How to hunt a Razakar?
One of the broken records that anti-liberation forces play is that people of Bangladesh have not been demanding their punishment, that these are sporadic calls by a section of the media, a feeble whimper of politicians, and a drama by international conspirators...
The fact is that the demand for their punishment has sustained the test of time.
This week please allow me to reprint hu-bu-hu a Chintito published in this column on 16 August 1996; that's eleven years back. And one could go all the way back to 1971. I rest my case.
The following article can also be found in the book Chintito: A 'stir' is born, published by The Daily Star, 2006.
If any well-meaning word in any language has been disgraced because of the heinous acts of a group of devils in the guise of man, it is the expression Razakar. In 1971, these Bengali-speaking Pakistanis picked up arms against their co-linguals, harassed families of Muktijodhhas, killed unarmed civilians, raped the very essence of my Sonar Bangla. They were a cowardly lot, operating in the darkness of the night, attacking the helpless mother and sisters of freedom fighters, unleashing their poltroonery (antonym of chivalry, courage, etc.) on the academics and the intelligentsia, and trying to extricate the very foundation of a Bengali nation.
From 16 December 1971, Razakars have intermingled with the populace for fear of their lives.
The spirit of the Bangali nation soar in response to Bangabandhu's call to resist the occupiers. The nation plunges into a determined war of liberation.
From early 1972 the Razakars have misunderstood the magnanimity of Bangabandhu's government whose general amnesty was also aimed at putting an end to the amoral designs of certain quarters attempting to use the post-liberation circumstances to seek personal vendetta.
Twenty-five years later, the Razakars are still masquerading as Bangladeshis, the concept of which they have never grasped; acceptance is further down the stream.
It can indeed be a demanding task to identify a Razakar. Of course, the precondition for such a search is that one must himself (or herself) not be one of them. Now look on.
The difficulty is that they dress almost like us, eat like us, and walk like us. They even talk like us. But, as a Razakar-hunter you must look out for the finer points in the way they eat, dress, walk and talk.
Your first mistake will be to go for people with beards. Some Razakars are so clean-shaven that any number of French Eau De Toilette companies may show interest in them. With an apology to William Shakespeare, even an Indian razor company or two may want to use 'their stubble land at harvest home'.
They can be most conspicuous at the dining table. If you offer them fish and camel-meat, chances are they will go for the latter. Washing hands in the chilomchee (aluminium pan) before and after a meal is one of their trademarks.
Keep an eye on people while they are walking. If someone speeds up his pace while passing a Shaheed Minar, offer him camel-meat. If he accepts the tall dish with a shukryah, start up a conversation.
Language usually gives them away. If you hear anybody taking the takleef to put in a khairyat while inquiring the sahi-salamat of his brethren, that's the one you are looking for. Also, watch out for someone Abbajaaning his dad.
If you find someone doing idhar se udhar and taking tashreef off and on, trail him and, at the opportune moment, give him a lyang (stumble). You will never regret it. If your flattened bidesh-vashee then utters 'Orey Babaago-Maago', you've tracked another of those horrendous creatures. For, in pain, even a Razakar speaks in his native tongue.
Their comments with regard to the trial of Bangabandhu's killers usually uncover their mask. While praising the Israelis for hunting down Nazi criminals fifty years after the holocaust, the Razakars don't see any point in bringing up the issue after twenty-one years.
Many of them support the Pakistan cricket team but this 'test' may not be foolproof. Over the last two decades, the role of school textbooks is to a great extent responsible for this derogation. If the child is not told that the then West Pakistanis, cajoled by their Eastern ummah, drained Bangladesh of its resources in the period 1947-71, that the same Pakistani junta unleashed a reign of tyranny on innocent Bangalees in 1971 and before for standing up for self-emancipation and the right to speak in Bangla, that the Pakistani Army executed in Bangladesh the worst genocide on mankind, and if the creation of Bangladesh is a large jig-saw puzzle with the major pieces missing, why blame the child if he thinks shatru pakhya came from Timbuktu?
The newspaper test is a fairly effective one. Persons subscribing to dailies and periodicals, which don't use the word Bangabandhu, or where Bijoy Dibash is the second lead, should be trailed for further confirmation. If such a reader is visibly irritated by the numbers ekushey, chabbishey, sholoi, etc, he has failed the numbers test.
Nowadays I use the BTV test. Watch his feet. If it shifts every time the Jatyo Smriti Shoudho is shown, keep on watching. If he picks his nose violently whenever the newscaster utters Muktijodhha, you are zeroing in on him. If he gets up as soon as Rakto diye naam likhechee Bangladesher naam ... comes up on the screen, nab him.
But, perhaps we are no less a Razakar than the gun-toting enemies of the Bengali people; for to this day we have failed to bring to justice the self-proclaimed killers of the symbol of our independence, our liberation struggle, our very existence. Yes, we are but sinners in our own domain!
In CHINTITO “Honing blurred memories” (2 November 2007), a chart we printed had some typographical errors. The correct chart is printed below. SWM regrets the errors.
Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007