If you read so many accounts written by so many writers what they encountered in our 1971 War, those reconstruct horrifying violence perpetrated by the Pakistani military junta and their local partners, especially the Al-Badr force whose agnomen is JeI in crimes: massacres of unarmed civilians, dismemberment of the dead, and wanton sexual violence against Bangladesh's women and girls. On our part, this noble war was fought by brave and patriotic men, women and fumbled by political elites.
I must say the Pakistani military's culture of hyper-masculinity and racism, coupled with a strategy that emphasized body counts as a metric for success, inevitably compelled their soldiers to commit unspeakable acts. Crimes like these massacres were not isolated, and that these were everyday occurrences - and even a matter of their policy. No doubt these crimes really occurred, and almost certainly more often than we like to admit. These evil men crossed the very bottom line. Thusly they must not be spared from the hangman's noose.
As we know that the victory at Badr about 1400 years earlier was an important milestone in the establishment of Islam. It was even recorded in the Quoran as a divine sanction of the new religion: "It was not you who slew them; it was God…in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself." This victory especially raised Muhammad's (PBH) status among the Medina tribes that supported him and convinced his followers that victory over powerful and wealthy Makkah was truly possible. The Battle of Badr was fought on Tuesday, 13 March 624 CE (17 Ramadan, 2 AH in the Islamic calendar) in the Hejaz region of western Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia), was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad's (PBH) struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Makkah.
The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory attributable to divine intervention or by secular sources to the strategic genius of Muhammad (PBH). It is one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. All acknowledgments of the battle at Badr come from traditional Islamic accounts, both Hadiths and biographies of Muhammad (PBH), recorded in written form sometime after the battle.
After the battle, Muhammad (PBH) returned to Medina. Some seventy prisoners were taken captive and had been treated humanely including a number of Quraish leaders. Most of the prisoners were released upon payment of ransom and those who were literate were released on the condition that they would teach ten persons how to read and write and this teaching was to count as their ransom. William Muir wrote of this period, "In pursuance of Mahomet's commands, the citizens of Medîna, and such of the Refugees as possessed houses, received the prisoners, and treated them with much consideration. "Blessings be on the men of Medina!" said one of these prisoners in later days; "they made us ride, while they themselves walked: they gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates. It is not surprising that when, some time afterwards, their friends came to ransom them, several of the prisoners who had been thus received declared themselves adherents of Islam...Their kindly treatment was thus prolonged, and left a favorable impression on the minds even of those who did not at once go over to Islam."
The Battle of Badr is one of the few battles explicitly discussed in the Quran. Hence, it is one of the greatest and most famous battles of Islam. For the first time, the followers of the new faith were put into a serious test. This was a key battle in the early days of Islam and proved to be a turning point in Islam's struggle with its oppressive opponents, amongst them, the Quraysh in Makkah. And those who participated in it enjoyed a special distinction amongst the Muslims.
The word 'Badri' is used in the biographies of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBH) for those persons who participated in the Battle of Badr. But the unexampled Al-Badr force during our glorious Liberation War in 1971 in Bangladesh became ferocious criminals. They butchered three million of our unarmed civilians in collaboration with the Beelzebub- the Pakistani soldiers pronouncing the holy words, "Naraye Takbir, Allah-hu Akbar; Pakistan Zindabad; Pakistan is the holy place of Islam." They then refused the burial of those dead bodies. Rather, they cheerfully allowed the vultures, jackals, dogs, and other human flesh eaters to eat those murdered and mutilated bodies. Look at their irremissible temerities!
But we were at the just cause. The signs of victory of the Freedom Fighters (FFs) during our glorious Liberation War in 1971 began to appear soon. The enemies were stricken with terror and began to flee. The FFs, who were fighting with the help of their faith, and knew that both killing and being killed were blessings of good against evils were perfectly undaunted and nothing stopped their advance. The forces of truth and falsehood faced each other in achieving Bangladesh in 1971. The truth was victorious and the enemy was defeated after having sustained heavy losses.
If ever there was a date to be remembered and commemorated in Islam, it is the 17th of Ramadan. This year it falls on Saturday, June 2. The 17th day of Ramadan holds great military and spiritual significance within Islam, as it was on this day that the greatest and most significant battle in Islamic history took place: The Battle and Victory of Badr in 624 AD. This battle marked the first significant military victory for Islam, which solidified Mohammed's (PBH) position as ruler of the first Islamic State in Medina.
I ingeminate that the prisoners were treated with kindness and some became Muslims. The Battle of Badr strengthened the faith of the Muslims. The Qur'an clearly says, ''And let there be [arising] from you a nation to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and it is they who are successful."
The outcome of the battle was as aforementioned an ignominious rout for the polytheists and a manifest victory for the Muslims. But the gratuitously Al-Badr force did act diametrically just the opposite standing against the true spirits of Islam and kindness shown by Muhammad (PHB). Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality. Facts are many, but the truth is one. We may remember the words of Henry David Thoreau, "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me the truth" and our brave people fought for the truth and morality to attain Bangladesh in 1971.
Thomas Jefferson reminds us, "Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a very important one to society." The Great Battle of Badr took place on the seventeenth of Ramadan, two years after the Hijra. This was the first battle that the believers ever engaged in with the disbelievers, and it is, by far, the most famous and most renowned because of the several extraordinary events that occurred during that time. The enemies of Islam were appalled and disheartened by the victory at Badr. The Prophet (PBH) ordered his followers to treat the prisoners generously. He said, "Deal kindly with them" whereas the JeI Al-Badr force in Bangladesh in 1971 was staggeringly pitiless, savage, bestial, brutish, animate being and what not.
I resound the Bangladesh Massacre of 1971 was the mass murder of three million unarmed citizens, almost entirely civilians, most of them men, women, and children, conducted by Pakistani soldiers along with their murderous local accomplices, especially the people who belonged to then-then East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami, a killing outfit of Pakistan's progeny-Jamaat-e-Islami.
Some of the victims were raped, beaten, tortured, or maimed, and some of the bodies were found mutilated. George William Curtis once said, "A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle" and our people held that much of principle and deep patriotism during the time of 1971.
In this compellingly abrasive and unsparing write-up, I am trying to present the unvarnished truth about the war in Bangladesh. In fact, to understand the war, we must understand Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami lummoxes, lubbers, stumblebums, aggressive and violent criminals and, in doing so, we must understand that racism in the Pakistani state created a climate in which it was difficult for the Pakistanis to understand what they were doing in our country in 1971. Even today, about five decades later, this chauvinist immoral blindness permitted the Pakistanis effectively unchallenged when they gloried in their exploits in massacring the Bengalis. I do want to tell that things that some people don't want to hear about those gruesome atrocities that they would love to forget. (To be continued…)
The writer is an independent political analyst who writes on
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