Our history of struggle...
Ahmed Tahsin Shams re-reads a fine articulation of history and heritage
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." These words of Confucius fits flawlessly in the frame of the history of Bengal --- the history of struggle, and rebellion. The book, titled Muktir Sangram, edited by Anisuzzaman, published by Chandrabati Academy, includes 24 chapters focusing on 24 historical issues of Bengal, where 21 scholarly authors, and 24 artists, from Bangladesh and West Bengal have penned their knowledge of the past to lead the present, to uphold the heritage. Just as Brach Rickey says, "It is not the honour that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind."
Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman prefaced, "History of human is the history of struggle." True to each sip. And thereby Mohammad Kamruzzaman Khondokar, publisher of the book, believes, "Today's heritage is the stairway to tomorrow's strength, and present strength is the result of yesterday's heritage."
Sirajul Islam discoursed on the first ever revolts in Bengal against the British Colonization (1757-1830) where we met Nurul-Al-Din --- a farmer rebellion who declared freedom in Rangpur in the mid-18th Century. Sirajul Islam well-weaved, undoubtedly, on the Guerilla War of Chittagong Hill Tracts' people against the British (1776-1787). Even the collaborative work of Mesbah Kamal and Jannat-E-Ferdousi on the Saotal Revolt clearly points to the contribution of ethnic community in the history of struggle, in the history of Bengal, and for the freedom of Bengal.
Authors like Mohammad Mofakkharul Islam, Nurul Hossain Chowdhury, Abdul Momin Chowdhury, astutely pen-sketched movements and rebels in Bengal like the Rebellion of Farmers (1760-1947), the Movement of Forayeji and the Revolt of Titumir in the 19th century, and The Neel Revolt respectively.
Iftekhar Iqbal's prose titled '1857' lays a detail layout of the general mass revolt in 1857, which was neither Marxist nor political, nor for freedom, yet gravely significant. Even the British couldn't change the social-economic trend the farmers of Bengal developed in that era.
The book amalgamates all history since age-long period to the birth of Bangladesh. It presents Aksadul Alam speaking on the Swadeshi Movement (1903-1908), Mohammad Shah sharing the Movement of Khilafat (1919-1925) and the Movement of Non-Cooperation (1920-1922)
The communist mass revolt in Sylhet in the early 20th century, known as the Nankar Revolt, is well-sewn in the page-tapestry of the book. Ajoy Roy and Ishani Chakraborty jointly delivered their wise-gen --- beginning with the etymology of the word 'Nankar' which means 'Bread', for which the uprising took form. The then trend was also called half-slavery trend against of which farmers, labours, of all races and religions, even women, actively participated.
Gradually, the book leaned towards the birth of the nation - Bangladesh. The contribution of MasterDa Surja Sen in Chittagong Youth Revolt which is a poignant chapter in the struggle for freedom. Abul Momen penned this chapter like literary historian ---- detail as well as lucidly precise.
Then gradually, one after the other this land faced struggle at peak and the book portrayed Ajoy Roy's The Hajong Revolt, Shahidul Hassan's 'Azad Hind Fouj', Ishan Mukherjee's Leave India Movement, Mesbah Kamal and Nilufar Banu's Tebhaga Movement, for rights, equity, of labours, of mass.
In 1946, February 18, in Bombay, a movement made a mark in journey to establish equity. Ashfaque Hossain's prose on The Navy Revolt of 1946 presents how mass sailors rose against racial discrimination.
The ground-breaking chapter in the history of Bengal as well as migration ---- the Partition of 1947 --- Chittaranjan Misra articulates the plan of undivided free Bengal and partition elaborately with coherence.
The towards-end chapters consist Ishani Chakraborty's words on the Nachol Revolt, Ahmad Rafique's on Language Movement: History and Achievement, Monayem Sarkar's on the journey to freedom from 6-point Movement, Selina Hossain's on the Mass Uprising of '69, Mofidul Haque's on The Liberation War of Bangladesh.
"We are not makers of history. We are made by history." Certainly, these precise words of Martin Luther King Jr says it all --- noncompromising attitude against all odds, the glory of Bengal, and the Banglaee.
Ahmed Tahsin Shams is with
The Daily Observer