Home News “Doctor Apa” of the Liberation War is Fawzia Muslim

“Doctor Apa” of the Liberation War is Fawzia Muslim

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Dr. Fawzia Muslim. Sixty-six points, 1969 mass uprising, 1970s election among the women who were vocal on the streets are different. In the continuation of this, he played the role of an organizer in the liberation war. In 1971, he participated in the liberation war on behalf of the guerilla forces (NAP-Communist Party-Student Union). Fawzia, a doctor by profession, provided medical care to sick people and injured freedom fighters in Agartala camp. Currently, she is the President of Bangladesh Women’s Council. Spoke to him on behalf of Independent Television Monty Vaishnav

You played the role of an organizer in the liberation war. He provided medical services to the freedom fighters during the war. How did you get involved?

Fauzia Muslim: It was a great privilege for me to work for the country during the liberation war. During the construction phase of the liberation war, I was involved in the student union as an activist. So the desire to do something in the liberation war was in the mind from a long time ago. Bangabandhu’s speech in 1971 was very important. However, since the beginning of March, the people of the country had a preparation. People took to the streets after hearing of the adjournment of Parliament on March 1. Now, as the leaders said in the program of the political party, the workers took to the streets. But then people did not wait for the leader. When I returned home after finishing work at the hospital on March 1, I saw many people gathering at Gulistan intersection. At that time non-cooperation movement meant non-cooperation movement. No one is going to office-court or doing any work. What I remember is that people did not stay at home in Dhaka city. Everyone probably lived on the streets. Some are sitting on the streets singing, some are marching, some are chanting slogans. Nuts and grocery sellers were also sitting on the streets except selling. The face of Dhaka city was different during the war months. Then came the historic 7th March. I secretly went to listen to Bangabandhu’s speech even though I was pregnant.

How did you spend the first month of the war?

Fauzia Muslim: Operation Searchlight started from the night of 25th March. Our house was near Rajarbagh police line. So I hear gunshots at night. At that time, most of the houses in Dhaka city were single-storied tin houses with brick walls. So everyone is afraid of gunshots. The next morning, March 26, I saw everyone running around in the street. I didn’t understand what was happening. When I went home and turned the radio station, I heard that there was a massacre in Dhaka. After a while I heard about the imposition of martial law on the radio. At that time the city of Dhaka seemed to be the city of death. There was no response. Along with the call of crows and the barking of dogs, I hear the sound of gunshots. This is how I spent March 26. Then the curfew was lifted on the morning of 27th. As I was physically ill, I was sent to the hospital along with my mother. People in my father-in-law’s house and father’s house were progressive. My husband Saifuddin Ahmed Manik died in the liberation war on March 27. Then I Dr. I used to work under Feroza Begum. So I went to his clinic. After staying in the clinic for a few days, Feroza Apa came one day and said, ‘There can be an army attack here at any time. You go to the hospital. I am arranging the hospital.’ I was then admitted to Mitford Hospital (now Sir Salimullah Medical College). I had a baby girl on 2nd April. At that time I could not communicate with anyone in the family. Mom and I had a very turbulent time. I didn’t know where to go with a small child. Still, on April 5, I left the hospital for home with my mother. On the way, I met Chota Mami in Siddheshwari. I went to his house with my aunt. I stayed in that house till I went to Agartala.

When did you go to Agartala?

Fauzia Muslim: My younger uncle went to war. Chhotama took me to Agartala with the help of Communist Party. We three leave from Dhaka. Ratna and Farida were with me. Arrived at Agartala camp in early May with a one month old baby. As I am a doctor, I got the duty of a doctor on reaching Agartala. I looked after the wounded freedom fighters in the hospital there. Apart from this, I used to contact women to gather public opinion in Agartala for the cooperation of freedom fighters. There we used to create public opinion in favor of liberation war. We stayed in Agartala till 30th of December.

What has been the reflection of the desire from which the liberation war took place, the country became independent?

Fauzia Muslim: In fact, the main desire of the liberation war was not realized. Bangabandhu said, don’t let Bangladesh become ten families like Pakistan. But later this word was not found to match the reality. In this country, the disparity between the rich and the poor has not decreased, but has increased. There are still more millionaires in the country. However, the standard of living of the people of the country has improved. But the goals of democracy, nationalism, secularism and justice were not achieved. Bangladesh government was formed in February after the independence of the country. Independence is based on the charter that was created there. That freedom was dignity, respect, and equality. But none of these were after the independence of the country. The main reason for this was the killing of Bangabandhu and four other leaders in jail by reactionary groups in 1975. By this killing they defeat the power of freedom. Through this murder, they changed the course of politics. Later there is a question whether we tried to restore the spirit of freedom or not. Anti-liberal forces cause many events. In that case after coming to power tried to resist? Were we able to give the politically correct move to turn the change that happened after the independence of the country (to the other side)? We have thought about financial development of people. But we have not paid any attention to the social and political development that it needs.

As a result, we now see that we have gradually lost the non-communal place from which the country became independent. The political goal of the liberation war was the geographical independence of Bangladesh; But the political goal has not yet been achieved. There is a big crisis – the power of intellectuals, civil society, who influence politics to some extent, is missing in the society. The country is now divided into two sides. One side is for independence; Another anti-independence force. I saw during the movement of the Pakistan era that although Awami League was the main party, there was a class of artists, writers and intellectuals in the society. They were all in favor of democracy. At that time there was an atmosphere of learning. Intellectuals were aware of what is right and what is wrong in the society and thus they influenced the movements. Now it is missing.

In 1971, many women participated in important work such as providing medical services, food, clothes, money or collecting news to the freedom fighters. Many people have to be tortured while doing these things. As such, the contribution of women in the liberation war is less said. How do you see the matter?

Fauzia Muslim: When a boy comes to fight in a state, society, family, he is honored as a brave soldier. And when a woman is a victim of violence in that war, society shuns her. This is our social vision. We do not see sexual violence against women in war as violence. There is definitely a difference in value between those who fought the liberation war with arms, and those who worked as collaborators in the liberation war. However, there was a risk of death in both jobs. He who fights in the battlefield, can be shot dead. And whoever is carrying the news, he can also be caught and die.

Another thing is that men write history and scriptures. When men write history, that history is one sided; Leans towards men. Women have no place there. This is a historical fact. Society does not have the mental preparation needed to acknowledge the contribution of women.

It is a question whether the liberation war would have been successful if women had not participated in the liberation war. Why couldn’t the nation give due respect to women after independence?

Fauzia Muslim: It is not easy to get out of the customs and culture of a society. Even if there is a liberation war, it is very difficult to get out. When freedom fighters are listed in an area, we do not include women. Because of this, women like Rama Chowdhury are neglected. But in this case, I admit responsibility, the women’s movement had a lot more to do in terms of society’s recognition of heroines. But we didn’t do much at that time.

After fifty years of independence, now women are leaving the house. Joined various professions, working at the grassroots, conquering mountains, achieving success in football. The liberation war was a major factor behind these achievements. The war of liberation made a great change in the psyche of women as well as common people. This path was difficult. A major obstacle in this difficult path is violence against women. How do you see the matter?

Fauzia Muslim: Violence against women is prevalent in all spheres of society. Women are subjected to violence at home – outside, at work, on the bus – everywhere. Earlier, women were victims of violence in the family. Now women everywhere are victims of violence. Now the areas of violence against women have increased. This is because we don’t really see women as human beings. See women as women. That’s why no one is trying to advance backward women.

What does woman mean? What will be the image of women? There is an image of women in the society, that is – women will be soft. We are out of this picture. Not many can take it. We find it hard to accept the image of the brave, rebellious woman. The mental preparation to accept the protest image of women is missing in the society. We are still in a case. The case is that a woman was playing sports in Khulna, the people of the area stopped her because she was playing in pant-shirt. Society’s attitude towards women needs to change.

Today’s women participate in various aspects of the society but do not have a partnership. If you say something about this.
Fauzia Muslim: We cannot think of women outside of the image of women embedded in the society. Our society has laws for women. But that law is not being implemented. To get the support of the law, women have to face various problems. The biggest thing is that women have no rights in property. Because of this, there is no alternative way for the women’s movement.

This attitude towards women in the society has been going on for ages. Women are still backward because there is no participation of women. His rights are not being implemented. Although our constitution mentions the equal rights of men and women. But in reality we are not following it. We are creating discrimination between men and women in employment. For example: When a female police officer in charge goes to a police station and sits on a chair, she first has to prove that she is eligible to sit on that chair. Then he got some of the weight of that chair. When a man is inducted into the same office, he immediately inherits the chair. It is not the backwardness of women, but the backwardness of society.

What should be the dream place of women?
Fauzia Muslim: Women have three rights in this society. 1. Personal 2. Social 3. civil rights Movement should be done for women to get these three rights completely. Men should be kept together in this movement. We have come a long way in education, but attitudes are not changing.

Our society is not sympathetic towards women. We have not been able to build a society that respects women. Along with respect, dignity and rights should be given to women. If we cannot give these three things to women, then we cannot give equal rights to women. But through the fourth industrial revolution we got a lot easier. We have a lot on our hands right now. But we are not evolving our brains. I am becoming dependent on the device. No matter how much knowledge I collect, if we cannot use it, analyze it, our role as human beings will not be proper. The human brain and the engine brain cannot be the same. People have to think with sensitivity, with humanity and from their place of responsibility.


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