With the twilight of sunset a day comes to an end and we wait for another sunrise the next morning to start a fresh day. Similarly when the month of December finishes, we say goodbye to a year and welcome a New Year with utmost joy and enthusiasm.Before the New Year eve we recall our pleasant experiences of past 365 days, regret for the mistakes we made throughout the year and make a New Year resolution with an optimism of fabulous future. Following this process years come and go with ups and downs. Every year we consider new-born babies as the divine gifts and the deaths as great loss. Death saddens us most when it comes to the demise of our near and dear ones. But when we loss an eminent personality of the country whose life was filled with remarkable contributions and great achievements, we feel that the loss due to his/her death wouldn’t be recovered. As some of the great souls of Bangladesh passed away this year, 2017 will be marked in our history as a year that took a heavy toll on the whole nation.
Former Chief Justice MM Ruhul Amin died on January 17 while he was undergoing treatment at a Singapore hospital. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson’s adviser and ex-state minister Nurul Huda breathed his last in the USA on January 25. He was also a renowned lyricist as some outstanding songs like ‘Mamunia’ and ‘Agey Jodi Jantam’ came from his pen. Freedom fighter, veteran leader of Bangladesh Awami League and the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Suranjit Sengupta passed away on February 5 at a Dhaka hospital. He was a feted parliamentarian who enriched the assembly with his depth knowledge about law and legislative affairs. On March 6, Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra’s journalist and daily sun acting editor Amir Hossain died of cardiac arrest. In the pre-Liberation War era, Hossain’s news reports for the Daily Ittefaq motivated the mass people to take to the streets in different movements and get prepared for achieving independence. Bangladesh Ambassador to Brazil and former foreign secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes lost his battle for life due to severe respiratory complication on March 11 at a Brazil hospital. He was 57. Ekushey Padak winner litterateur and former chairman of Bangladesh Shishu Academy Professor Zubaida Gulshan Ara breathed her last on March 19. Noted film actor and producer Mizu Ahmed passed away on March 27 due to sudden cardiac arrest while he was on his way to Dinajpur with a shooting unit. Poet and journalist Sazzad Qadir died on April 6 at a Dhaka hospital. He was 70. Bangla Academy award-winning poet and essayist Shantanu Kaiser breathed his last on April 11 at the age of 67. Legendary singer, composer and music director Lucky Akhand passed away on April 21 after fighting a long battle with lung cancer. He was 61. The Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artiste made the music lovers spellbound with his classic melodious numbers. Freedom fighter and acclaimed recitation artiste Kazi Arif died on April 29 at a New York hospital.
Former foreign secretary and Ambassador Faruq Ahmed Choudhury breathed his last on May 17 at the age of 84. On May 20, Aparajeyo Bangla’s sculptor and a recipient of Ekushey Padak Syed Abdullah Khalid passed away at a city hospital. He was 75. Prominent Nazrul exponent Sudhin Das died on June 27. The 87-year old Ekushey Padak winning musician spanned a significant portion of his life in writing notations of Nazrul’s songs. Veteran film and television actor Nazmul Huda Bachchu breathed his last on June 28 at a Dhaka hospital at the age of 78. On June 30, renowned musicologist, researcher, educationist and litterateur Professor Dr. Karunamoy Goswami passed away. Reputed linguist, writer, researcher and founding chairperson of Dhaka University’s Department of Linguistics Professor Rajib Humayun died at a city hospital on July 5. He was 67. Familiar film, TV and theatre actor Abdur Ratin passed away on July 19. Major (retd) Ziauddin Ahmed, commander of the Sundarbans sub-sector under Sector 9 during the Liberation War of 1971, breathed his last at a Singapore hospital on July 28. BNP leader, former minister and pioneering industrialist Harunar Rashid Khan Monno passed away on August 1 at the age of 84. King of our silver screen Razzak, popularly known as Nayokraj, died on August 21 at a Dhaka hospital. He was 76. This great actor contributed a lot to establish the film industry of Bangladesh with his charming appearance and mesmerizing acting. As a producer and director he amazed the viewers with quality films. Within one and a half week of the death of Razzak, Bangladesh’s cultural arena had to count another huge loss by losing legendary singer Abdul Jabbar on August 30. He was 80. This great singer stood for the nation at a very critical period. He collected fund to support the Mujibnagar Government and sang wonderful patriotic songs for the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra to inspire the freedom fighters. Jabbar enthralled the movie-goers from sixties to eighties with his magical voice. On August 31, freedom fighter and noted journalist Kazi Siraj breathed his last at a private hospital in the capital.
Eminent naturalist and science writer Professor Dwijen Sharma passed away on September 15 at a city hospital at the age of 88. Italian-born Bangladesh’s honourary citizen Father Marino Rigon died on October 20 in Italy. He joined the Liberation War in 1971 by giving shelter to and taking care of injured freedom fighters. This true friend of Bangladesh worked tirelessly to alleviate poverty, provide educational and medical services and empower the underprivileged women in Bangladesh. Retired bureaucrat-turned-politician Mohammad Khorshed Anwar, known as MK Anwar, breathed his last on October 24 at the age of 86. This Standing Committee Member of BNP was elected as a member of parliament five times from Comilla’s Homna and served as a minister twice. On November 3, ex-president Abdur Rahman Biswas passed away. He was 92. Before becoming the 11th President of Bangladesh he served as the Speaker of the Parliament. Freedom fighter and convener of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD-Mahbub) AFM Mahbubul Haque died on November 10 at a Canada hospital at the age of 69. Ex-Chatra League and JSD leader Haque had a glorious past as a student and labour leader. Former deputy speaker of the Parliament and BNP leader Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui breathed his last on November 19. Founding Chairperson of the Department of English and later the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Jahangirnagar University Professor Dr Nurul Islam died on November 22. He was 78. Celebrated classical flautist, folk singer, songwriter and music director Bari Siddiqui passed away on November 24 at a Dhaka hospital. He brought a new dimension in Bangla folk music by blending pure classical music with traditional folk ones. Eminent dancer and dance teacher Rahija Khanam Jhunu, also known as ‘Nritya Mata Guru’, died on November 26 at the age of 74. On November 30, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayor Annisul Huq left this world after suffering from cerebral vasculitis in a UK hospital for over three months. From a TV show anchor he established himself as a businessman. Huq led top business organisations like BGMEA and FBCCI and finally won the hearts of the city dwellers as the mayor of DNCC. Former mayor of Chittagong City Corporation and president of Bangladesh Awami League’s port city unit ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury breathed his last on December 15 at the age of 74. The veteran politician and a three-time mayor of the CCC was one of the organisers of Liberation War in 1971. Liberation War’s another organiser Fisheries and Livestock Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque MP passed away on December 16 at the age of 74. Esteemed businessman and Walton Group Founder SM Nazrul Islam died on December 17. He was 93. On December 19, Gaibandha’s Sundarganj constituency lawmaker Golam Mostafa Ahmed breathed his last while he was undergoing treatment after being injured in a road crash on November 18.
List of the deceased persons in 2017 seems too long. Many of these people served this country with utmost dedication and their life-long works have taken Bangladesh to a new height. Every time when a distinguished person embraces death, guardians of the country and the mass people express condolence and recall their contributions. Unfortunately the fact remains that we often forget to honour them properly during their lifetime. If we (as a nation) can evaluate our change-makers with due honour when they remain alive, it will not only encourage them to continue their good deeds but also express our gratefulness to them. And of course, the state should take necessary initiatives to preserve the memories and works of its great souls so that the new generation becomes motivated to follow their path.