Monday, 29 May, 2023

Dark Night of 25th March and Today’s Bangladesh

Prof. M. Matiur Rahman

Dark Night of 25th March and Today’s Bangladesh
Prof. M. Matiur Rahman

In this article I would like to make a study of Bangladesh today in contrast with the country’s black chapter resulting from the brutal killing of thousands of our innocent civilians by the barbarous Pakistani army in the dark night of 25 March 1971. It is a clear example of their genocide in Bangladesh. We are filled with profound shock at the horrors of the tragedy and the gross violation of human right. An allusion to the background will help us understand the topic clearly. 

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a prominent leader in East Pakistan now Bangladesh at that time to raise his voice against the tyranny, discrimination, oppression and above all the colonial rule of Pakistan government. He organized the people against the disparity and injustice done to them. Later on, as a follow up, he delivered his 7th March historic speech with a tactful declaration for the people urging them to struggle for emancipation and independence. This led to the beginning of a full-scale war of liberation and our freedom fighters fell upon the enemies with redoubled strength.

Failing to cope with their guerrilla tactics of war the Pakistani soldiers with their accomplices followed a scorched earth policy to destroy our country and its people. In line with this, they carried out search light operation in big cities, towns and took away men, women, boys and children and mercilessly shot them to death in the dark night of 25 March. The residential halls of Dhaka University where the students were sleeping at night were not even spared from their massacre. Besides this, thousands of people in different villages were killed on the spot. I saw with my own eyes innumerable people fleeing from the urban areas to the villages for fear of life. This 25th March night of brutal killing was far worse than the tragedy of Karbala that awakens the sympathy of the readers in all ages. The bizarre scene of the war crime of the Pak army gives us a traumatic experience. No government, not any head of state in the past raised the issue to UN save and except the present government which soon after coming to power made diplomatic efforts to place it in the international forum. History furnishes us with fact that no sinner can go unpunished. So we hope and expect that one day it will draw the attention of the world to bring the perpetrators of the crime to book.

However, resorting to the path of violence and genocide the Pak rulers wanted to strangle the voice of our people for independence for ever. Here I want to quote the memorable words of the famous novelist Earnest Hemingway who in his famous novel, “The Old Man and the Sea” said, “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” That is why our freedom fighters remained indefatigable in the face this tragic event and continued their struggle for independence. Commenting on hindrance to freedom Jawaharlal Nehru, the great Indian Premier prior to independence of his country said, “There is no easy walk-over to freedom anywhere and many of us will have to pass through the valley of shadow again and again before we reach the mountain of our desire.” Despite the savagery of the Pak forces, Bangladesh woke to life and freedom after nine months of war to the utter surprise of the world.

Now let me focus on today’s Bangladesh. It is true that during the Pakistan period our region was neglected. The central government of Pakistan laid special emphasis on the development of West Pakistan. There was virtually no economic development except exploitation and oppression in the eastern wing, now Bangladesh. But the scenario completely changed after our independence. Bangladesh made outstanding progress in different sectors of her economy such as education, agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, infrastructure, foreign exchange earnings, tourism, diplomacy, science and technology. For decentralization of administration all subdivisions were made districts and the thanas were upgraded to upazilas. The trend of development has reached the remotest corners of the villages. Very recently the construction of the Padma Bridge by our country’s own finance to connect the southern districts with the capital city and other parts of Bangladesh has made a noise in the world. There is no denying the fact that under the dynamic leadership of the great Prime Minister, Bangladesh is progressing leaps and bounds keeping good relation with all countries of the world. India a fast rising global power in the international arena is our closest ally and development partner like Russia and China. Comparatively speaking Pakistan, plagued with sectarian violence, militancy, terrorism, political instability and international isolation is lagging far behind Bangladesh. Its former Premier Imran Khan was held spellbound to the marvelous progress our country has made after independence. Moreover, Bangladesh has a strong and thriving economy while that of Pakistan is in doldrums with high rate of inflation, poverty and hunger of its people. To this we may add that Bangladesh enjoys unique communal harmony in the world with people of all faiths living together in peace and tranquility. It is very interesting to note that Bangladesh once dominated by Pakistan is now a role model of development for other countries of the world.

Thus, the contrasting pictures of the past and present gives us a fascinating insight into the glorious position of today’s Bangladesh as a prosperous, independent country in the world with a long memory of the dark night of 25th March.


The writer is an educationist and columnist.

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