The tale of the darkest night
Direction ?? Kawsar Chowdhury
25th march, 1971 is the night when West Pakistani armed forces attempted to suppress and destroy the voices of innocent, unarmed Bengalis. They also intended to impose own self-made unfair and partial rules on the East-Pakistani people. In order to apply their brutal blueprint of murder and abuse, they conceded the shameful Operation- Search Light. During that crucial night, numerous amounts of academics, intellectuals, students and common men and women and even children and old citizens clinched to death. The operation that night was centered in all over Dhaka city including Dhamondi, Bongsal,
Dhaka University area etc. People brutally killed that night left their family members, relatives to bear the mark and pain of their immense looses. Since the liberation in 1971, many stories relating to Pak-army cruelty have been brought to light through different forms of media. Although, a lot of facts are yet to be uncovered due to multiple limitations till date as such political ground, social barriers and instable democratic scenario. Mostly, many victims still do not want to speak of their sufferings; hence they prefer to bear and tackle these silently.
The documentary based on the genocide that night titled Shei Rater Kotha Boltey Asheychy, directed by Kawsar Chowdhury intensely portrays some of the untold episodes of sufferings, done by the then living army in a planned way. This film has presented a wide range of individuals who witnessed the killings of the defenseless people of the East Pakistan and some of them fortunately managed to escape the attack with minor injuries. They speak of their terrible experiences in this film. A good number of teachers of Dhaka University were attacked and killed by the Pakistani forces. Dr Jyotirmoy Guha Thakurta was one of them. As Meghna Guha Thakurta, his daughter, describes, The crying and begging did not stop the blood-thirsty Pakistan armed forces. Before shooting my father, they inquired about the religion. Because of a different religion, they shot my father with ceaseless bullets. Meghna also shows some pieces of used bullets which apparently hit her father??™s body. Like other interviewees, Meghna demands condemnation of killers of her father as well as others who were killed that night.
Interestingly M M Hussein, a Bengali recorded the army wireless messages while tuning the BBC Bangla service on March 25, 1971. The way the messages are inserted into the film seems to be an attempt that has joined the purpose of highlighting the dark episode of the genocide that headed to our independence. Through the film it comes as in center point, the disturbing story of that deadly night cannot be confined to a single film. The dark episode that took place 40 years ago still has its wounds in the mind of the people. Thus, each day is a journey towards the road to freedom. The younger generation seems to be unaware of the past. An unseen and hidden wall separates the youth from the facts and nightmares of 1971. This film is an effort which offers a window to history for the young. The interviewees come up with their own stories and sufferings in such desire that the youth will acknowledge what they have lost and gain in the name of freedom. Also they demand justice for what Bangladesh has gone through. Some of these people acted most bravely on the night of March 25. Some of them had to sacrifice the most dear treasures of their lives. The story of Idu Mia, a bookseller, who rescued a wounded victim on the morning of March 27, the story of the worker of Rokeya Hall who lost his whole family on that night, the tale of the mother who cannot still forget after all these forty years the death of her son??all these stories give a very small glimpse of the brutal killing carried out by Pakistan army on the night of March 25. Small because the film documented incidents only around the Dhaka University campus. The real measure of that brutality all over the country can be then easily imagined. Victory, in the history of Bangladesh, has always been stained with blood of hundreds of thousands lives. Whenever we celebrate that victory we also feel the sad blankness created by the absence of those brave martyrs, we find ourselves ungrateful that we have not paid the due recognition to those whose suffering brought us that victory.
It??™s sad but true even after so many years; the death of those academics, intellectuals, doctors and enormous amount of people is still facing unfairness. The war criminals are still unpunished and not proven guilty upfront the public. The documentary is to make the youth know about the plea and aspiration of the family members and victims of the actual brutality and have a clear insight of what actually happened that night. Kawsar Chowdhury??™s 43-minute long documentary also has tremendous historic significance. For no other night in the history of Bangladesh could be equalled to that most tragic one??the night of 25th march, 1971- when the Pakistan army brought on the sleeping country the most terrible massacre in the history. In this film Kawsar Chowdhury upholds before the nation, the stories of some unsung heroes and their dear ones concealed sufferings.