Haider Anwar Khan Juno, one of the most prominent communists and cultural organizers of Bangladesh, is now in life support in a Dhaka hospital.
Juno, 75, was suffering from pneumonia when he countered a heart attack. He has also been suffering from several other health complications including kidney disease.
Haider Juno is the younger brother of communist leader Haider Akbar Khan Rano, a presidium member of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB). Juno was born on December 29, 1944, in Kolkata, then under British India.
Hatem Ali Khan, their father, was an engineer. They are the grandsons of Syed Nausher Ali, a politician of prominence in the British India.
Haider Juno attended school at St. Gregory’s School in Dhaka and completed his higher secondary from the Notre Dame College. He enrolled in the Department of Theoretical Physics in the University of Dhaka, from where he attained Honours and Master’s degrees with first class.
A member of the East Pakistan Students’ Union, the student wing of the East Pakistan Communist Party (EPCP) (undivided), Juno 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 the Pakistan.
In 1966, 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 Juno was its founding-President.
He was one of key organizers of the 1969 mass uprising against the Ayub regime that forced Ayub down from power.
Juno was in the leadership of the cultural organization 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 organizations waging guerilla warfare against the Pakistani armed forces in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
In Shibpur of Narshingdi, a district in eastern Bangladesh, Haider Juno and his comrades organized their guerilla base, and confronted the Pakistani Army. Juno 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 Juno was the Second-in-Command of the guerrilla force.
After the liberation, as the Co-ordination Committee reorganized itself as the Leninist Communist Party, which operated through its legal front United People’s Party; Juno was a member of the central body of both the organizations.
Later, retiring from active Party politics, he became fully active in the cultural front. He was the President of the Gono Shangshkriti Front (People’s Cultural Front), a platform of people’s cultural organizations following anti-revisionist politics. He was also the general secretary of the Bangladesh-Cuba Solidarity Committee.
Juno has authored several books. In 1975, he authored a two-part book on Physics for undergraduate student in Baanglaa, which is the first book of such kind in Bengali language. Ekattorer Ronangon: Shibpur (Shibpur: A Theatre of War ’71) is a recollection of his involvement in the guerilla war waged during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. Aagun Jhoraa Shei Dingulo (Those Days of Fire) is his autobiographical sketch. His work of fiction, a novel, is Shomoy Duhshomoy (Time and Hostile Times).
Omar Raad Chowdhury is a post-graduate student of the University of Dhaka.