In the above picture, the cover of Time Magazine, you see a freedom fighter shouting in hard-earned jubilation. What was he shouting at the top of his voice? Most probably, "Joy Bangla!"
Today while I was going through an article entitled "Joy Bangla!" by a writer under the pen name Chintito in Star Weekend Magazine, I could realize for the first time what an unceasing source of intense motivation the chant "Joy Bangla" was to the valiant freedom fighters and the Bangalis alike during that turbulent time of 1971.
But the very next moment a question popped in my mind - how the Bengali nation which is now painfully plagued by factionalism could be united in that glorious way in 1971 and chanted in unison? With hindsight, the answer that came to me was - in 1971 we had a clear vision of what we wanted, what we were going to do and above all a very well thought out guidelines by our great leaders. Unfortunately, after hard-fought independence we lost our vision and submerged ourselves into greed for power and wealth disregarding the interest and cause of our own country, so much that we confined that immortalised chant to a particular group! Perhaps the final straw was the alleged controversial activities and attitude of the very Father of the Nation Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujib and his subsequent assassination.
We all know that Bangabondhu used to put an end to his speech by uttering these two words. But that doesn't necessarily give pro-AL people the exclusive right to chant it.
No matter how much dissent exists among us regarding our socio-political views, the chant that infused the Bangalis with patriotism and passion for independence shouldn't belong to a certain quarter of the nation.
[ An abridged version of this post was published as a letter in Star Weekend Magazine on April 18, 2008. ]