It was an afternoon of early April. The scorching sun was blazing in the sky. Professor Humayun Kabir came out on the street from the make up room. He looked around and felt that is was really a very hot day. The sun almost burnt the skin of the body. He was sweating. He had to wipe his face repeatedly. His dress was almost looked in sweat and he felt he should change it. Professor Humayun Kabir had thought for a few moments in front of the make up room. Then he looked at himself. He was impressed with his make up. He had given twenty taka as tips to the make up man. The make up man had done a perfect job for him. Taking the tips the make up man had expressed his satisfaction and said, ‘Sir, come again if you need.’ Humayun had nodded his head. After the make up he couldn’t recognize himself. He felt contended. A lean hope grew in his mind. There is a proverb, ‘If there is a problem in the beginning, problems follow till the end of any job. But in this case no fault was noticed. Since he had faced problem he felt that his mission would be successful.
Within a few minutes he got respectful greetings from several people for his dress. After getting these greetings he felt emboldened. He told himself, ‘Alls well that starts well.’
He bought a king-size Pangash fish from New Market. He also bought another king-size Katal fish. He decided to buy such fish as would surprise his host. His host would be bound to like the fish.
After buying the fish he got into a taxicab. His destination was Shariful Azam’s house at Dhanmondi.
Sitting in the taxicab he was musing on his coming encounter with Azam. He was mentally preparing a play. The man who never took part in any drama was imagining himself as the hero of the play. This play must be successful be it through his acting or strategy. He was thinking of the impending meeting with Shariful Azam. No time should be wasted. He would have to kill two birds in one throw. He looked at his watch. It was five thirty.
Humayun Kabir took a rickshaw for new market. He was thinking. He was going to Shariful Azam’s house with a taxicab. Humayun Kabir thought deeply about his mission. Shariful Azam had implicated Akmal in a murder case. Would he confess it? To put Shariful Azam in trouble his confession would be the only proof. Humayun Kabir thought about a strategy that would force him to confess his involvement in the arrest of Akmal. Meanwhile he checked the mini tape recorder in his pocket. He rehearsed silently how he would introduce himself. Earlier he had ringed Azam and requested him to stay at home. Meanwhile the taxicab, carrying Prof. Humayun Kabir, reached the gate of Shariful Azam’s house. Getting down from the taxicab he carefully watched the house. It was a posh house. Seeing the house, he was surprised. He thought that the building must have cost millions of taka. Azam had certainly amassed a huge amount of money. He would not be able to refuse proposal for huge investment.
Giving the fare to the driver he requested him to take the two big fish inside the house. The driver did not hesitate to comply with the request.
Shariful Azam was walking in the courtyard in front his house. Seeing the maulana he rushed to him. Giving no chance to the maulana to speak he said, ‘You are maulana Zafar Ali, aren’t you?’
‘Yes, but call me Zafar in an informal way,’ said Humayun Kabir. You always addressed me as a friend and today you are calling me in a formal way. Couldn’t you recognize me?’
‘Yes, I remember’. Replied Shariful Azam. During the year of ‘disturbance’ you and I belonged to the same organization. You are the vice-president of Dhaka district Peace committee I was the president. Have I said anything wrong?
‘Not at all. What you have said is absolutely right.’ Replied Humayun.
‘Where have you been all these years. Where did you vanish? There was no trace of you. What’s the matter?’ asked Shariful Azam.
‘I could not accept the defeat in 1971. Out of grief and frustration I left the country. There were of course other reasons for my leaving the country. I thought there would be no place for the collaborator in this country. That was another reason why I left the country.
‘Friend, I also left the country, I went to Pakistan. I returned to the country quite late.’ said Shariful Azam.
‘Can we now stay in the country?’ Humayun wanted to know.
‘Why not, now we are in power. Everything happens on our instruction.’ Shariful Azam continued – ‘Who can prevent your return to the country? What’s your investment?’
‘There will be no problem in our partnership’ said Humayun. ‘I am contemplating to invest in Cement and Sugar sectors, what’s do you say?’
‘It is an excellent proposal’. Said Shariful Azam. There is growing demand in both sectors. But you have to invest a huge amount of money.’
‘Money is no problem,’ Said Humayun.
‘Will you make me your partner? Shariful Azam wanted to know.
‘Of course! You will be my partner, but I am worried about one thing, I am afraid of extortion. I can’t check the problems without your assistance.’ ‘What do you say’? I’ve returned to the country on the assurance that I’ll get your support. Will there be any problem if I settle down here?
‘What problem? There will be no problem. Those bustards are dead or dying today. Is there any place for them in the country? Today we are the guardians of this country; whatever we say is happen.’
‘Is it? Then I have to settle down here on a permanent basis.’
‘Now no one in this country can call us Razakar. If anyone says so we’ll swoop on him. The word Razakar was mentioned in some television dramas. One telephone call stops that.’
‘Friend, is it true?’
‘What happened to you, why are whispering like a woman. Be bold and speak out loud. Is there anyone in country that we should be afraid off?’ asked Shariful Azam.
‘But, friend I feel very shaky’ said Humayun. Can tell you why?
‘Be frank’ said Azam.
‘It was been my cherished desire to teach a lesson to a person. He had crossed his limit.’
‘Who is that guy? You must tell me his name’ said Shariful Azam.
‘That guy Humayun Kabir’.
‘You mean Prof. Humayun Kabir.’ Azam wanted to know.
‘Exactly’ said Humayun.’
‘Do you think I spared him? He is already in serious trouble!’ Said Azam.
‘How did you do that? What’s his trouble now?
‘His son is in a big mess. How he will understand how tough a life is!’
‘Friend, will you elaborate how you put him in trouble.’ Humayun requested.
Azam began to narrate the event, ‘A few months back my eldest daughter committed suicide. I had arranged a marriage for her. The date of wedding was also fixed. A few days before the marriage, she committed suicide. Later on I came to learn that she was in love with a boy. I thought that it was a golden opportunity.’ Azam carried on. ‘I thought that the golden opportunity should not be missed. The handwriting of the deceased daughter and that of my younger daughter were almost identical. I got a letter written by her stating, ‘Akmal Kabir is responsible for my suicide.’ That was enough. I filed a case with the help of that letter. Got the boy arrested. He got a serious beating. I got what I desired. The police arrested him and beat him so mercilessly that he would not able to move again.’
‘Is he alive or is he finished?’ Humayun wanted to know.
‘I don’t know.’ replied Azam. Again he said. ‘Even if he survives he will remain invalid through out his life.’
‘Then you have done a marvelous job.’ Humayun encouraged him. Humayun Kabir farther said, ‘I am very happy to know it. What an audacity. He rebukes us by calling us razakar.’
‘Now he will think twice before he does that. By the by, he asked, ‘Where did you get suck King rise fish? How do you know that I am fond of pangash and katal?’
‘Do you think that I have bought the fish without knowing your choice?’ Replied Humayun.
‘Friend, you remember everything’ said Azam.
‘What do you say? Is it very difficult to remember all those things? Well, by the grace of the almighty you are pulling on well. Your palatial building will impress anyone.’ ‘I had to spend a lot of money to build the house. Listen, you cannot go without eating the fish with me.’ Azam said.
‘Thanks for your offer. Friend, today I’ve to beg your excuse. I shall come another day to share a meal with you. Please allow me to go today, friend, when shall we meet again?’ Humayun wanted to know.
‘Whenever you feel, just give me call before you come.’ Azam said.
‘OK. See you.’
Without any further delay Humayun Kabir left the place.
When Humayun narrated his encounter with Azam to his wife, she became speechless. She thought, ‘Can a man stand so law? How can he turn suicide into a murder? Innocent Akmal has been implicated in that very case. Those people are not human beings. They are brutes. They are not only Razakar, they are also worse than that. Marufa Rahman felt like taking then to task. She prayed to Allah-‘Almighty, return Akmal safe and sound. She had a nauseating feeling. If she had power she would have caught hold of Shariful Azam by the neck. She muttered ‘What does the Razakar say? He says, ‘No one in the country to call him a Razakar, ‘replied Monzur. But Shariful is a Razakar, his children are Razakars and his forefathers are Razakars.
Humayun Kabir saw that Marufa had turn into a statue of stone. She was not saying anything but listened to Humayun. She had become speechless. He madly touches the hand of Marufa and said, ‘What happened to you. You have become frozen.’
‘I am angry’, replied Marufa. ‘I feel very much disturbed also. If I could get hold of that Razakar. By the by, How could you digest his words? Had I been there, I don’t know, what have happened.’ I was also disturbed very much. I controlled myself with a huge effort. I thought, if I wouldn’t be able to record his voice in the cassette I couldn’t touch him. Therefore I had to be patient though it was quite difficult.’
‘That’s why I say you are a man with a tough mind.’ said Marufa.
‘If I were there I could not keep my patience I did not imagine that all information could be gathered in a single meting.’
‘All this is the blessing‘s of Almighty. Now, tell me how is your temper? Has it cooled down?’ said Humayun Kabir.
‘Then I will tell you something’
‘Please tell me.’
‘Should I meet the IGP directly with this document or should I go to Akmal younger uncle the Additional IGP’ asked Humayun.
Marufa suggested, ‘It would be wise to go Akmal’s uncle first. Then he will take up the matter to the IGP.
‘Then we should be at Manzur’s house early in the morning tomorrow, suggested Humayun Kabir.
‘Let’s go and eat something. For the last few days our routine was very irregular. Then they advanced towards the dining room.
 It is a popular and tasty fish in Bangladesh.
 New Market: It is a popular shopping centre in Dhaka.
 Katal: A popular fish of Bangladesh.