The 32nd death anniversary of Dr. Aleem Al-Razee, the celebrated jurist, parliamentarian, educationist and philanthropist who died on March 15, 1985 was observed on Wednesday with due solemnity in the country.
A legendary figure, Razee was at the forefront of all political struggles and social and cultural movements unleashed in the country to win democracy, human rights and freedom of expression of the people. He envisioned an egalitarian society based on rule of law, social and economic justice and fair play and became a living symbol of resistance against all forms of exploitation, oppression and repression. He waged a relentless war on all military rules, totalitarian governments and dictatorships both during the pre and post independent Bangladesh.
As an independent member of the then Pakistan National Assembly during 1965 to 1969, Dr. Razee’s powerful voice reverberated across the assembly floor and far beyond – unequivocally pleading the cause of the then East Pakistani Bengalees who were subjected to unjust domination, discrimination and deprivation by the ruling elites of West Pakistan in all walks of life despite East Pakistan being a major contributor to Pakistan economy in terms of export earnings as well as being the more populous wing. His forceful portrayal of the growing disparity between the Bengalees and non-Bengalees and prediction in 1965 that Pakistan could disintegrate along the East and West divide fuelled demands for an independent Bangladesh. This kindled the spark of the liberation war culminating in the emergence of a new state of Bangladesh.
Razee was a leading honorary defence counsel in the historical Agartala Case in 1967 in which the father of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and others were charged with treason against the state of Pakistan. In the face of intimidation and life threats, he defended the accused in a landmark trial that lasted till 1969.
Razee was also a prolific writer who authored several books. His well-documented and carefully researched monumental work, “The Constitutional Glimpses of Martial Law in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh” published posthumously by the University Press Ltd, Dhaka was hailed as a ‘Charter of Freedom for the fledging democracies in the region.
Different voluntary, socio-cultural organizations and educational institutions have chalked out separate programmes to mark the occasion. Discussion meetings on the life and works of Razee are being organised among others by the Shandhani National Eye Donation Society (SNEDS), City Law College, Dhaka, Nagarpur Government College, Nagarpur and Dr. Aleem Al-Razee High School, Lawhati. Tangail. Dr. Aleem-AI-Razee Memorial Council members will lay floral wreaths and offer *fateha” at Razee’s graveyard in Banani in the morning and hold milad mahfil in Razee’s remembrance on the day in his native village.
In a message released to the press, SNEDS president Prof. Dr. AKM Salek and secretary general Dr. Md. Joynal Abedin appealed to the public to come forward and donate eyes posthumously to restore eye sight to over one and a half million blind people in the country by emulating the noble example set by Dr. Razee.
Razee also dedicated his life to promoting humanitarian and social causes. As a leading lawyer, he donated a large part of his income in charity, his village property to the school he founded and his vast private collection of rare and valuable books to the Bangladesh Bar Association library.