ZIA UR RAHMAN - CHITTGONG coup d'e'tat
Youth full in it's spring ; since the age of 11 during the war of liberation it had been a dream of mine to follow the military life style for some unknown reasons; his baritone voice and his pronouncement of the start of the Armed Struggle ( the war ) had always reverated in my minds ear since then. then came the revolt of 4 east bengal in B.Baria and the sudden arrival of a man taller than any heights and a towering inferno the calm - quiet - a cigarette stuck in between his calm - emotionless lips a giant of man major khaled mussharraf - in the most uncertain of times in march '71 his convoy arriving in B.Baria - threw a life line and then on wards the whole of B.baria rallied around welcoming the Baby tigers ( it was named like this then or we were not to know) . I then and there decided in my unconscious mind that when I grow up one day I will join The East Bengal Regiment;
Meanwhile a lot of water has rolled down the flood plains of Bangladesh - adolescent munna turned a young man and exhilarating with fun- joy-youthfullness and a contagious sense of humour who found a slice of laughter in everything in life.
Month of may 1981 - inching close one step by step towards the gate of entrance to the Bangladesh Military Academy ; April 17- 18th medical was over and call up notice arrived for ISSB ( an over exaggerated myth) from the 03rd June 81. Those were the few knuckle clinching days for me in my life. I was never serious in my life and as usual was not serious in this occasion too.
Nasim Hussain & I were sitting together and trying to emulate how we will be doing the assault course - group task and above the the Intelligent Quotient test; reeling with sorrow for one our 3rd buddy not getting through the gruelling medical taste in comilla and staying in that nice penthouse of the hotel in comilla opposite the famous comilla race course. Faruk Siddique 's absence in our group discussion was felt badly;
There he comes one fine morning from chittagong ; just joined the University of Chittagong in a newly opened department of Marine Biology my great friend Sarwar Khan to visit his aunt in sylhet, As soon as he comes all concentration of preparing for the forthcoming ISSB goes out of the window.
On that fateful day of the 31st of May at about 09:00 i took a rickshaw and came to tatipara just opposite the gate of my ex school and picked up Sarwar Khan and lost in the mist of our deep convesation whilst the rickshaw was heading towards baloochor it was a typical misty morning of may an early monsoon drizzles were soaking us both through the stinky and smelly polithine burkha of the rickshaw but nothing could dampen our converation- sarwar has always been a dark horse - en elusive chupa - houa - rustom and my inquisitive mind and police detective type questioning was like extracting some juice out of the jaflongs boulders & pebbles.
After a long uphill struggle of the poor rickshaw puller up the hill from the TB hospital towards the MC college hostel with headwind nearly stopping the rickshaw - we finally arrived at the grand bamboo made gates of the Syed's residence of Syed Ehsan rquickly ushered inside the house and by the time we arrived the drizzle turned into a heavy rainfall and we both were soaked to bone.
Once inside at the company of great mr ehsan - we three friends just closed off from the rest of the world - i was supposed to leave for dhaka for the ISSB and sarwar going to go back to Uni. there was a great urgency of lot of catching up to do - breakfast - smoke littered room looked foggy in a broad day light - closed were all windows and doors and lunch arrived specially prepared by ehsan's chatto apa khala. nice kitchuri and some fish ohh was out of this world.... doing all of these little did we know that in the meanwhile when the clock has turned six o clock and we thought time to go home - ehsan and there was some one else with us joined us on the road to come unto the main road to fetch a rickshaw - and found all the shops - the road side dhabas and the tea stalls are closed - the whole road was empty - no rickshaw - no baby - no pedestrian - it looked like a ghost town very reminiscent like a abandoned township in an western movie - the yellow building opposite the Mc college hostel - beside the road junction looked like a ghost sanctuary and then there comes a convoy of Army - BDR lorries with LMG's pointing toward the public and helmet tucked heads with poping eyes of the soldiers were measuring our height - weight and width like a prey. As is we are a bunch of criminals - shocked , dumbfounded and a little confused - those were the days when no one of my age 21 year ever listened to the radio or switched on the TV early in the morning at nine of clock to find out about the world and it's news - as it is Bangladesh in 1981 was dwelling in a very primitive age - colour TV was opened I think a few months ago.
In the state of shock and confusion we find a elderly man walling towards us from the Gymnasium building and we asked him '' salam u alaiqum. chacha - what has happened ? why the place is so quiet and why no one on the street and these line of 5 thriving shops with people playing keram board- all day long till the late evening all so quiet like the western front ?
The old and frail gentleman - scoldingly said '' you foolish chaps which world do you guys live ?
don't you know Our President Zia ur Rahman is killed in a coup d'e'tat in Chittagong last night?
oh no !! what a shame !! He was my hero - his baritone voice and his staunch pronouncement on the radio on the 26th march 71 gave the nation a sense of encouragement to my little understanding at that age and he fought so bravely and he was a living legend and who has inspired me to join the army to follow his footstep is no more !!
My impetus of ambitions and dream of meeting him and shaking hands with as an officer ( of the same stature in different slab may be) was shattered like a broken glass. where in the broken mirror of ambitions glass canvas his face was flashing time and time again - A hero i adored - a soldier of mountainous courage - a leader of himalayas altitude who inspired his under command to follow him to the unknown and embrace martyrdom - breaking the rank and file formation knowing the consequences and how the troops and officers rallied around him to upheld the glory of the motherland on the most precarious of time and at the most crucial of juncture to my little knowledge and understanding He remains an epitome of a hero and an idol to follow - I am apolitical and can not understand the political dynamics of it at all nor i did then or in 71 neither i understand it now.
Why ? No where but our country these national icons and leaders and military leader and civilian leader(s) - even the man who showed us the dream of an independent county also has to pay his debt by giving life ; why are we so impatient? why all solution of all problem as if lies in killing ; why are we so trigger thirsty ?
One by one all the flowers of the tree of our liberation war; started to fall down from grace in unexplained circumstances. Irony of a nation who never could try and evaluate those flowers towering contribution nor appreciate their resilience toward presenting us with a country which we call fondly