On Muktijuddho and related matters-I
It would be darn embarrassing to commence now a demand for the trial of the 1971 war criminals and those responsible for the excesses against humanity before and during our War of Liberation; for now finally the long-awaited trial is on, what with the nation having to wait for the re-return of the ekattur government.
That this column had stood firm on this demand since it began in 1995 is in the extracts below:
(1995, 30 May)
Perhaps each trait of the Bangalee has its good and bad sides. But the one peculiarity amongst some of us that is unpardonable is the short-lived memory, particularly with reference to politics. While the emblematic Bangalee will be envious of the Jews hunting down Nazi war criminals and profusely acknowledging their nationalism, the same Bangalee this far has tried to brush under the carpet any suggestions of bringing to book the culprits at home and abroad opposing our liberation. On the contrary, some of us have conveniently forgotten everything that happened before 1971, have taken to speaking Urdu and even supporting the Pakistan cricket team on Bangladesh soil, etc etc. The same Bangalee will find it hard to imagine Israelis cheering a Palestinian Football Team or Mandela twisting his tongue to speak in French with Chirac.
However, by and large, deep inside Bangalees are true nationalists. With our past record during the Language Movement of 1952, the Mass Movement of 1969, and the Liberation War, there is no room to underestimate nationalism. We have always risen to the occasion.
(1995, 15 July)
Then there was this Bangladeshi student sitting in the office of the Bangladesh Association in Sheffield. Up comes this Pakistani and gives the Bangalee a nudge from behind with a verbal 'khayriat?' query. The Bangalee scholar was unmoved. After the third 'khayriat' poke, the Bangalee swung around with a 'Sorry?' The Pakistani was puzzled and inquired, 'You don't understand Urdu?' The Bangalee student could see 1952, 1969, 1971 flash by and replied 'Urdu?' to let the poker know that even the word Urdu was unknown to him. The Pakistani does not give up and asks of the Bangalee, 'Are you Malaysian?' With glistening eyes, head held high, the Bangalee replied, 'No, Bangladeshi!'
(1996, 17 August)
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.
(1997, 26 August)
Following the surrender of the defeated Pakistani forces to the joint command of Bangladeshi and Indian forces, subsequent governments in Pakistan have extended the olive branch of friendship to Bangladesh. Every government in Dhaka has responded emphatically but only by treading over our dead.
It is understandable that Pakistan will want to foster friendship with us for deep inside they must be haunted by fearful guilt. It is, however, difficult to comprehend why we should respond unconditionally. No person can kill my brother and then sit across the table pretending that nothing has happened, that we should be friends from that moment onwards. Between two nations, such camaraderie after one has tried to exterminate the other has no precedence.
Let us not await the visit by another Pakistani head of state. Let the demand for an immediate Pakistani apology for all its atrocities resonate across the globe. Let us remind ourselves that we were victims of truly a gruesome crime. We are here only because we triumphed. We are here to demand an apology, now.
(1997, 13 October)
Whereas newspapers in West Pakistan (not in the East) carried pictorial advertisments of their night club dancers; whereas sex, violence and vulgarity were the hallmarks of West Pakistani movies (not of the East), the West Pakistani Muslims had the audacity to call us in the East 'non Muslims' as an excuse to let loose their barbaric armed assailants on our innocent civilians. And, did we not give them a befitting reply? Our glorious War of Liberation was a jihad, yes a holy war, against their blasphemy and non-Islamic demeanour.
(2000, 15 May)
I am not worried about Razakars; I am worried about the influence they have on their children.
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