Striking experience

I salute the sprit of youths who formed the backbone of the Liberation war as freedom fighters.

I had already started my job. I was moving up and down between Krishnanagar and Taqi like a hurricane. My assignment was to carry out recruitment from the youth and refugee camps and arrange for their training. At the same time to help the sector and sub sector commanders for the training of their freedom fighters on guerrilla war fare and help them in their induction and operations. Additionally, I was also helping Capt. Hafeez to reorganize the 1 East Bengal Regiment. By mid June I could recruit about 5 thousand guerrillas. They were sent in batches of 200-500 for training at Chakulia. Duration of their training was 6 to 8 weeks. We also established a few training camps in the sectors with local resources. Instructors were recruited from the members of the erstwhile regular units. They were training the guerrillas in small arms, grenade, demolition, raid, ambush, unarmed combat, map reading, urbane and Jungle warfare, obstacles. Live firings were also conducted in the makeshift range. Side by side motivation classes for the guerrillas were also arranged. I deem if appropriate here to mention about one of my striking experience. Totally about one hundred thousand guerrillas were trained during the entire period of the war. Out of this number hardly 5% of the guerrillas could be recruited from the refugee camps. Most of the people who took shelter in those refugee camps were the minority Hindus. Very few among them showed interest to take any training and go to fight in the war. Most of those who had crossed over as refugees came as families and they all lived together in the camps. They had arrangements to survive in those camps with two squire meals. Most of them had no one left in Bangladesh to think about. They were quite secured in the refugee camps. They really were not concerned about the war. Furthermore, they even did not take any interest to know what was happening in the battlefront, how the victory would be achieved, how they should help and sacrifice for the freedom fight. Perhaps, the thinking was that let the dirty job be done by someone else, they would wait to return once every thing is over and the country is liberated. Many of these refugees had their relatives all over West Bengal and in other parts of India who were well settled. The elders used to send the younger ones to their relatives away from the borders to avoid pressure for recruitment. They preferred them to get involved in some petty business or secure some job with the help of their relatives for a leaving. This kind of opportunism was rampart among the refugees who crossed over for their lives. Young people who stayed back in the camps were out of compulsion not by choice. Their contribution to the freedom struggle was very negligible. One could hardly find a young able man in the refugee camps. They were crammed mostly with old men, women and minor children. The scenario was quite different in the youth camps. All these camps used to be over crowded with youths, students and young men coming from all walks of life. There were thousands and thousands of them. Many had to go back as they were refused entry to these ever and over crowded camps. Most of youths used to come to be recruited as guerrillas leaving back their families and then dear and near ones. These youngsters were full of courage, emotion and patriotism. They used to come taking all the risk just to be enrolled as freedom fighters I saw thousands of these youths like the rays of the rising sun stood hours after hours queuing with determination and confidence waiting for their turns to be enrolled as the freedom fighters. Many of them had to go back disappointed due to our limitation but only to return again. They patiently waited days after days in the youth camps to volunteer for the supreme sacrifice. Where ever I had gone they flocked around and asked the same question when they will be able to get a chance to be enrolled and trained and get the opportunity to join the war as freedom fighters. They all wanted to have basic training and then go back into Bangladesh with arms to fight the occupation forces to free their motherland. They withstood all sufferings; even they used to spend days after days half fed or even without shelter and food just waiting with an expectation to be recruited. Their moral never sagged due to all these inhuman sufferings. I could see the determination to take revenge in their glittering eyes, and the commitment to the cause in their talks. Today I have no hesitation to state that the contribution and sacrifice of the majority of the people who remained inside Bangladesh taking all the risk of intimidation, fear and uncertainty was no way less, may be more than those who fled across to the refugee camps to find a safe heaven. Many of them had to give supreme sacrifice. Their passion and eagerness to sacrifice for the cause was a matter of pride. Looking at their urge for sacrifice, commitment, and determination I was convinced that Bangladesh will surely get its independence. Their sacrifice will not go unrewarded by Allah Sobhanatalla. No power or conspiracy will be able to stop these young bloods from achieving the independence. Such a willful spontaneous participation by the majority of the people in favor of a war of independence cannot be found too many in the history of nations. People’s Republic of China, USSR, Indochina, East Europe none can boast of such remarkable phenomena. In most of these countries the national liberation wars were fought as a part of bigger conflicts or wars after careful political and military preparations. But the people of Bangladesh particularly the youths plunged themselves into the resistance movement spontaneously without any leadership or earlier preparation. This is a truth undeniable.

They made the history no one else. If any quarter, party or group claims to be the sole champion for the liberation war that would be a blatant lie, unfair and outrageous audacity. The credit goes to the nation as a whole and the freedom fighters in particular.