২২শে অক্টোবর ২০২১ খ্রিস্টাব্দ | ৬ই কার্তিক ১৪২৮ বঙ্গাব্দ
প্রকাশিত: ৪:১৭ অপরাহ্ণ, আগস্ট ১৫, ২০২১
✎ Professor Dr. Mamun Al Mahtab Shwapnil ▏
August is the darkest month in the calendar of the Bengali Nation. This is the reason why we not only remember Bangabandhu and the fallen heroes of August 15, 1975 with respect during entire August, but we also remain busy analyzing the events that led to the August tragedy and it’s aftermath. August has more black letter dates that have permanently tinted our history. On August 17, during the rule of BNP-Jamat led government, all but one districts of the country tremored with series bomb attacks, while Sheikh Hasina who was then the leader of opposition narrowly escaped state sponsored grenade attack on August 21 in broad daylight at a public meeting. Unfortunately Ivy Rahman and many more Awami League leaders and workers succumbed to their injuries on that fatal afternoon.
It has become a regular phenomenon in post ’75 Bangladesh that the defeated forces of 1971 become active whenever the calendar turns to August. As always the Pakistani conspirators are once again active in this August. A video has become viral in their social media recently, which is yet another example of shameless distortion of history by the Pakis. Every August the Pakistani propaganda machine targets firstly, Bangabandhu trying to make their story that Bangabandhu never wanted the partition of Pakistan and rather was a believer in united Pakistan and secondly, the Pakistan army never committed any crime against humanity in occupied Bangladesh and whatever had been done during those darkest nine months of our history were committed by the Mukti Bahini and Indian Army. The recent propaganda is also no exception. Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Sampritee Bangladesh have strongly condemned such ill motived propaganda. The Pakistanis have shown the audacity to add ‘Joy Pakistan’ at the end of Bangabandhu’s historic speech of 7 March, 1971 at the historical race course ground of Dhaka, the same ground that witnessed the surrender of the ‘Pakistani heroes’ within less than a year, in that edited video. They have used a book written by a retired senior officer of the Bangladesh Air Force as the reference, although it is well known to all quarters that this gentleman later withdrew his statement at a press meet at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Bangabandhu had lost confidence in Pakistan back in 1948, within a year of partition of India. This fact is evident from the secret documents of the Pakistani intelligence as well as from publications by Shahriar Kabir, Muntasir Mamun and other eminent researchers of our independence movement and moreover what Bangabandhu wanted and what not is written in black and white in his unfinished memoire and his dairy from his jail days.
Bangabandhu sent a letter to the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru immediately after the Indo-China war through Mr. Shashanka Bannerjee, an Indian diplomat then posted in East Pakistan, seeking his support for independent Bangladesh. His plan was to go to London and declare Bangladesh government in exile from there. Bangabandhu’s logic was that if this could be done, it would restore India’s stature as a regional power to the international community once again, as India would hold the negotiating key. This is written in late Shashanko Bannerji’s memoire. Bangabandhu travelled to Agartala secretly possibly in 1963 and met the then Tripura Chief Minister Mr. Sachin Deb Verma. They discussed about Indian assistance for the liberation of Bangladesh and when the Pakistanis came to know about it, the Arartala Conspiracy Case was eventually filed against Bangabandhu and others.
At the Awami League Council in 1966, Bangabandhu asked Mrs. Sanjida Khatun to sing ‘amar sonar Bangla… …’. When Sanjida Khatun asked him why this particular song, his reply was that he would make it the national anthem of Bangladesh once it’s independent. On the death anniversary of Hossain Shaheed Suhrawardy, possibly in 1966/67, at a meeting Bangabandhu said that under Pakistani occupation, the word “Bangla” has been wiped out from everywhere except our sea, the Bay of Bengal, which still bears the heritage of the Bengali nation. He then declared that the name of East Pakistan after independence will be ‘Bangla Desh’.
Bangabandhu declared the independence of Bangladesh before he was arrested by the Pakistan Army in the early hours of March 26, 1971. His message was intercepted by BSF and the news was broadcast by Akashbani and later by different International media quoting Akashbani.
Mr. Shashanka Banerjee accompanied Bangabandhu on his way back to his beloved Bangladesh after being liberated from Pakistan prison via London and New Delhi. During the long air journey, Bangabandhu asked Mr. Banerjee if he could sing the national anthem of Bangladesh. He then stood up from his seat and started singing the national anthem and as he sang tears rolled over his cheeks. Bangabandhu was taken briefly to the farm house of Mr. Bhutto after his release, where Bhutto repeatedly pressurized him to declare a confederation with Pakistan. Bangabandhu was however categorical in his response. He would not take any such decision without consulting his countrymen. In 1974 Bangabandhu visited Pakistan to join the Summit of Organization on Islamic Countries. The car allocated to take him to his hotel didn’t have Bangladesh flag. Bangabandhu refused to leave the airport and only went to his hotel after a Bangladesh flag was hastily managed and mounted on his official transport.
The Pakis know this history better than we do and this is the reason why all their efforts are always directed at defaming Bangabandhu, Muktibahini and the Indian Army. They will never want to admit that the crimes against humanity being carried out against the Baluch, Sindhi and Pashtus in Pakistan as of today by the savage Pakistan Army is the continuation of what they did in the former eastern wing of their country against the Bengali people half a century back. And our major limitation is that although we have brought those responsible for the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members as well as some war criminals of 1971 to justice, we are yet to put the war criminals of the Pakistan Army under trial. Similarly the masterminds of 15 August also remain to be identified. Although we have restored the four pillars of our constitution, this sacred document still bears the radical footprints of pro-Pakistan military rulers.
The assassins succeeded in eliminating Bangabandhu, but their attempts to erase Bangabandhu’s ideology has failed. If we want to stop the Pakistani propaganda machinary once and for all we have to constitute an Independent Commission to identify the masterminds behind August 15. The Pakistani propaganda video depicted a weird flag claiming it to be the flag of proposed Pak-Bangla United State. Here is a story at the end for those who are still living in fool’s paradise. After announcing his famous six point demands, at an interview with BBC, Bangabandhu was asked by Syed Haque how he would explain the complex six points to the common people of the land. Bangabandhu explained in the language that the commoners understand and asked the Pakistan regime, ‘How much have you taken? When will you refund? When will you leave?’
Write: Head, Interventional Hepatology Division, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Member Secretary, Samprittee Bangladesh.