Martyred Intellectuals Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Martyred Intellectuals Day is observed on 14th December in Bangladesh, the day honors 1,000s of intellectuals who were killed by the Pakistani forces

Martyred Intellectuals Day is annually observed on 14th December in Bangladesh. This day honors thousands of intellectuals of Bangladesh who were killed by the Pakistani forces during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. 

As just when victory was on the horizon, Pakistan abducted and brutally killed some of the best minds in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). The aim was to annihilate the entire intellectual class of Bangladesh. 

Martyred Intellectuals Day ensures that the world never forgets the efforts, bravery amd sacrifices of these exceptional individuals who lost their lives by the oppressors for serving their motherland. 

Event Martyred Intellectuals Day
Date December 14, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day commemorates the thousands of Bangladeshi intellectuals who were killed by Pakistani forces during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Observed by Bangladesh


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Martyred Intellectuals Day History: 

The story behind one of the darkest days in Bangladesh's history begins soon after India's Independence from Britain in 1947. The British left behind a broken nation, both literally and figuratively. It was a time of great sorrow as the subcontinent split into two nations: India and Pakistan. The reasons for the division were purely religious. All Muslim-majority regions became Pakistan. In turn, Pakistan comprised two culturally and geographically separated areas. East Pakistan and West Pakistan were situated over 1,600 kilometers far from each other. 

However, despite being a muslim majority in both regions, distinctive differences prevailed in both regions in terms of language, cultural heritage, appearance, and weather conditions. The political and economic power was primarily in hands of West Pakistan and they also tried to impose Urdu language on the people of Bangladesh who were primarily Bengali speakers which also played a huge role in resistance. To counter such economic inequality and lack of political representation, the Awami League organized a movement to struggle for independence and, after achieving a sweeping victory in the 1970's elections, called for the transfer of power. 


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However, not only did such transfer never occur, but the inauguration of the National Assembly was called off as well causing significant social unrest. To quieten it down, the night of March 25, 1971, the West Pakistan army unleashed death squads that mercilessly killed more than 15,000 people in several parts of Dhaka, the major city of East Pakistan. In response to repression, Bangladesh declared its independence on March 26, 1971, unleashing a civil war known as the "Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971." Later this war turned into Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 with India supporting the independence of Bangladesh.  

One of the goals pursued by West Pakistan was eliminating the future leaders of the new nation. To do so, it had to destroy Bengali intellectuals and professionals. These practices escalated further in Dhaka in the face of the impeding surrender of the Pakistan army. On the night of December 14, more than 200 intellectuals were kidnapped from their homes in Dhaka, confined in torture cells, and finally murdered. Many of their bodies were found upside down in brick kilns in Rayerbazar, blindfolded, hands tied to their backs, and immersed in water. The Pakistan army surrendered on December 16, 1971 and Bangladesh became an independent country. 


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Martyred Intellectuals Day Significance: 

This day is an important event in the history of this young nation called Bangladesh. As this day tells a very important story of Bangladesh independence which needs to be remembered and must not be forgotten. As this day tells us and that how barbaric enemy can be with full of hatred for the people as this day commemorates an event which occurred during the last stages of war and thus Pakistani forces realizing that they are gonna lose Bangladesh decided to brutally murder all of the intellectuals of the country so that after independence the nation couldn't go further. That is just pure evil mindset to make the nation suffer and thus this event is very important. 

And it was not just on 14th December when the innocent intellectuals were brutally killed but During the nine-month duration of the war, the Pakistani Army, with the assistance of local collaborators systematically executed an estimated 991 teachers, 13 journalists, 49 physicians, 42 lawyers, and 16 writers, artists and engineers. Even after the official ending of the war on 16 December there were reports of killings being committed by either the armed Pakistani soldiers or by their collaborators. So this day offers and pays tribute to all the martyred intellectuals who lost their lives for the freedom of the country. 

Observing Martyred Intellectuals Day respects the families who still cope with personal and historical trauma which they suffered during this brutal war. Although nothing can alleviate such enormous loss, commemorating the day offers a semblance of closure. Hence as a responsible citizen it is your duty to remember the sacrifice of the heroes who fought for the independence of this country and their sacrifice and bravery for fighting for their identity and freedom must not be forgotten and hence we have this day of remembrance. 

Martyred Intellectuals Day is a reminder of history. In keeping records of martyred intellectuals, the day serves as a crucial historical source for future generations. As it is often seen that most of the younger generations aren't really aware about the oppression which their ancestors had to face just half a century ago for the freedom which they live in today. Hence this day also ignites the spirit of patriotism among the Bangladeshi people with love for their country. This day also calls for people to contribute much for the overall growth and development of the nation.  


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Martyred Intellectuals Day Celebrations: 

One of the best way to celebrate this day is by visiting the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial. So if you are in in Dhaka then make sure to visit the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial to pay your respects to some of Bangladesh's greatest thinkers and scholars who lost their lives during the war. The Memorial is located at Rayerbazar, Mohammadpur Thana, in Dhaka. 

Use this opportunity to watch a documentary or film based on this incident.  Look up films about the Bangladesh Liberation War. We recommend "Amar Bondhu Rashed" and "1971" — both incredibly gripping and insightful. In this way you will be able to learn more background about this war which will greatly help you in increasing your knowledge about this very important event in history. 

Another way to learn about this historic and important event is through books. Amplify their stories. Find journals, papers, online magazines, and news portals that document the lives and achievements of Bangladesh's martyred intellectuals. Share what you have learned with those around you. So more and more people can be aware about it thus sacrifices of these heroes will be remembered forever.  

Martyred Intellectuals Day FAQs: 

1. When is Martyred Intellectuals Day observed? 

Martyred Intellectuals Day is annually observed on 14th December in Bangladesh. 

2. Who are called Martyred Intellectuals? 

Martyred Intellectuals refers to the brightest minds of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) killed by Pakistan forces during the Liberation War in 1971. They comprised philosophers, teachers, litterateurs, artists, journalists, scientists, architects, engineers, lawyers, social workers, activists, musicians, and actors. 

3. How many intellectuals were killed during the war? 

Unofficial estimates record that at least 1,111 intellectuals lost their lives on 25 March and 14 December 1971. Most of the executions took place on these two days.

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