A death that shocks nation
The sudden death of former chief justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman, who also headed the caretaker government, is indeed a shock for the nation. According to a New Age report on Sunday quoting his family and hospital sources, he felt sick at his house about 9:30pm Saturday and was taken to a hospital at Gulshan in the capital Dhaka where he died at the age of 85.
In an era largely dominated by rhetoric, by politicians or social and cultural elite, Habibur Rahman was definitely an exception. He used to address different public functions organised by different quarters, especially after he had left office on his successful completion of his stipulated duty to oversee the 7th parliamentary elections in 1996. But he hardly made any compromise on speaking the truth and defending people’s democratic rights. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he fell in love with work. He completed his university education in history. But he chose to be a lawyer. Moreover, his creative works covered many more areas including literature, culture and religion. As pointed out in the report, he has written about 70 books on law, literature, poetry and religion and had to his credit two volumes of poems. He translated many poems written in different languages, including Chinese and Afrikaans. A great lover of Rabindranath Tagore, he wrote a number of books interpreting his different works for laymen.
When it comes to realising the importance of introducing Bangla in all spheres of national life, Habibur Rahman set some outstanding examples. In the first place, he was among the first batch of students that marched on the streets of Dhaka to push or the demand for establishing Bangla as a state language on February 21, 1952, the day when a number of people embraced martyrdom, laying the foundation for the movement that culminated in the independence war in 1971. His books titled Jathashabda, Bangladesher Tarikh, Bachan O Prabachan etc made some basic contributions to the treasure of the Bangla literature. Most importantly, there were indeed a very few people in his time who understood the inseparable connection between the mother tongue and the thought. In an effort to highlight the universal appeal of the Language Movement of 1952, he seriously campaigned for the preservation of all mother tongues. His famous book Twenty-First February Speaks for All Languages is essentially based on such a spirit. The people who campaign for education for all in their respective mother tongues must have inspirations from him.
Overall, the death of Habibur Rahman is a great loss for the nation. The best way to show respect to him is to pursue the teachings that he left.
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