Mansur Ahmed was calling Nilufar Jahan in a loud voice. Nilufar did not respond to his call. She was staying at the bedside of her eldest daughter Shipra.
Fever gripped Shipra at midnight. Nilufar Jahan had been sitting near her since then. She was fanning her forehead at regular interval. Shila was sitting on the other side and was measuring her temperature. She was informing her mother about the temperature from time to time. Shipra’s temperature was 104 degree. There was no remission.
In the morning a doctor was called. His name was Awlad Hossain. He saw Shipra, and suggested sponging her body at regular interval so that the temperature did not rise.
The instructions of the doctor were meticulously followed, but there was no result. Shipra was delirious. She was calling Akmal frequently. She uttered the name of Akmal even in the presence of the physician. Shipra’s mother was a bit embarrassed. She thought the physician would want to know the identity of Akmal.
Dr.Awlad asked about Akmal two times. Shila intelligently diverted the issue.
Dr. Awlad understood Shila’s trick. Therefore he did not press the issue any further. Nilufar Jahan was relived.
Nilufar Jahan was very angry with her husband. She was scolding him silently. She was saying to herself, : The man disturbed me throughout my life. It was a mistake on my part to marry a politician. Many better proposals came for me. Came from businessmen, physicians, and engineers. I turned down all those offers and married this man, because I loved him. What did I have in this long span of time? Neglect insult and rebuke. He never bothers about how the family is run. He does not know where his daughters read and to what subjects they study. I used to hear that daughters become devoted to their father. Neither Shipra nor Shila is close to their father. They are close to their mother. There is a gap between them and their father. Of course there is a reason behind this. They never got their father near them. He was too busy with politics to give time to his family.
There are many social events that I’d like him to attend with me. But he did not have the time. Later on my daughters and I had to attend events without him. Now I don’t request him to go anywhere with me. He spends his time according to his routine. Only after Akmal was arrested we requested him to look into the matter. As I feel, he is undone. He can’t do anything here. No one listens to him. No one wants to listen to him.
But when his party was in power he tried his utmost to help those who sought his assistance. Because of his honesty, there has always been want in our family. There was no luxury. He never arranged any feast in this house. I hold the reigns of the family. I tolerated all sorts of hurdles for the sake of those two daughters. I am still doing that.
Sometimes I think about politics. I feel politics is meant for the welfare of the people. The aim of politics is to do something for the people. A person involved in politics can’t do anything for himself or for his or her family. If the politician is dishonest and corrupt he pollutes all fields. The social situation aggravates. In that case people love morals and morality.
The politics that we see today is without any morals and morality. Now politics is no longer for the service of the people, it is for the betterment of one’s own self and one’s family. It is only through politics that one can become rich overnight. In no time one can buy or build a house in the posh areas of the capital. One can manage a car of the latest model. As such Mansur Ahmad is a misfit for the present day politics. That’s why he deserves respect. At least a person of honesty and principle is her life partner.
Shipra had high temperature. Her father peeped in once or twice. Thereafter he did not bother to know how his daughter was faring. He was calling Nilufar Jahan instead. Shila reminded her mother several times that father was calling her. Nilufar Jahan paid no hid to her reminder. She was more concerned about Shipra. She felt at that moment that Shipra really loved Akmal very much. It was for Akmal that Shipra had the fever. Akmal had been missing for the last three days. Being a top official of the Police Department, Manzur Ahmed could make no progress in the matter. It was growing mysterious day by day. If one could get some information the matter would get good coverage in the press. Mansur Ahmed was still calling his wife Nilufer Jahan. He called her so many times but there was no sign of vexation in him. Mansur Ahmed was going to break interesting news to his wife. At last Nilufar Jahan went to her husband and gave him an angry look. ‘What’s the matter?’ She asked, ‘Why are you shouting? Your daughter is burning with fever, but you are busy with your politics. Could you get any information about Akmal?’
‘I will tell you everything. First listen to me.’ Mansur Ahmed requested his wife. ‘If anything to do with politics, I won’t listen. Nilufar Jahan protested. If it is about our family please tell me. I’ll give you my ear.’
‘The matter neither concerns politics nor our family, but it is interesting. Please listen to me. Don’t go away. You can do whatever you like after I tell you. I won’t mind.’ said Mansur Ahmed in a humble tone.
Nilufer Jahan did not react. She sat down the sofa.
Mansur Ahmed began, ‘Today an interesting interview has been published Daily Prothom Alo. The interview was with Bangla Bhai, the Chief of a fanatic religious party Jagrata Muslim Janata. Bangla Bhai claimed that he has been working as an alternative to law enforcing agency in Rajshahi. In the interview he also explained why he is called Bangla Bhai. He was a teacher of Bangla, for this he is called Bangla Bhai, Later on he became the chief of a fundamental Party. He thinks he is the saviour of the people of his area. His main aim is to eliminate the members of Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party. According to him the members of the Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party have let a reign of terror on the common people. To counter them he formed a group of his cadres, who follow his religious politics. He has taken up law and order in his own hands and he is trying people in his area according to his whims. You will be surprised if you hear about his merciless activities. He has revived the cruelty of the middle ages. The cadres of Bangla Bhai pick up freedom fighters and leaders of any progressive political party, tie them up and hang them upside down from tree, and then they seat them up so mercilessly that they eventually die. Thereafter the cadres declare that the dead were members of Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party. This is in fact nothing but the elimination of freedom fighters and progressive people according to a blueprint. Bangla Bhai has been implementing this blue print. Nilufar Jahan was really startled to hear such acts of cruelty. She was stunned. She was wandering whether the country was going the way Afghanistan had gone. The same thing was there in Afghanistan. After the soviets left, the country came under the influence of the fundamentalist Taliban. The government which was in power in Afghanistan then did not pay heed to the situation. It seems that Bangladesh was morning to that direction. Why didn’t the government take any action to eliminate them? If the monkey had a chance, it would cross the limit. If the fundamentalists were not stopped, they would do the same.
Nilufar Jahan became grim.
If such activities were not nipped in the bud the country would go under the grip of the fundamentalists.
Seeing the grim face of Nilufar Jahan, Mansur Ahmed asked why you are so silent.’
She replied, ‘It is not what you are thinking. I am thinking over the matter. In the presence of the police can anyone do such things? Is there any administration at all in the country?’
‘What are you talking about? Administration’? Asked Mansur Ahmed ‘It is not in our country alone, but throughout the world the powerful are dominating. Look at Iraq.’ ‘Yes, in a unipolar world such thing will happen. What America do will happen? Everyone will accept it without any protest. Otherwise, how can America invade an independent country? We have different views ‘you may have different views: said Nilufar Jahan. I also think Saddam Hossain was an autocrat. For that he may be tried, but the people of Iraq did not commit any crime.’
‘In fact, all these are conspiracies’ said Mansur Ahmed. ‘Who created the international terrorist Osama bin Laden? Who made Saddam an autocrat? Today, people are asking these questions. Even common people know the answers to these queries.’
Nilufar asked, ‘Do you want to say that Bangla Bhai is the creation of the government?’
‘Can any private force thrive without the patronization of the government?’ Mansur Ahmed asked.
‘I also hold the same opinion’ said Nilufar Jahan ‘If after his confession the government arrests him. I’ll give the government kudos, Said Monsur. ‘If the government doesn’t arrest Bangla Bhai he will be a serious headache for the government. Then the government will have no way to escape.’
‘Leave aside this political discourse. Look at your own house’ said Nilufar Jahan. The condition of your daughter is serious. She is calling Akmal’s name over and over again. ‘What can I do?’
Mansur Ahmed said in a pensive mood ‘Manzur is trying his best to solve the mystery. His sincerity cannot be doubted. If we request him repeatedly he will take it otherwise.’
‘I can’t stand the suffering of my daughter. Let me go and see her’. Nilufar Jahan rose and left the place.
Mansur Ahmed was sitting on the sofa like a still picture. He was thinking about his past life. Events of the past were reflected in the mirror of his mind. He had just joined the central committee of the main party as a member. Before that he was the President of the front student organization. He remembered how it was like in those days. He also remembered how was tackle the situation of the country was back in the early 1970s.
There was also man-made instability as a part of conspiracy. Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party and the People’s Force of the National Socialistic Party masterminded the conspiracy. The Sarbaharas and People’s Force in the guise of underground parties were committing robbery, arson, loot, and secret killings in broad daylight to destabilize the country. Their terrorist activities made the government restless. After the political change over of 1975, the activities of People’s Forces stopped but the activities of a Sarbahara party did not. They were still active southwestern part of the country .To counter them the large religious fundamental groups grew in the country. They very quickly spread throughout the country. In this overpopulated country the fear of confrontation between the right and the left was increasing and the possibility of civil war in the country can’t be ruled out. Such huge amounts of arms were coming to the country that even common people were getting access to them. If there are arms in every homestead in the village than no one would bother for the rule of law. In Chittagong ten trucks of arms were seized, but surprisingly no one was arrested. At the beginning, the government was hard. But soon it began to hedge. The government put the blame on the opposition parties. But the government strategy failed.
Before the government could implement its strategy a great deal of information came out. It was alleged that the armour was unloaded in the presence of the police. That news sent the government into the silent mode. An inquiry was going on but at snail’s speed. No one was asking questions about the matter. One has to ask my country, ‘Where are you going, my dear motherland?’