From Tekerhaat, 30. 7. 71
Salaam. Hope you are well by the grace of Allah. Convey my respect and regards to others in the house. In this battle we are all here together—me, Ali Raja, Rowshan, Sattar, Benu, Ibrahim and Phul Miah. We have pledged our lives for our country. Please pray for us and for the freedom of our land. For me this life is insignificant. What is life without freedom? So, I have taken war as my chosen path. Please, don't hurt mother in my absence. I will never forgive you if you do. You have to endure her madness. Give my respect to my uncles and to my elder brother. Tell Boro Bhai not to join at his new job. A job is not greater than one's life. Tell grandpa to pray for us. We are facing death right now-- can collapse at any moment. But please pray that even if I die, the country must be freed. Then you will see that millions of boys calling the childless fathers “Baba.” Wait for this call.
And do not worry about me. Bring up your two daughters like sons. All your wishes will be fulfilled through them. My countrymen, pray for an Independent Bangladesh. Do not turn into Mir Jafars. The Mukti Fauz won't forgive you. They won't allow you any space in Bengal.
Salaam, my countrymen, Salaam.
Md. Sirajul Islam
[On August 8, 1971, there was a bloody battle in Sector 5's sub-sector Sachna Jamalganj between the Pakistani Military and the Muktibahini. The war hero Sirajul Islam had only one platoon of soldiers with him and it was next to impossible to win against the well-armed Pakistani forces. After ordering his peers to keep on fighting Sirajul crawled toward the camp with grenades and blew up two bunkers. In the process, however, he was killed too.]
On November 1, we were ordered to head towards Noakhali to free Feni's Belonia and Porshuram from the grasp of the enemy. On the night of the 6th we entered the enemy territory stealthily. The next morning they realized that we had surrounded them. On the night of the 8th, the place was freed, and the enemy got so scared that they abandoned some other bunkers too.
We did not have to fight at all to free Chitolia. We marched on. On November 27, when we returned from that area, we were only one and a half mile away from Feni. Our next destination was Pathan Nagar. My heart filled with delight as I thought that I would be able to see you again, Ma.
Do you know, Ma, we imprisoned 60 enemy personnel in this battle? And three from our company have been martyred, and mines blew up one's legs.
Pray for us, Ma.
[The author of the letter is Martyred freedom fighter, Lt. Selim Md. Kamrul Hasan. He was killed after the Liberation War, in January 1972, when he went on a mission to free Mirpur from the enemy.]
Sohana Manzoor is Assistant Professor, Department of English & Humanities, ULAB. Currently, she is also the Editor of Star Literature & Reviews Pages.