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It is about anything but the 1971 liberation war

Edit Date:7/21/2010 12:00:00 AM


Shimul Chaudhury
13 July 2010

By this time the people of Bangladesh have come to know very well that the blasphemy allegation against Jamaat leaders (who espouse to establish the Prophet’s way of life in Bangladesh) is not only unfounded and pointless but also ridiculous and laughable. Hence, as usual, with the help of a section of the media, Awami League has recycled its typical weapon of public sentiment of the 1971 liberation war to use and re-use it against political opponents. As a result, unfortunately, many people in Bangladesh are made to believe that Jamaat leaders should be punished for their political stand on the decades-old question of political separation of our land from Pakistan. But as citizens of Bangladesh and as our children do not live in foreign lands, we should look at the Bangladeshi political culture at a much deeper level.

All the allegations of Jamaat’s collaboration with the Pakistani army are still theories, and are not based on facts or evidence. Moreover, after the liberation of Bangladesh, people of Jamaat-e-Islam have not waged a war against the country; conversely, they have completely accepted and showed total loyalty to Bangladesh. What is more, since the birth of Bangladesh they have not launched any campaign to re-join Pakistan. 

Post-1971 Bangladesh is not a better place to live, and this is not because of independence, but because of the failure of the successive governments that have ruled the country ever since. Jamaat is not the author of the wide range of political and social evils that have been crippling the country for a very long time. Just imagine the rate of criminal activities and social diseases in present day Bangladesh involving money extortion, bribery, embezzlement of public coffers, negligence of duties in public offices, and so on and so forth. In all these respects, even enemies of Jamaat agree that Jamaat people are more responsible citizens. They are better parents in the family, more dutiful employees in work places, and more considerate and caring in collective life in society. If such people are marginalized and penalized, the ultimate sufferer will be the country itself. Many of our political leaders and intellectuals may not be concerned about this long-term damage for the simple reason that the future of their children lies in more affluent countries where they have settled down. So they play up with Bangladesh, as they have little to lose if the country’s future becomes bleak. 

In the consciousness of patriotic people in Bangladesh, the concept of East Pakistan and West Pakistan is history now. However, those who want to fish in muddy waters and exploit the 1971 events against the interest of Bangladesh have reasons to rekindle the 1971 sentiment again and again. Since they want to exploit the country politically and economically, a perpetual mental division among the people of Bangladesh on the question of the country’s liberation is necessary. They want to keep Bangladeshi people unaware of how and why their country is lagging behind and how it is becoming increasingly weaker politically, economically and militarily. 

Many countries in the world have unpleasant past histories. They take lesson from the past and try not to relapse into past mistakes. But they do not let their history be a quagmire for them. Nor do they allow it to distract their attention from the pressing issues of the present and from their obligation for a better future. But what have we Bangladeshis been doing since the country’s independence? Have we given enough attention to ameliorate the condition of the country? Instead of waging a consistent war against the corrupt and the mischief maker, we have been branding a section of population as ‘collaborator’ and giving them bad names, and thus making them isolated. A divided Bangladesh is more vulnerable to foreign aggression, while a united Bangladesh is capable of frustrating all colonial interests.

Who are the beneficiaries of these malicious political vendettas? The dividend of all our unnecessary political wrangling goes to those who want to destroy our defence system and to make us economically dependent. They have already wrought havoc to our defence system through the BDR carnage and through killing dozens of military officers on 25 February 2009. As a result, post-February- 2009-Bangladesh is much more vulnerable and more exposed to foreign aggression. Our enemies want to remove any obstacles to the full realization of their political ends of the weakening of Bangladesh. And this is the reason why they have singled out Jamaat and BNP forpolitical repression

If the events of the 1971 war were the main reason for this arrests and tortures, a number of Awami League and Jatiya Party leaderswould have been in prison by this time for their Pakistan sympathies at that time. Maulana Delwar Hossain Saidee entered active political life in the late 1980s. He does not bear any political taint involving our liberation war. His arrest explains to us the extent of manipulation of 1971 events by Awami League and the pro-Indian lobby in Bangladesh. Using the 1971 sentiment for partisan political interests and for dividing the country will portend a bleak future for our children. Although the children of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinaand of her sister Sheikh Rehana do not stay in Bangladesh, I request her to consider the future of our children and not to lead the country to a state of civil war. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should work hard to remove the taint of BAKSAL politics that the Awami League has been carrying for so long. 

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