Bangladesh achieved independence on 16th December 1971, after a nine months war of liberation which we fought from March to December, 1971. This year, we have celebrated the 51st Victory Day of Bangladesh with great enthusiasm and festivities. On this auspicious occasion, we remember with gratitude our martyrs whose supreme sacrifice led to the independence of Bangladesh. Our valiant freedom fighters fought for our independence and won the war of liberation at a very heavy cost. The loss of lives and properties during the war are actually uncountable. Though it is assessed that about three million people died, 0.2 million women were tortured by the Pakistanis and their local cohorts, millions of houses were burnt and numerous infrastructures were destroyed during the war running from March 26 to December 16, 1971.
In the last days of the liberation war, the Pakistani soldiers killed civilian intellectuals and burned down the houses of innocent people out of mindless vindictive aggression. They made lists of names of freedom fighters, organisers of liberation war, supporters and leaders of the Awami League and all those who were directly or indirectly involved in the war or helping the Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters). Then they hunted them down to kill them and their families. Those they could not find, they burned down their houses. My father was an Awami League leader who helped the Mukti Bahini in their efforts to liberate the country from the Pakistani occupation. My father’s name was on the top of the Pakistani list for leading, organising and helping the freedom loving forces in favour of our liberation. The Pakistanis burnt down our house on December 15, 1971. We had three tin-roofed daak bungalows which were part of our home. The Pakistani soldiers burnt to ashes two of them during the time of their departure from their camp which was situated in our Upazila head quarter. I was in my boyhood and was hiding with my father at a place near our village. Returning on the morning of December 16, we saw the scene of burning of the houses which was a huge loss of resources for us. This memory haunts me till now.
Md. Muzibur Rahman, a columnist