expressed deep shock and condolences, which reflects
that he was respected, loved by all. This is a rare quality to achieve, which late Shahadat
gained in glorious manner.
It may be recalled that article entitled “Einstein-Rabindranath Saksat : Sangeet niye
katha” by Ajoy Roy and Avijit Roy published in Shaptahik 2000 on 25th November,
2005 just a few days before he breathed his last.
Let me pay my deep respect to the brave freedom fighter on his untimely death. His
friends and colleagues will remember him long time to come. Let me end my article by
quoting from Jahanara Imam’s ‘Ekattarer dinguli’ wherein in many places Shadat’s name
was referred. (I will write it in Bangla some portion of it asking the moderator to convert
it in proper Bengali font MM uses):
247 c„ôvq Rvnvbviv Bgvg wj‡L‡Qb (31†k A‡±vei iweevi 1971)t
Ò Lv‡j` †gvkvi‡di civgk© Ges †cÖiYv‡ZB ev`j ev‡iev‡i Rxe‡bi SzuwK wb‡q XvKv G‡m‡Q| eÜ~ A¨vmwd mmv‡`I mnvqZvq
msMwVZ K‡i‡Q XvKvi Zi“Y‡`iÑ hviv hy‡× hvevi Rb¨ D`MÖxe n‡q Av‡Q, A_P c_ cv‡”Q bv| Zv‡`i KvQ †_‡K c‡_i wb‡`©k
wb‡q G‡K G‡K ‡QvU †QvU `‡j Icv‡I †M‡Q KvRx, gvqv, d‡Z, cyjy, MvRx .. .. Av‡iv A‡b‡K| †M‡Q kvnv`vr †PŠayix,
Avnivi Avng`, K¨v‡Þb AvKei, K¨v‡Þb mv‡jK, K¨v‡Þb Rvdi Bgvg, cvwK¯—vb Gqvi †dv‡m©i Kv‡`i, G. Avi.
†Lv›`Kvi, myjZvb gvngy`| ... Ó
16B wW‡m¤^‡i, weRq jv‡fi ciw`b 289 c„ôvq Rvnvbviv Bgvg wj‡L‡Qb (17B wW‡m¤^i ïμevi 1971)t
Ò .. .. mܨvi ci GKUv †gvgevwZ †R¡‡j fyZz‡i Av‡jvq Rvgx‡K Rwo‡q a‡i e‡mwQjvg| nVvr `iRvq KivNvZ| .. .. D‡V
`iRv Lyjjvg| Kuv‡a †÷bMvb †Svjv‡bv K‡qKwU Zi“Y `uvwo‡q| Avwg `iRv †Q‡o `yÕcv wcwQ‡q ejjvg. ÔG‡mv eveviv
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Iiv N‡i cÖ_‡g wb‡Ri cwiPq w`j, ÔAvwg †gRi nvq`vi| G kvnv`vr, G Avjg| I Avby, G wRqv I d‡Z Avi GB
†h Pzj−y Ó
nvq`vi Avi Avby Qvov Avi mevB‡KB †Zv A‡MB †`‡LwQ| .. Avwg I‡`i nvZ a‡i G‡b wWfv‡b emvjvg| Avwg
kvnv`v‡Zi nvZ †_‡K PvBwbR †÷bMvbUv Avgvi nv‡Z Zz‡j wbjvg| Nywi‡q wdwi‡q †`Ljvg| Zvici Rvgxi nv‡Z w`jvg| ..
.. Avwg nvq`v‡ii w`‡K ZvwK‡q ejjvg, ÔRvgx cvwievwiK Amyweavi Kvi‡Y gyw³hy‡× †h‡Z cv‡i wb| I G‡Kev‡i cvMj n‡q
Av‡Q| I‡K Kv‡R jvMvI|
‡gRi nvq`vi ejj, ÕwVK Av‡Q Rvgx, Avwg GB gyn~Z© †_‡K Zzwg Avgvi ewWMvW© n‡j| .. .. .. Zzwg Mvox Pvjv‡Z
cvi ?Õ
Rvgx mUvb G¨v‡Ubk‡b `uvwo‡q NUvs K‡i m¨vjyU w`‡q ejj, ÕcvwiÕ|
.. .. †gRi nvq`vi M¤¢xi gy‡L ejj, Ô.. .. .. GUv Lye Uvd Re| PweŸk N›Uvi wWDwU|Õ
cuvPw`b ci Rvgx GB cÖ_gev‡ii gZ `uvZ †ei K‡i nvmj,
ÔAvUPwj−k N›Uvi n‡jI c‡ivqv †bB|Õ Ó
Dr. Ajoy K. Roy, is a retired professor of Dhaka University and human rights activist
from Bangladesh.
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