Tajuddin's March 25th Tale
The following morning I went to his (Tajuddin Ahmed's) Hare Road residence. Even before I had arrived, sitting on the second-storey verandah he had begun to go through the files. I sat down on a chair beside him. He was writing very intently in one file. After writing almost two pages, then reading through it and signing it, he began to call out "Lily, Lily," (Begum Zohra Tajuddin). When Mrs. Tajuddin emerged from the room he said to her, "That promotion case, I have okayed it." Mrs. Tajuddin responded, "You are the finance minister of Bangladesh, who you are going to promote or not promote in your ministry is entirely your business; what do I have to do with it?" Tajuddin began to laugh, and replied, "Lily, you are absolutely right, but you have a connection with this particular case and so I thought you should know." I listened to Tajuddin saheb and wondered what this possibly could mean. It was at this moment that Tajuddin, smiling broadly, pushed the file towards me.
I read the file from end to end. It was a file about an official of the finance ministry. It had come up through the bureaucratic process and was an application for promotion. In there it also had been noted that the applicant's controversial role during the liberation war should be taken into consideration. Tajuddin saheb had written on it with proper references and the gist of which was that I have seen the applicant's ACRs, and as per his service record he should be given the promotion. And while the applicant's controversial role in the war of liberation has been alluded to, nothing has been stated clearly about it. I do not think it would be proper to take a decision based merely on suspicion and rumour. If there is a specific charge against the applicant then that should be brought in a proper and different forum. Since no specific charge has been leveled here, as well as due to the lack of convincing evidence, I have not taken it into consideration and have duly given my assent to his promotion. After I finished my reading I said, "Sir, I fail to understand the matter, nor why you said that to bhabi."
It was then that Tajuddin replied, "On 25th March, moments before the Pakistan Army attacked and started to destroy it, I left my house. But Lily couldn't leave, and by pretending to have rented the house she, with great and good luck, barely managed to save herself and the two little children from the army. Then, wandering around in search of some secure refuge, she went to an acquaintance's house in Dhanmondi Road Number 13 beside the lake. The gentleman was not at home. Upon returning he did not like the fact of Lily's presence there. In the middle of the curfew that night the gentleman said, 'You know, my house is right by the main road, if the army comes it will be bad for all of us. So please come with me, I'll take you to a house that's two doors down from us.' Lily with the two little children went out into the night with the gentleman. When they were outside the gate the gentleman stopped and said to Lily that he had forgotten something vital, perhaps a key, and to please wait here for just a minute while he got it. The gentleman went back inside the house and then locked the door. After waiting for a long time Lily went back inside and knocked on the door, rang the bell, but nobody inside opened the door. Then, seeing that there was no other way out, Lily with her two small children spent the whole night, in that curfew and with the Army continually driving by, sheltering in the shadow of a heap of bricks that had been kept there by the main road to build a house.
"Now hear this--that same gentleman is this person, the one whose promotion I just okayed. I think that it would be wrong to connect what happened that night with the service record of this person. Somebody might have learnt that this person was involved in such-and-such event with my family, and therefore the file came up with the notation about his controversial role in the liberation war."