In 1971 only a limited number of people in our country had television. So we heard about the atrocities of the Pakistanis on the radio. Sometimes we also heard from the eyewitnesses. We get deeper impressions when we hear and also see incidents. Psychologists think that if we have a deeper impression of something we remember it for a longer period. In 1971 people used to listen to Akashbani and BBC overseas service. But Swadhin Bangla Betar inspired us all.
All these happened 44 years ago. During this period technology has made tremendous improvements. Everything has changed. The economic condition of the people has changed. People's psychology has changed. Lots more people watch TV now. On Victory Day, because of television, we saw the extent of Pakistani atrocities. We have also seen the depth of the cruelties committed by the Pakistanis. But it will not be correct to say that the cruelties were committed by the Pakistanis only. They had allies and they were Bengalis. These Bengalis were a disgrace to the nation. They burnt villages, committed rape and killed people. They showed the way to the 'khan senas' to our towns and villages. We saw all these again on TV on Victory Day.
They killed our intellectuals. They planned it with a cold brain. Rao Farman Ali was the main culprit but he was helped by our own people. These intellectuals were tortured mercilessly before being killed. Eyes were extracted from the eye specialists. Hearts were taken out from the cardiologists. They told people they did these for the sake of religion. Of course this can't be true. No religion tells people to be so cruel. This reminds us of two lines from Tagore's poem, "Those who get deluded by religion are foolish. They kill others and get killed themselves."
On Victory Day we saw a few widows of the martyrs. We heard them speaking about their sad experiences. We heard about their loneliness. It is not only the experience of bereavement that we heard. We also heard about their struggle. Ours is not a rich country. If a family loses the only earning member, then it is really a struggle. Most families don't have financial support. So the widows had to really struggle to bring up their children. They had to deal with their bereavement. They had to live with their loneliness. And at the same time they had to bring up their children. They spoke about the people who took their husbands away. They talked to those monsters. In spite of that, when the leader of a big political party says that the accused persons are innocent we wonder whether we have misheard her. When the same leader says that the death sentences of two of the accused were "judicial murder" then we wonder if there is any law about contempt of court in our country.
We wonder what was going through the minds of these monsters. Did they think that Pakistani army could not be defeated? Some people used to think that the Pakistan army was the best in the world though they had never won a war. An army can only think of killing intellectuals as part of a "scorched earth policy". A scorched earth policy is only considered when an army is sure that it is going to be defeated. We don't know what these Bengali monsters thought about their own future. Did they not think that their own countrymen would never forgive them? Did they not think that they would be punished one day?
Even after the emergence of Bangladesh they did not end their wrongdoing. The country was destroyed by the Pakistanis. The administration was not yet settled and the miscreants took advantage of it. They killed many people. When one of them was killed, the government was blamed for unlawful killing. A group of romantics helped the enemies of the country by committing adventurism. But we are not sure whether it was adventurism or part of the conspiracy. They destroyed the country and the inexperienced administration. The government was blamed for everything. And finally they killed Bangabandhu on Aug15, 1975. They killed the members of the family, including the daughters-in-laws and the ten-year old son of Bangabandhu. After a few months they killed four national leaders inside the prison.
When all these were happening, Golam Azam came back. Or was he brought back as a part of the plan? Who brought him back? The government led by the army chief would not allow a trial of the killers of Bangabandhu. Shah Aziz was made prime minister. The media were full of praise for the army chief, which is common when an army takes over. Nobody dared to ask what the mechanism was through which Zia had taken over. Nobody dared to ask how he formed his political party. What kind of people joined his party? The media were full of admiration for his honesty. His torn vests and broken suitcase were shown on TV. There was no mention about his expensive boots and dark glasses.
It was publicised by his supporters that he had declared the independence of the country. They did not think that he did not have the authority to do so. The progress of history does not happen so easily. In 1947 people wanted Pakistan. People needed time to realise that Pakistan was an unrealistic country. People were disillusioned slowly. The sacrifices of February 21 made everything clear to them. The Muslim League was routed in the 1954 election. The central government took revenge by promulgating Sec 92A. Political leaders were put in prison. Politicians were branded as corrupt through EBDO under Ayub Khan. Some politicians went underground and went on working. The constitution was thrown into the dustbin. But people kept up their struggle.
There was an education movement in 1962. There was a movement to support the Six Point programme. Bangabandhu and a few military and civil officers were made accused in the Agartala conspiracy case. They were put into prison. But people brought them out through a mass movement. In the1970 election the Awami League won almost all the seats in East Pakistan. Bangabandhu was the leader of the people. But Pakistan's military junta refused to hand over power to him. They pretended to have discussions with Bangabandhu. There was no other alternative than declaring independence. So Bangabandhu had to do it. From 1947 to 1971 so many things happened. Politicians struggled and they had to make sacrifices. Ziaur Rahman had no contribution. He was totally unknown. And yet it was claimed by a few that he declared independence. And his supporters keep saying, though nobody listens.
Modern technology could come out with the facts. People have the right to know the truth. We believe that modern technology can help the people of Bangladesh to know the truth. In spite of that, if we get misled we should blame ourselves only.r
Waheed Nabi is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom.
He writes from London