Behind the Scene
Fakhrul Alam, Freedom Fighter
Md. Badrul Alam
1971 is an extremely important year for all Bangladeshis; it was in that year that we gained our national identity. Even though it is impossible to trace each and every one of the 30 lac or so people who have died for the country, some have lived to tell the tale of their fight for freedom. One such freedom fighter, or muktijoddha is Fakhrul Alam of Gabbari village in Barisal.
Fakhrul Alam was a post and telegraph clerk and was a part of the Postal Employees' Association in 1968. He was in the Association when negotiations started with the Pakistani authorities regarding the right for all Bengalis to be paid a salary equal to that of their Pakistani or Behari counterparts. So far Bengalis had been paid less.
In the process of negotiations difficulties at the work place forced him to leave his job. Fakhrul then went to Nilfamari looking for another job. Upon talking to his friend, he abandoned his job search and joined the Muktibahini. Soon he returned to Gabbari, Barisal and started fighting under sector- 9.
Now 71 years of age, Fakhrul Alam recalls the days when he fought against the Pakistani Army under sector-9. With Major Omar Shahjahan as his sub-sector commander, he fought in several different areas of sector- 9 under three area commanders: Haider Jamaluddin, Abdul Huq and Abdul Wadud Sardar.
He says the war of 1971 is an integral part of his and who he is, and it is something he can never forget. The memories of 1971, he says, are as vivid as the actual experience of fighting, he says.
Fakhrul Alam, along with thousands of other Bengalis who fought in the war fought so that this country could have a name of its own, not just for themselves, but for all subsequent generations.
However, when asked about the present situation of Bangladesh, he says “I have given up thinking of all that has been done to make this country independent. I realize now that all one has to do in order to have an identity is belong to any one of the political parties, not fight a war”, in a rather disheartened tone. He thinks that the true meaning of identity is being lost somewhere in the struggle for political power and that the essence of the liberation war of Bangladesh is slowly fading away.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007