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    Volume 9 Issue 7 | February 12, 2010|

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Minu Haque honoured as a Freedom Fighter

Mainul Hassan

On December 16, 2009 the government of India invited fourteen Bangladeshi Freedom Fighters to attend a special programme at Fort William, the Eastern Command Headquarters, in Kolkata, marking the 'Vijay Diwash Celebration'. Among the invitees was the noted dancer and convenor of Nrityadhara, Minu Haque.

"To me the invitation was a form of recognition and honour. I was the only woman in the group," said Minu Haque.

The Freedom Fighters were accompanied by three officers of the Bangladesh Army.

"During our Liberation War India played a major role and as a result Pakistan attacked India and the 1971 Indo-Pak war broke out. Many brave Indian soldiers lost their lives during the war," said Haque.

"During the programme we remembered the brave soldiers whose contributions led to the victory on December 16," she added.

Minu Haque receiving gifts from General (Retd) Jacobs, who was GOC Eastern Command in 1971, at the Barakhana held on 16/12/2009. General V.K. Singh, GOC Eastern Command and Mr. Shahudul Haque are looking on.

During the Liberation War Minu Haque worked at the Bangladesh Field Hospital, in Bisramganj, Agartala.

"The hospital was under sector 2 and I joined as a nurse in August 1971," recalled Haque.

"Dr. Zafarullah Chowdhury and Dr. Mobin Chowdhury, then young doctors, and a few of their colleagues abandoned their studies in London and set up the hospital to treat the wounded freedom fighters.

"Eye specialist Dr. Mahmud; Dr. Kiran Devnath; Dr. Dahlia Salauddin; Dr. Samsuddin and many others who were then students of Dhaka Medical College joined the hospital to help the injured freedom fighters," said Haque.

"We used to work eight-hour shifts at the hospital," she recalled.

"I was there until the start of the 1971 Indo-Pak war. When the war started we were moved as it was not safe there, and the war demanded professional nurses," said the dancer.

Describing the 'Vijay Diwash Celebration' at Fort William, the artiste said, "We were given a grand reception at the event, they treated us with great hospitality, it was simply amazing."

"We reached Kolkata on December 14 and had lunch at Fort William. The next day we visited the Victoria Memorial and the Kolkata museum," she said.

"It was a remarkable experience. There were 17 well-decorated cars (one for each person) with army escorts waiting for us, with our names written in the front.

"The main event was held on December 16 at the 'Vijay Smarak Ground Memorial' built in memory of those soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the 1971 war. As part of the event, helicopters showered rose petals from the sky.

"We also attended a party, which was well attended by high ranking army officials, senior politicians, members of the civil society and leading artistes. At the event I met Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

To celebrate the occasion Bangladesh Nrittyashilpi Shangstha (BNS) held a reception programme for Minu Haque at the Studio Theatre, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) recently.

At the programme members of BNS felicitated Minu Haque.

Apart from BNS, other dance organisations, including Natraj, Kathak Sampraday, Nandanik and Nrityalok, also honoured Haque.

Rahiza Khanom Jhunu, chief advisor, BNS presided over the event.

At the programme, Minu Haque was conferred the title "Matir Konya" by Dibyo Shangskritik Shangathan. Rahiza Khanom Jhunu, director, of the organisation made the announcement.

Apart from felicitation, the event also included dance performances. Dancers Tamanna Rahman and Salma Munni performed to patriotic songs at the programme.

Human rights activist Sultana Kamal was the chief guest at the reception programme.



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