The men and women of this country fought together for a flag in 1971 and liberated the country. Participating in guerilla operations, sharing news, cultural promotion, collection of money-medicine-food-clothes, medical and service work, food and shelter, etc., all women’s work played a role in achieving success in the liberation war.
A war has been won without the contribution of women, a rarity in world history. There was no exception in the great liberation war of Bangladesh. Women were in the battle, and there was the strength and courage of the background. The role of women in the liberation war is desirable, which has become glorious in the history of war victory. The men and women of this country, the youth, fought together in 1971 for a flag and liberated the country. Earned freedom. Participating in guerilla operations, news exchange, cultural promotion, collection of money-medicine-food-clothes, medical and service work, food and shelter, etc., all the works of women have played a role in achieving success in the liberation war.
Women’s participation was particularly noticeable during the preparation phase of the Liberation War. However, they achieved victory with indomitable courage and enthusiasm at the war’s end. The bravery of the guerrilla women freedom fighters, especially in the war, is a source of inspiration in the women’s struggle society even today.
In the first hour of the month of victory, Taraman Bibi, who was awarded the title of hero, crossed over to the land of no return. The story of Taraman Bibi’s victory in the northern district of Kurigram still excites freedom seekers. Many women fought with the enemy in the war of independence, like Kankan Bibi, Shireen Banu Mithil, Ashalata, Roshan Ara etc.
If we talk about women guerrillas in the war of liberation, we must first talk about Begum Forkan, Under whose leadership the first guerilla squad was formed. There were eight people in the first team under his leadership. They had received weapons training since February. In addition, hundreds of women were selected from various refugee camps for women’s guerrilla training. But, first, they are introduced to various weapons and are given advanced training for the Suicide Squad.
Ashalata Vaidya was a female independence warrior and commander. At age 15, he enlisted in the military. She commanded a troop of 45 armed female guerrillas during the struggle for liberation. This courageous female freedom fighter led a command of 350 female liberation fighters. In 1971, he was an SSC candidate. When the fight for liberation began, he could not remain at home. Thus, he joined the Kotalipara border subsector commander Hemayet Bahini in liberation war sectors 8 and 9. Hemayet Bahini developed a separate force called Mahila Bahini. This women’s army consisted of 350 female liberation warriors in all. Ashalata Vaidya was the single commander of this massive force of female liberation warriors. Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni’s second-in-command, ASM Abdur Rab, prepared advanced training for youth leaders in the new weapons of the Guerrilla and Suicide Squad in Lembuchora Camp in Agartala, per his orders. Another noblewoman of the liberation war is Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury. During the start of the war, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, a member of parliament at the time, established the ‘Gobra Camp’ for suffering female combatants. In this training, ladies were taught how to use weapons. Over 300 young women and adolescent girls, organised by various political organisations and individuals, resided in the Gobra camp. In ‘Gobra Camp,’ females received instruction in three areas: 1. Civil Defense, 2. Nursing, and 3. Weapons and Guerrilla Assault.
Several hundred Indian women have attended the Gobra camp in West Bengal to learn how to use firearms. A total of three further camps for female combatants were reportedly set up in the states of Assam, Tripura, and Meghalaya.
Taraman Bibi Birpratik is one of the names of women’s power in the liberation war. During the Liberation War, he joined Rajivpur Training Camp in Kurigram as a cook. A guerilla did the most dangerous espionage work in the Rajivpur war field. On one assignment after another, Pakistani troops would enter Kodalkathi Union. At night, the Pakistani army sneaked near the camp and brought out all the pot news. Based on the information received from him, Mukti Bahini attacked the first Pakistani army camp. Apart from this, Taraman Bibi also participated in the assignment of bringing numerous Bengali families to a safe place from the Pakistani forces before the war started on that battlefield. Seventy-one-year-old guerilla fighter Almataz Begum received training in weapons handling and guerilla warfare, and cooking for the fighters in the liberation camp. At one time, the Pakistani army surrounded the camp of freedom fighters. He fought under siege for seven or eight days.
In Barisal’s Qutub Bahini of Muladi Upazila, Karuna Begum received sword training with other female warriors. There were fifty female freedom warriors in this group. This force’s commander was he. The operation was conducted by disguising grenades and throwing them at the opposing camp. In addition, he received specialised instruction in using Sten guns, rifles, and all types of explosives. Alea Begum battled while dressed as a man. He assumed the position of Unit Commander of the Chuadanga Alamdanga Police Station Command. Aleya was equally proficient with rifles, firearms, SMGs, and SLRs. Knowing the enemy’s power and position, he would run with these weapons to confront them. He possessed a brilliant presence on multiple fronts. He studied military strategy and weaponry at the Chapra training centre in India.
The fearless two women freedom fighters, Beethika Biswas and Shishir of the Operation Swarupkathi force of Pirojpur district, blew up the gunboat by charging grenades. They got down from the boat and swam to the launch. He threw a grenade. In Pirojpur, the women of the infamous village became fierce guerrillas. Beethika used to recruit women for guerrilla and espionage training. Eventually, about 100 women were trained.
Even while standing on the battlefield, women have battled valiantly. Yet, it is disappointing that the contribution of women to the liberation war has not been adequately evaluated even today. The participation of women in any preventative struggle against inhumanity or freedom war is not diminished in any way, as evidenced not only by our own liberation war but also by an examination of world history. Given the backdrop of Bangladesh’s independence struggle, it is plausible that identifying women freedom warriors in this country was not widely debated in 1971 and for nearly two decades after that. In 1971, a Veethika Biswas or dewdrop exploded the gunboat grenades of Pakistani soldiers, but they were not recognised for their gallantry after the war.
According to analysts and historians, the significance of women’s participation in the Liberation War has not yet been adequately recognised. Although hundreds of women have been taught at various training centres and have participated directly in guerrilla warfare, very few women have joined the military.