Living with Grief and Pride
"I am one of the most proud and fortunate mothers. My sons sacrificed their lives and embraced martyrdom for their country. Bangladesh could not have been liberated had it not been for the sacrifice of my sons,” said 80-year-old Rokeya Khatun, mother of four martyred sons.
Rokeya Khatun is the widow of Motahar Hossain of Kacharipara village in Pabna. Five of her sons fought in the Liberation War while four of them embraced martyrdom. She has also lost her only son-in-law to the war.
The four sons that she is so proud of are Md. Mukarram Hossain, Mansur Hossain, Mostaque Hossain and Mosharraf Hossain and son-in-law is Md. Yusuf Ali. All of them were the freedom fighters in Sector 2 of the capital. Of them the two brothers Mostaque Hossain and Mosharraf Hossain, had embraced martyrdom in the front fighting in Rupganj under Section 2 on December 8.
Mukarram Hossain, Mansur Hossain and Yusuf Ali had returned to their residence in Goran, Dhaka to deliver the news of their martyred brothers but the occupation army, aided by the local collaborators was waiting for them. They were killed on December 12. The family never found the dead bodies.
“We looked for their bodies in the graveyards but couldn't find them,” told Md. Biju, youngest of the four martyred brothers. “As a young boy I witnessed the brutality of the occupation army and the collaborators. They have caught my two brothers and brother-in-law from my residence on December 12.”
“When Bangabandhu came to Pabna he gave me Tk 2000. Nobody came to help me or my family at this time.” Rokeya Khatun said. “It is true that my sons sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation not for material profits. It is the duty of the country to honor them.”
According to family sources, Mokarram Hossain was Assistant Engineer of then district board, Pabna. Mansur Hossain was an accountant at the WAPDA (now called Water Development Board). Mostak Ahmed was the final year student of Soil Science of Dhaka University.
Mosharraf Hossain was also a student. Also the son-in-law, Yusuf Ali was a bank employee.
Md. Mozammel Hossain, eldest son of Rokeya Khatun obtained training in India and went into the Liberation War. He was fighting along with the freedom fighters in the northern region. All the other family members were living in the capital. After obtaining training they joined Sector 2, family sources said.
Recalling all that had happened, Rokeya Khatun said she tried to stop her sons from joining the freedom fighters but the sons were adamant. “As a mother I wanted my sons to not go, but later when I saw how incredibly inspired they all were to fight I didn't stand in their way anymore. I am proud of all the sons of the nation who have given their lives to give independence to this nation.”
Sabera Khatun, widow of Mokarram Hossain remembers her husband: “I was married just 1 ½ years before the war. My husband went into the Liberation War with the spirit of nation within him. On December 12, the occupation army snatched him from our home. When my husband died he left behind our newborn baby and me, a young widow. Now I am proud of my husband's sacrifice.” Sabera said.
The members of the martyr families pushed for the punishment of war criminals. “These war criminals must be punished.” They said that it was necessary if the country was to move forward.
As the proud mother of four martyred sons, Rokeya urged to build the country with the spirit of the great Liberation War and what the brave freedom fighters dreamed of. “The freedom fighters sacrificed their lives for the nation. With their supreme sacrifice we gained our independence. But we have to keep upholding their values.” Rokeya said.
“It is true that my sons sacrificed their lives for the nation. But as a mother I will be happy when the people of the country honor my sons.” Rokeya said. She mentioned that recently the local organization Sayed Foundation had held an evening in honor of the martyrs.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008