My War! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 10, 2018

A Life Less Ordinary

My War!

I started working at the Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the Radio in exile of the independent Bangladesh one fine morning. Alamgir Kabir was my superior as the Programme Organizer of the English Language Programme. This programme of special broadcast was introduced in consideration of the fact that the world had to be told about our war and the reasons there of. This included politics, economics, sociology and culture of the population that inhabited Bangladesh.

The basic premise of our being a nation had to be established to the scrutinizing eyes of the sceptic world, more importantly the west. And, in addition, the positive thoughts of the freedom loving people of the world had to be brought to our own people who now lived as virtual prisoners of the Pakistani occupation forces. During the war of liberation, we all did our assigned jobs with a missionary zeal. The secret of success was not questioning the job assigned, but to carry it out. We were asked many dubious questions every now and then, some political and others personal with no bearing on the war at hand. We ignored all those and devoted ourselves to what we had taken upon us to free our people.

I had made out my job description and ran it through Alamgir Kabir, our Kabir Bhai. This included writing and reading political commentaries, interviewing dignitaries and diplomats visiting the refugee camps and the freedom fighters and reporting on their condition along the border, also interviewing the sector and sub-sector commanders fighting within Bangladesh. War reporting was another job that I loved doing because it took me close to the battle fields. It so happened on many occasions that my interviews were interspersed with the sound of guns.

One day when I was about to enter the recording studio of the Radio, Syed Hasan Imam, the actor told me with a heavy heart that our good friend Mahbubuddin Ahmed was killed by an enemy bullet while in action at Sector Nine. This hurt very badly. I had known Mahbub for years as a fellow student at the Dhaka University and later as a personal friend. Just before the crackdown by the Pakistan army we went to Jhinaidaha, then a Sub-Division, where Mahbub was posted as the Sub-Divisional Police officer. We had a fantastic time there. We talked a lot about various things, especially about the political situation. We even speculated that Bangladesh was at the threshold of becoming independent. So it did not take a second thought for Mahbub to decide to leave such an important government job to join the war of liberation as an active fighter. We were really sad to have heard of his death. I distinctly remember that none of us could concentrate on our work that day. The next day brought with it a very pleasant surprise. As I entered the Radio station, Hasan Bhai greeted me with a smile and said that the Mahbub who died was not our friend Mahbub. It was someone else. For a minute I did not know how to react. This was too good of news to believe. When I woke up from the trance I saw everyone at the station rejoicing. There were tears of happiness in everyone's eyes. Later when I thought about it all I felt a kind of remorse. I knew that our Mahbub was alive and, therefore, we were happy. But the Mahbub who died must have

also been a fighter for our cause. He must have had friends and relatives just as our Mahbub did. His mother must have been in anguish at the loss of her son. All these after thoughts made me feel small and put me in agony. At that point of my life I began to question the necessity of wars. Then I came across a line from Vladimir I. Lenin which said, if I remember correctly, “We do not like wars. Indeed we hate wars. We only indulge in wars to stop wars.” Well, that sort of justified our war. But then a war was a war however justified it was. Therefore all human efforts should be directed at preventing wars of all sorts and, thereby, lessen human miseries.

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