25 Feb 2015, Dhaka. Agargaon slum has burnt to ashes. A six years old kid died. According to the local people at least 400 families used to live there. In the city slums, fire tragedy has become a very common incident every year.
When I entered into the room, an old man was reading a newspaper laying down on his bed. Feeling my presence, he gave a very casual look and asked that why I was there for. After giving my identity and telling the purpose (Heritage building study and site survey) when he gave permission, the conversation started. He was telling many things about the old city context, life style, social condition etc. At a point I came to know that he fought for Bangladesh in 1971. So the conversation turned into another direction.
MD. Yusuf is a Freedom Fighter. He was a government staff and played some important roles during the liberation war and fought for freedom though nobody cares about that now a days. After the war, he has been living here (his father’s property) in old Dhaka with his family. But now, none of his children stay with him because of their own business purpose. So most of the time he has to live alone. He passes his time reading newspapers and the news of present condition of Bangladesh always makes him very upset.
When he was sharing the heroic experiences of the liberation war his courage and bravery was coming out through his expression. Still he carries the spirit and pride of those struggling days in his heart but definitely that can not cover up his present frustration. He is very worried about the present Bangladesh. At a point his frustration to the present politicians comes out through these words: ” Now sometimes I think, why did we suffer so much for? Our dream was the golden Bangladesh. We did not fight for this Bangladesh! What they have done to our Bangla! They are not able to give the value of blood. What they can do, just celebrating the liberation with some festivals and some speeches…………….!” And finally he left a breath of frustration putting stone on his heart, with these final words : ” This is not called freedom. If there was the English rule, at least Bangladesh might not have to see these bad days…..Alas!”
There are so many unknown freedom fighters like him. Even bullet can not cause that much pain what this Free-land is giving them right now. What I have seen that day, is real wound of a Freedom Fighter which is always hidden inside and honestly I don’t know how this wound can be healed.