Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 42, Tuesday, March 23, 2004

















Rekindling the passion

THE events of 1971 are looked as dark days in the history of our country. This common melancholy emotion flourishes amongst most of us Bangalis, a feeling that has been going on for decades. However, why don't we keep our heads high and celebrate the occasion with respect towards those who gave their lives for the best of our nation?

It is this spirit that is forgotten by most of us Bangalis. Our earlier generations put their lives on the plate to gain independence, an accolade that is now enshrined in our culture and tradition. 'Ami Bangali' are words commonly used by us. Independence is something that has enabled us to say this with pride. However, we can't forget that we owe this to the endless dedication and bravery of thousands of people who went into the firing line just to fight for that accolade. Let's not forget that the spirit of 1971 is something that is an essential part of our culture.

Political unrest, lack of economic stability and an unplanned infrastructure are just a few things incorporated with our country. Even though I haven't seen the war of independence in my own eyes, I am sure that these were not the things our forefathers fought for. We are all capable of making a difference to this country we are dwelling in, so lets all get together and make this country the way our freedom fighters had wanted it to be. Every one of us should be proud to be a Bangali and part of such a rich tradition, so lets not disappoint.

In another way, our Muktijudho was a fight for democracy and basic human rights. Bangabandhu had rightfully won 167 seats out of a total of 300 in the National Assembly election, something that would not be accepted by Pakistani rulers. Basic human rights are something that are far becoming scarce in Bangladesh. Security for the people of our nation seems like it never even existed, with political and non-political killings found in the papers almost everyday. If we fought against indiscriminate killings and abuse of Bangladeshis in 1971, then what good has it brought us after all these years? Why have our earlier generations given their lives if our country ends up like this?

There is still time to make a change. We cannot let all the blood of our muktijudha's go in vain. These people fought against repression of people from a different country, who came in and engaged themselves in inhumane acts. They won our whole generation independence, and here we are disappointing them. Let's fight for our rights and make our country a much more stable one, one that would make our earlier generations proud.

From a different perspective it seems that our country has been in a confused state for quite a lot of years. We have even had our history changed in textbooks to suite each government, something that is totally unacceptable. Our heritage has been played with and at the end of the day it seems that we are all confused over the people who are responsible for our independence. "We have no role model or standing figure. When it comes to development of a new country, a central figure is needed at all costs. Bangabandhu was there but he was assassinated, this left us with no one to look to and say that we were in the right hands. We were in total disarray," says another freedom fighter. This viewpoint is agreed by a lot of different people and said to be one of the reasons behind the current state of the country.

The eminent artist and co-founder of Charushilpi Shangram Parishad, Quayum Chowdhury, says "Before the war everyone didn't know how much blood was needed to be sacrificed. However, there was a passion amongst everyone mainly substantiating from a vision of great times to come after independence." It is these great times that we currently live in, and let us all make use of such a platform that has been created by our earlier generations.

Quayum also adds, "After the liberation war a lot had changed. Starting from cultural programmes to the whole vision of paintings, all our artists decided to turn over a new leaf. It was the start of a new era and all of us together changed the whole complexion of art in this region."

Nonetheless, these revolutionary changes were not followed in the rest of our country. Unplanned developments went on in Dhaka city itself and this has ended up in creating chaotic situations which are faced even today. Our regular lives have been hampered nowadays due to this lack of planning in the past but this is definitely not the end of the line, there must be better times to come.

According to different individuals who worked in the post-war scenario, when the country embarked on its long road to development, instead of helping the people, certain individuals were looting their own resources. This created havoc and resulted in the loss of a lot of resources. This may have been another reason for the hampered growth of our economy.

"Great things are achieved through great sacrifices"

(Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman used these words when giving an autograph to a young girl. At present the note is on display at the Muktijodha Jaadughor. )

It is this spirit that should re-live in our veins and motivate us into creating a Bangladesh that shall stand out in the world. We have had enough sacrifices in the past, but lets not forget that there is a lot more to be done. Lets all get together and help re-build a country that has such an illustrious and passionate past.

By Mishel Ali Khan

Muktijuddho Jaadughar

revealing history to the people

THE War of Independence, it is our pride, our source of dignity. It is one profound memory that will last forever. How many of us actually know about the episode of horror that befell upon us in 1971, or the incidents that took place during the years of struggle before that? Do we really know the faces that contributed in achieving our beloved country? It is with discontent that we notice that yesterdays are becoming vague among the young minds of today. They are in a confused state already and there is a possibility that within the course of time it will completely fade away from their minds.

Muktijuddho Jaadughar, one fine effort that attempts to reveal the times gone by. Reveal the memory that we have left behind. To revisit those days, this place can play a very significant role. To commemorate the Independence Day, let us have a tour around the museum.

The entrance ticket is only Tk3. The museum has six galleries chronologically following the events. Gallery One has a brief description of our heritage starting from the earliest periods. This gallery exhibits models of archaeological monuments such as Paharpur Monastery, Kantoji Mondir or Shaat Gambooj masque. Depiction of British rule and the surge against them followed the heritage section. In gallery two, one will find the histories of Pakistan rule, beginning from the formation of Pakistan up to the National Assembly election of 1970.

Gallery three started with the historic 7th March speech of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Photographs of different events, paper cutting from daily newspapers circulated during that period illustrates the vastness of the war. Gallery four exhibits objects used by extraordinary individuals who were killed by the Pakistani army. Gallery five portrays mass people's contribution in the war. The last gallery with its display of pictures and objects is a heartbreaking depiction of the sacrifices, the massacre at the last moment by the cowardly accomplices of Pakistani government.

There is an open-air stage inside, which is the only income source of the museum. Beside the stage is a decent refreshment facility. The café
serves snacks and drinks. The museum also has a souvenir shop where one will find books on the war of independence, posters and photographs.

When the campaign for such a museum was going on during the formation period, families of Shahid Muktijoddhas came forward with whatever bits and pieces of the past they had in their collection. The museum authority collected paper cuttings, photographs and documents from different sources.

The museum authorities told us that they currently have a number of 10, 711 items in their possession. A limited number is being exhibited in the galleries. It is very difficult to exhibit all of them because of space constraints. Museum is currently occupying a rented building at 5, Shegunbagicha, which is very inadequate they added. "Museum authority wishes to buy a land to construct their own building", told Dr. Sarwar Ali, Trustee and Member Secretary of the museum. The process is on the way right now. In January-March last year the museum introduced a lottery program. Money collected by this program will be used in this purpose. Government has a special grant for the museum and members are contributing as well. "Yet financial status is not that pleasant", informed Dr. Ali.

Muktijuddho Jadughar is urging for people's help. If anyone wishes to come forward, their contact number is 9559091 or e-mail mukti@citechco.net. Museum is open Monday to Friday, from 10am till 6pm.

By Shahnaz Parveen














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