Haider Anwar Khan Juno no more

Noted freedom fighter and one of the most prominent communist leaders Haider Anwar Khan Juno died today at a Dhaka hospital. He was 75.

“Haider Anwar Khan Juno died at 1:25pm at Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital,” Monjur Moin, a leader of Communist Party of Bangladesh, told The Daily Star.

Haider Anwar, younger brother of presidium member of CPB, Haider Akbar Khan Rono, left behind his wife, a son and a daughter.

He had been suffering from different old age-related complications.

He was admitted, in late September, at Square Hospital as he was suffering from pneumonia when he had a heart attack.

He also had other health complications including kidney disease.

Haider Anwar Khan Juno was born on December 29, 1944, in Kolkata.

His father Hatem Ali Khan was an engineer. He was the grandson of Syed Nausher Ali, a politician of prominence in British India.

Haider attended St. Gregory’s School in Dhaka and completed his higher secondary education from Notre Dame College.

He enrolled in the Department of Theoretical Physics in the University of Dhaka, from where he attained honours and masters degrees with first class.

A member of the East Pakistan Students’ Union, the student wing of the East Pakistan Communist Party (EPCP) (undivided), he was imprisoned for his participation in the 1962 Education Movement against the anti-people education policy proposed by the notorious Sharif Education Commission, which was appointed by the autocratic regime of Field Marshal Ayub Khan, then President of Pakistan.

In 1966, Haider Anwar Khan Juno became the Vice President of the East Pakistan Student Union (Menon), the student wing of the pro-Peking EPCP (M-L).

In 1969, the Biplobi Chhatra Union (Revolutionary Student Union) was formed, and he was its founding President.

He was one of the key organisers of the 1969 mass uprising against the autocratic regime that forced Ayub Khan down from power.

Haider Anwar Khan Juno was in the leadership of the cultural organisation Kranti, which operated among workers and peasants in the rural and industrial areas.

He was in the central body of the Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries of East Bengal, the pro-Peking party, which was one of the communist organisations waging guerrilla warfare against the Pakistani armed forces in the 1971 Liberation War.

In Shibpur of Narsingdi, a district in eastern Bangladesh, Haider Anwar Khan Juno and his comrades organised their guerrilla base, and confronted the Pakistani army.

He himself took part in at least five frontal military actions, in all of which the Pakistani forces had to retreat.

During the nine months of the Liberation War, Shibpur stood liberated as the Pakistani forces could not manage to enter the area. Haider was the Second-in-Command of the guerrilla force.

After liberation, as the Co-ordination Committee reorganised itself as the Leninist Communist Party, which operated through its legal front United People’s Party, he was a member of the central body of both the organisations.

Later, retiring from party politics, he became fully active in the cultural front.

He was the President of the Gono Shangskriti Front (People’s Cultural Front), a platform of people’s cultural organisations following anti-revisionist politics. He was also the general secretary of the Bangladesh-Cuba Solidarity Committee.

He had authored several books.

In 1975, he authored a two-part book on physics for undergraduate students in Bangla.

“Ekattorer Ronangon: Shibpur” is a recollection of his involvement in the guerrilla warfare waged during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

“Agun Jhora Shei Dingulo” is his autobiographical sketch. His work of fiction, a novel, is “Shomoy Duhshomoy”.