24 October, 2014
Numbness: it is a feeling, a sensation, an emotion.
It is a feeling when you can’t feel anything, it is a sensation when you fail to sense your surrounding, it is an emotion when your emotions are drained out.
Numbness is paralysing.
It is acutely painful, because you can’t feel the pain.
Unexpected news can be difficult to bear, but how hard can it get when you are all alone, thousand miles away from home, in a distant land, with no family or friend beside you?
How do you tackle with the schock which grasps you during such a solitude?
That is when you become numb.
At least I did.
I literally became numb when i received a small text in my cell phone: ‘Golam Azam is dead.’
I had been coming out of a meeting with a professor about my thesis proposal, it had been a busy day. it was late afternoon, the weather was exceptionally gloomy. I looked at my cell phone to read the text. And I froze.
I was overwhelmed. I was blank: I was not feeling sad. I was not feeling happy. I was not feeling joy.
I do not know what I was feeling.
I just remember, I had this bursting urge within me: i wanted to shout. i wanted to groan. I wanted to speak to someone. anyone. Please.
My clinical supervisor was passing by; I looked at her and shouted, I want to talk to you! She was surprised at my condition. I was too preocuupied to notice her surprise and started rambling: I just received a text from home. the chief war criminal in my country just died a natural death.
she took me to her office. She was a human rights activist. She wanted me to pour my emotions to recover from my shock.
Emotions? pour them out? was I having any emotion? what was the emotion? I don’t know what I was saying, but I poured out my frustrationon justice, on politics, on bangladeshi forgetfulness of legacy.
I dont know what shocked me. Was it the fact that Golam Azam, ythe greatest betrayer histyory has produced till now got the privilege of living a complete life,
something I just could not accept? Was it the divine intervention that kept him alive until he was declared guilty of war crime that overwhelmed me? Was I looking for consolation in this imposed coincodence?
Maybe it was all of them.
Or may be it was the fact that a chapter in our national history closed today. from now on, Golam Azam will be referred to in a past tense.
Is the unforeseeable future scaring me? Am I afraid that Golam Azam will be turned into a saint to be worshipped in Bangladesh? Will he be buried in Bangladesh? Will he have a shrine named after him? Does he deserve Bangladeshi soil? I think he does.
After all, our judiciary gave him back the citizenship he never deserved. The judiciary gave him the remaning heartbeats that should have been stopped long before.
We as a nation gave him the long lilfe he lived. Then who are we to deny his burial?
But some part of my heart cannot accept. There is no point in politics over a dead body. But still I am numb.
Golam azam’s is not a dead body. It is a symbol of betryal, of the price you pay for not addressing your enemy.
His was an institution that we as a fragmented nation partly torn down, partly glorified.
I am numb because I am afraid how a chapter in out life is ending. I realised within few decades, the generation of Muktijuddho, who can say ‘I’ did that, will become some names of the past. They will become memory. Drab memory in the books, newspapers, maybe occasionally posters.
How will the nation remember this chapter?
Will banishing his body from Bangladesh obliviate him from national memory? Should it be obliviated? Or is it a legacy that we must bear for allowing the nation to be tainted?
I am not sad. I am not happy. But I think I am not numb anymore.
I am restless. I am unpeaceful. I am anxious about my legacy.
I am anxious about how Bangladesh will remember a great figure, who succeeded in life, while defeating the public spirit.