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November Rain

November 11, 2012

It had been drizzling on and off all day long on November 4. Few people were roaming around Banani graveyard, as I expected. It was about 3:20 pm. I entered into the graveyard and was wondering how I could find the graves of Bangabandhu’s able lieutenants. At that moment, I noticed an arrow indicating a passage to the graves. I followed the wet narrow passage. As I strolled towards their graves, I saw the slain family members of Bangabandhu were buried in a row just opposite to the graves of Mujibnagar quartet. Signs of tribute paid by the whole nation just the day before were still visible.

Graves of Slain Family Members of Bangabandhu

Graves of Slain Family Members of Bangabandhu

Final Resting Place of Mujibnagar Quartet

Final Resting Place of Mujibnagar Quartet

The moment I reached the graves of four great leaders, my heart started beating faster. I hold my breath and took out my cell phone. I adjusted the camera resolution, white balance and started taking pictures. For a moment, I felt I went back to the cell where the 4 leaders were kept after the bloody August coup of 1975. I could even see that brutal incident was slowly unfolding in front of my eyes. The IG prison accompanied the assassins to the cell. No sooner had they reached the cell than the assassins started shooting. After executing their contingency plan, they clattered out of the jail. At that cell, the four leaders cried for water. No one showed up! No one responded! They slowly bled to death.

Flower bouquets were piled up in the graves of Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed, first prime minister of Bangladesh who meticulously charted the course of this nation’s destiny in the absence of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib during the turbulent period of liberation war. Bangladesh owes a lot to this pragmatic leader.

Mujibnagar Quartet. Photo Courtesy: http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/

The identity of the local assassins is known to all. But their international guardian has successfully been evaded the blame so far. But if one closely observes the ousting of Salvador Allende, the murder of Patrice Lumumba and Che Guevara and the assassination attempt on Fidel Castro, then it becomes clear that Mujib and his able lieutenants were the victims of cold war rivalry.

Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed's Grave

Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed’s Grave

Even Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed indicated that. When Mr. Ahmed’s secretary wanted to know why he kept declining to meet controversial Mr. Robert S. McNamara, former defense secretary of USA and President of the World Bank, despite repeated request from WB boss, Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed told, “Do you know in 1971 their policy was to annihilate us? How can I meet a guy like him?”

But eventually they met at Delhi during India’s Independence Day. In fact, Mr. McNamara sat next to Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed. Indians willfully made such sitting arrangements so that the two gentlemen could hold talks. For few moments there was silence. Mr. McNamara broke the silence and praised Tajuddin for skillfully steering the economy of a war-torn country and at one point asked, “what do you dearly need right now?” Mr. Tajuddin gave a smile and told, “The Pakistani army devoured almost all the livestock, vital for cultivating the fields. What left alive are now freely roaming in the street and grazing in the bush. I desperately need some cows, water buffaloes and ropes. Can you provide me that?” There was silence again.

From Banani, I headed to the Dhaka Central jail. Initially, I did not have any plan to visit that cell. The desire grew stronger the moment I saw the grave of Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed. The cell now has been turned into a museum. Much to my wonder, the guard told me he could not let me in since the museum is not open for all. Only on special occasions, it remains open for VIPs. The riff-raff section of the society still unwanted here! How will the post ’75 generations know about the past if history remains locked in prison?

With a heavy heart, as I was gong back home, the drizzle started again. Each tiny little drop telling me what Bangladesh lost on that fateful day. They were indeed the best visionary statesmen Bangladesh ever had.

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