For me, Abu Sayeed Chouwdhury used to be a footnote of the history of Bangladesh's liberation war. Happy to report that it is not the case anymore after I read "প্রবাসে মুক্তিযুদ্ধের দিনগুলি". Few things really stood out for me.
Right on 26th March, he just took charge of things by himself, without feeling the need to get vetted by somebody. As he started reaching out to people, both Brits and Bengalis in Britain, people also started reaching out to him. I guess his background helped him to be acceptable to all the factions of Bengalis living in Britain at that time. But still credit goes to him to stay neutral and use his political acumen to keep the spirit of unity alive among all the Bengalis living abroad.
I cannot dare to fathom how difficult it was for him to have the conversation with the high ranking government officials and diplomats and explain the situation that was going on in Bangladesh. Specially, for people who lack the essential background knowledge, it is hard to understand why this has crossed the point of no return for Bengalis and why this is a liberation war, not just a petty civil war. I think the biggest challenge was to convince people to pay attention to what was going on and help build a world consensus. He had a very good game plan on how to draw the attention of world leaders, particular the western world. There were times when he used an angry voice, there were times when he used a calm convincing voice and finally there were times when his voice was filled with empathy.
As Mujibnagar government started to get hold of things, they also realized what an important role he was playing and appointed his as the special envoy of the Mujibnagar government. Part of me now also is very interested to learn the internals of Mujibnagar government. It will be very nice to find something that contains the day-to-day things that Mujibnagar government was involved in.
What has also fascinated me is how the Bengali diaspora aligned themselves with the cause of liberation war. They opened their doors, offered money, helped to establish connection with foreign government officials. Sure there were friction between various factions, but there was also a sense of unity. They set aside their petty differences and came under the umbrella of The Council for the People's Republic of Bangladesh in UK.
One other thing to mention is the generous help that we got from people who had nothing to gain from it. There were people in US, UK and various parts of Europe who used their resources to help our cause. Abu Sayeed Chowdhury was very diligent about mentioning them whenever he came across these generosities. We as a nation will be forever indebted to these people.
Overall, it was a really good read. I never thought there were so many things going on beyond the battles that were happening on the ground. Surely, some battles were fought with bullets and some with typewriters.Published at: 01/16/2020