– Abul Momen*
Liberation War, not of Bangladesh only but it is a very exceptionally unique episode in the history of the entire Bengali nation. Such an example of heroism and self-sacrifice as a nation will no more be found in the history of the Bengali as a nation. Hence it is a glorious golden chapter of our history. Its dignity and place is different, highest.
Now-a-days hesitation takes place in the mind whether we feel that much as we talk about. I want to say humbly that from the beginning our initiative in respect of how and whom to extend this honor seems to be results of no deep thought. Our thinking about the labeling whom to be Freedom Fighters was always did not stay at a point. Gallantry Award as a Freedom Fighter would be given to those ones who carried on direct and guerrilla warfare with arms at their hands – this is natural. During that time many of the migrants as refugees in India worked as organizers of Liberation War in the exile government in India or under it. And many others worked as assisting power of the Liberation War or the Freedom Fighters in foreign lands or stranded countries at different levels and degrees – they are workers of Liberation War. So we get people of three streams i.e., Freedom Fighters, Organizers of Liberation War and Workers of Liberation War who had involved themselves in the Liberation War.
Going not in very liberal or in extensive consideration the role of everybody should be assessed minutely. This may be determined with discussion in the Parliament; respect should also be shown to the public opinion. Other than them, those persons who extended cooperation in the Liberation War had their life-risk and even many of them embraced martyrdom. The decision for giving all the war heroic woman (birangana) the dignity of Freedom Fighter is justified. This way it is reasonable to extend dignity to the organizers and the workers of the Liberation War. But offering extensive honor to many this way differs from the weighting of the real Freedom Fighters. As because guerrilla warfare and frontal battles took place in this country for independence, so the armed fighters of battle fields are to be treated with different honor or they should be considered so. With whom the question of dignity is involved is a matter of a bit difficulty in making him related so easily with monetary or material benefits. Because many a time this deters extension of honor in place of enhancement of it. The state should provide all facilities in honor of them, as for example giving concession in all kinds of transport tickets. It is justified to make provision of monthly allowance, festival bonus and medical allowance for the war-injured, sick and indigent freedom fighters. As the Liberation War was a people’s war, as there was highly educated professionals, so also there were education-deprived farmers-youths or even factory workers. The state might have special programs of cooperation for the ones mentioned last. That could have been for the first twenty-twenty five years in the fields of education and employment and life-long in the medical field.
It seems to me even now that the decision of extraordinary promotion as in the F.F. officers in the armed forces for their participation in the War of Liberation is not justified. It then damages the standard and tradition of the discipline of a professional uniformed force. And that the reason why the seed of division and discontent was sowed in the Army at the beginning and that developed branches. The price of it, in certain cases which reached the extreme end, had to be paid by many brilliant officers and in their connection many families and the entire country for a long time.
Liberation War was also a revolutionary war which not only gave birth to a nation and a country, but it transformed a domestic family life-concerned race into a martial race. Although changes have taken place through time, the faint echo of this mentality has not completely erased. Bengali, at least the youth he has earned, resembles the predominance of the courageous and struggling zeal. But yes, the tendency of utilizing the Liberation War in subsequent time for personal or group interest, the characteristic features of meanness and weakness of a traditional Bengali, caused their return in a major degree. We are searching about the material gain by exploiting the involvement of Liberation War even after four-five decades of the event. Consequently it is noticed that a Secretary of the government, Principal of a College and even high ranking engineer of the state and many other top-positioned personalities have made ill-attempt to receive benefits by producing fake F.F. Certificate.
Such examples would now increase due to opening of avenues for profitable use of the identity of a freedom fighter by the third generation or through generations. Liberation War may become a heavenly tree or a wishing-cow for the nation in its way of expansion of national spirit. But that which is of the nation and simultaneously of the coming future should not be put into a compartment for the material gain of a few person. It would make scope for utilizing Liberation War in a craze. In that case it would be very difficult to determine who would utilize the spirit or ideal of Liberation War for fulfilling his/her far-reaching purpose or agenda. In this way we are going to damage the real value and glory of Liberation War and the freedom fighters. Here we should remember the two extraordinary lines of the songs by Rabindranath – We only dishonor ourselves in our attempt to give self glory.
Leaving out the passion, we should walk along the future path learning from the mistakes of the past. As the War of Liberation is a matter of pride, it is not profitably exchangeable. So it must not be an engine for filling the gap of merit and efficiency. Freedom Fighters, offspring of the freedom fighters or their family members may be extended special facilities if necessary but then it should be limited to tuition fees, admission fees etc. in education and not in the field of merit or competence. So, firstly widely extended title of honor of Freedom Fighter should be stopped and secondly after 47 years of Liberation War quota system on it should not be continued. Due to this sort of mismanagement we have unfortunately failed to make a right list of freedom fighters. It is an unbounded matter of shame for a war-victorious nation.
When a football team named Muktijodda Sangsad was formed, some of us made objections; I myself tried to restrain. The logic was that the War of Liberation is the legacy of our pride and glory. Whereas for a Football Team victory and defeat is a normal phenomenon. Can we tag Liberation War with win-defeat? My opinion is that we can’t do it, the act is unjustified.
Now-a-days nothing is heard of Muktijodda Sangsad Team. This sort of fate of the name of Liberation War surely was not desired. Facilities received in the name of War of Liberation like admission of the grandson/daughter, employment of son/daughter or vote for the party – whatever may be, degenerates this spirit. If the multitude and splendor of the facilities go on increase, the real greatness, heroism, sacrifice and victory that underline the War of Liberation would loose significance. Don’t we understand even now that indulgence in verbosity, vain talk etc. on Liberation War, Freedom Fighters and its spirit that discolor most of the real spirit and ideals of the War of Liberation?E
* Poet, Writer and Journalist.
* Translated into English by ‘The Economy’ Analyst.