Professor Humayun Kabir was at a loss. He received the telephone call and stood erect for a long time. Then he sat on the cot. Gradually his complexion grew pale like a black cloud. Just a few moments ago the building was shaking at the loud laughter of this very man. That same person suddenly began to exit from his earlier mood within the gap of a few moments. He turned into a man without consciousness. Agony was gradually visible in the fold of his forehead. His nose was sweating. His veins and arteries were moving in an unnatural speed. He became very impatient and restless. He was never found so restless in the past. He was known as a man of cool, soft and determined nature. Was he really so?
He was unable to reconcile himself with the event. After hearing the news he was agitating within himself. He could not decide what to do. He would sob or weep or cry. He could not believe that his son Akmal Kabir would do such an act. He was made a victim in a pre-planned drama.
Akmal Kabir was brought up in his model. Like his father he was plain, simple but straight forward. Those people who want to tread a straight line have to face problems in every step in this world. Such a problem befell Akmal Kabir. It is not possible for a human being to live without any problem. The storm does not spare anyone even if that person is of very high dignity. Our society is passing through a bad time. The air of bad time would also touch Akmal, and he could do nothing but commit the murder. The boy who hummed a tune from Rabindranath or recited poems of Kazi Nazrul Islam or Jibananda Das could not be a murderer. But who would listen to that? In a country where everyone is a king, no one listens to the other, nor do they feel any urge to listen to others.
Professor Humayun Kabir was a man of strong mind. He did not give in suddenly. He had lost his parents and three brothers in the Liberation war of 1971. Yet he stood on his feet. When he remembered the days of 1971, he chook as if thorns pricked parts of his body, what terrible days those were!
In 1971 the drum of war began to beat all around. People from all walks of life in the country joined the war. They took home-made weapons like da, axe, shovel etc. It was not possible to defeat the enemy force with their arms.
The parents of Humayun Kabir realized this; he now thanked the emancipated people in silence. The parents felt that they would have to do everything for the independence of the country. That sense inspired the old parents of Humayun Kabir. If they were physically fit they would have joined the war. They thought that even if they were old they had four young, strong, stout sons in the house. They decided to send all their sons to India to get training and fight for the independence of Bangladesh.
If they died in the war, it would be the death of heroes. If they wanted to escape and live it would be the life of a coward. Moreover, it would not be possible to save them by hiding. If they died in war they would be martyrs or if they survived they would be ‘gazi’ . Therefore it was better to send them to war.
Humayun Kabir’s parents ultimately decided to send all their four sons to war. In this regard the father gave them clear instructions. They accepted the order of their parents with pleasure. They took training in Agartala for a month and returned to the country and joined the liberation war. Humayun Kabir’s parents were picked up by the Pakistan occupation Army on charge of sending their sons to the Liberation war. They were mercilessly beaten and tortured which led them to fear. Humayun Kabir lost not only his parents but also his three brothers. They had a house at Senpara area in Dhaka. The hangers on also occupied the house with the help of Pakistan Army.
Standing on that vacant house Humayun Kabir vowed one day ‘Since I won the war I shall have to win the war of life.’ Bearing all pains and tragedy he started his life afresh. But his journey was not easy or even. The people who occupied his house tried their best to keep him away. With iron hands he overcame the hurdles. With a strong determination he got the highest degrees from the college and University. As he fared well in the examination he joined Dhaka University as a Lecturer. He married at the age of thirty-three. Two years after the marriage a cute, handsome boy was born to them. His family was a family of happiness. But the happiness didn’t last. His wife died from blood cancer. Misfortune after misfortune followed Kabir. Facing all these hardships Humayun Kabir was back in life again. But he was unable to face the obstacles at his age. The ground under his feet was moving away everyday. A big net of conspiracy entrapped him.
Professor Humayun Kabir always used to say, ‘I break, but I don’t bend.’ But in his sixties he is a broken man.’ His last energy was also lost. He had been worked after the motherless boy for the last twenty-five years. When Akmal was two, his mother Mohsina Ahmed died. At the deathbed she told her husband Humayun.’ Please marry after my death. I have no objection. Please take care of Akmal in such a way that he does not feel my absence.’ She said to Humayun Kabir, ‘This is my last request to you.’
Professor Humayun Kabir kept the request of his late wife. His married again and stepmother of Akmal Kabir, Marufa Rahman, left no stone unturned to take care of him. Marufa was a teacher at a collage. She was never a stepmother to Akmal. As she had no issue she treated Akmal as her own son. Akmal was brought up by the ideal of two teachers. Akmal has received his master’s degree only a few days ago. His result was brilliant. He got first class both in B.A (Honours) and M.A. His result was so brilliant that the University authorities had no option but to accept him. He broke all the past records of the University.
But the irony was that the cops took that very bright boy into the custody. He was implicated in a murder case.
The question of veracity of the case will be decided later on. Initially the police will give him a strong beating. The professor was anxious about the merciless torture the cops inflict on the accused persons. He got panicky about his son. If such events took place here would be no scope to save his son.
The professor thought that he should inform Marufa of this matter. As soon as she hears the news she would rush to home. She is a person of cool brain. Consultation with her might be useful. This time I should be cool headed. He thought, hot headedness will not pay anything.
When he spoke to Marufa over telephone, he was brief. He told her that there was in emergency at home and she should come.
After ringing up his wife he entered the drawing room and reclined on the sofa. He was brooding over; events reflecting the deep relation between father and son. He was about to weep. Whose fault was it that Akmal had to be taken in by the police? Can he really kill any one? Had he that courage? But why should he kill any one?
Marufa found something deeply sad in the voice of her husband. She had been leaving with him for the last twenty-two years. She knew her husband very well. His voice was choked with emotion. The tone of Humayun on telephone made her anxious. Marufa rushed from the Home Economics College to their residence at Fuller Road. Which was not far from her college? When she returned home she felt it was a silent hell. As soon as she reached home her heart trembled. She was unable to place her feet on the floor. She was anticipating some their terrible. She was awaiting some bad news.
Marufa was correct. There was no electricity. The absence of electricity is a very familiar feature of the capital. Sometimes electricity goes for hours together. Electricity comes for a few moments only and again it goes. The citizens are so accustomed to it that they never bother. Moreover they are too busy to think of the other problems of their life.
Marufa stood in front of Humayun Kabir. She was observing him minutely. Tears were rolling down the eyes of Humayun Kabir. During the long twenty-two years of their married life Marufa had never seen her husband weep. All his sorrow, anger, pains and affliction mingled in tears. She came near him and wanted to know why he was weeping. His voice was choked. He could not say anything. He took a few minutes to get back his normal composure.
Marufa Rahman was more anxious. She was anxious about Akmal. Has anything bad happened to him?
The police have arrested him. He was accused of murder. Humayun Kabir said,
‘What!’ Marufa was stunned. Akmal is a murderer! ‘It can’t be. I don’t believe it.’
‘Your belief or disbelief bothers none. The fact is that the police took him away.’ Humayun Kabir answered. ‘In police custody he will be like any other accused. The police do this to bring out a confessional statement. As the police keep up the torture, at one point he will confess and say, ‘Yes, I committed the murder.’
‘No he will not say like that.’ Marufa said.
Marufa continued, ‘I know my son. He will never lie. If he really murdered any one he will say. Yes I am the murderer. If he did not kill any one he will say, No I did kill anyone.’
‘You are right’ said Humayun Kabir. ‘But as long as does not confess torture will continue. He will cry and shout. I did not kill any one. He will say, ‘Don’t beat me. Please release me. His cry will fail to soften the hearts, which are made of stone. The cops will beat him to their heart’s content. Their beating will make him faint. When he will regain consciousness, they will beat him again. This will continue for several days’.
‘By the by, was any one killed recently?’ Marufa wanted to know. ‘In whose case has Akmal been accused?’
‘I don’t know anything about this. Replied Humayun. ‘Someone told me over phone that the police had arrested Akmal. He was coming from his eldest maternal uncle’s house and was looking for a rickshaw. Just at that moment he was picked up. Plain clothes police men picked him up. When Akmal wanted to know what his offence was, they told him that he was accused in a murder case. When asked who filed the suit, they remained totally silent.’
‘Do you know in which police station the suit was filed?’ Marufa wanted to know.
Humayun answered, ‘No, I don’t know anything.’
‘Then how can we know?’ His wife anxiously asked him. Then she said, ‘There is another way. He will be send to the court within twenty-four hours after his arrest. Let us inquire in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. We shall go there surely’ Humayun said, ‘but before that Akmal will faint and regain consciousness for several times. I wanted to save him from police torture. I never beat or hit my son. I can’t accept that the police will beat him. Will you please advise me how we can save him from police torture?’ Humayun requested his wife in a pathetic voice.
‘Akmal’s younger maternal uncle is an Additional Inspector General of Police in the police department. Let us go to him. He may help us.’ Marufa said in a calm and composed voice.
Humayun said, ‘No I will not go to him. Do you think Akmal has been arrested without his knowledge?’
Marufa said, ‘He may not know it. An AIG is not supposed to know everything in detail.’
‘Perhaps he may not know everything. I feel he is aware of the issue of Akmal .To avoid harassment by the police he must have told his uncle Manzur’s name and the police told him that he was arrested with his consent.’
‘I don’t think you are correct’ protested Marufa ‘I know Akmal very well. He moves with his own identity. At best he can give your identity. He will not take anyone’s name even if he has to face death.’
‘I don’t disagree with you.’ said Humayun.
‘I got proof of what you said. Now tell me what we can do at this moment. If you keep my word I can tell you.’ Marufa said.
‘Tell me, I shall listen to you.’ Humayun promised.
‘Let us go to Akmal’s uncle Manzur. We can know from him what the matter is with Akmal. He is a man from the Police Department. He must be able to look into the matter. If he knows Akmal will be saved from police torture.’
‘Are you sure?’ Humayun wanted to know.
‘Why don’t you consider it? You should at least consider it. The nephew of Additional Inspector of Police should get this benefit at least.’
‘What do you say? I am in doubt.’ Said Humayun. ‘I feel we shall not get any benefit from him.’
‘Why are you in doubt? Akmal is his only nephew. If he does not help him who will he help? Don’t waste time. Let us move.’
Even after that Humayun Kabir was fumbling. He was not willing to go to his brother-in-law Manzur. It is better not to go where his affords may fail. Marufa could read the mind of her husband and said ‘Give up your thoughts. We are now in danger. To overcome difficulties sometimes we shall have to bow. Moreover we are not going to any stranger. We are going to someone who is connected with Akmal by blood. We should also inform him of our problems. If he can do something well and good. If not there is nothing to worry.’
‘Please hurry’ Marufa urged.
If we try for someone with whom we are not too close, and fail it does not much bother us. But Akmal’s case is different. If we come back from Akmal’s uncle broken-hearted, our sorrow will know no bounds. Even then let us go.’ Marufa said.
At last Humayun and Marufa started for the office of AIG Manzur.
Manzur Ahmed was not available in the office. He was in Home Ministry to attend an emergency meeting of the high police officials. The meeting was supposed to be presided over by the Home Minister. The meeting was supposed to end at 1 p.m. But even after 4 p.m. the meeting was continuing. Maszur`s office repeatedly contacted the Home Ministry. Every time there was the same reply. The meeting is going on. Humayun Kabir and Marufa Rahman were fed-up for waiting for such a long time in Manzur’s office. They did not know how long they should wait. The personal officer of Manzur Ahmed entertained them with snacks and tea. He also brought them a light lunch. Doing his own job he talked with them and tried to console them. Though his behaviour was decent and excellent the anxiety of the couple did not subside. They looked pale. The personal officer wanted to know the cause of their anxiety. Neither Humayun nor Marufa said anything to him.
Towards evening the personal officer of Manzur Ahmad told them that just after the meeting his boss had come to Chittagong with the Minister. A big amount of ammunition seized there. Where did the ammunition come from, for whom and through whom? Many reports had seen published in the newspapers on this issue.
Many peripheral events testified that the Government was afraid of the events. A few influential countries expressed deep concern about the arms and suggested a joint inquiry. This put the government in an awkward position. Such national emergency issues overshadowed personal problems.
Reluctantly Humayun Kabir and Marufa Rahman heard what the personal officer told them. Both of them felt that though a petty employee the personal officer was a knowledgeable person. They felt that due to a grave issue of national interest their problem lost importance. They were contemplating whether the personal officer could help them if they disclosed their problem to him. Humayun asked his wife if their disclosure to him could bring some benefit.
Marufa did not feel it worthwhile to tell anything to him.
Rather she proposed that they should go home. ‘Let us try to talk with Manzur over telephone. What do you say?’
Humayun Kabir nodded in agreement.
 Rabindranath Tagore is the greatest poet of Bengali Literature. He got the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913
 Kazi Nazrul Islam is a major poet of Bengali literature popularly known as the Rebel Poet.
 Jibananda Das another major poet, known as a poet of nature.
 A Gazi is one who returns from a holy war with success.