Mohammad Ali Sattar
In this month of August a particular family in Bangladesh had reasons to rejoice once upon a time. For this month bore the birthdays of a son and a mother. The month of rejoice turned into a worst nightmare and now it is only a period of doleful mourning. The celebrations with candle light refrain of happy birthday shall not happen anymore. The bright candle lights went out and brought about the darkness that will never go away.
I am talking about the family of the great leader, the founding father of Bangladesh - Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He, along with his sons, daughters-in-law, wife and brother, was gunned down by the conspirators of the time in the early hours of Aug 15, 1975. So gruesome was the act of murder that even the little boy (Russell) was not spared.
Things changed for good for the living daughters of the father. They were away from home in a distant land. History turned. Thoughts invaded. The turmoil was felt along the lines of the society. It was a jerk that transformed the philosophy of our statehood.
Mother, the Bangamata, Fazilatunnessa Mujib and her eldest son Sheikh Kamal were born in this month. The death came in the same month. Therefore, the tragedy has been doubled by the event, which now the sisters observe. The nation observed in silence the 84th birth anniversary of Bangamata and 66th birthday of Sheikh Kamal, and coming on the heels is the darkest dawn of Bangladesh history - Aug 15.
So huge has been the conspiracy and so long had been the guarded planning that till today we are in a state of confusion, as to who initiated the idea and when exactly it all trigger. I would like to believe that Bangabandhu was always the target of the infested group who were constantly under some sort of shadows of pro-Pak nexus. Sheikh Mujib has forever been a bane for them.
A vested quarter from the periods of British India, Pakistan and then the post independent Bangladesh were uncomfortable with this man, who so easily mesmerized the common man, outwitted the contemporary leaders, nudged out the peers and damned the foes.
Not only did tragedies of August stop on the dawn of August 15 for the family. After the deaths of these souls in 1975, the nexus went on working for further annihilation this time the daughter - who took up the reins of the party and the country.
Immediately after the mourning day of August 15, came the grenade attack on AL rally at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004 - a rally that saw around twenty thousand people gather to hear the then opposition leader and AL party Chief Sheikh Hasina.
Awami League organized the rally in Dhaka to protest the attack on its party workers in Sylhet a few days ago the same month. As the rally proceeded with leaders addressing the crowd from a stationary truck that served as the dais, the perpetrators stood ready to go for the kill.
It was past 5 pm when Sheikh Hasina started her speech and little before the clock struck half past five grenades from nearby roof tops began to land around the truck narrowly missing Sheikh Hasina and other leaders beside her. The intent was clear. It was to get rid of yet another member of the Sheikh family and create sheer panic among the members of the opposition, especially a particular party. Thirteen grenades were hurled that left 24 dead and more 300 wounded.
Thus the August tragedy continues for this family. The perpetrators succeeded on Aug 15ht, but failed on August 21. We shall not be surprised if moiré such attacks continue to happen, for the peace lovers do become complacent at times, but the conspirators are up and alert and look for their chances to materialize their killing missions.
In this month of August so many days are observed globally that we lose track of these. The month includes independence of two Asian foes - India and Pakistan. Number of great men was born in this month and the worst war crime was committed in this month by America when it dropped the first Atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. More than two hundred people were affected. Hundreds perished. The Japanese people still bear the brunt of the mindless bombing by America. Many are still born genetically deformed. This perhaps the Japanese nation will never overcome. The scar is likely to remain all their lives.
So, this month of August, for the world and for us, remains a month of tragedy, times of tears.
Mohammad Ali Sattar is Deputy Editor, Our Time