Marandi, Father Lucas

Father Lucas Marandi

Marandi, Father Lucas (1922-1971) a Christian priest, martyr in the war of liberation. Lucas Marandi was born on 4 August 1922 at village Beneedwar' in Dinajpur. His father Mathius Marandi was a preacher and his mother was Mariya Kiscu. Lucas Marandi came of the local Santal ethnic group. After nine days of his birth, he was converted to the Christianity as per the rule of theology. His formal education began at Beniduar Mission Primary School. In 1934 he got admitted into Dinajpur Santal Middle School (now St. Philip's Boarding School). Passing Entrance examination, he got admitted into Saint Albert Seminary at South Dinajpur and studied Philosophy there. Later on, he was sent to Italy to study divine perfection and attributes.

On completion of his study he returned home and was appointed as a Bishop at the cathedral of Dinajpur on 1 December 1953. Lucas Marandi also worked as a religious teacher of his Santal community and was made the leader of the Santal people. Lucas Marandi’s first place of work as Bishop was set at Mariampur Mission in Ghoraghat upazila of Dinajpur district. During his missionary work at Mariampur, he tried to establish justice in society by upholding the right of the lower caste. Thereafter, he was assigned to work at St. Philip’s Boarding.

In 1965 Lucas Marandi took interim responsibility of Dinajpur religion state. But due to the Indo-Pak War he faced some difficulties in conducting his missionary work there. He was then appointed a temporary Bishop at Ruhea in Thakurgaon district.

Alongside his missionary work there, Marandi tried to build up expert leadership to develop agriculture. For this purpose he introduced a Boarding School at Ruhea.

With the beginning of the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, the refugees took shelter at Ruhea Missionary. Lucas Marandi tried to arrange for the food and shelter of these displaced people. He began to motivate the indigenous young people to join the liberation war. Besides, he secretly gave treatment and medicine to the wounded freedom fighters.

On 12 April 1971, Father Lucas Marandi left Ruhea border for Gayadanga and Islampur mission with an object of procuring medicine for the freedom fighters. Father Lucas Marandi thought of the miseries of the people of Ruhea and came back to stand beside the Christians there. Returning to the war stricken country he found the people of Ruhea escaping towards the refugee camp of India.

In the meantime Father Marandi received the news that four Catholic Mission centres of Dinajpur were declared abandoned after the military crack down. He was also warned to leave the Ruhea Mission. Father Marandi then decided to leave the country with the people of his missionary. He crossed the Nagor River and reached Indian border with his companions. Afterwards he alone returned to the abandoned Ruhea Missionary.

On 21 April 1971 an army convoy full of armed soldiers appeared in front of the Mission house and four soldiers got down from the car. Father Marandi came out to greet them and entertained them with tea and biscuits. The Pakistani soldiers had a suspicion that freedom fighters might be given shelter in the mission. They searched through the mission campus and then dispersed. But after three hours they came back and took Father Lucas out of the mission, tortured and killed him by bayonet charge.

The martyred Father Lucas Marandi's dead body was brought to Islampur mission in India and was buried there. Lucas Marandi was the first native Bishop of Dinajpur region. A memorial monument was built at Ruhea Mission. A road on the southern quarters of Dinajpur town has been named after Father Lucas Marandi. A football competition is held every year at Beniduar Mission on 21st April in memory of father Lucas Marandi. [Urmee Hossain]