Avijit Roy (1971-2015) was a voice of reason in an age when people boast of their ignorance and lies are claimed as alternatives to universal truths. A software engineer by profession and a writer by avocation, Avijit Roy was a leading Bangladeshi-American human rights activist, author and a pioneer in Bengali free-thought movement.
In his short span of life, Avijit wrote ten books, numerous blog posts and opinion columns in leading newspapers. From literature to politics, from the theory of evolution to cosmology; covering a broad range of topics, Avijit established himself as a polymath. But indisputably his most significant accomplishment would be the investigative book he wrote on Homosexuality, the first book in Bengali literature on this controversial topic that conclusively debunked the misconceptions and taboos regarding Homosexuality. As of today, the book plays a vital role as a source of inspiration in the Bangladeshi LGBT community’s struggle for equality and justice.
Avijit became a prime target for the Islamist militants who wanted to silence the movement he started by targeting its spearhead. His latest visit to Bangladesh turned out to be his last one. On February the 26th, 2015 Avijit alongside his wife Bonya were brutally attacked on their way back to their Dhaka residence by assailants armed with machetes. Avijit lost his life, Bonya suffered serious injuries.
Avijit knew the high stakes of his dangerous endeavour. He once wrote,
Those who believe victory is earned without sacrifice live in a fool’s paradise. The moment we began writing about religious fundamentalism, we knowingly endangered our lives.
Avijit made the ultimate sacrifice to prove the point he made. Avijit’s legacy still remains; Mukto-Mona continues to thrive despite more tragic losses of other Mukto-Mona bloggers in a similar fashion. And the ideas cherished by Avijit and his fellow fallen comrades continue to inspire a new generation of Bengali youth.
On the third anniversary of the assassination of Avijit Roy, the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced the creation of an annual award in his name.
Avijit Roy memorial website: https://avijitroy.info/en/life-work/biography/
Avijit Roy Award: https://ffrf.org/outreach/awards/avijit-roy-courage-award