R K CHOWDHURY | 08 May 2021 | 10:16 am
My greatest achievement in these 80 years of life was to participate in the procession of the language movement in 1952 and to serve as the political advisor of the 2nd and 3rd sectors in The Liberation War.
During the language movement of 1952, I was in class 6 of KL Jubilee School at Dhaka. At that time our class teacher was Kamruzzaman Sir. He later became Member of Parliament with nominations from the United Front. He was even the principal of KL Jubilee School, and he later became the principal of KL Jubilee School College. He was the president of the Teachers Association of the whole country. Kamruzzaman Sir inspired us about the language movement. Since I was the class captain, my friendship with sir was good. We came to Dhaka University led by sir with a procession more than once. On the 21st of February, 1952, we joined the public rally of the language movement. Same day, where the Shahid Minar now is, there was this wall and while I was trying to break it, the pant and shirt I was wearing tore and my hands and feet were slightly injured.
Then in the 60’s I was first elected General Secretary of Quaid-e-Azam College (now Government Shaheed Suhrawardy College), I was elected General Secretary by the Chatra League. Since then I have been close to my leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the great hero of the Bengali liberation struggle, he’s my leader, and my political career started with him. He is the only one in my mind now at the age of 80 who has been doing politics in his ideology all his life. I have many memories with Bangabandhu. I always think of his death struggle, boundless courage, unparalleled achievement and exemplary sacrifice.
At the time of Bangabandhu, I was the treasurer of Dhaka Metropolitan Awami League. How is the organizational activities of the city Awami League? How can it be better? Where is the problem? We and then city president Gazi Golam Mostafa, and others used to discuss these issues with Bangabandhu regularly in the evenings.
On the morning of March 7 we went to Bangabandhu’s house. When I went there, I saw large group of people around his house. We, the leaders of Dhaka City Awami League, brought Bangabandhu to the public meeting at the Ramna Racecourse Maidan. When Bangabandhu gave his speech, I was standing in the corner of the stage with Gazi Golam Mostafa, the president of Dhaka Metropolitan Awami League. I always feel blessed to be present on that historic day.
The last time I went to Bangabandhu’s house before The Great Liberation War of 1971 was on the 25th March. I told Bangabandhu, “Leader I’ll be going to Cantonment for a bit”. I had a furniture business with Cantonment at the time, the furniture company was called Eastern Furniture. I went to the cantonment to get the furniture bill. The situation in the cantonment seemed a little different that day. When I came back, I got the news to Bangabandhu. After that the war of liberation started. The best chapter of my life is these nine months of the war of independence of Bangladesh. These nine months are the best memories of my life. I have witnessed the rise of an independent country, but there were some terrible moments too, I have seen the corpse of a comrade and the dead body of my child. During the Great Liberation War, two of my children died without treatment in my absence.
Due to my close association with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in my youth, I was actively involved in many activities of the mass movement in Dhaka City before the liberation war. That is why we had to take mental preparation to participate in the war of independence as per the instructions of Bangabandhu. After the crackdown on March 25, I reached Narsingdi on March 26 by walking, rickshaw and boat with great difficulty. Preparations for the liberation war continued. I contacted the local leaders and workers of Narsingdi and prepared to go to India. Agartala in Tripura was the first and easiest refuge for the freedom fighters of Dhaka, Chittagong, Comilla, Noakhali and Sylhet regions. I reached Agartala, I got acquainted with Major Nuruzzaman and many organizers from Brahmanbaria, Narsingdi and Dhaka. The so-called Agartala conspiracy case filed against the father of the Bengali nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the case in which an attempt was made to hang the father of the nation. Surprisingly, that Agartala became the deadline of the liberation war of Bangladesh.
In April 1971, I went to Agartala. There was direct contact with the leaders like Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury, Sheikh Jamal, Abdus Samad Azad, Gazi Golam Mostafa, Colonel Osmani, Major Zia, Major Shafiullah, Major Khaled Mosharraf, Major Haider, Major Nuruzzaman. I was given the responsibility of political advisor of sectors 2 and 3. On April 25, I met Khaled Musharraf and Comilla Homna MP Mozaffar Ali and Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed. I took his instructions and returned to Agartala from Calcutta. As an organizer at that time I had to go to many camps in Tripura including Melaghar training camp. Surajmaninagar Hospital which was established for the treatment of war wounded freedom fighters. I visited and met my school life friend Dr. Jafar Ullah Chowdhury, he is currently the trustee of the public health center. At this time, on May 26, I had the opportunity to meet the then Chief Minister of Tripura Sachindra Lal Singh and talk about the various needs of the freedom fighters.
After performing organizational duties in the war of liberation, I came to Comilla on 14 December in a helicopter with Major Haider. Later I came to Dhaka via Narsingdi on the afternoon of 15th December. Victory was celebrated on the same day in Jatrabari. Those memories are to be remembered for the rest of my life, the crowd started dancing at the Jatrabari crossroads with Major Haider and me on their heads. December 15 was spent in joy and anxiety. Finally, December 16 is the best day of my life, I brought a chair and table from Dhaka Club, the table on which the document of victory of the Bengalis was signed. That scene of December 16 is still a dream come true.
The country became independent, I went down to work for the development of the independent country. I was elected councilor from Jatrabari and Dhanmondi. Later I was made the Chairman of Dhaka City Corporation Planning Development Sub-Committee. After successfully serving there, I got the responsibility as the former chairman of RAJUK (then called DIT). I consider my duty as worship and have contributed immensely to the development of the capital. I have always been by Bangabandhu’s side like a shadow. I never thought that assassins would kill Bangabandhu in the liberated Bangladesh. After killing Bangabandhu, the assassins tortured his close ones. They attacked my house several times to kill me. I had to stay in hiding for 6 months to escape their torture. Many had to endure the torture. This is how my life goes on. I am ending here without further ado. Finally, on the occasion of my birthday, I pray for the people of Bangladesh.
Just as I have contributed to the language movement and liberation war as a language fighter and heroic freedom fighter, I have stood by the common man, fighting this pandemic. I have extended a helping hand according to my ability. At the same time, I am praying to the Almighty Creator to end this pandemic.
Author: Freedom Fighter and Political Adviser of Sector 2 and 3 in the Great Liberation War, Former Chairman of RAJUK