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Victory Day should not become irrelevant to the present generation

by Afonso
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‘You will come, oh freedom’/Sakina Bibi broke her forehead,/Haridasi’s vermilion was wiped away./You will come, O freedom’ She has no idea how many times Sakina, Haridasi broke her forehead. Independence was finally achieved on 16 December 1971. British Raj was established about two hundred years ago. Then 24 years of Pakistani rule-exploitation-oppression-torture. Four basic aspirations worked behind the victory we achieved on December 16 in the bloodbath of millions. They are: Nationalism, Socialism, Democracy and Secularism.

After defeating the Pakistani forces in a nine-month armed war, we gained independence on 16 December 1971. Power to govern Bangladesh territory. A state was born, where the territorial people can take all the decisions about the state. Through a long struggle and movement, the fighting people of Bangladesh established the idea that we want to rule our country. This is called freedom.

1971 to 2023. 52 years of our independence. 52 years ago we broke the shackles of Pakistani rule-exploitation-oppression-torture and achieved independence. This freedom was not found just sitting at home. Had to fight for a long time. We had to lose many brave children of mother Bengal. Every page of the history of our independence bears the bright marks of sacrifice, struggle and self-sacrifice of millions of people. But for the present generation, liberation war, independence, victory day – these have no significance. There are many reasons behind this. We have not adequately conveyed the significance of freedom and victory to the new generation. Our politicians are so driven by narrow interests that they have failed to set any ideals before the new generation. Therefore, independent sovereign Bangladesh does not create any new emotions for the new generation, which is used to seeing administrative errors and lack of good governance. They have not seen the Pakistani exploitation-torture oppression misrule. Born in a free country, they could not be moved and impressed by what they saw. As a result, they do not have any headache about Victory Day and Independence Day. On the contrary, they throw various questions. These questions concern even those of us who are relatively old.

What is the true meaning of freedom? What is ‘freedom’ in the power to be self-governing? Were we able to reach certain acceptable conclusions about the questions raised in 1972 about the sense of country, the concept of freedom, justice and morality? When the flag was flying as a symbol of pride, passion and patriotism in every corner of the newly independent country, when crores of people from refugee camps returned to the free country in a state of poverty, with tears in their eyes, were we able to take appropriate initiatives to rebuild their broken dreams?

What have we achieved in 52 years after independence? How far do we go? All the people of the country are getting two meals a day? Has it been possible to ensure the safety of common people? Pakistanis have left this country, but has the deprivation stopped? Is it possible to establish the rights of the weaker sections of the country? We all know the answer to these questions. And this is the most disappointing aspect of our Victory Day today. It is true that we have progressed in many ways in various financial and development indicators. But in other areas where progress was supposed to be made, we did not make progress. However, there is no end to progress. Progress can be maintained if you want to maintain it. It is also important to maintain. The progress of the country or the progress of the citizen, as is generally meant, is not only the material progress. The progress of values ​​and thinking is essential with time. We have failed miserably to do that.

In fact, political freedom has come, but social freedom has not yet come. Our Constitution has given freedom of speech, but even after 52 years of independence, that freedom of speech in our country remains largely at the discretion of the powerful. The minorities of this country are still being oppressed and their patriotism is constantly being tested. Independence means building the country on a firm foundation; To enable the people of the country to meet the minimum needs of education, health, food, clothing and habitable place. To provide livelihood for people, to make the country self-reliant by expanding science and vocational education.

Freedom does not mean using man-made electoral processes to seize power and abuse it on the throne. Freedom means being responsible, being dutiful. Follow the rules. Being guided by the welfare of others. Independence may mean vowing to provide a minimum of real education to the people of the country. Education can free from all bondage; To light the darkness. All freedom becomes meaningless if the light of real education cannot be lit among the people of the country. The sense of freedom is not very clear among us. Freedom is not a clay doll, a wooden chair or a party flag. It cannot be grasped by hand. It cannot be brought home and arranged. It cannot be marched on the shoulders. Freedom is actually a mindset. An expression of living. For some it may be political, for some social, and for some it may be a very personal matter.

52 years ago we got free from Pakistani misrule. But today there is a need to get rid of many other things. Lack of practice of democratic culture in all spheres of social life, intolerance, sectarianism, violence in the name of religion, violence against women, rape – these social poisons are trying to swallow us today. Just like during the Pakistani rule, the injustice in the country is getting worse. Medieval barbarism in the making. The word ‘freedom’ is being abused. Currently, the range of political freedom, social freedom, religious freedom is changing strangely! Those who are strong, powerful – they are deciding what will be the behavior of people! If they do not agree with their opinion, they are pulling out teeth and nails. It is becoming a trend to silence people by scaring them!

Our country is advancing in the use of modern technology. Education, information exchange, business and financial transactions are increasing using internet. Millions of people are going abroad for education, livelihood, medical treatment or travel. Getting acquainted with advanced culture. But along with that, superstitions, rumours, public beatings, the tendency to violate laws are also increasing at an equal pace. Like the ‘dark side of the moon’ we are becoming increasingly sectarian and violent. This is a matter of great concern.

Freedom is not just self-government, not flag or brick-wood-stone. Freedom is a philosophy of life, a way of life! It needs total revival. The one who is holding the opposite opinion and who wants the good of the country, wants to correct it by passing on the errors of various works, needs to have the breadth of mind to understand that! Giving importance to the opinion of others, creating a space to let him say ‘no’ is actually freedom! If not, we will go back to the darkness of the Middle Ages no matter how many satellites go into space.

In independent countries we get the right to vote and elect representatives to govern. Our elected representatives take all the decisions of the country. But the duty of a citizen does not end with the mere exercise of the right to vote. Surveillance in each case also helps to protect its own rights. The more this consciousness is raised, the better the society, the better the country. But the sad fact is that we could not achieve the right to exercise the right to vote, the surveillance in every state is far away!

The present generation has not seen the struggle against Pakistani misrule or the Pak dictator. Just heard or read. That makes the Great Victory Day irrelevant to the present generation—not so. Still reading. It is our collective failure. The day can be even more relevant if every citizen can be shown the direction of a new unfinished battle on this day.

Author: Researcher and social thinker


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