Published:  12:01 AM, 19 October 2021

A Bullet Hit Innocent Little Boy

A Bullet Hit Innocent Little Boy
It's never easy to come up with the right words to express our sorrow to the sisters like PM Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana who has lost their youngest brother - Sheikh Russel. It's a devastating loss that turned their world upside down and made them lose all faith in everything. But no matter how small or insignificant, we think they may be, our sympathy and condolence message through this write-up can mean the world to the people who are suffering from a great loss.

Some people say there is a reason, they say that time will heal. But neither time nor reason will change the way the two sisters feel. No-one knows the heartache that lies behind their smiles. No-one knows how many times; they have broken down and cried.

When Sheikh Russel was brutally shot to death in the wee hours of 15 August 1975 along with his father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, our country's Founding Father, his mother and other family members at their historic Dhanmondi residence by some felonious military men of the country's army, he was then a little boy at eleven only, a school boy of University Laboratory School (ULS) which is close to the University of Dhaka. He was then a student of class IV.

Being a senior student of Dhaka University and an occupant of Sergeant Zohurul Hoque Hall during that time, I used to come across him almost every day. I still recall his innocent face with having no lightness though he was the youngest son of his majuscule father - Bangladesh's Prime Minister and the world's most popular statesman.

He was born on 18 October 1964 at the historic Bangabandhu's Dhanmondi residence. He is also the youngest brother of Bangladesh's present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Russel was a ball of energy, happy, smart and could strike up with his smiling as I saw him.

His school teacher and Principal Begum Razia Matin Chowdhury called Russel "the kindest-hearted little boy that I have ever had the pleasure of teaching.""He loved to make everyone laugh," she said in a memoir. "He will be missed by all of his classmates and everyone at ULS." He had the biggest heart of any boy I have ever come across," said by many of his teachers. "He cared about everybody. He loved everybody at his school. Not one day would go by where he would not feel glorified about his school and told he loved it before he left."

A tragic accident that led to the death of this very young boy! The killing stunned me and the entire world of Bangladesh.

The AL party leaders, activists, well-wishers and people from all spheres of life shall observe the 57thbirthday of Sheikh Russel on 18 of October of the present year in a benefitting manner. But his birth anniversary is a painful regret of how we should have observed every day of our lives like a glorious anniversary while he was alive.

He was uttering just a few words at a time when his life was brought to an end by gun bullets. He wanted to go to his parents inside the house begging pardon to those killer goons as he was then in a terrified state, but as ill luck would have it; he was not countenanced by them.

The cure of every illness, balm of every pain, assurance of every sorrow and relief for every anguish has been taken away from his near and dear one's hugs.  Life took him away from us, too young. Russel, you will always be our hero unsung.

I am sure he had a bright future ahead of him if he were alive today. For every flower that I place on his grave, I think of all those things he did to make our life as beautiful and fragrant as a bed of flowers.

The morning has lost its light, twilight has lost its darkness, dawn has lost its mist and evening has lost its sheen - every moment of the day has become worthless without a shining boy like him.

When he was alive, his presence taught us to live life in the moment without waiting for tomorrow. But after his death, his absence has taught us to live life like there is no tomorrow. Russel's death is the black hole that has sucked out every bit of happiness from the universe of Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Hasina's life. Wistfulness, longing nostalgia and melancholy - they have sworn to always give them company after his savageslaying.

We never knew death had so much power that it could beat the life out of a living person. The brutal impact of his absence has left many of us lifeless. The same thing has been happening in different forms in the country since long after, even after about fivedecennia. This is also not acceptable.

Most people can only dream about seeing an angel. I have the pleasure of trying to live my whole life with all good people, and remembering him and them after he or they flew away into the heavens. It is heartbreaking to see start bullets hurting innocent children now-a-days also. This is unendurable!

Famed English poet John Donne aptly wrote, "Death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." Death of Russel and many other people who are free from evil or guilt are being slaughtered even today, but all these lack dignity or reputation of Bangladesh's emergence in 1971 after a huge blood-bath.

What a beautiful boy, Russel was! Bless his heart...bullets have NO names. He was adorable to all in his school and in his parent's family. Growing up with his parent was one of the best things that might have happened to his life with the passage of time. Growing up, he would always be the good child. I am glad there was one or many of us!

That's not the most disturbing thing I have heard out of Sheikh Russel' brutal murder, but it is the darkest story I want to share. I was writing a lot of it down at first, but then I decided that those memories need to leave the world with him.

The purpose of wiping out Bangabandhu's family including Sheikh Russel bloodline in 1975 was the cruelest act of the world. This was carried out by the obnoxious nexus of Pakistan's imperious ISI and America's disdainful killing outfit CIA in connivance with their local confederates as we gave them a crushing defeat in 1971 to establish our just cause creating a Bengali nation's homeland - Bangladesh.

Losing a younger brother is a pain that cannot be described in words. It is impossible to move on from the memory of losing that brother who sacrificed happiness in his own life. Love of his sisters like PM Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana is truly irreplaceable. If you are finding it hard to cope with your brother's death, channel your emotions by seeking solace in the written word. Write your own quotes, phrases and poems.

They will help you reflect on all the beautiful childhood memories. Your writings will help you emerge out of the shadows of sadness. The wonderful memories of spending time with your little brother - Russel will help heal the agony of missing him after he has passed away. Read this post and take the first step towards embracing the fact that your Russel has truly become an angel who is watching you from the heaven's above.

Death thinks it can take Russel away from them. But it doesn't know he will always live in their memory. But they miss him staggeringly!! Mourning is just another word in the dictionary. But after Russel's death, it has become a way of life for Hasina and Rehana.The beautiful memories of the times they have spent together to make him smile, only until the moment when they eventually remind them that he is no longer here.

I wish could take back every pain and worry that those perpetrators ever gave him. I wish that I could just undo, all the moments that made you blue, Sheikh Russel. Hasina and Rehana cried endlessly when he died, but they promise that they won't tears mar the smiles that he has given them when he was alive. His death was a brutal lesson to his near and dear ones that life is so fickle. Russel's death left his sisters life straightforward in a raging tornado.

Sheikh Russel stood on the bridge in silence and fear; for the demons of darkness had driven him here. They cut his heart right out of his chest making us believe that the demons knew best. They were always there; sometimes just out of sight waiting in the background till the time was right. These demons were destructive knocking down the life we know. These demons can't be seen, but they are far from fairy tales. They live inside our circles in disguise. Their evilness prevails until they are halted once and for all. So, on the bridge he stood about to end the fight. Then he stopped and thought - he will fight them, but before that, the final curtain fell. The world may classify Russel as dead but my heart classifies him as immortal. Best 57th Birthday, the-then baby brother - Sheikh Russel! As long as we feed the demons, we will see the beast. We can't run, nor can we hide, but if we conquer the beast, we will survive. Hope is in truth. Pray for this innocent soul of Russel and open our eyes.

Anwar A Khan is an independent political analyst who writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs

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