Martyred Intellectuals Memorial
Martyred Intellectuals Memorial (Bengali: বুদ্ধিজীবি স্মৃতি সৌধ) is a memorial built in memory of the martyred intellectuals of Bangladesh Liberation War. The memorial, located at Rayerbazar, Mohammadpur Thana in Dhaka,. The memorial was designed by architect Farid U Ahmed and Jami Al Shafi. The initial proposal for a memorial at Rayer Bazar was brought forward by Projonmo 71 (organisation of the children of the martyrs of liberation war), who also laid a temporary foundation stone in 1991.
History of Intellectual Massacre
During the entire duration of Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, a large number of teachers, doctors, engineers, poets and writers were systematically massacred by Pakistan Army and their local collaborators, most notably the alleged Islamist militia groups Al-Badr and Al-Shams. The largest number of assassinations took place on December 14, 1971, only two days before the surrender of Pakistan army to the joint force of Indian army and Mukti bahini.
In the night of December 14, 1971, over 200 of East Pakistan's intellectuals including professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, and writers were rounded up in Dhaka. They were taken blindfolded to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different sections of the city. They were later executed en masse, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur. In memory of the martyred intellectuals, December 14 is mourned in Bangladesh as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh ("Day of the Martyred Intellectuals").
Even after the official ending of the war on December 16 there were reports of hostile fire from the armed Pakistani soldiers and their collaborators. In one such incident, notable filmmaker Zahir Raihan was killed on January 30, 1972 in Mirpur, allegedly by the armed Beharis of Mirpur.
The number of intellectuals killed is estimated as follows: educationist 991, journalist 13, physician 49, lawyer 42, others (litterateur, artist and engineer) 16.
Noted intellectuals who were killed between March 25 and December 16, 1971 in different parts of the country included Govinda Chandra Dev (Philosopher, Professor at DU), Munier Chowdhury (Litterateur, Dramatist, Professor at DU), Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury (Litterateur, Professor at DU), Anwar Pasha (Litterateur, Professor at DU), Dr. Mohammed Fazle Rabbee (cardiologist), Dr. Alim Chowdhury (ophthalmologist), Shahidullah Kaisar (journalist), Nizamuddin Ahmed (Reporter), Selina Parvin (reporter), Altaf Mahmud (lyricist and musician), Dr. Hobibur Rahman (Professor of Mathematics, RU), Sukhranjan Somaddar (Professor of Sanskrit, RU), Mir Abdul Quaiyum (Professor of Psychology, RU), Dhirendranath Datta (politician), Ranadaprasad Saha (philanthropist), Lt. Col. Moazzem Hossain (ex-soldier), Mamun Mahmood (Police Officer), and many others.
Design and Construction of the Memorial
In 1993 Government of Bangladesh decided to erect a memorial at the site of this barbarous act. The Ministry of Housing and Works Department and the Institute of Architects Bangladesh jointly organised a national level architectural competition for the design of the memorial "Badhya Bhumi Smriti Soudha". Out of 22 entries the jurors selected the design proposal of Architect Farid Uddin Ahmed and Architect Md Jami-al-Shafi. Public Works Department was responsible for the implementation of the project and its completion took about three years (1996 to 1999). A square grid of 15.24m by 15.24m has divided the whole site of 3.51 acre. The main platform is raised 2.44m above the street level.
Design Significance of Martyred Intellectual Memorial
The main element of the monument is the 17.68m high, 0.91m thick and 115.82m long curved brick wall, representing the original brickfield of Rayer Bazar where the dead bodies were found. The wall itself is broken at the two ends, demonstrating the depth of grief and sorrow. A 6.10m by 6.10m square window at the south-west side of the wall permits visitor's view to reach the sky behind, that also scale down the immense wall. In front of the curved wall is a still water body from which rises a black granite column, which represents grief.
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