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       Volume 12 |Issue 08| February 22, 2013 |


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Akku Chowdhury


The youth have spoken and spoken very loud and clear. Anyone in business, politics or education can have a very clear perspective of the fact that in the current scenario the youth (yes, the vibrant red blooded arrogant, strangely dressed under-25 male and female) constitute a majority that will make a huge impact in the electoral results of any election). For the last 12 days these young people have taken over a very valuable one square mile in the heart of Dhaka city. A bird's eye view will show a sea of people, thousands of heads of young men and women demanding justice. The Justice for the crimes committed by the Pakistani Military and their local agents in 1971 that the Bangalee nation were denied for the last 42 years.

In 1971, when the Pakistan Army started the war on innocent Bangalees and mowed down millions in nine months, they left behind evidence of the atrocities, looting, raping, burning, arson, kidnapping, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Pakistan Military used local collaborators who those days belonged to those political and student bodies that supported them and believed in their form of political and religious motivation. Most of these collaborators belonged to such organisations as the Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League, Islamic Chatro Shangha (now Shibir) due to their political and ideological belief sided with Pakistan Military who were brought to East Pakistan (occupied Bangladesh) with the similar brain washing that Bangladesh was swarming with Hindus and the non– believers were taking over. Thus a Jihad had to be fought. On the same thought process and mind set a small percentage of the Bangalee population joined the rank of Pakistani Collaborators by joining the band of murderers created by Pakistan Military in the style of 'Razakar' 'Al Badr' 'Al Shams' – all fancy Arabic names with innocuous meanings. But these local collaborators were used by the Pakistanis to locate and in most cases kidnap and kill the Bangalees targeted for elimination. They were also used to create and showcase the Bangalee supports for the occupied Pakistan forces to the western world. They were used for political intelligence and elimination of Banglees by the Pakistan Military is evident by documents, facts and evidence collected over the years. It is a sad reality that the unfortunate nation of Bangalees who suffered such atrocities, genocide and crimes against humanity had to remain in denial for almost 40 years. The world denied it and the saddest part of it all is that after Bangabandhu the father of the nation (Bangladesh) was brutally assassinated in 1975, the subsequent governments who took over the reign of Bangladesh began to also deny and distort the facts and thus ultimately letting go all the killers and rapists of 1971. The scenario went so bad that the constitution that was written with the blood of the people was also changed making it easier for the collaborators to be released and join mainstream life including politics, government and creep into capturing state power.


Different attempts were made to reestablish the last glory of liberation war and its spirit. The mother of a valiant Freedom Fighter Rumi ( who was abducted while in a guerilla operation and subsequently tortured to death by Pakistan Military) Shaheed Jononi Jahanara Imam in 1992 began the process of re-awakening the freedom loving people to rise against the injustice of not trying the collaborators for their crimes in 1971. She named it the 'Gono Adalot' – people's court and on March 26, 1993 a huge gathering in Dhaka Race Course accused eight collaborators for their crimes in 1971 and the people's court gave a guilty verdict.

Unfortunately the Government of that time accused Jahanara Imam and that court of being 'anti-state'. It's most unfortunate that this incredibly powerful woman who lost her son and husband to the war and dared to speak against the enemies of our liberation, bringing to light the facts of 1971 was dying of cancer. In 1994 she passed away but knew that the youth of this country will rise and rise again for justice and establish the Bangladesh of 1971 that the freedom fighters who liberated the country envisioned. A country that is free from social and economic evils and disparity. A secular and independent sovereign state that ensures equal opportunity to all, democratic and political rights without questioning their class, caste, sex or religion. The pride of every citizen of the liberation war and its spirit of patriotism and nationhood that believes in Secular, Social, Democratic and Nationalist Bangladesh has to be established just as it was on December 16 1971 when the Pakistan Military was defeated and surrendered.

Today in 2013 the youth at Shahbag has a very clear and no–nonsense position. They are very clear about our generations' political, social and economic commitments and the fact that they are all based on personnel gains. Today they have spoken very loudly and the fact is they are very serious and passionate about this. Many have asked me what is the difference between this youth and those belong to the political wings of all the political parties. My response is these youth at the Shahbag Square and such squares all over Bangladesh are motivated and passionate about Bangladesh and our valiant Liberation War. The youth and their leaders at Shahbag Projonmo Chottor have the understanding of the spirit of the liberation war and the freedom fighters. They envision themselves as those young soldiers in 1971 who gave up everything for their motherland to protect her and liberate her from the clutches of the Pakistani Military hyenas. Today the Pakistanis are long gone but they have left behind their legacy in the form of Jamaat-Shibir and many others undercover (moles) are in the major political parties and unfortunately by now in all the powerful civil and military institutes.

It's very clear by now that they are determined to establish the Bangaldesh of 71 (Ekaturrer Bangladesh). They are sick and tired of the way the country has been run for the last 42 years. They have made it very clear that the freedom fighters did an incredible and showed outstanding bravery in liberating the country from the Pakistani military bureaucracy and business ruling troika. Unfortunately we couldn't deliver what we liberated the next 42 years in governance! Our generation failed miserably in not only governing but also failed in safe guarding the 'spirit of our liberation war'. We could not even ensure that the constitution that was created with the spirit of immortalising the 3 million martyrs in ensuring the liberty and freedom of the people, would not be tampered with. Within three years that constitution which stated that the people are the source of all power, was scrapped, Bangobondhu was murdered, the law to try the mass murderers and collaborators was shunned. In no time we saw the country slowly going into the hands of the defeated forces. The freedom fighters were being eliminated beginning with the 4 cabinet leaders of the liberation war government in exile.

The scenario was clear by the time Ershad, a general, took over. He completed the agenda of the transformation by first Islamisation with the name changes and distorting history. The freedom fighters lost their identity and were being harassed physically and psychologically. They felt humiliated and traumatised.

There were many attempts to regain the lost glory but it was not until the youth of today started to speak at Shahbagh Projonmo Chottor that the freedom fighters and martyrs could see again the sparks of the fire of '71. These young people can surely be crowned as the freedom fighters of 2013. They are carrying our spirit to build the Bangladesh of Ekattur (71) ! Joi Bangla! Yes there are many who doubt these youths and their leadership ability. To them I say we and our generation have had 42 years to deliver and we have failed. The youth of today has rejected us and our leadership ability to deliver the 'Shonar Bangla' we committed to in our war of liberation. The youth have awakened, risen and proved they can hold on to their commitments and I am sure’ if given the responsibility ‘can deliver a better and brighter future to us all and most importantly to the nation. They are clear of what they want and they want a Bangladesh that is free from religious social, cultural and political prejudices. Joi manush!

Akku Chowdhury is a freedom fighter and Trustee of the Liberation War Museum.

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