Conflicted | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 26, 2020

Conflicted

April, 1971

My grandfather, in those times of danger and uncertainty, was met with an unfortunate occurrence that could have resulted in his demise.

The Pakistani forces would conduct searches on people's houses in order to find anything out of the ordinary that may associate someone with another faith. A search on our ancestral home was carried out. The authorities scoured the house and stumbled upon a chest that contained a harmonium; this raised eyebrows as a Muslim family owning a musical instrument was deemed suspicious. Afterwards, my grandfather was forcefully taken to a nearby field and lined up with other "perpetrators" to be shot to their deaths. However, a local guide within the Pakistani military recognised my grandfather at the field as my grandfather was his former mathematics teacher. He pleaded to the army men to try and convince them that he was indeed a Muslim.

My grandfather was let go. As a new Bangladesh emerged from the rubble of war a few months later, my grandfather held contempt for those who had helped ravage his land and its people, yet it was one of those people who saved his life.

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