No man can accept death naturally. Again, if it is the premature dropout of talented young people. This death is more painful, more difficult. Like heartbreak.
The Jagannath Hall incident of Dhaka University on October 15, 1985 is a day of heartbreaking tragedy in world history. Hundreds of students and some guests came eagerly to the TV room of the then Parishad Bhavan to watch the very popular drama ‘Shuktara’. All eyes are on the TV screen. The rain is pouring down from the sky and the wind is blowing with great speed. Around 9 pm suddenly the roof of the TV room collapsed. The air became heavy with the cries and cries of many people. It’s dark all around. In this darkness, the screams of the wounded shook the air. Hearing the screams of Bachao Bachao, everyone nearby became alarmed. Blood mixes with rainwater. 34 freshmen died on the spot. Later, a total of 40 people including six others died tragically.
The news of the very heartbreaking accident spread all over Dhaka city within moments. This news started to be discussed all over the country through radio and television announcements. The students-officers-employees staying in the hall participated in the rescue operation in the condition they were in. University administration Vice-Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, teachers, students of other halls, officials and general public of the city came forward wholeheartedly for help irrespective of caste-caste-religion-group-community. When he came to the scene, he was confused, but he got courage and became the rescuer. People from the city center including Dhaka University came forward with all their strength to help in the rescue work. Ambulances, rickshaws, vans, taxis were used to rescue the students and take them to different hospitals. People from Dhaka and the surrounding areas started rushing towards the Jagannath Hall, as if the lamentation of the mourning procession was floating everywhere.
People from all walks of life, from day laborers, hawkers, rickshaw pullers, stood beside the students in grief. They help to save the wounded with blood, money, labour, time and service. On that day people from all walks of life irrespective of caste-religion-caste stand in long queues to donate blood. There is a competition to see who can give blood first. As the priests of the temple have come, imams, fathers, priests have come and extended their helping hands. Students from other halls also went to the hospital and nursed the injured. Medicine vendors in the city provided medicines free of cost. Basically, on that day, who belonged to which caste, who belonged to which group, who belonged to which nation, did not even think about this matter. People for people, that day proved in reality that everyone joined together irrespective of caste-religion-caste.
Chandidas said, ‘Man is above all, truth is not above him’ – the meaning of this saying was noted that day. On that day, as many people were bound by blood, they also set a rare example of humanity by taking on the role of relatives next to the lost people. As the Acharya of the then President University expressed deep grief, the people sleeping under the open sky also participated in the rescue operation. The Cabinet Division announced three days of state mourning. The University Syndicate held an emergency meeting and declared the University closed for seven days. Later, the injured were given jobs and scholarships to provide permanent solutions. On that day, a volunteer force was formed consisting of teachers-students-officials-employees. In this way, the manifestation of humanity is the education of non-sectarian Bangladesh of that day.