Tribal involvement in liberation fight


Bengalis participated in the Seventy-Ekatar, also known as the struggle for liberation, along with the land’s indigenous people. There are a total of forty-five distinct tribal communities in the nation. The level of torture imposed on tribal people was equivalent to that inflicted on other groups. Tribal people’s involvement in Bangladesh’s battle for independence is often ignored due to state, political, and societal obstacles. Men and women from tribal tribes directly participated in the fight for Bangladesh’s independence without any mediators. Unfortunately, the involvement of tribal people in the history of the Bangladeshi independence war was not significant. Even after many years, the warriors who fought for their country were not recognised.

In 1971, the Pakistan Army started killing Santals without discrimination, perceiving them as Hindus. Thirty thousand Santals had to evacuate from Bangladesh for their safety then. Sagaram Majhi, an Indigenous Santal leader, promotes the recognition of the liberation war in Indian refugee camps. Over three hundred Santal youngsters were directly involved in the liberation battle. Vishwanath Tudu, a courageous independence fighter from Rajshahi, served as a platoon leader—many courageous young tribal individuals showed bravery during the liberation battle.

Sam Saren, Champai Saren, and other tribal Santals engaged in a purposeful fight. Father Lukasz Marandi was a Christian priest belonging to the Santal community. The Pakistani army assassinated Father Lukash Marandi on April 21 for aiding students at the Ruhia Mission after moving to India in 1971.

Santal women were significant participants in the anti-colonial resistance in India, notably during the Nachol Rebellion. During the liberation war, certain families from Godarpara village in Godagari police station in Rajshahi chose to stay in the town. These families provided food and shelter to the freedom fighters throughout the liberation battle. Shortly before the nation gained independence, Pakistani forces assaulted the families of the Santals with the encouragement of local Razakars. In addition to bringing irreversible harm to these families, Santal women are also being offered bribes.

Sagaram Majhi played a crucial role in organising the liberation fight in 1971. Sagaram Majhi was a political associate of Kamruzzaman, a prominent leader who was killed in prison. At the age of 71, he desired to find sanctuary in India. Because of distrust, local Awami League leaders and administrative authorities at that time were not very interested in training the tribals for the liberation war. In 1947, the main terms of partition were the creation of Pakistan for Muslim-dominated territories and India for non-Muslim-dominated parts. There was a prospect of the tribal leader of Chittagong Hill Tracts being included with India. The Indian flag remains in Chittagong Hill Tracts, three days after the country’s partition. Later, the indigenous people of this area, particularly the Chakmas, were viewed as supportive of Pakistan.

Razakars existed within both the Bengali and Chakma tribes. Chakma Raja Tribid Roy sided with Pakistan. Raja Tribid Ray was the only member of the Chakma group who was labelled as a Rajakar or Pakistani broker. Chakma King Tribid Roy supported the Pakistanis, whereas a member of the Chakma royal family did not. K. Roy’s support and complete collaboration during the liberation fight. Rasmoy Chakma decided to take part in the liberation war as a result of Sheikh Mujib’s speech on March 7. However, he was inexplicably excluded when he travelled to India for training. However, he persevered. Upon arriving home, he intentionally ignited a fire at a residence belonging to a Punjabi individual in Khagrachari. Chakmas have raised complaints alleging that during the liberation war, many young and ordinary individuals were eager to join but were prevented from participating due to a conspiracy involving the Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong and local Awami League leaders. Tatindralal Chakma was another tribal individual, similar to Rasmoy Chakma. He was affiliated with the Chhatra League during his time as a student.

During the liberation war, he prepared for it by assisting the young members of other tribal groups who had finished their training. However, he was not allowed to participate in the liberation battle. Mistrust is the sole reason for not being given an opportunity in the liberation struggle. Razak Tribid Roy’s support for Pakistanis has led to a loss of trust in the Chakmas. This source is valid, whereas others are not. Many tribal youngsters engaged in the liberation fight despite neglect or constraints but were coldly treated despite their involvement. Consequently, numerous individuals needed more desire to join the war for freedom.

Following Ekatta, Chakma King Tribid Roy’s affinity for Pakistan was highlighted, although the involvement of Chakmas or indigenous people in the liberation war and their contributions are not adequately acknowledged. Implying that all Chakmas are Rajakars due to one Chakma king would mean that every Bengali is also a Rajakar according to the same logic. Three Chakma youngsters were first chosen to be honoured for their wartime valour post-independence, but the decision was later revoked. The contribution of tribals in 1971 cannot be erased, regardless of whether they received credit or awards.

Raja Mapru was a feared individual among Pakistanis in 1971. King Mapru evolved into a menacing individual. Pakistanis are plotting several methods to assassinate the monarch. The Pakistanis took advantage of the Mizo insurrection, putting the King’s position in a risky situation. He dispatched his family to Agartala. He did not remain quiet while considering his safety. He conducted media interviews. Bar was actively involved in multiple operations undertaken by the liberation fighters. He then joined the liberation war after ensuring the safety of his family. Participated in the conflict with the Liberation Army and, subsequently, the Allies.

The Rakhine clan in this country collaborated and took part in the liberation war. Everyone, irrespective of caste or creed, participated in Bangladesh’s independence movement. The Rakhines were formerly thriving autonomous townships with their own authority. The Rakhine community has suffered complete loss as a result of the harsh actions of the Burmese. Many young people engage in the liberation fight due to the agony of losing freedom in experience and the longing to be freed from slavery in consciousness. Among them are the courageous liberation fighters U-Mangyin, U-Kyahraching, U-Usitmong, and others. Many regular Rakhines have also joined the liberation movement in pursuit of freedom. They did not seize any opportunity to commercialise the moniker “Muktijoddha” during the post-independence era. The government and administration made no effort to assist them.

In 1971, China provided weapons to Pakistan. Pakistan was grateful to China. Many Rakhines were freed by claiming to be “Chinese Buddhists” to the Pakistanis, although the Rakhine areas were severely affected by the violence of the Pakistanis. In May 1971, the Pakistanis infiltrated the Thakurtala Buddhist monastery near Maheshkhali. Numerous individuals perished. The Pakistani invaders caused chaos by plundering and slaughtering 62 silver idols.

In 1971, the Manipuri community also participated in the fight for independence. The Manipuri community actively participated in the resistance and conflict. One of the Manipuris who served as a soldier was Sadhana Singh, along with Anita Sinha, Vani Sinha, and others. Nilamani Chattopadhyay, Nandeshwar Singh, Vijay Singh, and other notable individuals are essential figures in the organisation of the liberation war and should be remembered with special reverence. Neelmani Chatterjee established a resistance force of 1200 Mukti Sena.

Only the Bengalis’ contribution and bravery were highlighted in the independence movement or war in 1971. The contributions of many indigenous peoples, in addition to the Bengalis, should be more frequently publicised. The textbooks in our country do not acknowledge the significance of tribal communities—the contribution of individuals from various religions and classes in a nation’s quest for independence. The collective effort of all individuals involved establishes an autonomous nation. Bangladesh was established by collaborating with several individuals, including tribal groups and allies. Tribals have consistently been overlooked throughout the history of freedom. Though their names may not be recorded in history books and their deeds may not be widely recognised, the indigenous people made significant sacrifices to liberate this land.

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