At this age, the memories can be captured properly? But there are some memories that never get old. My feelings on Victory Day are such a memory. When I think of that day, my heart is still full of pride.
Let’s start with a little background. The struggle for independence of Bangladesh did not happen in one day; There was a long preparation for this. I was in Rangpur during the Bayanna language movement. From a young age, I used to play tabla with my mother. I had a lot of skill in playing the tabla. Let me tell you, the tabla is called the backbone of music. Knowing the tabla has many benefits in terms of music. Rhythm moves grammatically. I came to Dhaka in the late sixties. Before that it was sixty-one. In 1971, on the birth centenary of Rabindra, a major conflict started in this country. Ittefaq and Sangbad newspapers took a stand in favor of celebrating the birth centenary .Azad was against. At that time there was a war of words in two newspapers. At that time we also celebrated Rabindra’s birth centenary in Rangpur, I remember. We performed Rabindranath’s Chandalika dance drama as a lyric drama. I did the joy character. Then my name is being little by little. Many people recognize me. Shortly after that I moved to Dhaka to study at the university.
At that time, the student union and the culture parliament of the university played an extraordinary role in the mass uprising. At that time innumerable programs were held in different places of Dhaka city including Bangla Academy. I also gradually began to be associated with those events. After coming to Dhaka, Saifuddin Ahmed Manik and Kamal Lohani have given me all kinds of support.
The first open stage was held on February 21, 1984 at the Shaheed Minar on the initiative of Daksh. That day was full moon. Huge moon in the sky. There was no lamp. We sang that moonlit night. The program was conducted by Altaf Mahmood. On that occasion I sang, ‘The judge will judge you, the people who are awake today’. The song is written and composed by Salil Chowdhury. Altaf Mahmud inspired me to do this song.
After the riots in 1984, I left Dhaka and moved to Rangpur. My mother became very restless thinking about me during the riots, so I stayed in Rangpur at that time. As far as I remember, at that time Pankaj Bhattacharya came to Rangpur and listened to my songs and asked me to move to Dhaka. As far as I remember, after coming to Dhaka, Sanskriti Sangsad organized the event on the occasion of the conference of the then East Pakistan Students Union at the premises of Bangla Academy. He was at this huge conference.
I was in Dhaka at the time of the mass uprising of 1969. We used to sing more popular songs then. Rabindranath, Nazrul’s mass awakening songs then took place in people’s minds. We also used to go to various events outside Dhaka. There was a risk of attacks on events outside Dhaka; But we sang in defiance of that fear. The whole country was then slowly joining the nationalist movement. The country was then intoxicated with the freedom movement.
At this time many have worked with heart. Not only mass music, but also Sheikh Lutfar Rahman, Altaf Mahmud, Sukhendu Chakraborty, Abdul Latif and others who played the role of pioneers through songs are remembered more. In the sixties, Wahidul Haque, Sanjeeda Khatun and Kamal Lohani used to help in various programs from behind. Saifuddin Ahmed Manik, Matiur Rahman, Abul Hasnat, Asaduzzaman Noor, Iqbal Ahmed and others were among those who played a special role in organizing various major events of Ekushey February.
Then seventy-one. Then every day there is a program. I tried to go to almost every event. At that time, there was only one dream in our hearts: freedom. The exploited country must be protected from the dictatorial government.
I remember March 25th. At that time I was living in a small house on Dhanmondi West End Street. The ceremony was held at Shaheed Minar that day. I returned home at night after the ceremony. Ashraful Alam was with. When I reached home, I saw a few more people waiting there. Then the sound of gunfire. There were already rumors that Pakistani forces could jump at any time. The attack started just after the fear came true.
It was not safe to stay in this country then, I knew that. But I could not leave the country. My parents were in Rangpur. How do they leave the country without getting any news? For three or four months I did not get any news from my parents. At that time I used to leave my house and hide in Dhaka city. My shelter was basically in the house of buffalo organizers Amanullah Chowdhury and Rahija Khanam. I would have been in real danger if I had not taken refuge in them. I finally got the news that my parents are fine. Now you can think of going to the other side. Monirul Islam Manu contacted me with a group of freedom fighters. That journey was terrible. Danger could come closer at any moment. After walking for two nights and two days, I finally reached Agartala. I went there and met student leaders Abdul Quddus Makhan and Shahidul Islam Selim. They treated me with great respect. They left their beds. Then by plane to Calcutta; They also did the job of communicating with Swadhin Bangla Betar there.
After arriving in Calcutta, the organizers of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the artists soaked me with their love. Someone called me grandfather, someone hugged me. We all have a promise in our minds, something good must happen. The freedom fighters are fighting on the battlefield, we will inspire them.
In the film taken from the life of Zaheer Raihan, I sang the song ‘Amar Sonar Bangla I Love You’. The song was sung by Anwar Hossain. That song became our national anthem.
I remember that Eid came only during the liberation struggle of 1971. We did a song on Eid day. The song was written by Shahidul Islam. I composed the tune. Sung by Rupa Farhad. The first three lines of the song were as follows:
How many songs, how many people took place in the heart at that time! Sukantar sang to a few tunes, I remember.
At that time we did not work in Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra as a job. There was infinite inspiration in us at that time. Everyone is busy working for the country, how to do it, what to do, what kind of program will be held etc. A feeling of well-being filled our hearts. One day the country will be independent, we will stand on the ground of that independent country — this thought kept us alive.
What can be forgotten is that day of December 16th. Everyone is worried about what is going to happen. It has been understood for days that the condition of the Pakistani forces is very bad. They were repeatedly called to surrender. While I was having tea in a shop in front of the radio station, someone came and shouted that Dhaka had fallen. We are now citizens of independent Bengal! What is the feeling of the mind, what is meant by that? I could not believe, the country has become independent! So soon we really got freedom!
Shahidul Islam wrote the song ‘Vijay Nishan Urche Oi’. The melody was composed by Sujay Shyam. Does anyone remember singing that day? Everyone is hugging him with joy. If they can, they will leave for Dhaka now! Fifty people stood up to sing. We enjoyed their interest, but the song has to be a song. So it was decided that the song would be performed by 10 to 15 people. One has to catch the beginning. Sujay Shyam said to me, ‘Grandpa, you take the lead.’ I caught. When the surrender document is being signed in Dhaka, the song ‘Vijay Nishan Urche Oi’ is coming from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra.
The song became. After a while I saw one procession after another coming. Some of them come and hug us and say, ‘You have made the country independent; You can be proud of this. May this wireless building remain alive forever. ‘
The situation of that day cannot be explained. Seki hugged each other and cried! This cry is joy. Then Rabindranath’s song was playing in my mind – ‘Come and catch me by lighting the lamp of life in any light’. I remember soil of my country, your ‘later thekai head’.
I always carry the pride and arrogance of December 16 in my heart. You should not touch there.