Muktir Gaan: Some Thoughts of Lubna Marium

by Lubna Marium

We normally don’t talk about 1971. We don’t discuss the war. It remains a morass of unconsolidated memories, laid aside for 25 years, to be classified and labelled at some point in our lives; at some point when we can feel sufficiently detached and rational about the events. So when ‘Muktir Gaan’ was released, we were forced to open our Pandora’s box and confront emotions ‘carefully locked away at the furthest reaches of our hearts.Predictably, fiery emotions wracked away, yet again, to be quickly repacked into their unamed recesses. Today, I feel compelled to write in response to Nusrat Huq and Iresh Zaker’s article, ‘Muktir Gaan – A Triumph of the Bangladeshi Spirit,’ which appeared in The ‘Daily Star’ on Friday, 9th August, 1996. To these two teenagers and to all our children, closest to our hearts, I address my thoughts.

Frankly, I have some reservations about ‘Muktir Gaan’, especially when it is called ‘history in its purest form.’ Since, all around us, history is in the process of being authenticated, let’s get our facts straight about ‘Muktir Gaan.’

The Bangladeshi Mukti Shongrami Shilpi Shangstha was totally based in Calcutta. Troupes or singers were sent, to refugee camps in India, on day trips mostly, to motivate and inspire the demoralised, and heart-broken refugees. There were performances in Calcutta, Shantiniketan and Delhi, too, to increase the awareness of the plight of Bangladesh. A far cry from the battle fields of the war. Never once was any member of the troupe in any danger of shedding a single drop of blood.

The scenes included in the film, at least where I can be seen, were shot over a period of a maximum of five days. During that time we never once stayed overnight on the truck. We used to commute from a guest-house in Bahrampur, as far as I can remember.

The date of the above event should be sometimes in the month of September 1971, after which Naila and I, accompanied by our mother, left for Maldah to join our father, who was then the Sector Commander for sector seven. The Muktibahini camp closest to Maldah was Baliadighi — in the border regions of Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi. Our freedom fighter brother, Nadeem, was based in Baliadighi.

The scene where Benu Bahi and Tariq Bhai are seen receiving permission, from a ‘Bangladesh government’ official in Calcutta, for traveling into the ‘free region’ of Bangladesh was shot after this time. The point being, that the question of receiving a written permission to travel into these territories did not arise.

The scene which I most vehemently oppose is the one where Tariq Bhai is seen being interviewed by Gias Chowdhury for a possible vacancy in the Mukti Bahini. The truth is that it was a scripted and rehearsed scene. Men and young boys from all walks of life, participated in our freedom struggle. None were ever interviewed; at least not the hoi polloi and the question of leaving a contact address is laughable. Did anyone receive a signed and sealed contract for employment in the Mukti Bahmi? Of course a group, of young men were later selected by the Indian army for training to become officers, but that is true for a totally insignificant handful, in comparison to the hordes of unnamed, forgotten masses who actually fought a war, irrelevant of age or handicap. Proof of this is Nadeem, who was 16 years old only, at that time. I also cite the example of Shahadat Chowdhury, present editor of Bichitra, who fought as one of our valiant freedom fighters inspite of a genetic disorder in one eye. I repeat what I have remarked on various occasions, anyone who seriously wanted to fight, could have fought.

Propaganda is a vitally necessary tool during war. We remain grateful to Sree Debdulal Bondhopadhay for painstakingly and feelingly reading out prepared scripts all throughout 1971, thus motivating young and old to take up arms to defend their ‘motherland.’ The truth, however, is never so heroic. I wonder if any of our boys willingly gave up his life for another. I would dearly like to meet the real-life Daktar Babu of Sree Bondhopadhay’s script. To pass off war propaganda as history cannot be part of the process of authentication.

So, why do I of all persons, feel the unpleasant need to shatter the euphoria surrounding ‘Muktir Gaan,’ an undoubtedly moving account of 1971?

Foremost among several reasons is my conviction that, ‘truth is more beautiful than fiction’. Tariq and Catherine are to be lauded for their Herculean effort. Muktir Gaan is a piece of art while the footage viewed in the raw is stark. With the film-makers efforts: the story-line and the unvoiced implications, it’s a joy to watch. However, we cannot escape from the fact that it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Secondly, I feel there is an insidious movement to intellectualise the war of 1971. It was not an intellectual’s war. It was a war fought by a people totally defenseless and unprepared. One may cite the historic call for ‘building fortresses in every home’ but, truthfully, does rhetoric count as preparation? And, how skilled we are at spewing rhetoric to incite and motivate the man in the street to lay his life down in the name of some ‘ism’ or other, while we run away to our personal havens of safety.

However, deepest in my heart, I know I write today, because I am a coward. Today I too, have a 16 year old son, whom I will do all, in my power, to prevent from joining any war. Son, I love you too much. I want to tell you what war really is about, though a part of me dies every time I remember.

War is not beautiful. It is about brutality and death. War is about your baby brother telling you how scared he is to face death. It’s about the trembling of a teenager relating the horror of the gouging of an enemy soldier’s eyes. War is about standing in front of the lifeless, blood-stained, bayoneted body of someone you loved dearly. It’s about crying and crying till you think your heart is actually going to break into two. Sadly, war is about coming home to disillusionment. War is about forgotten heroes.

So next time they call you to lay your life for some cause or other, tell them to leave us alone. Tell them to let my child and every mother’s child live in peace. Tell them to go sing for their freedom, and pretend that they wanted a bullet through their hearts.

Lubna Marium was a member of the troupe featured in the film Muktir Gaan, and this piece is reprinted from an article that appeared in The Daily Star in 1996.

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Top 10 Atheist Quotes: Stupid and funny comments

1. Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night — Isaac Asimov

Unfortunately, he was drunk enough when he made that comment.

2. I don’t believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life. — Andrew Carnegie

Even Adrew Carnegie understood it’s easier to teach a man than a woman. Ultimately, the problem exists.

3. All thinking men are atheists. — Ernest Hemingway

Right after he said this in a bar, some people came up to beat him. His friend apologized on behalf of him and said, “He wasn’t thinking before making the comment.”

4. Lighthouses are more helpful then churches. — Benjamin Franklin

Who was the shipowner’s daughter that he was trying to flirt with?

5. Faith means not wanting to know what is true. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Don’t keep faith in his words, you’ll find the truth. 🙂

6. The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. — George Bernard Shaw

Doesn’t that point the non-believers as heavy drinkers and those sceptic people who just creates problems within a society? Shit !!! By the way, Bernard realized that believer of books are happier. Interesting.

7. Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. — Kurt Vonnegut

Hmmm… on the question of faith, he was kicked off the Army for backstabbing them at the Rhineland Campaign. This atheist could failed to pass his thesis though.

8. I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. — Frank Lloyd Wright

He must have missed primary and kindergarten schools. Poor Wright !!!

9. A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he got to know… — Samuel Clemens

…about the bride just before getting married.”

10. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. — Edward Gibbon

Better live like a common people than like Bush who thinks himself as the wisest piece living on earth.


What’s so funny about politics?

Politics is not a funny game at all. It’s serious. Man, am here for some serious talks!!! Don’t laugh even if you read, “B-U-S-H”.  He was a man of words (why are you laughing, am serious). In the 2002 President’s Economic Forum meet, Bush announced, “I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.” Unless his daughter got caught red-handed or pranked by Maxim on their April Fool issue, Bush still thinks there is nothing negative to point at him.

Obama is much smarter than his earlier President. He is a great leader and a future thinker. He introduced his new Vice-President saying this, “”Let me introduce to you the next President — the new Vice President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.” With Nobel Award already dazzling his front meeting cabinet shelf, the charming man can deliver his flirt anywhere just like he did on a debate, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.” By the way, he has a strong sense of human existence, trust me, otherwise why would he say this, “”On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.”

Hillary Clinton. The lovingly gorgeous should have been one of the models for Parachute Coconut Oil ad. She carries her hair as beautiful as Khaleda Zia does. Hey Prime Minster, am talking to Mrs Hasina Wajed, get a hair dresser for you – just cut a long foreign trip short if you need to bear the expense for appointing Farzana Shakil or Kaniz Almas. Coming back to the blonde (isn’t she?), Hillary certainly possesses some brain too. Hillary Clinton said she plans to build a new energy industry in Texas and in America. At least she recognizes the two have little to do with one another.

Khandaker Delwar is unparallel to any of the politicians worldwide, the YouTube Star of the Nation. Probably, the most dedicated and sincere speaker over the microphone, that he doesn’t even care whether he is wearing anything or not. See the other side, he is a brilliant organizer, he already had appointed someone to fix his pajamas as a contingency plan. Hey Obama, could you even think of that? I strongly believe, Politics is a serious game. You should not laugh at it. It’s a religion to some people. Obey it. You have a lot to learn from them. If you don’t know how to be on the first page of a newspaper, get married (age is not a barrier) and consult Mr. Ershad. By the way, if you have failed to make an impression on a girl, try to follow Obama, it will work. Seriously. Unless you want to be a Tiger Wood; even a night club hostess, Rachel, denied having sex with.

Go for It !!!

by Rajdeep D

The first time I saw her was at a computer lab in the university. I was trying to get a free computer to sit at and finish my oh-so-important English assignment. I am sure that I was gaping at her with my mouth open when she walked in with her friend. Somehow, I did manage to close my mouth when she looked my way. “Smooth move player!”, I said to myself rolling my eyes towards the heavens.

Yes, there were times I wanted to go up to her and say “Hi!” or something along that line. I mean, I do have the courage to do that but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Why? We will come to that later.

The next time I saw her was a week after my gaping incident. I remember she was in the Cafeteria and I was sitting at the table beside hers with my friends. I couldn’t help but look at her. I know, I know, I sound like a teenager. But well, as I said before, I couldn’t help it. A really weird idea came to my head. What if I paid one of the mamas in the Cafeteria and sent a drink (Obviously Mountain Dew or Coke or something. What were you expecting?) to her?

But alas, I couldn’t bring myself to do that either!

Why? I’ll tell you why.

It is not the fear of rejection that bugged me. It is the fear of what she might think of me that bothered me. Let’s face it; we live in a conservative society. She might just think that I am a pervert or worse a “bokhate”. I wouldn’t want that now, would I? We learn what the society teaches us. But, we end being a bunch of hypocrites behind a veil of niceness. We still can’t express how we feel about each other. We are close, yet so far.

I would be happy just being friends with her. Not everything in the world is about scoring a girlfriend or a boyfriend. I do believe that platonic relationships do occur in the real world.

I didn’t see my beautiful stranger ever again after that day. Now I am writing this dismal article expressing my regret.

You know what? If you like someone let them know it. Go to the town !!

Sometimes, it is better to be sorry than safe.

Another Brick in the Wall

by Nabila Rahman

As an avid music fan, I love anything to do with music. The other day, I was at a small “unplugged” session held at my school. On that particular day, I found myself more interested in the crowd than the music itself. You see, in a crowd, diversity is the key-different people, different faces!

What i found amusing that day was all the not known and misheard lyrics all around me. Its fun to be a part of the crowd in a music session. It’s uplifting and highly amusing! Ever heard what the person next to you is singing? They start off humming, not quite sure of the words. Then, sings loudly just as they get the hang of it. Some hits a high note only to scream out the wrong word. While some shrug it off and keeps singing the wrong words others get back to their humming tone. It is funny, really, if you can catch what they are saying. I mean, who wouldn’t smirk if the person next to them is saying, “we don’t need no education, we don’t need no birth control!”

Of course, someone who sees me smiling like a goof during a Pink Floyd song will question my mental well being but if only they knew. So, the next time, if you ever find yourself at a music concert, do keep a look out for misheard lyrics. You might be standing next to the next Weird Al Yankovic!

“Astr@log?calLy Numb5reD “!” 1n d UniVerSe of SymB0l5”

by Sumaya Mahmud

250 words…only? I already lost 3. No 5. Let’s not count.. Let’s not limit my writing with such magical number restrictions…I am an amateur and I’ve always written for myself only. My first thought was, Difference…Change..i always wanted to make one.. No matter how small.. Don’t remember since when.. I wanted to reach out.. I wanted to touch lives. And ironically I did that n I suffered. I am young,20 is young. Still I feel I have experiences worth sharing.. which can help someone who is lost. Why? Because I was lost once.. I searched for my identity. I saw problems..all around me, within my family-friends, neighbors,in the streets, Back-biting and hypocrisy all around. I imbibed all of them.. To the last drop. I became a part of the problem. I learnt it the hard way. No regrets because it worked.

And then I found myself. I am no longer a lost soul. I know why I am here; at least I believe I know. My belief and my faith in my creator, me, my loved ones and well-wishers is all that matters. Let everyone laugh. They are laughing at their own weaknesses, maybe they are jealous they are not me; maybe afraid.. But who really cares?? Who has the time?? I DON’T.. I’ve wasted enough time on them. Now I want to do something good..to give something back to the place I was born in.. which is my identity. I am not ashamed of my background, skin tone or accent.

I am ME.I am a Bangladeshi, a Dhakaite, a familygirl, a Viqi, an IBAITE…I am PROUD of everything I am and have.. Would have been.. No matter where I belonged… Because I know there is a reason behind d master-planner’s actions. I am a homo sapien.The best creation on earth. Why won’t I be proud??

I’m not a hypocrite. Maybe I was once..I smiled and laughed for others. No longer.I’ve finally started acting like me.. “Love me..Love me not  …” your choice; but why will you hate me???

This is what an amateur does.. I went off topic. Let’s end it with numbers and astrology. I believe in these stuffs.. There are signs everywhere… in every number..in every person..in every tree.. in every street, every place.. Do you get that? I think I do! If you don’t, then I’d better not write about numbers.. Of 11’s, 22’s and 23’s.. Of Taureans and Aquarians.

3…5…8 does not matter to you..WHAT SIGNIFANCE DOES 4 HAVE??? You never wonder why it is only I..II..III..IV..V? What’s next?? VI?? Or another I added to V? If you did, then maybe you will find this writing interesting.. Otherwise it was just another write-up.Why should you read it?? You hate change. Who doesn’t???

“Be the difference you want to see in this world” – our prophet first said that. The phrase was different. Mahatma Gandhi said it again. It’s his saying now. So what?? These quotations are for everyone, who understands their meanings, who are not selfish, who really wants to see a difference?

Numbers and astrology are ASKED not to be studied.

Why try to be GOD? Be human..be humane.. that is good enough for one life

AND THAT IS ALL WE HAVE GOT..ONE LIFE..ONE BELIEF..ONE LOVE…SEE, 1 IS D MOST MAGICAL NUMBER..IT IS D BEGINNING! IT LEADS TO INFINITY……

Hideout

by Tamoha Siddique

I welcome you to my mind.

I have tightly shut both doors leading to it, locking each door thrice. No one can find us here, so you may relax. Let me show you around…

As you can see, there is nothing much here—just a dimly lit space. No high voltage stadium lights as you might have found in Einstein’s mind—just a few flickers of light here and there. The walls used to be painted bright red, but turned grey gradually. The large bed you see over there—that’s where I spend most of my time. It’s very messy and strewn over with dreams. Sometimes the dreams take so much space I have to sleep on the floor

You hear that voice? It’s coming from that tape recorder over there.  It never stops. The voice keeps talking, sometimes there are more than one. They drive me crazy…

This, here, is the largest bookshelf in the world, but as you can see, there are no books in it. I plan to fill it up with hard bounds from all over the world. That rack over there in the corner is full of DVDs. Some of the best horror flicks ever. I am the lead actress in all of them…

Do you see that empty photoframe? It contains the picture of the person I love…

Look at this! This is my most favourite doll from my childhood. But someone stole her clothes and painted her face black…

Hey! Watch out! You almost stepped on this caterpillar on the floor. It’s been here for as long as I can remember. I’m hoping it would turn into a butterfly and fly away, but it’s taking too long

I don’t know if you can see it from here, but there is a tunnel at that dark corner. The tunnel seems to be very deep, but I am too scared to explore it, so I just leave it alone…

And here is the grandest mirror of all times, but it doesn’t work properly. When I stand before it, I only see the background behind me, but no me! It’s as if I am invisible, or as if I don’t exist…

Knock! Knock!

Oh! No! They found us! We have to get out of here right now! I hope you will come see me here some other time! Bye!

It’s all in the ‘Digital Hair Cut’!

by Tanzin S Chowdhury

Now grab a slice of pizza and listen to this. I have dreamt of and talked about making a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ even before our government could possibly think about it. Happy the government is now, finally stepped forward inventing a time scheme which left the day light wondering and the electricity still missing. Yet! More than the government’s witty initiatives, it’s the common people’s ignorance which is killing me; no one is even interested in a Digital World here. So, getting the masses thinking is very vital; but what is the key? Simple! Just a short hair cut is all you need! All my past speeches and awareness campaigns about ethics, patriotism and digitalization failed miserably getting the people all ears. But, just a short haircut with pirate bangs looping over my forehead did the magic! Not only do people stare at me now but they actually even listen to my intense discussions in the process. People now consider my thoughts and ideas much more modern which they dryly tossed away before as scraps of sarcasm. So, I finally grabbed the attention or is it?! Whatever it is, my irrevocable journey towards digital Bangladesh proceeds through implanting realization in the peoples’ mind. So, if you want, come forward to join hands with me and think of ways to make Bangladesh all digital and improved; but before that all you need to do is get that right haircut – the Digital Hair Cut! Anything for Bangladesh – We love you.

Inconsistent Interest

by Anika Bhuiyan

My topic of interest is hard to decipher. Anything that has a zest of thrill and singularity in it, I am in. Right now, my interest lies in the variations of human psyche and its emotions. Human mind has captured my interest immensely because of its ability to ruin and beautify our lives within seconds. It can be beguiled by extreme emotions of anger and hatred while it can be mellowed by gentler emotions of love and affection. The seven deadly sins affect human mind the most. And the never ending conflict between mind and heart is actually something every person goes through. Those who listen to the heart are considered emotional while mind-followers are regarded as practical. As we walk the path of life, we have to take decisions that are the best for us. What fascinates me is the measure of contribution of human mind behind every decision. At times, those decisions are against our will. It captives me to see how herculean the impact of human mind is on our decisions. The dominance of mind against heart actually enamors me and what surprises me most is how much we sacrifice just to pacify and reconcile our mind. It is as though the human mind is a completely separate existence whose sole purpose is to manipulate our thoughts.

Break the Taboo

by Numu Khan

 

“I am feeling down” or I don’t feel like to do it anymore” how often do you hear these kind of sentence? All of us obviously have to go through some hard time which could be hard to handle and quite upsetting.

Gradually we can deal with it somehow and move on from sadness but what about some of us who couldn’t return from the sadness or some other feeling for apparently no reason? Slowly they start to sink.

They withdraw themselves from the activities they enjoyed once; they withdraw themselves from society, from friends and family. Their family and friend tries to cheer them up and might get fed up cause it seems like of no use. They labeled the person weird, crazy or good for nothing or something else that could only help the depressed person to withdraw him or herself more. But trust me every depressed person looks for someone or something to get back to normal life. It’s something like you are prisoner in a glass cage. You can see everything but can not touch or feel it. What will you do in this situation? Exactly

Something like this happens to depressed people. It’s a disease, some chemical imbalance in brain.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We raise fund or do whatever we can for the friends who are physically sick. Should you just ignore your mentally challenged or depressed friend or relative cause you can’t see the open wound. I am telling you it is as bad as any grave physical injury. Just your care and understanding attitude can actually get some one back to life. Wake up and break the taboo about mental illness