ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Martyr Mother's Inheritors

There are different threads in the Shahbag protests. The uniqueness of the movement lies in the fact that it was initiated by young bloggers. The protesters derived their inspiration from the memory of Shaheed Janani (Mother of Martyrs), as the Bangladeshi writer and political activist Jahanara Imam was called. This testifies to the rich tradition of popular memory in Bangladesh. It should be mentioned in this connection that Jahanara Imam’s autobiography Ekattorer Dinguli (1986), which documented the 1971 war crimes in Bangladesh, sensitised the collective consciousness of the people and, according to Jamal Hasan, “electrified Bangladesh as no other book ever had”.

In the late 1970s, Ghulam Azam, the exiled chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, was allowed to come back to Bangladesh and he was elected the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1991. In protest, under the leadership of Jahanara Imam, Shahriar Kabir (at present the executive president, Secular Forum, Bangladesh) and others formed the Ghatak-Dalal Nirmul Committee (Committee to exterminate the killers and collaborators). The committee called for the trial of people, who committed crimes against humanity in the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 in collaboration with the Pakistani forces and Jahanara Imam emerged as the public face of the movement.

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