A king's kingly fight
The Liberation War of Bangladesh was truly a people's war. People from all walks of life irrespective of their politico-economic, ethno-cultural and socio-religious identity spontaneously joined the war to achieve a common mission. The grand triumph of 1971 was the result of a tremendous synergy produced by great heroes of this soil. There were a few collaborators too who were active in hatching machination against the liberation of Bangladesh. Many tribal people of Bangladesh had also contributed gloriously for our independence. The aspiration of emancipation from every oppression and disparity compelled them to fight against the aggression of Pakistan Army. Mong King Mompru Sain was one of the great heroes of the Liberation War. His kingly contribution war had positive effect in the struggle for emancipation.
On being terrified by the heinous atrocities of the Pakistani attackers that started from the dead night of 25 March 1971 many people had to leave their homes for safe asylum. The fear of war left thousands of people internally displaced and they were forced to move to the countryside for their safety. By the first week of April 1971 Pakistani troops took control of the Chittagong city and started looting, killing and conduct of other heinous crimes in the city. To escape from death and humiliation many people from the city left for hill tracts. Mong Raja Mompru Sain was moved and touched by the plight of these fleeing people. He provided shelter to the distressed people knowing full well that his sympathetic action might create wrath of the Pakistani marauding army. Kindness of the Raja overtook all the possible threats and challenges. Emboldened by humanity and stimulated by patriotism he defied all the risks. Raja opened up his granary and exhausted it to feed the refugees who took shelter in his palace. Affected by the horror of the ravaging war, many traumatic people were mentally and physically shattered and suffered from various ailments. Moreover the exhaustion of the haunted journey had terrible effect on those asylum seekers. In those distressful days the Raja established a hospital to ameliorate the sufferings of people. The queen and womenfolk of his tribe on being encouraged by Raja also joined this noble effort and devotedly treated many ailing patients. Their nursing was immensely helpful and appreciable.
Raja Mompru Sain was an ardent supporter of Liberation War of Bangladesh. To thwart the possible Pakistani attack in Khagrachari area he along with his followers joined the efforts of East Bengal Regiment, East Pakistan Rifle and young patriots in developing a defence in the hill tracts. At the initial phase of war the freedom fighters did not have enough supply of arms and ammunition to resist for long against the attacking forces. To augment their military capability he opened his own armory and gave 33 rifles to the freedom fighters. He also donated his private car and jeep to the Mukti Bahini to ease up their communication and movement. Many people of his region on being encouraged by the Raja joined the Liberation War. Infuriated, Pakistani Army engaged armed Mizo cadres to eliminate this audacious Raja for his all out support to the Mukti Bahini.
On 27 April 1971 Pakistan Army launched attack in Mahalchari to rout the defence taken by Mukti Bahini. They started pounding the area mercilessly. Because of such ruthlessness, the defence of Muki Bahini in this area became untenable. At this juncture they decided to abandon their defence for tactical reasons. Raja Monpru Sain finding the situation extremely unfavourable left his palace along with his family and took shelter in Rupaichari Camp, India. After the abandonment of the palace Pakistani Army and their collaborators established their camp there in the palace. The unexpected departure from own circle could not sap the unflinching determination of the Raja. Immediately after reaching India Raja established close contact with the Bangladeshi training camp established at Harina, India and involved himself in training young enthusiasts on guerrilla war. He extended his efforts for the recruitment of the guerrillas. He also contacted Indian Boarder Security Force and confirmed their military assistance in favour of freedom fighters of Bangladesh. He, in a radio talk in BBC, called upon the people of the world to extend their support for the liberation of Bangladesh.
While other two Rajas of Chakma circle and Bomang circle collaborated with the Pakistan Army side and acted against the interest of Bangladesh during the Liberation War, it was only the Mong king Mompru Sain who at one stage physically joined the war which had positive effect on the Mukti Bahini. He also played important role in organising the guerrillas in youth camp. The dauntless Raja alongside other freedom fighters carried out many minor operations inside Bangladesh against enemy troops. In the final offensive he entered into Bangladesh with the allied force and participated in Bhairob and Ashugonj operations. Fighting the enemy courageously he could advance up to Dhaka on December 17, 1971 and relished the victory of allied forces. This hero was awarded with honorary ranks of colonel during war for his courageous contribution in the Liberation War. After the war the king went back to his palace which was looted, destroyed and burnt by Pakistani troops. The Raja practically found nothing in his palace after the liberation as the wrath of Pakistani troops badly destroyed his palace and their gluttonous stomach ate up everything.
Mong Raja Mompru Sain contributed enormously to the Liberation War of Bangladesh. He not only opened his treasury to help the refugees who took shelter in his palace but also mobilised, encouraged and organised tribal people of his circle to join the Liberation War. Being an expert shooter he utilised his skill through imparting training to the freedom fighters. The Raja is a brave hero of our Liberation War as well as a great source of inspiration for the young generation to be imbued with the true ethos and values of our Liberation War. His kindness, efforts, patriotic zeal and courage all are exemplary to us. He is a great son of Bangladesh and we are all proud of such a great Raja. Raja Mompru Sain will live in the hearts of people forever for his glorious contribution and sacrifices. Such a great hero of our liberation is yet to be formally rewarded. His enormous contribution needs official recognition that will otherwise encourage future generations to make sacrifice during the crisis of the nation.
The writer is presently working at Army Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment.
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