Mohammad Zainal Abedin: I am a Bangladeshi Muslim by birth, now a US citizen. I am a freedom fighter of Bangladesh War of Liberation. I am going to be 70 next August. My motherland, Bangladesh originated from a Muslim country. Now a question frequently chases me what I am or what my beloved countrymen are.
Our forefathers to get freedom out of the Hindu atrocities, exploitations and humiliations, struggled for Pakistan and created a Muslim Homeland in 1947 to enjoy freedom and fearless life. But we in 1971 broke the same Pakistan that our parents created. We didn’t know that we were again going to become the slaves of the same foes from whom our predecessors freed only 23 years ago.
We celebrate the language day every year, but we forgot its significance. 21st February was earlier celebrated reciting the Holy Quran and saying Fateha for the salvation of the departed souls who dedicated their lives for languages. But we replaced those singing songs and offering wreaths on the altar of the Shahid Minar, which has no relation with the martyrs all of whom were Muslims. We dedicated our lives for Bengali language. We ought to promote and preserve it and save it from all overt or covert aggressions. But we forgot it and now we embrace Hindi and watch Hindi movies and dramas. We allow Hindu to intrude into our kitchens even. We introduce and practice Hindu culture in the name of Bengalee culture, though the Hindus never recognized us as Bengalee, they termed as Muslims. We are losing our Muslim identity, tradition, history and culture.
We fought for independence, but now we are selling it to India. We broke Pakistan for democracy, but we don’t know where our cherished democracy fled away. We struggled against Pakistani exploitation, but now we remain silent seeing Indian exploitation and robbery. We cannot even speak or write against India. Speaking or writing against India is a punishable crime. The murder of Abrar, a BUET student and many others, are burning examples of such punishment. India became our master and we accepted Indian lordship, which is entirely contrary to our spirit of liberation war. We betrayed the souls of martyrs of 1971.
Our young boys and girls are unemployed, but over a million Indians legally work in Bangladesh, none knows the real number of illegal ones. Bangladeshis cannot speak out against such a situation. If anyone raises his voice, he is silenced.
Though we are Muslims, but our dress and life style don’t represent Muslim identity. Questions surfaced whether we are really Muslims. Many of us don’t pray or practice Islam. We stupidly claim religion is an internal matter, a matter of mind what is absolutely wrong. We forgot that Islam has theoretical as well as practical aspects. What a Muslim believes in mind, he is bound to practice the same in his daily life. Islam is not a matter of mind or personal issue. On the other hand, we practice such things what a Muslim must not do, though we steal, loot and misappropriate and people’s money and assets.
We, for our self interest, support such anti-social and anti-state persons, who are thieves and killers. We honor these killers, lairs and thieves. We kill our own brothers and sisters. We became selfish. We lie and as if, forget speaking the truth. We lost humanity. We are outwardly human beings in appearance, but in practice, many of us turned inwardly to animals. We don’t love our own country though an animal loves its own abode. Though we claim we are patriots, we don’t hesitate to allow our adversary to eat up the vitals of our country under the cover of agreements, pacts, treaties, memorandum of understandings. We place money and power above our country.
What fantastic people we are! I don’t know when we will be able to come to our senses to rectify our errors and omission to regain our lost track. *
Ø Mohammad Zainal Abedin is Bangladesh-origin American journalist & researcher.
Ø Written on Feb. 21, 2o21