Bir Uttam Shaheed Khwaja Nizamuddin Bhuiyan: The Man Who Shed Tears of Freedom
Ishrar Tabenda Hasan
There was a man who shed tears of blood, but he fought on. This same man swam through a sea of blood, but even then, he did not give up. Why? What is it that he was after? Liberation; the liberation of what was to be named, Bangladesh, in 1971. He walked on sluggishly amidst fallen injured bodies, but he didn’t stop himself; he needed justice for his fallen sisters and brothers. But how? Wasn’t he just a civilian amidst the enemy’s armed forces? But that didn’t deter him at all. He ventured into a completely unknown path of freedom out of righteous love for his country. This man is the only civilian Posthumous Bir Uttam Shaheed Khwaja Nizamuddin Bhuiyan. And this man is my paternal uncle; my inspiration.
The independence of Bangladesh is the result of 3 million lives sacrificing themselves for the love of our country over a period of 9 months. It is love for an independent nation that united all these lives, and it is love that pushed my uncle to the brim of the war. Such was his patriotism that it even over powered mother’s love for her own son. Despite the pleas for safety by my grandmother, my uncle marched forward with a rifle in his hand. It is his fiery spirit that inspires me immensely, that urges me to move on, and that pushes me to do something better for my country, Bangladesh.
Perhaps my inspiration stems partly from his rebellious stance, a stance he took to defy those people who dared to hurt the lives within our motherland back in 1971. Perhaps, it’s Bir Uttam Shaheed Khwaja Nizamuddin Bhuiyan’s undeterred hope for freedom that inspires me to have hope for our country, amidst any current chaos or political turmoil. But perhaps it’s my jealousy or zeal or even pride for his courageous feat to defend one’s country. In this digital era, how many of us civilians are willing to have a firm stance for our country’s protection? I would like to believe many and that all hope is not lost. While the digital Bangladeshis have their current contagious battle ongoing -COVID-19, sheer unity is something which we Bangladeshis always prided on. I believe the people in my generation are a robust group of intellectuals who dream of such a Bangladesh where justice is served in its due course.
While media and news might present blurry representations of our country, both nationally and internationally, I am confident that if such a time arrives where people need to defend my country, we will march on with our words crafted in a smartphone. Sure, while we younger civilians are also not well trained with armed facilities, however, we have something which is much more powerful than any rifle can aim for: words filled with fiery compassion. It was mere words full of zest back in 1971 through slogans or even the historic speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman turned hurtful and dejected emotions of thousands of lives into the hopeful and fiery spirit of freedom. And in this era, with the current literacy rate of 74.4 percent, and with the power of social media, I believe my generation can spread compassion and love for our country, further, even further, than my martyred uncle can ever imagine, that too just with our mere words.
It is just not mere words that we as Bangladeshis can look forward to. It is also in our mere actions. With a digital revolution stirred up by the current government to better the lives of Bangladeshis through various e-services, and with constant economic growth and development in our nation through achievable food security, and women’s comprehensive participation in the labor force particularly in the RMG sector, our country has immensely progressed. Bangladesh has shown incredible accomplishments in three areas, namely, per capita income, human resources index, and economic index. It is hoped and believed that Bangladesh can become a middle-income country by this year, and a developed country by 2041. I would like to believe that such fruitful outcomes stem from the sacrifices which my uncle and millions of martyred lives initially made.
Even so, negative tides prevail from time to time that threatens the very soul of our country’s independence. I often wonder what advice would my uncle give me had he had been alive after seeing the victory of Mukti-Bahini’s attempts for our country. Having had died 3 months prior to our liberation, I can’t fathom the pain his soul must have been going through for not being able to help his fallen comrades (women and men alike) for victory. But now that Bangladesh is close to its 50th birthday, I can only imagine tearful smiles from his soul: smiles of pure bliss. Or, is that so? The current government took a substantial step in curbing violence against women by initiating capital punishment for rape offenses. While women’s emancipation from violence is not completely curbed, it is a promising start nevertheless. My generation seeks such initiatives through which Bangladesh can be liberated in its truer essence; its essence of fiery justice.
The bounding pulse of my uncle for justice can be found in today’s generation. If I must ask myself the previous question again, I would like to believe my uncle Bir Uttam Shaheed Khwaja Nizamuddin Bhuiyan is happily shedding tears for a hopeful Bangladesh where justice is served diligently. Bir Uttam Shaheed Khwaja Nizamuddin Bhuiyan’s burning spirit doesn’t just live on me, and on my sisters, but on all of us who dares to do something better for Bangladesh and its people. It is also a matter of sheer liberated belief; a belief in which one seeks to see one’s country emancipated from all forms of oppression. When one’s hopeful beliefs turn reality, when the cocoon of fiery emotions wraps up the emphatic beings, that’s when an endless sparkle of magic is bestowed on all. We, at the end of the day, are everything we think we are; we will be everything we want to be.
Ishrar Tabenda Hasan, Niece of Khaza Nizam Uddin Bhuiyan, Studying Master of Public Policy at the University of Sydney, Australia