“After a lot of bloodshed, freedom finally came”
We were sure around 10 days before that we were going to be victorious. Then it was a matter of time. The Pakistani military forces had no other alternative but to surrender. They were utterly defeated across the whole country.
They fled the war across the country and took shelter in Dhaka. Our allied forces decided not to launch any attack in Dhaka only because if they launched any attack, tens of thousands of civilians would be killed in a populous Dhaka.
As a result, our allied forces repeatedly told Pakistani forces to surrender and to lay down their arms to avert further bloodshed.
They were told that if they surrendered, they would not be killed following the Geneva Conventions.
What we were waiting for was their surrender to lower the causalities.
We knew well that they had already lost their capability to resist us. We were just waiting for the formal announcement of the victory.
Around 4pm on December 16, I along with around 1,000 freedom fighters were waiting at the open space in front of Rajbari in Joydevpur (now Gazipur DC Office) with one band transistors (radios) we had collected from the villages.
Then we heard the formal announcement of surrender on radio. Emotions were running high.
I cannot express my feeling in words the time the formal announcement came. After a lot of bloodshed, freedom finally came.
The freedom fighters who were patiently listening to the radio in the field cried out in joy and embraced one another. It was very, very tough to hold back emotions. I felt teardrops rolling down my cheeks.
Still then, many freedom fighters did not know whether their parents and loved ones were alive or not.
Freedom fighters started going to their home in search of their relatives. People who fled their house to save themselves during the war started returning home.
Then I was a 25 year old man. The day was still lawless. The Pakistani collaborators were on the run sensing independence of Bangladesh.
Many of our freedom fighters started to live in the abandoned houses of the Pakistani collaborators.
During the Liberation War, our task was to defend the areas from Joydevpur to Tongi. The whole area was under the freedom fighters' control.
Tens of thousands of people who did not move freely in fear of the Pakistani forces during war came out and rejoiced. I believe our lives were at risk for a small period of time as we were in Indian training camps.
Our life was at risk only when we fought in the war. But people who were confined to the country for the whole nine months were at a constant risk of losing their lives.
The Pakistani forces were surrounded in Dhaka by our guerillas, Bangladeshi solders and allied forces.
We were not allowed to enter Dhaka to avert further fighting and killing.
Our government did not want further damages. For this reason, we did not enter Dhaka. We were in Joydevpur area on full alert.
The first thought that came to my mind after the formal announcement was when will we get back our Bangabandhu.
We still did not know whether we would get back our great leader alive, under whose direction we fought the war, risking our lives.
On December 16, freedom was still incomplete without our Bangabandhu. The surrender was just one part of it. We had fulfilled our long cherished dream of liberating the country from the clutches of Pakistan.
I still vividly remember the day, December 16, 1971, the day our nation achieved the status of an independent state.