Sadly, in 2008 Rashid Talukder's wife Halima passed away. This family tragedy led to a period of sadness for Rashid Talukder, as is expected following the loss of a loved one.
In 2011 Rashid Talukder visited his elder daughter Shahana Rashid Chowdhury in USA and returned on 6 September 2011. However, five days later, on 11 September 2011 he suffered a brain haemorrhage and underwent surgery on that very same day at Square Hospital, one of Bangladesh's leading and advanced hospital. After 7 days, he was taken back to his Bashabo residence.
Following the operation, he started behaving unusually. He could not often recognise the family members and abused them.
As his condition deteriorated on 14 October 2011, he was taken to Ibn Sina Hospital and on 18 October 2011 back to Square Hospital. Since then, he remained in life support machine and sadly a week later, on 25 October 2011, a day after his 72nd birthday, Rashid Talukder passed away.
As I cried out 'Baba, Baba', he trembled a bit, giving us a hint that he felt our presence.
Yesterday [24 October 2011] was his birthday. When I was beside my father, he lifted his left hand a little but could not speak. A few teardrops were rolling down his cheeks. This was the last sign of life that I saw in him.
Survived by two daughters and a son, the valiant freedom fighter breathed his last at 6:25pm at Square Hospital in the city.
The following morning his body was taken back to his home and the first namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) was held in front of his house around 9.30 am. Later on, around 11 am, his body was taken to the Shaheed Minar (Martyr's Memorial), Bangladesh's national memorial commemorating the sacrifice of the Bhasha Andolon shaheed (Language Movement martyrs) of 1952, for people to pay their final respect. The coffin was shrouded with wreaths from bereaved public. In an act of ultimate respect, photojournalists gathered in drove and lay their cameras round the coffin of Rashid Talukder as a symbolic gesture of their admiration, respect, and love for Bangladesh's greatest photographer. They also plead to the government to collect the vast photographs of the eminent photographer and document them by bringing it out as publication.
A second namaz-e-janaza was held at the Jatiyo (National) Press Club around 12 pm. Ministers, political leaders, journalists, cultural personalities, former student leaders, and representatives of different professional bodies attended the janaza. Rashid Talukder was accorded a guard of honour as a mark of respect by police contingent with trumpet playing sad tunes.
Please pray for my father so that he can rest in peace.
Finally, in accordance with his last wishes, Rashid Talukder was buried beside his wife at Azimpur graveyard in Dhaka after Zuhr prayers.
His death was condoled both by President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina whose father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the subject of many of Rashid Talukder's historic photos. They expressed deep shock at his death, prayed for the salvation of his departed soul and conveyed their sympathies to the bereaved family members. Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad also expressed his sadness and said the country had lost its best photographer and photojournalist.
President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed their profound shock at the death of Rashid Talukder.
In a message of condolence, the President said the country has lost a talented and dedicated photojournalist at the death of Rashid Talukder.
In another message, the prime minister said the country has lost a living witness of the country's movements before the War of Liberation and post independence periods.
She recalled the association of Rashid Talukder with the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and said he was a treasure of many rare pictures of Bangabandhu.
Amid love and tears of people, Rashid Talukder, one of the most acclaimed photojournalists in the country, was laid to eternal rest with state honour at Azimpur graveyard in the city yesterday. Silence settled over friends, colleagues, family members, and hundreds of well-wishers as he was buried around 1:30 pm near the tomb of his wife Halima Rashid who died in 2008.
Earlier, his body was taken to the Central Shaheed Minar where he left countless footsteps to cover different national events. His coffin was kept open on a makeshift table by Sammilito Sangskritik Jote.
Wreath on behalf of prime minister was placed on the coffin. Leaders of the ruling Awami League including Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Matia Chowdhury, and Syed Ashraful Islam, and other political parties, freedom fighters, cultural activists, representatives of different socio-cultural organisations and people from all strata of the society paid their last tribute to the valiant war hero with flowers.
Photojournalists of almost all media paid a unique respect to the icon by putting their cameras in a circle around the coffin. Their faces etched with grief, all stood in silence.
Different political, social, and cultural organisations expressed deep condolence at the death of eminent photojournalist Rashid Talukder in separate press releases.
President and General Secretary of Bangladesher Workers Party said the outstanding contributions of Rashid Talukder in the liberation war and all democratic movements against autocracy will be remembered forever.
Leaders of Jatiya Gonotantrik League said Rashid Talukder presented the history of liberation war through his outstanding pictures. He will be remembered forever for his contribution in journalism, they added.
Bangladesh Nari Mukti Andolon, Bangladesh Jubo Maitri, Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh, Bangla Academy, and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Associations (BGMEA), and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad also expressed deep condolence at his death.
© Londoni Worldwide Limited