Sunday, 1 March 2020

A Teacher Who Sacrificed His Life for Students

“I am telling you - Don't open fire. My students will go back now." 

"Your bullets will penetrate my heart first before you hit a student!" 

--------------- A teacher. 


Dr Mohammad Shamsuzzoha Sacrificed His Life for His Students
These sentences are not just a bunch of words. The truth is - the teacher was not limited to speech and actually took bullets for his students. This legendary teacher I am talking about martyr Dr Mohammad Shamsuzzoha, a former Proctor and professor from the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Educators, teachers and students should follow the martyr teacher Shaheed Mohammad Shamsuzzoha. 

At the age of commercialism, education has become a business product and teachers engage in politics (self-interest) and business, corrupting the noble profession. Selfless teachers are not easy to be found in today’s world. 


Who is Mohammad Shamsuzzoha? 
Shamsuzzoha obtained his BSc in Chemistry and MSc degree from the University of Dhaka. He also actively joined in the Language Movement during his university life. He also earned his PhD from Imperial College London in 1964. In 1961, he joined as a lecturer at the Department of Chemistry at Rajshahi University. In 1968, he got the proctor post at the same university. 


Anti Ayub government and Shaheed Mohammad Shamsuzzoha 
At the time of the mass movement (Gano Obhyuththan or Mass Upsurge) against the Ayub government (1968 - 1969), a student leader Asaduzzaman was killed (on 20 January 1969) by Pakistani forces in Dhaka. On February 15, Sergeant Zahurul Haque (an accused in the so-called Agartala Conspiracy Case) was killed in Dhaka Cantonment. So, the agitation spread across the country like fire and Rajshahi was not excluded. Students of Rajshahi University burst into protest due to the assassination of student leader Asaad and Sergeant Zahurul Haque. 



Sacrifice and Martyrdom 
On February 17, several students were injured as police launched a raid on the protest. On February 18, the students started protesting in front of the main gate of Rajshahi University. On the same day, the local administration imposed Section 144 on the highway adjacent to the University of Rajshahi. Angry students decided to violate Section 144 in the area where the army was deployed. Dr. Zoha tried to get his students back to the university dormitories. He urged the army officers to abstain from firing upon the students but the army shot the demonstrating students. Dr. Zoha was also wounded and carried to the hospital where he died. He sacrificed himself by taking bullets. 


The brave death of Zoha added a new dimension to the anti-Ayub movement. Led by Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, the tide of protests spread throughout the country. The fall of the decade-long dictatorial regime of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan was quickened. The then Pakistani government had to withdraw the Agartala case and the unconditional release of all accused. 

A teacher was martyred for the purpose of saving the life of the students. In commemoration of his highest sacrifice for the cause of the country, Shahid Zoha Dibos (Martyr Zoha Day) is observed on 18 February. A student hall was named as Shaheed Shamsuzzoha Hall in Rajshahi University to keep the memory of Zoha's memorable. But his history of heroism should not be confined within a certain boundary (Rajshahi University). Martyr Zoha Day should be observed in every educational institution in the country as a Teacher's Day. Shaheed Mohammad Shamsuzzoha gave his life for the country and we must remember him and his sacrifice in that way. 


Md Shamsuzzoha, Bangladesh & the Globe 
Professor Dr. Md. Shamsuzzoha is a source of pride and inspiration for the whole teacher community and educational institutions all over the world. By sacrificing his life at the time of Mass Upsurge for the country, Dr Zoha became the first martyred intellectual in the history of the Independence War. His contribution is different from other martyred intellectuals as he was the one who gave his life for the students making it rare not only in Bangladesh but also in the entire world.

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