The heritage that is ours

It is a reawakening of historical consciousness we celebrate among ourselves today. And yet the observance of Victory Day is but a reminder to us the living of the three million who fell in the war waged for freedom in 1971. Those millions went to their deaths, in serial manner as it were, through letting us know with every step they took towards doom that their blood was sanctifying the struggle and solidifying our resolve. And then there were the two hundred thousand women whose sufferings at the hands of an army that raped and killed and pillaged remain a blot on the moral conscience of the world. There are the images of burning villages, fleeing men and women, the dying babies, the squalor in the refugee camps which are ingrained in our collective memory.

It is all these we recall today . . . and more. We remember with pride --- pride that is the privilege of those who have waged battle for justice, for freedom from oppression --- the ultimate moment of victory that rushed into our yards and our gardens and our homes on the descending afternoon of 16 December 1971. The triumph of the Mukti Bahini, marching in company with our friends in the Indian army, over the killer force that called itself the Pakistan army is the truth we recall this morning. It is a truth we have passed on to our children. It is a trust that our children will in their turn place in the hands of their children. In short, it is heritage we go back to today through remembering the martyrs of 1971, through savouring anew the dawning of freedom on a winter's day long ago.


Photo: Shafiqul Alam