Closing in on our pursuit
In a few hours from now ( at the time of writing this) we shall all switch off our lights for a minute; that profound gesture to join a grateful nation at midnight 25 March in paying homage to its immortal martyrs.
For sixty seconds the entire maanchitra shall be bathed in black. But an entire nation shall glow in united pride. Our conscience shall be alight. Our coming generation shall be enlightened.
There will not even be spots of illumination to mark the polluted blemish of the few razakars. Given their long-term strategy to get into the main stream (they almost succeeded) and for possible fear of reprisal, they too shall put off their lights. That is why it is so difficult to identify a razakar.
Here's a reprint of Chintito 16 August 1996 (also available in the book 'Chintito: A Stir is Born', The Daily Star, 2006) on just how to do that:
How to hunt a Razakar?
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.
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!
WRITE TO CHINTITO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
u suggested that I should meet people to increase my communication skill. I have tried it. Fortunately it is working. I am a student of Stamford University. I am able to communicate well with my teacher and friends. Moreover, one of my letters was published in an English newspaper. So, I am very grateful to u. Thanks a lot. Mushfique Wadud (11 March 2008)
I am very pleased to learn about your progress Mushfique. But a word of caution: Please do not write 'u' instead of 'you'; avoid such shortcuts. It is not a good habit for a student. Regards, Chintito
Dear Chintito! I have four best friends. Can you please say hi to them? They are Muna, Upol, Nirjor and Anik. Ok bye. Always yours, Shafin. (11 March 2008)
Well done! Some of us cannot gather or manage even one. Best regards to all five of you. Chintito
Actually everyday is special. So, your demarcation is not always correct. (Chintito, “Perks of being over 50, or under”, SWM 29 February 2008.) I think you know that 'old is gold'. A person is therefore getting matured by the day. His/her knowledge, potentiality and maturity increase. So when people cross 40, h/she certainly steps into a more important position. Dear Chi, please recall your statement 'I was born in 1995 in the Daily Star'. I can imagine you have crossed 40. Now you can easily compare the positive change from the early stage of your career with your present performance. You nicely uttered 'break the shackles of every bracket'. I was not a serious reader. But day by day I am becoming a fan of your column. Frankly speaking, you are unique in expressing any difficult matter with ease. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to connect to a popular writer like you. With best regards, Iqbal Chowdhury) (13 March 2008)
I don't find any other place than your mailbox to share my thoughts about the situation that we are facing now. I don't know how matured my thought is! I think you can give me a clear idea about it. Usually The Daily Star is one of my best nirjib friends and SWM is something that can even talk to me. I love all the writers of this newspaper. I always love thinking myself as a virtual member of this famous daily. I am overwhelmed to see how they reflect the emotions and ideas of our life into the characters and it makes me thoughtful. And you obviously have given me a break to express my feelings for my country and people through my writing. Mohammad Anisur Rahman (13 March 2008) [Abridged for want of space]
I have become more chintito after observing the recent cricket series (both ODI & Test) between Bangladesh and South Africa for the gang of "Ass-ra-Fool". What about you? Dr. Shameem Hassan, New DOHS, Mahakhali, Dhaka. (14 March 2008)
I could not agree with you more. It's their attitude. There is something wrong with it. Regards, C
I would like to add you to my hi5 friends' network. You have to confirm that we are friends, and we'll each get to meet more people. Please approve or reject my request by accessing the hi5 web site. Thanks. Dark Revenge. (14 March 2008)
I set up a Facebook profile with my pictures, videos and events, and I want to add you as a friend so that you can see it. First, you need to join Facebook! Once you join, you can also create your own profile. Thanks. Tilovatul (15 March 2008)
Thank you my friends. But I am not in a position to accept your offer at this moment. Please keep in touch. Regards, C
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