8th episode of Mujib Graphic Novel: Bangabandhu’s role in Language Movement couldn’t be better portrayed
February 21 rings in the imageries of the youths shouting at the top of the lungs to secure their mother tongue as one of the state languages and consigning lives to this cause.
February 21 is the occasion when the world pays tribute to our language heroes.
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of our independence -- rising from the ashes, after enduring one of the worst genocides in the history.
The nation is enjoying its demographic dividend and youths account for one-third of the country's entire population. When the number 21 endows us with so many reasons to be inspired about, there is one more that appeared like an epiphany, which is the role of the Father of the Nation in the Language Movement on February 21, now commemorated around the world as the International Mother Language Day.
As the eighth episode of the graphic novel based on the unfinished memoir of Bangabandhu is out to the public, events turning out surrounding the movement neatly penned by the architect of independence came alive before our eyes.
Though this part of history is intriguing in itself, it stirs the imagination of the children, even more, when portrayed through pictures and words in the form of a graphic novel. Students growing up on a steady diet of comics such as Tintin or Chacha Chowdhury discover that the life of Bangabandhu is more profound than the fictional characters sketched by writers.
Those fiery moments when all the walls of the city were marked with "Bangla must be one of the state languages", when all youths took to the street with placards painted with the same demand, take you back to a crucial juncture of our history that gives you a feeling of magic realism.
Bangabandhu's role in the 1952 Language Movement was not explored in detail before his unfinished memoir came to light decades after his assassination. And, it never came out so vividly before the graphic novel portrayed those stories.
Those real events, brought forth to the readers, seem larger than life as we observe that Bangabandhu as a youth is chased by a police car and he runs through lanes and by-lanes just to make sure that police spend more time on the road and more students come and join the protest at Eden College gate in the meantime.
Next time I take a stroll in those areas, these stories will feel like a déjà vu and the streets and walls of the city will be a silent narrator to me.
As young Mujib was thrown into the four walls of the jail, he was pondering how the movement could be carried forward and how the audacious move by Pakistan to not recognise Bangla, the language of the majority, as a state language can be annulled.
Just then, a ray of hope lighted up his mind as he heard girls screaming on the rooftop of Muslim Girls School adjacent to the jail protesting police brutality on the movement organisers.
Our knowledge of the Father of the Nation, gathered from school history books, is mostly focused on the movements such as 1969 Mass Upsurge, 1970 election victory, March 7 fiery speech (hailed by the world), and 1971 leadership of the Liberation War.
When we hear a global leader comparing him with the height of the Himalayas, the impression of a mountain-like figure fills up our minds. But, this graphic novel delineates his journey as a youth -- as simple as any one of us but an extraordinary vision towards freedom and unwavering courage even when it seems to be the end of the world.
As I gulped down the previous episodes of the Graphic Novel Mujib in no time, I treated myself to the stories of how an ordinary schoolboy in a village responds to humanitarian causes, how an ordinary youth chooses to be extraordinary.
The latest part tells the tale of young Mujib being one of the key organisers of the Language Movement and embracing all the ordeals, and whets up my appetite for the episodes to come.
The writer is a 10th grader at Mohammadpur Preparatory School & College.