Faizur Rahman Shabu

Mon Dec 13 2021 05:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

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In 1971, I was around 11-years-old when our family was living in Chhatak, a small town in the Sumanganj District of the Sylhet Division. I lived with my parents, the late Mrs. Jaribun Nessa and Mr. Jamir-Uddin Ahmed, along with my six brothers and sisters. At the time, my father worked in the local East Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation Facility (EPDIC) as a plant works engineer.

The stories and the emotions of the shangram (struggle) time are still clear in my memory. In our town, people used to say, ‘the Punjabis (Pakistani military) are coming,’ and we would run to hide behind the bushes over the hill too many times to count. The fear of being killed was instilled in us from that young age as soon as we heard ‘they are coming!’ My father, a strong supporter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, feared our family would be targeted. We headed into the jungle to hide.

Unfortunately, his fears came true. It was the middle of the liberation war in 1971, and the Punjabis infiltrated our town and started a massacre. My father was in the center of the town that day and they mistook him for a member of the Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters). He was shot with an AK Rifle.

We found him the next morning by the bank of the Surma River, still alive. Our family rushed him to the hospital, but there were no physicians available to operate on him. After eight long, painful hours at the hospital, my father passed away.

There are no words to describe the pain our family felt after what had been done to us. My mother, who passed away on May 1st, 2018, was a young widow of a Shaheed (martyr) of the Bangladesh Liberation War. To this day, I cannot comprehend how she raised all seven children with utmost care and love for 47 years.

The nation of Bangladesh has not been able to give support to any of the martyred families due to post-war devastation and political turmoil. Their enormous contributions have not been recorded in our history. Hopefully, through our stories, it will one day be known.