I live in a land that has a long history dating over millennia and in its long history of struggle lies its soil soaked in blood. I live in a nation that fought and roared in victory, time and again. I have a distinction that 160 million others share with me. I am proud of my grand identity -- I am a Bangladeshi.
But that does not mean I limit my individuality to the geographical confines of my land. Neither are my thoughts limited to the language I speak, nor am I limited by the imaginary boundaries of my thoughts.
I am who I am. My thoughts liberate me and emancipate my soul from bigotry. I am truly free from the golden fetters of a slave king. I have empathy for people like me and those who share the same ideology as me but I am also kind to the ideas that are fundamentally against the way I perceive the world. I am keen in agreeing to disagree. And in politics I shun partiality. It's justice I seek and for justice I lead my life.
I have an identity that borrows colours from Boishakh; I find jubilation in the red and the white. I extract the redness from the henna of the teenaged girls groomed for Eid; I dive into the romance of the 'alta' lining the feet of the country bride. I get the colour of my life from the flowing 'anchal' of a girl on a windy summer afternoon.
For fragrance I go to autumn when the 'sheuly' blooms. If that is my morning glory, my evenings are spurred by the scent of the 'hasnahena.'
My soul is touched by fluffy clouds manoeuvring on the clear sky and the whiteness of the kans grass on stretched arable lands. I am touched by the things that happen around me; and I am forever aware. Apathy does not touch me.
But I will forever remain an average Joe. Just another 'one' in a million, humbled and overwhelmed at being BANGLADESHI.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed