An Elegey to Maskwaith:Road to social justice! no left, no right

Manirul Islam

Manirul Islam

Intellectual creation cannot be partisan, neither in vocabulary nor in concept. So is the neatly woven article of Maskwaith Ahsan. Therefore common readers of my caliber from both side of the aisle find green or red patches of moral shelter in this kind of well-contoured mindscape.

Let us present a Freedom Fighter, from the birth till the death of his identity; he believed ‘Muktijoddha’ was an extremely partisan identity and a dangerous liability in the context of our post-liberation war politics. A registered freedom fighter of Bashirhat camp, he knew his enemy well when he risked his life to cross stormy river and somehow swept ashore Sundarban, ‘still heart pulsates, resolve to kill enemy yet flickers in that heart’. Dodging many deaths, passing many nights starving sleepless finally reached Hosnabad (PS-Gaurnadi, Dist-Barisal) to join Commander Nizam’s platoon. Their within days his group was first ambushed and surrounded by armed attackers in the middle of the autumn night in the safe house of a villager. Fierce encounters continued for four hours, one dead from his group, ambush withdrawn, the attackers vanished in the darkness of wee hours raising slogan ‘Kill the Indian agents and liberate Purba Bangla’, ‘Sarbahara Party Zindabad’ and ‘Long live Comrade Siraj Sikder’. That was the first digging grave of a co-fighter Sobhan, first awakening to a bitter reality – enemy is not only on the right side of the aisle, the venomous serpents are entrenched in the far left bunkers of his left line as well. After liberation war, he joined the march of socialist scientist with lofty dreams under the leadership of Hamelin’s Pied Piper Sirajul Alam Khan. In the political class of Gano Bahini, he had the second awakening from dream, alas he was allured to become a tool of a nihilist campaign to bury all the dreams handed down to him solemnly by his fallen friends Sobhan, Mostafa, Ratan, Amalesh and so many more. 15th August 1975, he folded his Freedom Fighter’s certificate clasped in his palm, took timid steps out of Palashi BUET campus, went to Medical college morgue, from there to Shahid Minar, he tore the certificate into bits, blew them in the turbulent morning air of 15th August. Since then he started running away from that country. He has been branded as timid, traitor, opportunist, ungrateful, he did not challenge, he did not look back, he crossed many miles, mountains and seas to reach to the shore of a tiny tranquil landscape. He is living his life there anonymous, even to his own son, without knowing father’s buried past.

But that old heart still flickers. I still believe 71 war was a partisan war with highly polarized and divided nation. No left, no right – road to social justice is a fallacy. Awami League has led the war of liberation, AL has to complete this war on war footing. AL has the history to transition successfully from democracy to liberation war. The nation has to be polarized again against far left and right alliance. Civil rights of war criminals have to be curtailed and should be tried rapidly in war tribunal. Parallels should be drawn with Abraham Lincoln and Nuremberg. If anyone cries foul for the human rights and civil rights for these criminals, tell them to establish these standards first in Guantanamo Bay. This is the time to march forward, not the time to invert the nation and invent equivalency between AL and BNP or between Joy and Tareq. This is the time to declare your testimony – you are with ‘Joy Bangla’ or against it. This is the time to identify and quarantine all ISI suspects. This is the time to stand behind Sheikh Hasina with unconditional resolve, to raise barricade in every village and town to eliminate the behemoth heretics – far stronger than 71. Bangalee, if wins, will again exercise democracy, will again put AL under microscope to find their errors, but will not certainly debate on our history, on our identity and on our heroes.

3 Responses to “An Elegey to Maskwaith:Road to social justice! no left, no right”

  1. Author Image

    Khondkar A Saleque

    I agree with what is written here. We have no choice but to rally around Hasina to the extent that she moves forward the war criminal trial process and free Bangladesh from terrorists. PM Hasina is facing serious challenges from several angles.She has no lack of sincerity.She has too many agendas, too many enemies who are after her blood.People around her are not all good.In this challenging situtaion if she fails then Bangladesh will again become safe heaven terrorists, religious fanatics , looters and grabbers.
    PM Hasina has aleast started the trial process of the enemies of liberation war.But the beneficieries of crmininals against humanity are out with muscle and money. Water crisis, energy crisis are concequences of failures and corruption of previous regimes.Criminals can add to this crsis through sabotage.Police , Intelligence agencies and adminisration are seriously politicised.PM Hasina is even not getting all round support from her own trsusted lieutenants.
    In this situation all well wishers of Bangladesh must stand behind Hasina . If She fails now Bangladesh will fail.
    The nation has got one last chance of turning around. There is no scope to of present government to fail.With Pm Hasina there are some rays of light at the end of the tunnels. Otherwise it is devils darkness.

  2. Author Image

    Maskwaith Ahsan

    For 10 minutes of Fame
    This is apropos to the response by Mr Manirul Islam to my article, Road to Social Justice – No left, No Right. I am a firm believer of freedom of expression and the very nature of online media ensures that this freedom cannot be curtailed. In fact it should not be curtailed in this time and age of global awakening and glocalisation. While the other forms of media are quite a one-way communication, online journalism ensures two-way streaming of thoughts. This definitely poses a risk to the credibility of all those with any sort of vested interest: the risk of being unmasked.
    As opposed to my line of argument in favour of political sanity in such troubled times, Mr Manirul Islam has retorted that “This is the time to declare your testimony – you are with ‘Joy Bangla’ or against it.” It struck me as very much what former US President George W. Bush has become infamous for, “You are either with us or against us”. We all know where that took him.
    Secondly, if Mr Islam is any well-wisher of the Awami League, he should know that this is not the time for political point-scoring. This is the time to ensure that we remain loyal to Bangladesh. And this loyalty can only be genuine and guile-free if columnists, researchers and think-tanks advice the government as well as the opposition to take the most productive and positive course of action. For us, Bangladesh is the first priority, like it was for Bangabandhu. Politics came into being as a means to good governance, not to ruin whatever is left. In my above-mentioned as well as previous articles I have emphasized the urgency to bring to trial the war criminals and conspirators, just so that the nation can move forward to address other pressing and basic issues like food, security and shelter. I wonder how Mr Islam’s conscience can allow him to write that “This is the time to … raise barricade(s) in every village and town to eliminate the behemoth heretics – far stronger than 71.” Really, Mr Islam!!! Are you seriously suggesting that the Awami League should go witch-hunting against its opponents? Being part of politics or political process is not a crime. But, yes, breaking the law and terrorizing people definitely is, and the present government is already taking measures to defeat terrorism. And a loyal person would not try to confuse political opposition with terrorism just so to get some attention. I am sure Mr Islam is aware of the social unrest rearing its head in Bangladesh. For this reason alone, the Awami League government has started consulting and calling back veteran party leaders. I believe this is the right approach. After all, as Abraham Lincoln once said: “We know nothing of what will happen in future, but by the analogy of experience.” I don’t know about you Mr Islam, but my experience tells me that Bangladesh is at a crossroads. Advises and actions should be given and taken cautiously yet bravely. I have learnt this from my Father of the Nation. And I know for a fact that raising slogans of political war-mongering will get us absolutely nowhere. Just like every other Bengali I, too, wish to see Bangabandhu’s party earn the name of a peacemaker rather than anything less.

  3. Author Image

    Manirul Islam


    Mr. Ahsan, you have reinforced few of my pricey beliefs; Bangladesh is the first priority, we remain loyal to Bangladesh, Bangladesh is at crossroad, urgency of trials of war criminals and conspirators and the likes. But that could not shroud few glaring contradictions and meager realities manifested in your apropos. Therefore, the failure to download the dynamics of ‘Joy Bangla’ from history to the present context garishly resonates in your eardrum war mongering of Bush. Likewise, you failed to stay above the parochial tendency of calling me a well wisher of Awami League instead of recognizing me as a proud Muktijoddha. It is a close guess though. Make no mistake, keep no doubt, I clearly suggested witch-hunting, terrorizing and total elimination of the enemies of 71 and their present sponsors, not the opponents of AL or people in general. This is a corrective action prescribed based on the experience and history of 1971 and of post-liberation 40 years of Bangladesh. This should be done like denazification program of European democracy. While war criminals are well listed, pioneer of conspirators and mentors of these criminals Zia should be recognized as a traitor, not a Muktijoddha.
    Contradictions run in the vein of democracy. But like many intelligent individuals our democracy has succumbed to the noxious contradictions of a bipolar nation with embedded duplicity in identity, ideology, even in the history. Now, Mr. Ahsan, you may remain sincerely loyal to dual identity of Bangladesh; being a nocturnal Bangalee and a daylight Bangladeshi, but that will not heal and help resurrect democracy from comatose. Rather it will certainly serve the interest of agents provocateurs, who wish democracy perpetually on life support and that will help them seasonally harvest the benefits of the status quo. Our democracy is clinically dead, so is it’s lifeless body parts like human rights, freedom of speech, constitutional rights etc. Your mind mechanism geared by humanism, pacifism, free-speech etc. is nothing but machination to evade challenges of a cross road and to bypass the profound reality of dysfunctional democracy.
    After 35 years we are at crossroad again. Epic tragedy of mid-August 1975, desecration of constitution, converting politics into religious edifice, killing of thousands of freedom fighters, distortion of history, turning the country into a gunrunning conduit of the international and regional terrorists; all these events corralled the nation to this crossroad today. Again through election Bangalees have given absolute verdict to Sheikh Hasina to move on to reconnect the nation with and reclaim the glory of 1971. Now, let us highlight our pricey points of convergence, take a 360 degree approach to research a strategy and then to move on rapidly to reconstruct a monolithic and homogeneous nation with a viable, robust, ideologically consistent, pluralistic and functional democracy. Once the home is built, we shall order furniture and appliances. Democracy first, human rights, freedom of speech, economic equity etc. will follow.

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