Independence Day special : A battle within – 1

Part 1
Independence and freedom are two words of utmost importance for me. They light the spark for progress, and are instigators of opportunities. However, no concept is complete and balanced without an antithesis of it. Independence and freedom needs to be mitigated and harnessed carefully, so that it doesn’t have a negative counter affect. Yes, I agree that independence and freedom needs to be controlled to a certain extent to avoid unnecessary risks, that’s a simple management concept!

I am a Bangladeshi, born in the late 80’s more than a decade after our war of Independence against Pakistan. My father, a living history of the war has held my tiny fingers ever since I can remember and taken me, my sister and my Indian mom to historical places, narrated his struggle-stories during the war which never involved blaming or a show of hatred towards Pakistan. He used the term, military often, rather than Pakistan.

But as an innocent child with lack of understanding of the worldly affairs of religion, politics and society, I grew a dislike towards Pakistan as a nation. Could you blame me when I saw, what I saw at the Dhaka National museum, The Liberation War museum? The documentaries and history books? I did not like it when dad supported Pakistan during India-Pakistan cricket matches. Or appreciate Urdu as a language. Despite his bitter war-experiences, dad did not seem to have a hatred towards Pakistan as a nation and I was caught in between an internal battle of patriotism. To hate or not to hate ?

I don’t remember celebrating our Independence Day of Bangladesh showing our bitter feelings towards another nation. I remember celebrating Independence for having the fearless feeling of freedom in my blood whenever I saw our red and green flag flying with pride against the clear blue skies and the air filled with songs of Liberation.I remember the realisation that, not too long ago, many other children including my father, were fearful of raising this flag against a sky that was dark and the only color was of orange sparks of explosives and the terrible sound of blasts and cries of tortured bodies. I remember appreciating the concept of freedom and independence from a very early age because of the history of my land.

As I grew up, and understood worldly matters, my perceptions began to change. After a long internal battle to hate or not to hate, some answers started taking shape…any guesses ?

to be continued…

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