The 1971 Liberation War’s history has been used for political purposes both in Bangladesh and Pakistan and none tried to preserve what truly happened, said freedom fighter Qayyum Khan, who fought in Sector 7 as a second lieutenant, on 2 July 2018.
The anguish of the author of “Bittersweet Victory A Freedom Fighter's Tale” came following the screening of a documentary, “Merciless Mayhem”, of Fuad Chowdhury at BRAC University (BRACU).
Currently living in Canada, Fuad has been producing social and political documentaries such as “War and Peace: In the Hill Tracts” and “Change Your Name Ousama” since the 90s. He has been with ETV since its inception and also created TV series such as “Sisimpur” and “Ontoraler Kotha”.
The interview-based one-hour “Merciless Mayhem” shows the Liberation War through the eyes of several Pakistanis who either had been in the then East Pakistan or witnessed the genocide firsthand.
It also contains video footage of the speeches by Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto aired on different television channels during 1971.
It shows a former federal secretary of the then Pakistan government, Roshan Zamir, who also worked in Khulna during the Liberation War, expressing how he was still haunted and ashamed of it.
Pervez Musharraf, a former prime minister of Pakistan, says how he believed that East Pakistanis were very much mistreated based on his two-year visit from 1967 to 1969.
Others interviewed include Pakistani Canadian author Tarek Fatah, former federal secretary of the then Pakistan government Roedad Khan, former federal minister and scholar Dr Mubashir Hassan and journalists Tariq Khan and Ali Ahmed Khan.
Fuad said he spent four years preparing the documentary to let the coming generations know about Bangladesh’s true history. He urged students to contribute to the country’s progress from their own capacities.
The documentary will help to get the United Nations to recognise the genocide committed by the Pakistani occupation army, said freedom fighter Ali Ahmed Ziauddin Bir Protik, who was 19 years of age when he took up arms against the oppression.
He also mentioned some excesses committed on the defeated.
Speaking on women’s contributions and sacrifices towards Bangladesh’s birth, Dr Naila Khan, daughter of Sector 7 Commander Col Kazi Nuruzzaman, narrated her experience of witnessing bodies of raped women left scattered around a Pakistani army bunker in Chapainawabganj.
Freedom fighter Shahidullah Khan Badal said every ordinary civilian was turned into a guerrilla fighter at that time, giving food, money and shelter to those carrying out the attacks. He hoped that the new generation would carry on the Liberation War’s spirit.
Freedom fighter Habibul Alam Bir Protik said Bangladesh’s biggest failure was not properly documenting the Liberation War’s history. He expressed intent to donate some books on 1971’s history and sacrifices to the BRACU library.
“Our history is our responsibility. It is our responsibility to write the history of the Liberation War,” said Vice Chancellor Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, PhD.
The Office of Co-curricular Activities in association with BRAC University Film Club organised the event where the National Anthem was played at the beginning and candles lit at the end paying homage to the martyrs.
It was part of a three-day “Marvel The Club Fair” opening at BRACU on 1 July 2018 showcasing BRACU’s 27 student clubs to freshmen.
The second day included a views-exchange session of students with filmmaker Animesh Aich and artist Joya Ahsan, whose birthday was also celebrated with a cake being cut. The day ended with a cultural performance by BU MONON.