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Remembering March 7

You can cite no bigger event in the history of Bangladesh than the Liberation War against Pakistan in 1971. This was the first time that, we Bangalis united together to fight for the recognition as a distinct independent nation.

The war meant endless bloodshed but it also meant the cessation of struggle for us. The Liberation War was not the act of a single person but rather the efforts of all the people present at that time. The night of 25th March 1971 marked the beginning of this historic war when the Pakistani Army attacked the sleeping Bangalis, who were unprepared for something so big.

March 1971 included a series of events that eventually lead to the war. On March 7, 1971 Sheikh Mujib, in an articulate and carefully phrased speech, asked the Bangalis to prepare for a resistance to the regime but stopped just short of declaring independence. This was a historic speech that was delivered by the Father of the Nation at the Racecourse ground and this speech brought a dramatic turn in the Bangali struggle.

All eyes were centered on the dais where Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stood and delivered the speech. He announced a programme of non-cooperation with the Central Government, marking an intensification of the struggle for independence and also exhorted his people to turn every home into a fortress and fight the enemy with whatever they could lay their hands on. Bangabandhu declared a four-point demand to consider the national assembly which was scheduled to meet on March 25, 1971. They were :

The immediate withdrawal of the martial law.
Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks.

An inquiry into the loss of life.
Immediate transfer of power to the elected representative of the people before the assembly meeting March 25.

Bangabandhu also unfolded a program of several directives that was the extent of the civil disobedience movement. Those were :
No tax campaign will continue.

The secretariat, government and semi-government offices, High court and other courts throughout East Bangla will observe Hartals. Appropriate exemptions will be announced from time to time.

Railway and ports may function, but railway and port workers will not cooperate if railway or ports are used for mobilizing of forces for the purpose of repression against the people of East Bengal.

Radio, television and newspapers shall give complete versions of Bangabandhu's statement and shall not suppress news about the people's movement, otherwise Bangali worker in these establishment shall cooperate.

Only local and inter-district telephone communication shall function.

All educational institutions shall remain closed.

Banks shall not effect remittances to the Western wing either through the State Bank or otherwise.

Black flags shall be hoisted on all buildings everyday.

Hartal (strike) is withdrawn in all other spheres but complete hartal may be declared at any moment depending on the situation.

'Sangram Parishad' should be organized in each union, mohallah, thana, sub-division - under the leadership of the local Awami League units. Finally, raising his fist Bangabandhu cried out at the top of his voice : "OUR STRUGGLE THIS TIME IS A STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM, OUR STRUGGLE THIS TIME IS A STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. JOY BANGLA."

By Sudipto Bari


His head throbbed like hell. Some other day, he would have been in his bed by now, but not today. This was the day, the day all his pains and misery would go away. All the agony and distress he had nurtured inside would leave him alone. He would be free as a bird. After today he would be able to lead a normal harmonious life.

It all began few years ago. He was a fun faring boy. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was sporty and popular amongst his peers. His potentials reached the firmament. But why should he study? His father had enough money to provide for three generations to come. During that time, life could not be any more luxurious for him.

It caught him off ground when his parents died in a freak accident. But he could live with that. He was never really close to them anyway. But still he staged all the obligatory ceremonies and rituals. But his world came down tumbling on him when his father's business partner betrayed their years of friendship, and threw him on the street.

Within a matter of days, he was orphaned and now he had nowhere to call home. His friends whom he trusted with his life showed him the door when he asked for help. He was not an aristocrat any more. In fact, he was not even a simpleton anymore. But still, after years and years of practice, he looked for the easier way out. He tried suing his father's business partner. But to no avail.

He had to go through hell to find a place to sleep. But since he could not pay his dues, he was booted out of there duly. Since then, he had been here and there. Running a little bit of errands here, doing a small gig there. But there was one thing that always stayed with him, hatred. He hated his life and his luck. He detested the world and its indifference towards him. But above all he loathed the man who took everything away from him, the man who left him more wretched than a dog.

How many times he has planned murdering him, in his demented mind, he doesn't know. But each of them brought him new pleasure and glee. But they were only plans. How was he, a mere street urchin, going to murder a resonant billionaire? Thus, his plans remained within him, and his hatred grew with each passing day.

But today, it was all going to change. He was finally going to get his long fancied peace of mind. And in return, he will have to take only one single life, one life out of six and a half billion living mortals in this world. The ratio was completely negligible. Apart from his throbbing head, he felt no remorse or anything. Instead he felt like he was the calmest man on the face of this earth.

Everything around him was surprisingly tranquil. The most serene breeze blew past him. The night perfectly symbolized his mentality- cool, calm and composed. He stood on the skirt of the foothill. There was a score of people around him. They had no idea about the execution that was about to happen. And why should they? The 'soon to be dead' was a loner. No one cared about him.

He turned away from them. The winds have picked up speed. But he remained unaltered. He closed his eyes to prepare himself. He was definitely going to do it.

He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. Finally, he felt a change in him, turmoil in his mind. As if his two consciences were fighting. He had to hurry. He could not wait before his guilty conscience took over. This was it, the moment of truth. No fright or trepidation, as planned, his feet gave way.

As he sped down towards the ground, a sense of joy overcame him. His heart was lighter than ever. He felt the cold wind blow away all the disgust and hatred in him. He finally felt the heavy load on his shoulder being taken away.

He never thought that a second could last so long. But it did. He had time to observe the birds flying by. He had time to appreciate the beautiful scenery, and most importantly he had time to say good bye to the world he was going to leave forever.

For a moment he felt like he would never fall down. He fell like he was going to float through the clouds forever, and never meet the ground. But when he did, he didn't have the time to regret. Life, what he called it, was long gone.

By Senan

When death was expected

Medicines, operations, radiation. Nothing was successful. He still resides in room 36 of the Cancer Hospital. Every day he is being treated with radiation, but like mushroom growth, the cancerous cells grow back again. Still the doctors treat him with the radiation hoping that tomorrow there will be a better outcome.

The boy who once played football in the open field, who once sat on the steps of the Shaheed Minar and gossiped with friends, has been kept isolated from the world for nearly 2 years now. All the heavy dozes of medicines and the radiation have made his body as fragile as a newly born kitten. He cannot even pick up the glass to drink a bit of water.

His eyes still shine and stare with determination. He desires to speak but can't. His vocal cords had to be removed because that was where the cancer had developed. Today he communicates with us by his diary. His written poetry and the words he uses to communicate show that he was a brilliant student in literature.

When I entered today, I saw that the patient was desperately trying to say something. His writing was also illegible. The guest stared blankly at him. Without further ado I called the doctor who started the examination. After the tedious 2 hours the doctor laid the bad news on the visitors

"The patient has lost his eye sight"
Now as I look at the boy he seems to be just a lifeless body, which cannot move, has lost its vision, its sense of taste and who knows, perhaps, its hearing too. Although people might try to imagine the pain the boy is enduring now, but I know no one can understand the real deal except the boy himself.

[Point of view of the boy]
Today as I stare up, I can only see the dark starless, moonless sky. There is not even a single ray of light. I have so much to say, so much to do, so much to express, but am totally helpless. I have lost my sight and perhaps my senses too. I can't feel the diary beside me, I can't feel the pillow under my head.

When the night began and when it ended, I did not understand. In my dark, lonely and peaceful world, I sought for answers throughout the night until suddenly an affable sound came to my ears
"Good morning sir" the nurse greeted amiably.

I also wanted to greet the nurse but suddenly I realized I was unable to raise my arms. I could hear everything but could not move. I could hear my mom and aunt talking to me

"How are you feeling today my pumpkin. Any better….."
Slowly the sound faded away. Suddenly everything became dead silent. The only noise I could hear was 'dub' 'lub' dub' 'lub', my hart beat. At this point I knew that I now had to play the waiting. Now I had to only wait for my last ride to my eternal home, my final resting place.

By Rakibul Islam Khan (Pial)

Book review

My favorite goodbye

What do you do when you're desperately scared of commitment? Aisling O' Halloran (Ash) breaks away. She's blonde, 29 years of age, single and self supporting. She's also an organized neatness freak. And HER idea of the perfect evening comprises of snuggling down on her couch, with her cat Bagel, and a tub full of ice cream for company. Let's also not forget the boring TV shows and remote control, shall we?

Relationships scare Ash to death. Being the sufferer of a hectic childhood, she considers her form of rebellion to not embrace cigarettes and booze, but to never deviate from her meticulously organized schedule. And also breaking up with boyfriends, when she feels they are getting emotionally close and attached enough to hurt her.

Until she meets Dan.
Dan Morland: the guy who employs her to cook the 'ultimate dinner' the night he proposes to his girlfriend Cordelia, trying to sort out his life with a woman he loves. When Cordelia suggests a trial seperation period, instead of jumping for joy at Dan's proposal, he proceeds to get drunk and finishes the evening by crying on Ash's shoulder, and confessing his fears about Cordelia. Watching Dan being so much in love and so intensely devoted to his girlfriend, Ash wonders if being 'Miss Safe and Secure' also means missing out on the perks of a stable relationship.

And this is when the suave and impeccable Alistair waltzes into her life. Being kind, considerate and caring, he is also smart enough to allow Ash the privacy she craves. And also put up with her insane rituals, i.e. putting her appliances through a routine check whenever she leaves the house, making soup when she's feeling upset, and so on. Ash, in spite of being famous of ending blooming relationships, finds herself being intensely drawn towards Alistair. She also finds herself drawn to commitment.

But what if, this time, Alistair is the one waiting to break up?

Pick up the book, 'My Favorite Goodbye' by Sheila O Flanagan, and find for yourself the surprises that await you. The book is written in a fun and thoughtful manner. The recipes by Ash given at the beginning of all the chapters, are guaranteed to make your mouth water, so remember to sit curl up with an assortment of chocolates by your side!

By Jennifer Ashraf


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