Vol. 5 Num 905 Wed. December 13, 2006  
Star City

Remembering our victory, our freedom fighters

One morning in the second week of April, 1971, a young man woke up and got ready before Fazr payers at his residence at 1/3 Dilu Road. To give the impression that he was still in his bed he covered his side pillow with bedcover and tucked in the mosquito net. Because, he needed enough time to get out of the city in case his parents start looking for him.

The young man did not dare to inform his parents that he is going to the battlefield with the dream to make his country free from the invading Pakistani army. He feared that his parents might not allow their only living son to go to the battlefield.

Leaving a small note saying where he was going, the young man left home to join the Liberation War.

This is how Habibul Alam started his journey to become a freedom fighter. Later, he was awarded Bir Pratik, for his gallantry and contributions to the war.

First he rushed to Motinagar, the headquarters of sector-2, which included the capital.

His father Hafizul Alam would not refrain his son from joining the war if he had an inkling of his intentions. Hafizul also had great contributions to the Liberation War.

His Dilu Road house is a part of history. It was strategically a very important shelter for the freedom fighters. He gladly agreed when freedom fighters requested for his help.

Hafizul built an underground storage for keeping arms, ammunition and explosives. The hatch of the ammunition dump was made in such a way that one had to remove the cooking oven before entering the underground storage facility.

He even allowed the freedom fighters to use his 'Triumph Herald' car for transportation. He himself drove the freedom fighters in his car from Dhaka to Narayanganj immediately after the first operation- "Hotel Intercontinental- Hit and Run"- by the guerrillas in early June.

As the war progressed, the freedom fighters became regular visitor to the shelter where many them stayed overnight.

All the family members including three daughters of Hafizul helped the freedom fighters by all means. The three sisters -- Asma, Reshma and Shahnaz -- learned how to clean the barrels of guns and reload the empty magazines.

They became accustomed to all weapons and explosives. It became their regular routine job, after every operation, to clean the weapons and store them inside the underground storage.

The three sisters looked after the injured freedom fighters who took shelter at their home. They cleaned wounds and applied the dressing of the wounded freedom fighters.

Habibul entered Dhaka in May 1971 after training and stayed in the city up to August. Within this time he with other freedom fighters carried out a number of guerrilla operations in Dhaka and its outskirt that inflicted huge casualties on the invading Pakistani forces.

To name some of the successful guerrilla operations are "operation petrol pump," "operation five power substations," "operation Farmgate check point" and many more.

Looking back to 1971, the Liberation War hero now feels pity as one of the three dreams of the freedom fighters remained unfulfilled.

"We fought with three goals--to get the Pakistan army out of our country, making the motherland independent and building a better Bangladesh. The first two jobs are done successfully. The third one remained unsuccessful."

Habibul believes this is the failure of the political leadership in the country.

"None of the two top political parties practise democracy in the party framework. In the name of democracy they practise hypocrisy. Then how will they uphold democracy in the country?"

He expressed his dismay over the matter that the supreme sacrifice of the nation is now used to built up the family tree only.

"BNP is trying to establish Ziaur Rahman's supremacy over Bangabandhu while Awami League considers 'Joy Bangla' as their party property," he said.

He considers the distortion of the history a crime and feels pity to see the young minds of the country are taught wrong history.

"The history in the text book reflects what the ruling party wants. Students who studies during tenure of BNP learn one history while during the Awami League tenure it is something else. Thus we are dividing the nation," sighed Alam.

"People who write and approve such history are committing a crime and all of them should be hanged," he added.

(Reference: Brave of Heart by Habibul Alam, Bir Pratik and interview with the freedom fighter)
Habibul's house at Dilu Road, where many freedom fighters fighting in Dhaka took shelter during the Liberation War. Inset: Bir Pratik Habibul Alam. PHOTO: STAR