scenes from memories:
“ami shadhinota enechhi”
Wrishi Thakur Raphael
"Ami Shadhinota Enechhi”- a documentary film of epic proportions directed by Sagar Lohani,is a majestic piece of craftsmanship, which depicts the sublime struggle of a gallant freedom fighter of our soil-Commander Abdus Salam Khan. Before more is said about the film a few words which had been shared with the director, Sagar Lohani are given below:
Ques.)What inspired you to do what you have done?
Sagar Lohani ) Our Liberation War is the cornerstone of our national pride. Today decadence as a nation overshadows that truth. As a result we are losing our entity without the slightest remorse. I believe it is our sacred duty to make our youth aware of their standing as a people with a proud legacy and that the years 1952 & 1971 are integral parts of that legacy.
Ques.)What struck you most about Abdus Salam, I ask because there are other freedom fighters out there?
Sagar Lohani) Commander Abdus Salam Kan is a man who foresaw our Liberation War long before it became an inevitability. As a soldier of the then East Pakistan Regiment he could have peacefully spent the rest of his days without a skirmish. But the merciless killing of 21st February 1952, in response to our plea to speak our mother tongue, opened his eyes to the brutality and hypocrisy of the Pakistan Regime. He soon left the army but continued to train by himself in his village, so that he could be of use when it came to serving his motherland. He was not satisfied at that, but went around the village to inspire other youngsters to join him. the other villagers rebuked him and his little group of makeshift guerillas, but his persistence knew no bounds.
Such passion and craving for country and countrymen had moved mountains in the past, it can do the same in the future. Such uncompromising standards of valor and gallantry in a man who had so little he could call his own, at the time, makes him a true guardian of our freedom.
Scenes from the documentary take us to the furthest corners of Khulna district where the director Sagar Lohani is seen to travel enormous distances by car, boat and on foot to reach the hallowed ground.
Khalishpur Upazilla, Digholia Union , Senhati Village; this is where Commander Abdus Salam Khan used to reside with his wife and 4 children. The interview will lead viewers through numerous recollections of heroism. When the war broke out the whole village accepted his leadership and began to train under him with fervor.
In the beginning, their group started to confront Pakistani soldiers in Khalishpur . They soon joined forces with recruits from Jessore transforming them into a self supportive unit under Sector No. 8. They had set up their base camp in the house of Munshi Alauddin. Among some of his unit's endeavors were looting ammunition from Khulna Police Camp. Abdus Salam's reminiscences also take us back to the time when his platoon ransacked three gun shops and found 2000 firearms which at that time paid dividends to the outcome of their battles. His platoon annihilated many Pakistani military camps thus rescuing several hundreds of our ravaged women and teenage girls.
At a point in the interview the veteran spoke of the untimely demise of his two month old daughter in 1971.The commander had joined the war a few weeks before when a group of Pakistani butchers rampaged their little village- killing all able bodied men, kidnapping the women & setting fire to the houses.
Abdus Salam's two month old daughter was stamped to death by Pakistani boots. His wife still hasn't recovered from the shock. She still can't believe that her 12 inch bundle of joy didn't grow up to be a woman, a mom, a responsible citizen.
A momentary flash of emotion disappeared from the commander's voice with a slight cough; once again to reveal a soldier who had never been known to show emotion before others, than himself. When the veteran came home a few days after hearing of the attack he found the macerated carcass of his daughter. The soldier undressed the corpse of the two month old and kept her little green dress with him. This dress is the only memory of the youngest martyr of our Liberation War which is preserved in the Liberation War Museum. This child's memento has injected adrenaline and aggression through his father's veins countless number of times during the war.
When asked whether the Liberation War is over or not Commander Abdus Salam Khan said that we are going through a period of cease fire. Our martyrs didn't sacrifice their lives so that Bangladesh could top the list of the most corrupt nations of the planet, they died so that you and I may live to see a better day. In order to free ourselves from the shame and built of 36 years of failures, we, at first must rise against the pimps and Razakars of 1971. A country with two conflicting views of people can never stand. A war must soon start to cleanse Bangladesh of its demons. The sooner, the better …
Commander Salam died this year on the 22nd of February at the age of 87yrs.The souls of Khudiram and Abdus Salam had been reincarnated to save Bengal from the clutches of tyranny, in the past. Let's hope their spirits may find their way back to the fields of human clay.
The concluding chapters of the Liberation War are yet to be written. Only an epic strife can cleanse our souls from the bondages of deceit. The noble son of our soil will then be exalted to glory and honor, as they had tasted death for our sakes.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007