"Usually People write history, record the various events of history. Similarly, they try to make an area for themselves within the history as well. Some people sometimes become a big part of the history and by including whose name, perhaps the history itself feels proud. But for an ordinary person, becoming an integral part of history is not an easy task at all. He must have the outstanding quality to be a person of history. Biplobi Binod Bihari Chowdhury was such a legend who was comparable to himself." This is what Anandabazar Patrika - the famous Indian daily –wrote on the birth centenary of Binod Bihari Chowdhury.
In 2010, a three-day programme was held on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary. I consider myself very lucky because I could attend that program. Besides, I had the good fortune to meet that great man several times during my studies at Chattogram University. The first time when I met him at his 120, Mumin Road's residence, I could hardly believe my eyes that I was standing in front of such a great man. I saw there the portraits of Masterda Surya Sen, Pritilata Waddedar, and Kalpana Datta. I also saw a big framed photograph of his receiving an award from Bangabandhu.
He had an excellent relationship with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He loved Bangabandhu from his heart. During his life, he met Bangabandhu four to five times. Bangabandhu also loved him personally. In 1972, the idols of Goddess Durga were destroyed in many places in the country. He went to Mujeeb and warned him that he would not remain in power if pro-Pakistan elements were not checked. There was an increase in such elements that were not consistent with the emergence of Bangladesh as a secular nation.
A few days before Bangabandhu's killing, he again came to Bangabandhu's residence at Dhanmondi 32 to meet him. Bangabandhu thought that he might have come to complain about the minority persecution. But that day he did not come with any personal complaint. Rather, he came to warn Bangabandhu. Because he could guess that there was a deep conspiracy at home and abroad against Bangabandhu. If Bangabandhu had been alert after that day, then he might not have to lose his life at the hands of the assassins.
He loved this country very much. After the partition of the country, many Hindus migrated to India. But he remained in this country till his death. A glaring example of his love for his birthplace should also be mentioned: when his health was deteriorating, and he was being taken to Kolkata for treatment, he told his relatives that his last rites should be held in his home town Chattogram. He breathed his last at a hospital in Kolkata on 10th April 2013. According to his desire, his body was brought back to Chattogram.
In 1939, he started his career as an assistant editor of the "Daily Panchojanno". In the next year, he joined Chattogram Bar as a lawyer. But neither of these professions attracted him. Finally, he chose to teach as a profession. He would find more pleasure and contentment in teaching students. He gave many lectures on the 2nd World war and his revolutionary life at different universities in the country and abroad as well. Once he was invited to Chattogram University to deliver a speech about his revolutionary life. The University authority gave him one lac taka as remuneration, but he did not receive that money. Rather he donated it to the students' welfare fund. He had no passion for money or fame.
He had a message for children and young people: "My door is always open for you". He loved the children very much and used to tell stories of his youth whenever he got close to the children. He used to tell them how he took part in the war to liberate his motherland from the hands of the British. He used to encourage the girls to be self-reliant and energetic like Pritilata Waddedar.
He had many dreams about the country. But he was shocked by the moral degradation of the politicians. Just a few days before his death, he went to India for his medical treatment where he gave an interview to the Daily Hindu. There he said, "When I joined the Masterda Surya Sen's guerrilla force, I had to accomplish a lot. But now anyone can do politics and it has become a very good source of earning money. There is a lack of patriotism among today's politicians. Although the country became independent, the expected liberation of the common people has not yet been achieved. We fought against the British imperialists to put a smile on the face of the common people of this country. The country has not yet achieved what we had hoped for. Even after independence, the country has not progressed much. In many cases, it has regressed. The country is now full of communalism, fundamentalism, and militancy."
He also played a significant role in the 1952's Language Movement, the mass uprising of 1969, and the great liberation war of 1971. During the liberation war, he walked from Chattogram to Kolkata to organise the youth. He fought his entire life for establishing transparency, equality, democracy, and socio-political integrity. He used to dream of a secular Bangladesh that might be free from hunger and poverty. He was the embodiment of truth and justice. He didn't engage himself in any meaningless jobs. He didn't compromise with injustice.
The likes of Binod Bihari Chowdhury are severely needed in our political arena at present. Today, the 10th of January is the 111th birthday of this great revolutionary. He was born on January 10, 1911, in North Bhurshi under the Boalkhali Upazila in Chattogram. As long as Bangladesh and Bengali nations exist, Biplobi Binod Bihari Chowdhury will also be remembered with due respect. He will remain in the hearts of the people. He was, he is and he will be the source of inspiration to the people not only in Bangladesh but also in the entire sub-continent.
Md Mizanur is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Bangladesh (ICSB). Email: [email protected]
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.