Volume 6 | Issue 04| February 25, 2012|


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Behind the Scene


Bridging Generations:
Preserving the Memory of 71's Martyrs

Bikul Chakravarty, a young journalist working in Moulvibazar, has taken up the initiative of preserving the history and memorabilia of the glorious Liberation War. He has searched for the families and descendents of those who were martyred in Moulvibazar during 1971.

Rajat Kanti Goswami

Bikul Chakravarty is constructing a bridge between the current generation and those that sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. He has taken up the initiative of preserving the history and memorabilia of the glorious Liberation War. On top of memorabilia, he has also collected photos of martyrs' families to introduce them to the new generation through exhibitions.

After collection of memorabilia from different upazilas of Moulvibazar, journalist Bikul Chakravarty has arranged exhibitions at local areas to show his collection. Six such exhibitions have been held at Srimongal, Samsernagar, Kamalganj, Rajnagar Upazilas and Kailashar (of Tripura state of India). A month long exhibition has been arranged at Rajnagar upazila headquarter. A large number of enthusiastic spectators are coming to see the memorabilia- including pictures and things used by martyrs and soil collected from different places where war heroes were slaughtered located at different parts in Moulvibazar district.

Bikul Chakrabarty was trained by the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka in 2009. After the training, he was encouraged to visit different areas of Moulvibazar district to collect memorabilia on liberation war. He literally walked door to door. During his work, he has also identified a few spots of and mass graves of martyr freedom fighters.

Bikul was born right after the war, and, during his student life, he heard many local stories on freedom fighters and martyrs. When he started his career, he started reporting on local history of the war. What he reported further encouraged him to do something in immortalizing the memory of freedom fighters. He decided that he will work towards collecting what local freedom fighters and martyrs used first hand, and also to find uncharted areas such as unknown mass graves and then organize exhibitions to show them to the new generation. When he contacted families individually, he found that different things used by martyrs were being preserved by the families. He decided to collect these memorable things and start his work. The families have been very cooperative. After that he started door to door visit to trace the martyrs' families in Moulvibazar district. Now, Bikul's dream has taken shape.

From Srimongal upazila, he has collected a Panjabee used by martyr Mukit Laskar, Belt and Tupi of martyr Rafique, Trunk of martyr Alam, a shirt used by martyr Kodor Ali, a tie and skeleton of martyr Probon Tanti and so many other such things. Bikul Chakravarty also took photographs of families left behind by martyrs to introduce to the society. From Kamalganj upazila: Bikul has collected a wooden tul of martyrs Ishaque, a note book written in his own hand of martyr Aziz, and a pen box. His collections include Hukka (wooden pipe of smoking), wrist watches, saving boxes, brass water container, dresses etc. of other martyr freedom fighters of Kamalganj. From Rajnagar, he collected different boxes, Hukka, saving box, wrist watch etc. used by martyrs during their lifetime.

He detected Luhayuni as a place of slaughter for the first time since the war. It is situated between Rajnagar and Kulaura upazila. He also identified specific spots of South Kharpara at Rajnagar, Patrokhola at Kamalganj, Sobujbag at Srimongal, Dewrachhara at Kamalganj and Chaitraghat at Kamalganj as places where mass killings took place. After he identified these places, monuments have been constructed at Dewrachhara and Sadhubabar tholi. In his pursuit, Bikul has received assistance from by Md. Azizur Rahman, Administrator of the Moulvibazar Zila Porishad, Syed Mohsin Ali, MP of Moulvibazar-3, Professor Syed Mujibur Rahman, a Freedom Fighter, Fayez Ahmed, former UNO of Srimongal upazila, Teacher Jahar Tarafdar of Srimongal, Prokas Kanti Chowdhury, UNO of Kamalganj, Freedom Fighter Rafiqur Rahman of Kamalganj, Expatriate Ashraf Uddin, local UP Chairmen, local journalists, and elderly people of different villages and different upazila command units of the Bangladesh Muktijuddha Sangshad.

Bikul urges the Prime Minister to give a condolence certificate to each of the martyrs' families across the country to acknowledge the supreme sacrifice of martyrs, and to honour them with crests. Bikul expects that such state awards to play a vital role in remembering the sacrifices of thousands of martyrs of 1971.

Collecting belongings of a martyr Identifying the burial spot of a martyr

Bikul Chakravarty's Exhibitions:

The exhibitions on Liberation War Memorabilia organized by Bikul are special because he exhibits memorabilia in the upazila where the items were collected from. So local young people get a chance to learn about the families who had sacrificed their life for the motherland in his upazila and in which places of his area bear the memory of the war. In Rajnagar exhibition, pictures of more than one hundred martyr families, different items such as shirts, pants, towels, pen, watches, pictures and soil of mass graves etc has been exhibited. A total of six exhibitions were organized by Bikul Chakravarty at different parts of Moulvibazar district. On December 2009, a month long exhibition was held at Chandranath Government Primary School at Srimongal upazila town. State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku inaugurated this exhibition. Chief Whip Abdus Shahid was present there as well. Freedom Fighter Kamalesh Bhattacharjya and an Indian citizen who participated in the war - Mohit Pal were awarded in this programme. In March 2010, such an exhibition was held at Kailashar of Indian state of Tripura.

Kailashahar, located at same border of Moulvibazar. People of that town had a significant contribution to the Liberation War of Bangladesh. So Bikul had also collected many materials of his exhibition from different part of the Kailashar. Industries Minister Dilip Barua had inaugurated this programme. In April 2010 another exhibition was held at Kamalganj upazila headquarter in Moulvibazar. Lt Col Nurul Huda, the commander of 14 Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) battalion at Srimongal and Md Mostafizur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner of Moulvibazar jointly inaugurated this programme. In December 2010, another exhibition was held at AATM High School at Shamsernagar under Kamalganj upazila in Moulvibazar. In March 2011 Bikul's exhibition was held at the BGB camp at Srimongal. In July 2011, his 6th exhibition was held at BTRI High School at Srimongal. Shyamal Datta, Editor of the Daily Bhorer Kagoj attended it as chief guest. His 7th and latest exhibition was organized at Rajnagar upazila headquarter and continued for a month, ending on 15 February 2012.

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