Remembering Musa Mia's Birthday

Language Movement Activist Musa Mia: An Epitome Of Ethics

An illustration of Language Movement Activist Md. Zahid Hossain Musa Mia || Artist: Mamun Hossain

An illustration of Language Movement Activist Md. Zahid Hossain Musa Mia || Artist: Mamun Hossain

From the Beginning
The Bengal region was a major center of the anti-British Movement in the early 19th century. Then student politics added a new dimension to the politics of Bengal. At the beginning of this period, student politics took an institutional form through the revolutionary movement, the Swadeshi movement, and the non-cooperation movement; But it cannot be said that there was no student politics before this.

Although an intellectual response to Western education, the Young Bengal of the time was a student movement. The youth of this party were against the conventional norms, now this type of thing is also called reformist. The reality is that participation in politics at that time was wrong. After many ups and downs, we came to the first half of the 20th century.

In November 1918, World War I had just ended. The very next month in December, Saugat from Calcutta, edited by Mohammad Nasiruddin, was published for the first time. The newspaper was in operation from March-April 1921. At this time, the reputation of Nazrul Islam's poetry was widespread. Then there was the movement of the thirties to get out of the old poetic circle. A new horizon of Bengali poetry was opened at this time. At that time there were various movements in East Bengal. Netaji Subhash Bose's arrival should further strengthen the movement.

In the Year of 1932
On February 2, A child was born in Paikpara village of Kaliganj, Jhenaidah sub-division (now district) of Jessore district of British-ruled Bengal. The name of the newly born child is Md. Zahid Hossain Musa Mia. His mother's name is Zabeda Khatun and his father's name is Latif Mia. Father was an elite Muslim landlord. At that time, people of this family had special social influence and prestige in the region including Jhenaidah. It is known that at that time people of this family used to travel by horse.

Childhood Days
Little Musa was very humble and sociable. He was more interested in learning everything. He learned to love nature from childhood. He spends his childhood in the care of his parents. Being the son of an elite Muslim family, the family rules, principles, and ideals from his childhood made him form an excellent mind. He imbibed a strong habit of showing respect to people, being responsible towards the country, and loving people in that childhood. And in this childhood, he was attracted to social thought. Since then he had seen politicians of leftist ideology. It is said that he is growing up watching this type of politician. As a result, he felt a pull towards them in his childhood.

Love for Cultural Aspects
The boy who formed that ideal mind later became the organizer of the 52nd language movement in Greater Jessore and a politician and well-known figure in the southwestern region of the country. Language Movement activist Md Zahid Hossain Musa Mia was locally known to everyone as Musa Mia.

Born in British India, this man grew up in a political atmosphere from his student days and became active in politics himself at one point. His educational career began at Wazir Ali Junior Madrasah in Jhenaidah. After that, he joined the English High School near his home, from where he passed his matriculation in 1950. As a schoolboy, Musa Mia joined socially responsible organizations like scouting. Through scouting, he took himself a step further towards social service and to fulfill his duty as a true human being towards the needy. Apart from this, he was also involved in local cultural activities. Then he played the titular character in the play Siraj-ud-Daula. The boy Zahid Hossain Musa continued to act regularly in plays staged for children at that time. He loved to sing. Especially patriotic songs were the center of his special attraction.

Organization and Literature
After passing his matriculation, he was admitted to the then Jagannath College (now Jagannath University) in Dhaka; But young Zahid Hossain Musa did not like life in Dhaka. As a result, he left Dhaka and returned to his home. Later admitted to Jessore MM College, But it is seen that he is not interested in institutional education. A strong inclination towards literature-culture and politics can be seen in his activities. He loved poetry and music. He now concentrates on writing poems and songs. He could recite well. His singing voice was also melodious. During this time he joined 'Jesore Sahitya Sangathan' and was an organizer of a literary magazine called 'Dishari'. This man devoted to poetry has published only one book of poetry. The title of the book is 'Onek Derite (Too Late)'.

After 1947
As a child, he was fascinated by the scenic beauty of the rural countryside. From his youth, he became a fan of Kabigan, Palagan, and Jatrapala. Growing up in a folk cultural environment, his life was full of childish simplicity. Yet that little Musa Mia became the messenger of the resurgence of patriotism.

He is the pioneer of the progressive trend in Jhenaidah politics after 47. The strong tidal wave of the anti-British movement and leftist politics of the time also hit Jhenaidh, the then-Mafswal town. Language soldier Zahid Hossain Musa's vow of political and cultural movement is from there. For political reasons, from this time he began to associate with elite politicians of the subcontinent.

At a young age, he took the lead in the strong tide of language movement as an organizer of Jessore. Became a linguist. While reminiscing about the language movement, he described in one of his essays, "Some impressions of the Dhaka-centric language struggle were also felt in this region at that time. The workers of all the organizations used to hold marches and meetings about it. Alamgir Siddiqui, Afshar Siddiqui etc. were very active then. Alamgir Siddiqui was a very good organizer. The Communist Party was particularly enthusiastic about these activities.''

Language Movement in Jhenaidah
Then the responsibility fell on young Musa Mia to carry forward the organizational activities of the language movement in Jhenaidah. He was a college student and propaganda secretary of the Jessore district branch of the East Pakistan Muslim Chhatra League. Meanwhile, the movement-oriented students kept counting the days in anticipation of Musa Mia's arrival in Jhenaidah. No work was progressing properly as Musa Mia did not come. No rally meeting, no mass signature collection, and no postering work. As a result, he moved to his hometown Jhenaidah. After Musa Mia arrived in Jhenaidah, a committee was formed under his leadership. Language movement heats up in Jhenaidah. At that time, Jhenaidah High English School Headmaster Murari Mohan Ghoshal and senior assistant teacher Golam Mostafa secretly informed the local student leaders that a nationwide strike had been called on February 21 for the demand of the Bengali language. Musa Mia, a college student, formed a committee called All-Party Student Struggle Parishad. Golzar Hossain became the president of that committee and Anwar Zahid (who later became a minister) became the general secretary. Abdul Latif and Amir Hossain Malitha were also on the committee. Malitha was made publicity secretary. Jhenaidah was agitated before the formation of the committee and the hartal of 21 February. Many including  Jhenaidah High English School Headmaster Murari Mohan Ghoshal, Assistant Golam Mostafa, Shri Pannagbhushan Majumder, Maqbul Hossain, Debendranath Pandit, Non-Politicians Alauddin alias Ala Mia, Naeem Uddin Ahmed, Kabiraj Nripendra Nath Sen, Dwarak Nath Pandit, Babu Devengupta had shown solidarity in this movement.

How Musa Mia worked as an organizer of the language movement in his hometown Jhenaidah and Jessore can be found in his writings, ''Student politics in Jhenaidah was not very messy at that time. It was strong in Jessore. Being associated with the student organization in Jessore and living in Jhenaidah, the main responsibility of organizing the students in the sub-district town was entrusted to me. At that time the tiring journey from Jessore to Jhenaidah for organization work did not seem like a hardship at all; Rather, I would have been thrilled to see this journey as part of the struggle for ideals. But we used to work with some enthusiastic youth from Jhenaidah at that time. Among them, Tipu (Anwar Zahid), Haider, Deepu (Noore Alam Siddiqui), Manju, Ameer, Tulu, Tofajzel, and Abdul Haque - are particularly memorable. Many others came forward. I used to do all the activities with them in the language movement. At that time, the remarkable activity of the language movement in a poor town like Jhenaidah, initiated by a group of young school-goers, was remarkable.''

''We used to put up handwritten posters. I used to buy a vial of alta (red dye; Bengali women traditionally adorn their hands and feet with it) for five and a half annas. I used to put cotton on a stick and write posters with that stick. I used to do these things while sitting in the hostel of MM College because many teachers had silent support for the language-centric movement. And what little money was needed for such work, we spent it ourselves. Students used to come to rallies and meetings according to their interests. It was not a matter of forcing anyone. And there was no police harassment. We have done many things freely.''

Social Service, Patriotism, and Idealistic Politics
Musa Mia, who was politically conscious since childhood, was inspired by the ideals of patriotism. That is why he was progressive, brave, and steadfast in all the needs of the country. He was directly involved in the election of the United Front. Later he was also active in the anti-authoritarian Ayub movements such as the student movement of 62, 6 points, and the mass uprising of 69. Many national politicians visited his ancestral home in Jhenaidah and Narikelbaria since the beginning of Bangladesh's independence movement during the Pakistan period. He also had a good relationship with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Public leader Maulana Bhasani visited Jhenaidah several times and stayed at his house. He was very close to Maulana Bhasani.

In his political life, Md. Zahid Hossain Musa served as the general secretary of the former Jhenaidah subdivision (now district) Awami League from 1952-57. He then joined the National Awami Party. He was also a candidate in the national parliament election in 1973 when he was the president of the Jhenaidah subdivision NAP under the instructions of Maulana Bhasani.

After that, he involved himself in social service activities. In 2009, a social service organization named Zahedee Foundation started its journey under the leadership of language movement activist Md. Zahid Hossain Musa, through which Various institutions are being run in the food, education, and health sectors for women, children, and the needy. Apart from this, he was the advisor of the weekly 'Shampratik Deshkal' newspaper. 

On November 17, 2020, this veteran language movement activist breathed his last in Dhaka. A minute's silence was observed on January 18, 2021, in Jatiya Sangsad by raising a condolence motion in the name of Language movement activist Musa Mia as a tribute to his various social and service contributions and active role in the language movement. Apart from this, an important road in Jhenaidah municipality was named 'Language Movement Activist Musa Mia Road' in tribute to his working life and contribution. We pay our respects to his departed soul.

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