Khaled Mosharraf (middle) being adorned with the ranks and badges of Major General in 1975.
Greek philosopher Plato once said, "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of light." Light is always a symbol of truth while darkness signifies falsehood.
As another 7 November comes back to us with its tragic remembrances, it is time to look back on history and to differentiate lies from authenticity. Awami League observes 7 November as Freedom Fighters Killing Day while Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and other parties which do not uphold the spirit of 1971 observe this day as Revolution and Solidarity Day. BNP's way of observing 7 November is a shameful one which denies history.
Patriotic army officers like Major General Khaled Mosharraf and Colonel Abu Taher were killed on 7 November which was a blueprint by former military dictator Ziaur Rahman. The murders committed on 7 November 1975 remind us of 14 December 1971 when pro-liberation intellectuals were killed by Pakistan army and their local collaborators. Colonel Taher was a one-legged man when he was killed.
It shows the ruthlessness of the plotters who brought about the black day of 7 November. The anti-liberation assemblages wanted to exterminate the independence and sovereignty of Bangladesh forever through the atrocities they carried out on this date.
I personally know Khaled Mosharraf's daughter Mahjabeen Khaled. When I see her it reminds of the bravery and integrity of her father. The killings on 7 November had another motive. That was to eliminate all the pro-Indian people. The sentiment of opposing India is very close to a communal outlook. It sounds ominous and alarming.
People who dislike India have profound support for Pakistan. These people who harbour an anti-Indian attitude are against secular principles. Disliking India is a part of welcoming religious fundamentalism. There was a same anti-Indian upheaval on 7 November 1975. The disasters that struck Bangladesh on this date were a result of intrigues by national and international platforms who did not want Bangladesh to become independent.
India broadly cooperated with Bangladesh during the Liberation War of 1971. Over twenty million Bangladeshi refugees were sheltered in India during the war. Many Indian soldiers got killed while fighting for Bangladesh's independence. India is one of the most vital development partners of Bangladesh as well.
Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana miraculously survived the assassination of August 1975. Later on former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi facilitated Sheikh Hasina to stay in India safely for a substantial period of time.
Anti-Indian people have a strong leaning towards China. History shows that China opposed the independence of Bangladesh while the Liberation War of 1971 was going on. China has always been the closest ally to Pakistan. Thus getting closer to China contradicts with the essence of 1971.
China even did not recognize Bangladesh while Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was alive. China acknowledged Bangladesh after Bangabandhu was murdered. Countries which opposed the Liberation War sheltered Bangabandhu's killers afterwards.
1975 was a catastrophic year for Bangladesh. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated with most of his family members on 15 August 1975. Four national leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Mansur Ali and AHM Quamruzzaman were assassinated on 3 November 1975. Things were far more aggravated through the killings of valiant army officers that took place on 7 November 1975.
We need to be careful about the tricks of the anti-independence groups who work stealthily to jeopardize Bangladesh's socio-economic advancement and to stain the government's image. We are alarmed at the rise of radical entities which have emerged through communal organizations like Jamaat and Hefazat-E-Islam. The government will have to stay alert all the time to baffle all conspiracies.
Unfortunately there is a lack of mutual respect among the political parties of Bangladesh. A glaring example is the fact that BNP leaders celebrate Khaleda Zia's birthday on 15 August which is National Mourning Day. It is an evidence that BNP does not care about ethical norms in politics.
Begum Khaleda Zia often said that the sound of ululation will be made by Hindus in mosques if Awami League comes to power. Awami League has been in power for last ten years but nothing like that happened. Rather Bangladesh became a den of militants and religious extremists while BNP-Jamaat nexus was in power from 2001 to 2006. Bombs were exploded all over the country. The rise of militancy came about during BNP regime.
A particular law should be passed in Parliament making it mandatory to observe 7 November as Freedom Fighters Killing Day only. At the same time we urge the government to build up a special monument in memory of the patriots who embraced martyrdom on 7 November 1975.
Liberation War Affairs Ministry should go for massive publications throughout the country to make everyone aware of the true events that occurred on 7 November 1975 to save history from distortion. In this way the process to preserve their memories should be initiated.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman brought us independence through his uncompromising fight and endeavours. Bangladesh would not have been created if Bangabandhu was not born. He envisioned dreams for a prosperous Bangladesh where people of all religions would be able to live in harmony.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been making the best of her efforts to materialize the intentions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by implementing Vision 2021 and Vision 2041. Sheikh Hasina's initiatives have transformed Bangladesh into a development role model. The entire world now views Bangladesh as one of the most successful countries of the present time. However, it should be noted that retaining development is more important than gaining it.
I pray for the eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs who were killed from August to November 1975. Many innocent military officers were killed on fabricated allegations during the reign of Ziaur Rahman. I remember my close relative Sergeant Ayub Bhuiyan (Ayub chacha) who was hanged in Comilla in 1977 on false charges following a coup in Air Force. I pray for the salvation of all of them in the world hereafter.
While concluding, a few lines of a patriotic song come to my mind-"Muktir mondiro sopano tole, koto pran holo balidan, likha achhey osrujole" (the names of the sacrificed souls who laid down their life on the stairs of freedom are all inscribed in tears).
The writer is a diplomat, entrepreneur, author and Chairman of Editorial Board of The Asian Age.
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