Remembering Prof Aftab Ahmad

It is sad when gifted people are taken away from us.

Professor Aftab Ahmad died in the morning of the 26th, he had been attacked and shot a few days in his University residence. He was one of those brave and forward thinking intellectuals, proud and knowledgeable of his religion, and not, as is too often the case in this country, afraid to think with it. He was the ex VC of the National University and a professor of Political Science at Dhaka Uni. He was an illustrious son of Noakhali. May Allah accept his good works and sacrifice, forgive him for his mistakes and raise him in the akhira. May Allah continue the works he was involved with and grant his servants in this region a little more clarity of thought, unity and efficacy.

Coining very catchy slogans like "Joi bangla" and "Amader Thikhana, Padma, Meghna, Jamuna", he was an active physical and intellectual freedom fighter in '71, sustaining a gunshot wound for his efforts. After the war was over, he opposed more and more of what he saw going on, starting a newspaper going to jail, yknow ... the usual! In 1983, he wrote a doctorate thesis at the University of London on 'The Mujib Era', when i get home i dearly want to check it out. People of most political leanings will have heard of him or worked with or against him at some stage in Bangladesh, as he was into the lefty thing as a student leader, which was a rite of passage here.

For his time as VC of the National University, he was in the favour of the present government. The falling out, about which my knowledge is sketchy and secondary at the mo is important to investigate. Generally the group in power are stubborn, ignorant and understand only money, especially the 'younger section'.

So Who-dunnit? and Why? Between the complete ballsup concerning treatment at the military hospital, the profs spinefulness and orientation of thought theres enough to sustain a healthy speculation. Prof had no doubt made some enemies amongst the ultra nationalist block over the years with his ability to penetrate nationalist taboos, but its hard to identify who carried out this act of jahiliya, and on who's instruction. This is not an 'Islamist' alleged operation either, so i would not expect any hue and cry in the overseas press. What chance have the small people of this country got of being 'tolerant', when the high ups are so senile?

The last time i saw him in the flesh was before leaving dhaka for a bit last month, he said to fetch him something by ibn miskaweh (on political ethics) from a library. I fished it out but didnt have the chance to reach it to him in person, in fact i was going to see him before my recent trip to a ganj in the north, but his wife said he had gone out and i needed to catch my bus. Later i find out that he had received it. I did however catch him on the TV, on the very night he was shot on ATN Bangla (prerecorded slot on the election commission controversty). He was on good form.
The Muslim Ummah really needs to nurture its brains in the current era, this week however, Bangladesh shot itself in the head, again. There are plenty more bullets where that came from, but maybe not so many targets.

His janaza was held at Dhaka University Central Mosque, amid all sorts of posthumous respect (too little too late i reckon) from all the usual suspects (government kitchen cabinet, Dhaka Teachers, vc of dhaka uni ...).

Riding through the Uni campus later that day, I notices that the Liberation War statues were wearing black blindfolds. Later I inquire as to what this symbolises...This was apparently to symbolise the blindness of those in power.

The impression of Dhaka Uni teachers amongst the ordinary citizenry has been defined of late by the late Dr Humayun Azad (Bangla department). He recieved (nonfatal) , severe injury near his uni residence ~18months ago, in apparent retribution for his anti-islamic, pro-atheist stance (Danish cartoons are nothing on what used to allegedly come out of his mouth concerning the prophets). I cant be bothered to recount the chap's history. If you like, read his own contribution on his own terms in the universe of this very bitter nutjob bangladeshi 'freethinkers' forum and see for yourself.

I bring this up because, in a conversation with a random, i heard something along the lines of 'Bhalo hoise, tara shob nasthik' (a good thing happened, they are all atheists).

Bit of a bummer approach to things, but it gives us an idea of how different the values of this portion of the Mukti group are to the identity of local people. Its a bit like the Taliban i guess, winning an independence war against a formibable foe with outside help and then falsely imagining they could run a country and failing, bringing ruin upon the society.

Anyway, Prof Aftab's assassination sets a further precedent of assassins going into a teachers home and shooting them.

It s political showdown time in Bangladesh, anything is possible, chances are that he was removed as a precursor of what might come to be.

Anyway what a time to check out of here, Ramadhan.


nai said...

Innalillahi Wainna 'Ilaihi Raji'un..

In one hadith Prophet (p.b.u.h) narrated that Allah did not taken the knowledge by taking the knowldege but by taken the life of a knowledgable peoples (ulama's, scholars).

btw: nice new layout.

tacit said...

Sincere and apropos. Let us remember him and all he stood for.