Shaheed Mukhtar Elahi: Tale of a fearless freedom fighter29 March 2022
Md. Habibur Rahman :
Every nation wants to be free from dominance and imperialism, and some revolutionists and fighters fulfill the demands of the common people. Bir Muktijoddha Shaheed Khondkar Mukhtar Elahi is one those who guided their countrymen against Pakistani forces. He was a versatile person with drivisified qualities. He was a strong political leader, a good speaker, and also an esteemed philosopher who sacrificed his life for the liberation war of Bangladesh. He was a young, heroic martyr and freedom fighter, and he organized the people of North Bengal to unite against the imperial forces of Pakistan.He was a great man who persuaded his countrymen to revolt against the injustice and discrimination of the Pakistan government. He enthused ordinary people, comrades, and the youth generation to rise up against the economic and political disparities of the Pakistan government. He was born on Saturday, March 26, 1949 at 4.00 AM in Rangpur.
Bir Muktijoddha K. MukhtarElahi alias Chinu was a final year graduate of English literature at Carmichael College, Rangpur. He was closely involved with extra-curricular activities and other social and voluntary activities during his Student life. He was a Vice President (VP) of the Student Union for 1970-71. He was also the leader of the Mujib team and student league. As the Vice President of Carmichael College Students Union (CACSU), he brought out a procession in Rangpur City in response to the call of Bangabandhu on March 01, 1971. He led the parade with other people of Rangpur. About seven to eight Bengalis of Rangpur died due to the gun attack of police and some pro-Pakistani Biharies in the march. He was also the head of the district guerrilla force named "Mujib Bahinee."
The people of Rangpur have protested against Pakistan since March 3, 1971. Shanku Shamajdar (17) was the first martyr Bangladesh Liberation movement in this region. On the other hand, five to six people, followed by Omer Ali, Abul Kalam Azad of Carmichael College, were killed on March 3, 1971, and Shanku Shamajdar. Shaheed K. Mukhtar Elahi responded to the historical calling of Bangabandhu to organize his local people against Pakistan injustice, discrimination, and lousy rule to free the region from the imperial forces of Pakistan systematically. Besides, 72 (seventy-two) intellectual people were killed before the victory day of Bangladesh in this area. On the other hand, about 50 000 (fifty thousand) people were killed during the liberation war in Rangpur.
The Rangpur people attacked the Rangpur cantonment with bamboo, non-arms materials and rounded the whole cantonment area on March 28, 1971. After the attack, Pakistani armed forces marched against them and killed 200 (two hundred) civilians as per officials records. On the other hand, a researcher found that more than a thousand people have been killed during this operation. Therefore, M. K. Elahi realized the importance of the Front War,and he thought about training to prepare for war. Later, he decided to receive war training from India and gathered arms from outside. Finally, he crossed the border and arrived in India to participate in the war training.
After accomplishing war training in India, Shaheed K. Mukhtar Elahi entered Bangladesh as a guerrilla warrior from Shahabgonj, Cooch Behar. During Bangladesh's liberation war, he has also led the guerrilla team from Dinhata of Cooch Behar, India. His eldest brother Late Bir Muktijoddha K. Manzoor Elahi was the custodian of an ordnance factory of Bengal military forces (Mukti Bahini of East Pakistan) in Shahebgonj, Cooch Behar. His brother Manzoor coordinated as the chief of the store house of war weapons utilized in war at Shahebganj, Cooch Behar. He took armor and ammunitions from his brother and implemented strategic operations inside Rangpur. Moreover, he could build a secret base with the support of co-warrior Mr. Mannan, Mr. Mahbub,and their brave mother in Rangpur city. Later, he implemented some triumphant operations in North Bengal.
Shaheed K. Mukhtar Elahi planned to attack some strategic locations of Pakistani forces in Rangpur. Modern Hall (Presently regarded as the Town hall) of Rangpur was one of them. The Pakistani armed forces used this Modern Hall as a torture cell and captive house for women. 87 (eighty-seven) dead bodies of women were found in a well beside Town Hall. Later, he paused his journey in Lalmonirhat at night on November 08, 1971, with a small group of Mukti Bahinee in a particular stage of the liberation war. Suddenly, the Pakistani armed forces besieged the village after learning his and the Mukti Bahinee's location. They were surrounded by about 400 (four-hundred) Pakistani forces. The village is situated at Air-Khamar of Barabari Union in Lalmonirhat. They fought against Pakistani forces bravely with the small number of Mukti Bahini, but enemy forces detained them at a particular stage of the war. Shaheed K. Mukhtar Elahi and a young freedom fighter were also detained on that day. He did not compromise with them and was reluctant to answer their queries during interrogation with Pakistan armed forces. They tortured him inhumanely to find out about other freedom fighters and their locations. Finally, the Pakistani armed forces killed him on November 09, 1971, with his other comrades as well as the ordinary people the forces had detained. They also committed a genocide with other people at Air-Khamar of Barabari Union in Lalmonirhat. Later, the Mujib Bahinee of Mukhtar Elahi and other freedom fighters liberated Rangpur from the occupation of Pakistani forces after one month of his death. Finally, Rangpur became a free region and solidified its position on the Map of Bangladesh.
To respect his memory,the name of Bir Muktijoddha Khondkar Mukhtar Elahi has been given to various locations including a Hall, Road, Square, and Students Restroomto honor his sacrifices for the country. First of all, Carmichael College, Rangpur named a student restroom as the Shaheed Mukhtar Elahi (Chinu) Student Restroom inside the college. Secondly, the administration gave one of the prime roads of Rangpur city the name Shaheed Mukhtar Elahi Street, which spreads from Raja Ram Mohon Roy Market/PayraChattarto Shapla Chattar, Rangpur. It was observed that some shopkeepers or institutions did not utilize the proper names to address Shaheed Mukhtar Elahi Street. Moreover, some people are not used to using the appropriate representation of the street, which is miserable for us. Therefore, we need to create social awareness programs and administrative approaches to address this problem. We need to respect freedom fighters' monuments and other symbols as they sacrificed their lives for this region and for Bangladesh. Thirdly, the former Rangpur City Corporation mayor late Bir Muktijoddha Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu had initiated the process of giving the Medical Square the name Shaheed Mukhtar Elahi Square. Finally, Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur, has nameda hall in his name. The Hall was inaugurated on October 28, 2015. These initiatives, as mentioned earlier, were a good and laudable example of respecting him and his memories and will allow the younger generations to know about his history.
Bangladeshi people are celebrating independence day across the country by remembering the memories of freedom fighters and other people who sacrificed their lives for their country. However, learning more about the spirit of independence and the liberation war of Bangladesh will serve the national interest of our country, and the people will be inspired to sacrifice their lives for the country if needed. Therefore, it is the noble duty of the youth to know about the history of national heroes and their earlier activities, the memories of freedom fighters, and the liberation war of Bangladesh as a whole.
(Habibur Rahman os a Researcher, Writer, and Columnist. Email: [email protected]).