Before he suffered the deadly attack on his life in the Bangla Academy Book Fair in late February this year and became overnight internationally famous I hardly knew about Dr. Humayun Azad. I only heard his name as the author of a the then proscribed Bangla book “Nari”. A few weeks before the attack on him his publisher Mr. Osman Ghani, whom I came to know by chance, presented me the book “Nari” with a request to read it. From the cover I found the book was republished after wining a legal battle after it had suffered a state ban on it for more than four years for being obscene. For an old man like me ( I will be 60 on my next birthday !) an alleged obscene book could not naturally be an interesting reading. However I brought the book home and tried to read it. Let me confess, I could not even finish reading the first chapter. Each paragraph was full of juicy and vulgar description of the female human genital sandwiched by high sounding theories on social relationship between man and woman throughout ages. The theories quoted, the language and the presentation, all prove that Dr. Azad was a very learned scholar with a superb literary flair. But unfortunately I could not finish the first chapter of the book, because my sense of values and the taste I picked up from my middle class Muslim family background and my school teachers did not allow me go through the book. Luckily a very young visitor did me a great favor by quietly lifting the book from table! I felt happy and did not ask anyone about it.
Then came the news of fatal attack on Dr. Azad. I know someone who being a colleague of his knows Dr. Azad very well. He told me that academically Dr. Azad was one of the very outstanding products of the Bangla Department of DU with a first class career all along. I asked him why was such a brilliant scholar like Dr. Azad had been indulging in writing vulgar books like the “Nari”? His great talent could be used to carry out research in Bangla language and literature. He admitted that he did not know the right answer to my question. But while leaving he remarked that, may be, to earn more and more money Dr. Azad had been abusing his talent. By the by he asked me if I had read Dr. Azad’s latest book “Pak Sar Zameen Saad Bad”. I said no. He advised me to read some paragraphs of the said book that were quoted in a local Bangla daily (The Daily Inqilab) early that week to understand the present mind-set of the professor. I collected the daily and tried to read the quotations. To my shock and horror I found it was hundred times more vulgar than “Nari”. Taslima’s “Ka” would run away in shame from “Nari”. I could not even finish reading the first paragraph quoted. Dr. Azad wanted to condemn the atrocities committed by the Pakistani soldiers and the local Razakars on the Hindu population of the then East Pakistan during our Great War of Liberation in 1971. Well, there cannot be a second opinion in the mind of any Bangladeshi about the importance and the necessity of such condemnations to make our present and future generations aware of our national history of that period. But then a man does not physically bite back a dog if he is bitten by it. A man can always adopt many a descent course, without compromising his rationality and greatness as a man, to expose the beastly action of the dog. I very strongly feel Dr. Azad has measurably let him down himself as a scholar, as a university teacher and, finally, as a father. I really feel sorry for his two daughters (shown on TV) who has been made to bear with their father’s obscene writings.)
I call Dr. Humayun Azad a perverted genius. Well, if anyone who does not agree with me, I shall request him, if he can read Bangla, to read the book “Pak Sar Zameen Saad Bad”. And after having read the book if one feels it is a great peace of literature (or history) one should read it aloud in the presence of his parents, children, students and in public gatherings to preach the greatness of the book. And then a nationwide movement can be started to prescribe the book as a textbook in our schools and colleges. I for one will appreciate the guts of these people, be they intellectuals or politicians of any shade or color.
Thanks to Allah, those who wanted to kill him could not kill Dr. Azad. We do not yet know who did it. If the so-called Islamic fundamentalists, as claimed by Dr. Azaad himself, did it they definitely acted against the teachings of Islam as given the Qur’an. The Qur’an allows the killing of a man (or woman) only under two circumstances. First, one can kill one’s enemy on the battlefield while fighting is on. Second, a person can be executed for committing a serious offence after the process of law is duly followed. There is no other third justification to kill a human being by any power on earth.
I thank Begum Khaleda Zia and her government for arranging all necessary treatment for the perverted professor inside and outside the country. At the same time I call upon our social scientists, psychologists to suggest means and ways to the society and the government how we can spot geniuses like Dr. Azad at an early stage and nip the perversion in them in the bud.
I pray to Allah so that Dr. Azad is fully cured and safely returns to Bangladesh leaving his perverted mind in the Bangkok hospital. May Allah grant him a new enlightened and descent way of life and writing.