Youths walk to learn about Liberation War | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 27, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 27, 2016

Youths walk to learn about Liberation War

Chip in for new building of Liberation War Museum

The morning sunlight shone on Osama Rahman Anas as he struggled to answer why he took up the challenge to walk 36km from the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka to the National Memorial in Savar, on the capital's outskirts.

But when he was asked by reporters if he could complete the difficult task, the 12-year-old did not hesitate once. "Yes, I can do it," he said with conviction.

It was this passion Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Hoque spoke of while inaugurating the march to raise fund for the new building of the museum at Agargaon.

Abhijatri, a youth group that promotes adventure including nature walking, trekking and cycling, has been organising this walk on Independence Day for the last three years, said Nishat Majumdar, member of the group, also the first Bangladeshi woman to scale Mount Everest.

"This is not a marathon. ...we have been organising the event under the theme 'Shok theke Shokti' (turning grief into strength)," she told The Daily Star.

This year Abhijatri joined hands with the museum to organise the walk, during which participants passed by or stopped at the places of historical significance.

The participants also welcomed general people to join them at least for 1km by registering in the event with Tk 1,000, which would finally go to the museum building fund.

They started gathering at the Shaheed Minar at 6:30am.

"On this very morning in 1971, thousands of Bangalees were fleeing this city. This place was destroyed to the grounds," eminent bird specialist and nature lover Enam Ul Haque told the walkers before they began their journey.

"We should not forget the pain and grief the nation had to go through to provide you with such a morning today, when you can stand in the very place without fear," he noted, stressing the importance of knowing one's history.

He said the Liberation War Museum took up the task of informing the new generation of the glorious yet painful birth of the country. He urged people to join their hands in building the museum for that task.

"We are building a museum of international standards, which would present to the world the united power of our people, which was the driving force behind the Liberation War," said Mofidul Hoque.

He added that the conviction of the freedom fighters was reflected in the new generation.

Young participant Sumaiya Islam Chadni, 16, a student of Motijheel Model School, said, "My grandfather was a freedom fighter, so my mother was very happy when I decided to take this walk. She woke me up in the morning."

Private job holder Marufa Haque, 33, does not get to walk on a regular basis, but has been with Abhijatri since last October.

"I feel good that I am going to be a part of it (museum)", she said. "Perhaps all our names will not be written in the Liberation War Museum records but Abijatri's name would and I am one of them."

Saidur Rahman, 65, and Maksuda Rahman, 55, registered for the event at Dhanmondi 32, when the march was passing by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's house.

"One of my brothers is a martyr and another an injured freedom fighter. We may not be able to join the walk but we can contribute to the cause and encourage the new generation who took the initiative," said Maksuda.

Mirza Mostafa, 58, who uses a crutch, joined the walkers at Russell Square. "I would not be able to walk the entire distance because of the condition of my legs, but I support the cause and it is my responsibility to do something so that the young generation knows about our history," he told The Daily Star.

Forty-six walkers started from the Shaheed Minar and passed by the Jagannath Hall killing field, Shamsunnahar and Rokeya halls singing Liberation War songs, stopping at Sergeant Jahurul Haque Hall and Memory Eternal en route to Russell Square.

Many trudged on defying the hot spring sun passing by Asad Gate, the building in Mohammadpur that housed injured freedom fighters, SOS children's orphanage that sheltered war children, Mirpur Bangla College killing field, and Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial.

The walkers reached the National Memorial around 7:45pm, and around 100 people registered for the event.  

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