Salam Manabendra


[Photoblog by Amirul Rajiv.]

[Click any of the thumbnails for a GreyBox show.]

He who raised his hand in defiance against the brutal military junta in Bangladesh embossing a slap on the monster’s face will undoubtedly remain our hero for years to come. He who spat at tyrants and refused to give a “confessional statement” when coerced is the rebel with whose photo we present this photoblog.

The E-Bangladesh team is honored and proud that for hours to come our blog will greet our readers with a photo of Manabendra Dev, one of the key organizers of the anti-military junta protests in Dhaka University that erupted two months back. The 25-year-old president of Bangladesh Student Union was picked up by the “joint forces” on September 16 and taken [according to unconfirmed reports from Dhaka] to a secret JIC/DGFI torture chamber in Uttara. Days later he was produced before a court for fresh remand. After the remand period he was again taken to the court where he declined to give any confessional statement in an unprecedented act of defiance.

He, along with hundreds of professors and students of Dhaka and Rajshahi universities, is now behind bars. This is our tribute to the brave heart. This is our tribute to Deen Islam Angel, a Dhaka University student [also imprisoned after a trip to the DGFI torture chamber] who has become the icon of anti-military protests for the famous kick. This is our tribute to Professor Harun-or-Rashid whom the military arrested and later during the night under curfew took back to the Dhaka University campus and forced him to “lick off” the anti-military graffiti on the walls. This photoblog on the Dhaka University protests in August is our tribute to the rebellion lead by Manabendra, Angel and their comrades.


E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.

12 Responses to “Salam Manabendra”

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    When this military government is gone, it will seem like a bad dream. All the people who now support what is going on in Bangladesh, who make it possible for the government to torture and kill fellow Bangladeshis with impunity, will change their tunes. Maybe some will even claim that they were against the military government all along, but had to remain quite out of fear.

    Whatever, they say, the important thing to remember is that it will all be worthless. The actions of a few brave individuals now, in protesting and defying this government, in the present, while the country is under the boots of this government, are worth a hundred time more than anything else, because it sends out a message to everyone: you cannot torture and kill us without any retribution. The day of reckoning is coming.

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    Tacit, very well put in the second paragraph.

    I don’t know Manabendra Dev, and the picture above is the first time I’ve seen his image. I will tell you that it is one of the most powerful images I’ve seen from the DU protests in August. That is a face of determination and resistance. That is also the face of Bangladesh’s youth and Bangladesh’s future. It reminds us that many are now suffering in jails, being tortured, and it reminds us of our responsibility to make it stop.

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    Concur with Tacit and Mash wholly. All through the history of mankind, dictators with arms have tried to shun the public, but the public always found a way to kick back.

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    Thank you, Mash and Zafa. The best way to expose this government’s inhumanity is to expose the torture, degradation, and humiliation it has inflicted on our people. We need posts like these, and we need evidence from people on the ground in Bangladesh, to achieve this and expose the cruelties of this government.

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    Why are all and any accusations about Moeen met about complaints about our past politicians? I’ll wait till Moeen or any of the current advisors have administered Bangladesh for five years through economic growth and maintained our territorial sovereignty before they even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as our former PMs.

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    Sudhir Mitra

    I salute Manabendra, and it is a befitting name indeed. I am less sure about some of the university professors. Harun will lick anything, if he thinks it will get him out of trouble. Anwar has apologized to every jawan of the army, because he thought it might bring his release. Neem Chandra had made a call to Begum Zia [he belongs to the opposite group of teachers] before the second spate of troubles began, as his mobile records show. Integrity is a rare virtue. Before we sum up to find villains and heroes, we should do some research.

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    While I applaud his actions, I think of some Hindu friends of mine who were obliged to leave for Kolkata. I just hope people like Manabendra are well.

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    Protik Pronab

    This is not new in Bangladesh. You don’t have to go back to even to Pakistani era… Many times after the liberation of Bangladesh, politics, politicians, political processes, political institutions, democracy, freedom of speech/media were all attacked/arrested and seized by the military of Bangladesh. Army took/abused power and state machinery many times and we all are witness of those acts. It happened in 70s, 80s, 90s and ought to happen in this decade as well?

    Army and politics:

    It’s the only way army can practice/exercise bad politics — politics of generals — when they can shut up the real politicians and destroy political institutions/processes; one of the widely used techniques of Bangladesh army is to ban politics/political activities and put politicians/intellectuals/brilliant, brave, bold, defiant students in jail; applying this technique has been historically easy for the army because there have always been and are those who will lick the feet of army, who try to be on their good book and as Tacit said who support army. Supporting army has been part of (ill) politics is Bangladesh; we have witnessed this on many occasions.

    MU Ahmed is in denial so was Ershad; if you recall March 24 , 1982, Ershad chanted the same mantra; as a disciple of the same bahini you don’t expect different behavior from MU Ahmed. Do you? You simply can’t because the very motivation of arresting democracy is to inflict and maintain control of generals over the state machinery and national resources and this requires to have politicians, democratic forces, political media and pluralism all shut down.

    If you have observed the behaviour of MU Ahmed and his sons and daughter — DGFI, other generals and advisors — they have taken a slightly different approach than their predecessors; they have learned lessons from the mistakes of their predecessors; hence the brutality and torture on Manabendra, Deen and many hundred students, university teachers; you may like to examine the similarity of tactics are being used by this army with that of Jamaat/rajakars in 71.

    Sayema, you are asking very fundamental questions, answers of which are not unknown either; what is unknown then? What to be made known then? What to be done then to know the unknown and reverse the reality of today to bring back democracy, restore political processes/institutions and freedom of speech, statement and freedom of critising acts of the government if that goes against the interests of ordinary women and men, conscious citizens, university/school teachers and students and Manabendra and Deen?

    Find out why all these dealers, power brokers and political army generals are rushing to the USA; find out why none of the democracy’s manoshputras — USA, UK and the like — and the institutions like EU, UN are so very quiet? Find out why aren’t they saying much about anything of what has been happening in Bangladesh today? Why India is playing the card it is playing? Why all the army-feet-lickers/media brokers in Bangladesh are busy.

    Can we all call a country wide strike, declare non-co-operation with the establishment, stop water and electricity in cantonments/DGFI offices? Can we electrify all the entrances/gates of the offices and residences of MU Ahmed, FU Ahmed, IU Ahmed? Can we bring the country to a stand still and force the army to listen to the politicians? Can we be all brave as Deen and Manabendra?

    Muhamad, your concern is genuine but don’t make it an ingredient of today’s cake; we have an extraordinary example today — Deen and Manabendra — the symbol of secular Bangladesh. Can we all be Deen and Manabendra today? How many of us will they put in jail? How many Deen’s leg’s will they break and paralyse?

    How many lies MU Ahmend will invent?

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    Dupur Mitra

    It is very clear that there is no difference between state and prison cell. So all form say military or military backed or selective govt play same dictatorship rule. I think there is no way if we do not delete our state concept practically. Because this concept is European. There is no relation of our native culture with it.

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    Jamil Ahmed

    This is a troubled time in our history. We have to think about the situation that put us in this bind. Action of our political leaders has to be judged, as we have to judge all political murders that happened since 1971. Some one has to answer the killing of Bangabondhu, four leaders, Siraj Sikder, muktijodha Taher and many others. One day that will happen. Why these teachers didn’t protest then?

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