Remembered: Nur Hossain



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

[Rezwan, Germany.]

Bangladeshi blogosphere observed November 10 as Nur Hossain day.


Hossain, (Shahid) Nur (1961-1987) a victim in a mass movement against Ershad-regime in 1987. Born in 1961 at Narinda in Dhaka Nur Hossain was the son of Mujibar Rahman, an auto-rickshaw driver, whose ancestral home was at village Jhatibunia under Mathbaria upazila of Pirozpur district.

His family had been living at 79/1 Banagram Road in Dhaka since liberation. Nur Hossain received his primary education from the Radhasundari Primary School at Banagram Road, and while a student of class VIII at Graduate High School in Dhaka, he left school and received training in motor driving. As an activist in politics he was the publicity secretary of the Banagram unit committee of Dhaka City Awami League.

As a part of the long drawn movement against the autocratic rule of President Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the alliance of the opposition political parties declared ‘Dhaka Blockade’ programme on 10 November 1987. The aims and objectives of the programme were to realise the demands for resignation of Ershad government and holding of Jatiya Sangsad elections under a neutral caretaker government. Nur Hossain had his bare back and chest painted with the slogan ‘Sairachar nipat jak, Ganatantra mukti pak’ (Down with autocracy, let democracy be established). Looking so prominent in the crowd, Nur Hossain was shot dead by the police at the Zero-point in front of the General Post Office. The slogan imprinted on his body soon turned into the slogan of the irresistable mass movement which eventually led to the fall of the Ershad-government on 6 December 1990.

To commemorate his sacrifice in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in the country, the Zero-square in Dhaka city was renamed after him as Nur Hossain Square, and a postal stamp was issued in honour of his memorable sacrifice.

Mash writes:

On November 10, 1987 a young Bangladeshi man named Nur Hossain was shot and killed by the forces of Bangladesh’s part-time poet and full time dictator General Hossain Mohammad Ershad. On that day Nur Hossain had joined thousands of other Bangladeshis in protesting the dictator’s rule. The protesters demanded a return to democracy. Nur Hossain stood out amongst the protesters. He had the Bengali words “Sairachar nipat jak” painted in bright white letters on his bare chest, and the words “Ganatantra mukti pak” painted on his back. “Down with autocracy” on his chest; “Let there be democracy” on his back. He died for those demands and became a martyr for the democracy movement in Bangladesh.

Today, two decades after his death, we remember and honor him.

Dhaka Shohor writes (in Bangla) that the Nur Hossain square at the zero point (city center) of Dhaka is in dilapidating state and not maintained by Dhaka city Corporation. He ponders: “are the lives of general citizens of lesser value than the elites and this is true even for the democratic governments!”

Ahmede Hussain wrote an elegy for Nur Hossain last year:

Hossain’s struggle — or statement so to speak — was not actually against a particular regime, it was a brave resistance against a brutal and corrupt economic system that had made the country a filthy playground for a class of nouveau arrive bourgeois. One and a half decades after that nothing significant has changed.

Sushanta writes:

Look Nur Hossain how the renowned politicians of the country are remembering you with garlands. But did Nur Hossain die for this only?

Rehan at BangladeshWeb Blogs writes:

Nur Hussain is gone but not forgotten — his bare torso that had two lines written in Bangla on that day — Gonotontro Mukti Paak, Shoyrachar Nipat Jaak (Long live democracy, down with tyranny) — will always be a glowing symbol for us and generations to come who long for a better Bangladesh.

Let there only be one way for our nation to meander, the way towards democracy, equality and justice for all. Let not anyone take our nation of crores hostage to autocracy, corruption and injustice.

Eskimo says Nur Hossain is the lighthouse of Bangladesh democracy.

Tacit reminds us:

In Bangladesh, we had grown complacent in the last seventeen years, mistakenly thinking that our fragile democracy would endure without proper care and nurturing. We know our mistake today, we know that we need to strive to regain our cherished ideals, to snatch back what has been taken from us, to prove wrong those who contemptuously tell us that we are not deserving of our basic rights as human beings.

Mash concludes:

Now, two decades after Nur Hossain paid with his life for a democracy he envisioned, Bangladesh is once again under a General’s grip. The story is the same. The new General, Moeen U Ahmed, is also fighting “corruption.” The new administration in Washington supports him. Meanwhile the democracy that Nur Hossain earned with his blood lies beneath the boot of another usurper.

Other blogs:

  • Rumi Ahmed.
  • Unheard Voices, Drishtipat.
  • Shada Kalo.
  • Zafa Noor.

  • Rezwan [] is often referred as “the dean of Bangladeshi bloggers” for his authoritative contributions towards setting the blogging agenda in Bangladesh. Blogging since 2003 on Bangladesh and the world. Portrays Bangladesh and Bangladeshis beyond the typical headlines published in Western Media.

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

    5 Responses to “Remembered: Nur Hossain”

    1. Author Image


      Banglapedia and some others call him “shahid” Nur Hossain. I was just wondering, considering that Hossain was murdered by the apparatus of the state, why is it that some people see it fit to use such an appellation, with religious under/overtones, for Hossain? Why not use the word “prothiakshakor”?

    2. Author Image

      Bangali Colbert

      I agree with Muhammad wholeheartedly: enough of this religious over/under/ring/sideways tones. I don’t know what prothiakshakor means but if he says that it’s not important to any religion, I think it’s kosher … sorry…. halal … damnation!… apologies, “damnation” is religious too…. “ok”! I meant to say “ok”. Prothiakshakor is “ok” by me. Unless of course some religious cult somewhere has decided to attach special significance to the word “ok”. Prothiakshakor Minar anyone? Or is “Minar” too religious because it is part of “minaret”? Jest askin’… (google “colbert” before you respond — thanks)

    3. Author Image


      Hello Bengali Colbert. Perhaps you should be called The Grand Marjadin with the faqih the mufti and the muhaddith etc. rolled into one. 🙂 Are we to understand that what you are saying is that millions of Bengalis died to speak and write in some third rate patois?

    4. Author Image

      Bangali Colbert

      Am I to understand Lodhi that the name of the monument immortalizing the sacrifice of our language martyrs and acceptable as good spoken Bangla is “third rate patois” to you because of religious connotations? By the way, thanks for letting me know that millions died in 1952. Or did you think 1971 was solely about the language and secularism ? Whatever you think, I’m with you. As you may know, I’m all for the formation of a Committee to Hunt and Burn all Religious Words out of the Bangla Language. While we’re at it, one of the language martyrs was called Abdus Salam. I move to take the “Salam” out of the history books because of its religious connotations. I hope you’re with me. And the only part of this comment that’s not sarcastic: Joy Bangla! Shahid Nur Hossainer proti srodhya!

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