Sacrifice is the true meaning of life

03 November 2021
Sacrifice is the true meaning of life

Md Sehreen Selim (Ripon) :
The 15th August and 3rd Nov, turned my family's life upside down. I was just a baby at the time so completely oblivious of the darkness that fell upon the people of Bangladesh.
My parents were a very young couple, returned from London with baby me in July 1975. Little did they know at the time, that the trajectory of theirs lives was about to completely change. After the killing of Bangabandhu and his family we were all under house arrest and my Grandfather Captain M Mansur Ali was taken by some armed persons. My father, mother and me were the last people my grandfather had a meeting with. We had visited him in Central Jail just a few days before the killing. My father recalled to me that, as we were leaving the Jail and were at the gates, suddenly my grand father ran back towards us, and took me into his arms and kissed me. My father said, my grandfather had behaved as if this was going to be the last time he saw us, sadly that was to be the case.
After the killings due to political pressure, my parents had to go to the UK. Everything had been taken away from us, and they had very little resources, but my parents had the full responsibility of supporting the entire family. My father a 27 year old inexperienced lawyer, my mother a 22 year old graduate needed to find jobs fast. Overnight their lives had changed, they became political and economic refugees in an unknown land with no family and friends. I was too small to really understand the struggle that was taking place around me, but being a matured adult now, I recognise that this was no simple feat.
At about the age of six I recall being told about my grandfather and his special bond and the loyality he had towards Bangabandhu. As a little child, being told his grandfather was PM of a country was surprising and confusing. My grandpa is a role model to me. My father mentioned to me that my grandpa only took his dinner on a pati (floor matt) as he always led a humble way of living. I decided from then onwards as a tribute to my grandpa I too will take my dinner sitting on a pati.
We had a very simple life and lived in a two bedroom house, at the time I didn't realise that the activities in this tiny house would be a part of this huge movement to bring back democracy to our country. Our family life was centred around Awami league. My father worked full time and gave all his free time to political activities, so I hardly saw him.
Bangabandhu and the Four National leaders are a symbols of the sacrifice of every person in Bangladesh who fought for our today's freedom. The importance of the future generations' understanding the principles of the Father of the nation is undoubtedly the only way we can preserve our freedoms.  The digital revolution has given us so much information, but also fake news, which is diluting, polluting and misguiding the minds of the youth and sadly there is still today a concerted effort to do this propaganda against our true history by anti-Bangladesh groups.
Our Prime Minister right now is representing the interests of our country at COP26 to make sure Bangladesh has its say on the policies created on how best to protect our world and country from the climate crisis that is looming. I request everyone to ask themselves this question, "as one of the worst suffering countries of the climate crisis, if today we were not the Republic of Bangladesh, could we have had a seat at this table?"
Today we Bengalis will always be indebted to these great leaders, for holding the mantel of democracy for us then, and their blood holding on to it for us now.

(Md Sehreen Selim Ripon is Chairman, Shaheed Captain M Mansur Ali Foundation)

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