Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive/ But to be young was very heaven. This is how William Wordsworth was moved to pen his feeling, confronting the epical sweep of the French Revolution. The birth of Bangladesh and its ultimate triumph over its aggressors and oppressors was similarly momentous in the history of the rise of a people. On that day 50 years ago, any young man experienced the deep emotional transition and transformation within one's own heart. History was in the making and to be a part of that history was wonderful.
Indeed the turn of events was swift. With Bhutan and India recognising Bangladesh as an independent, sovereign country and the heavyweights of the cold war taking opposite sides, the air was fraught with dark apprehensions. India did not wait to get into the act defying the threat from US President Nixon of sending its Seventh Naval Fleet. The Soviet Union also responded by issuing a counter-threat of sending its 20th Naval Fleet. China, however, threw its weight behind Pakistan and the possibility of a Third World War could not be ruled out.
For a barely 18 years old, the recognition and the joining in the war proper by India were the ultimate sources of bliss. He now knew that Pakistani army will have to bite dust and it would not be long before the nine months' trial and tribulation were over. In a gross sense a war may leave one side victorious but in fact in an all-consuming war no one really emerges victorious. It is a shame that countries or races still have to fight each other to settle contentious issues and there are big powers who pull the string from behind.
Rhetoric of democratic values, human rights and equality of man proves a sham when narrow national interests such as arm sale, control of natural resources such as fossil fuel, copper and other precious mineral deposits are concerned. Bangladesh could secede from Pakistan amicably had the international politics not been divided on the just cause of the Bangalee people. A peace-loving people had to transform defiant in order to retaliate for the unjust and unequal war imposed on them. The state of Pakistan proved no longer viable to be a whole entity because the rulers there did not learn from history. They practised on the Bangalees what they had suffered at the hands of the colonial power. The rift was inevitable. But the arrogance of power makes rulers blind and military rulers are the worst among the conceited lot. It happened in Bangladesh in 1971 and is happening in Myanmar now. The international community looks other way while the ethnic cleansing or killing of own people continues. Surprisingly it still may happen on the eve of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The monster in man is not overpowered and civilisation exposes its frailty and fallibility in no uncertain terms.
The 18-year-old, now in his pretty advanced age thus has a preference for primitive innocence against sophisticated progress. When the pandemic strikes, the likes of Shahed Karim, infamous E-valy boss Mohammad Rassel and E-orange owner Sonia Mehjabin defraud millions of Taka from customers. These cheating businesses are poles apart from the values of the Liberation War. How could people transform to such obnoxious creatures, he wonders.
Human civilisation is yet to find a better way of settling disputes when people have become highly educated, elitist and culturally advanced. Even the mass annihilation of lives and destruction of property in the two World Wars could not act as a deterrent to racial pogrom and armed confrontation between and among nations. Plundering of gold and other precious metals was the ultimate goal of the ferocious warriors of Central Asia in the Middle Age. But they had no intention of perpetuating their rules on the occupied territories. It was the European powers which started setting up their colonies in North America, Asia, Asia-Pacific and Africa in order to exploit resources without accountability.
Their intrigues were too intricate and devious for their former colonies to overcome even when they left. The dominant among the local political forces wanted to eat cream and also have it. In fact, they learnt the unethical art from their masters and practised it on the weaker in order to exploit the latter. Here is an imperfect civilisation that has a long way to go before it recognizes the true value of each individual. The first instinct is to keep different races and people under subjugation. How outrageous! By doing so, politicians and their loyal henchmen abuse state power and surprisingly they do not feel ashamed.
Victory over the enemy is easier compared with the foe within. So, no calculation of today's unequal society can be made to make it 2+2=4 despite the eye-catching progress the country has attained, the disparities and inequality are widening. True victory will be achieved when the system perpetuating unequal distribution of wealth can be done away with.