Professor Humayun Kabir was crying. He was crying like a child. He was never seen crying in such a manner. He was feeling extreme pain for his son Akmal. Since his childhood he had to face many vicissitudes in his life. He had lost his parents and all his brothers during the Liberation War in 1971. His house was burnt. His property was usurped. He became almost penniless. He faced many odds in his life, yet he did not surrender or bend. He made himself firm and stuck to his ground. But now he could not control his tears. Akmal had been missing from a whole week. Messages had been sent to all the police stations of Dhaka, yet there was no trace of him.
Had he been kidnapped the kidnappers would have contacted him for ransom. Since it had not happened it was apparent that he had not been kidnapped. The police wanted to blackout the news regarding Akmal for some reason.
Marufa Rahman was sitting beside him. Her eyes were also wet. She was worried to see a man strong as a rock become soft like wax. His heart was bleeding for Akmal. Fire was burning there. Since the arrest of Akmal he could not sleep. There was no routine for his bath or food. All the time he brooded over his son. Sometimes he clasped his chest and called Akmal by name. Marufa did not give birth to Akmal yet she too felt a deep pain for the boy. She felt for the boy in such a way if as he was her son. The bond of love brought them together.
She was recollecting events that had brought them closer.
Akmal was seven or eight at that time. His father was abroad with a team from the University. There was no one else in the home besides her and Akmal. Suddenly she had a fever. The fever continued for seven days at a stretch. She was confined to bed. All the time Akmal was at her bedside. His responsibility did not end with her rather he always inquired about her needs and reminded her about the time of medicine. His sincerity surprised her. She forgot that she was ill. When she became restless because of the fever Akmal also became restless. His eyes became wet. She used to ask – ‘Akmal, Why do you love me so much?’
She remembered another event. Akmal had just taken admission in a college. She was returning home at Fuller Road from the Home Economics College by a rickshaw. Suddenly a bus hit the rickshaw and fled. The rickshaw broke down. She was seriously injured. As she bled profusely, she fell unconscious. She was immediately sent to the Emergency Unit of the hospital. She was brought to the operation theatre. Before the operation the doctors saw that she needed blood. The doctor on duty said, ‘We need two bags of blood within five minutes; otherwise we can’t save you. Her blood was ‘o’ negative. From the Blood Bank of Dhaka Medical College only one bag of blood could be collected. Another bag was not available at that moment. Akmal’s father became worried. The doctor repeatedly pressed for blood. Akmal was beside his father. He did not know his blood group. He was so much frightened by the needle that he did not allow anyone to give him an injection. Giving blood was thus out of the question. But to gave her life. Akmal approached the doctor and said, ‘Uncle, can you tell me my blood group?’ Akmal’s father looked at him with surprise and said, ‘Akmal aren’t you afraid? He replied, ‘Daddy, why should I be afraid? If I am afraid how can my mother are saved?’
After the test it was found that he had the same blood group. He did not delay. To save his mother he donated blood ignoring all sorts of fear. She heard all these from his father. She was carrying the blood of Akmal in her body. She bound him by love and he bound her by blood.
Manzur Ahmed consoled Akmal’s parents and said, ‘I shall see to the last.’
‘If Akmal dies what will be the use of your seeing to the last?’ said Humayun Kabir in a choked voice.
‘Brother, don’t be so upset. Sister, be calm. I feel very bad to see tears in your eyes. I never came across such a scene’ said Manzur Ahmed.
Humayun Kabir said, ‘Manzur, you are a top official of the police department. How could such an important incident take place without your knowledge?
‘Such things can happen,’ said Manzur Ahmed. ‘The police are not allowed to perform their duty impartially. The police are always used to gain political ends other wise the police Force could be free from blame. Common people think that the police can do whatever they like. Because of political interference the police can’t do as they like. I think, there may be some political reason behind the arrest of Akmal.’
‘How?’ Humayun Kabir wanted to know.
‘Your pen is very sharp against the anti liberation activities of the religious bigots. I have never seen you compromise on this issue. Besides, Akmal’s eldest maternal uncle that is my elder brother Mansur Ahmad is a member of a progressive political party. He is also against fundamentalism. These have brought tragedy in the life of Akmal.’
‘Have I committed any crime that the life of Akmal should be in danger?’ Asked Humayun Kabir.
‘No, brother, you haven’t done any wrong’. Said Manzur. ‘In fact, bad time is passing now. Your welfare oriented activities are considered crime now.’
‘Then should we surrender?’ Asked Humayun.
‘You better know what to do.’ commented Manzur Ahmad. ‘I can say this much that at present there is no value of principle, morality or honesty. These values are now old fashioned. This is the view of some people.’
‘Then what’s the new fashion injustice and corruption?’ Asked Humayun Kabir.
Manzur Ahmed nodded.
‘We are unable to welcome the new fashion’ said Humayun Kabir. ‘Well Manzur, can you tell me one thing straightforward?’
‘What?’ asked Manzur Ahmed. ‘Will it be possible on my part to get any trace of my son?’
‘He is your son as well as mine I consider him to be my own son. I shall not let things go unchallenged.’ ‘What can you do? At best out of anger you can give up your job. This must.’
‘No brother, Replied Manzur Ahmed ‘I shall do more than that.’
‘Such things can’t go on. They must have an end. Events do not always go on a straight line. At the moment I am not bothered anything. I am bothered only with Akmal. If I won’t get any trace of him. I can’t survive,’ muttered Humayun Kabir.
‘Why are you so frustrated?’ Interrupted Manzur Ahmed. ‘Time doesn’t always run smoothly. If happiness follows hardship, good times will follow bad times. For this an appropriate movement is necessary. The movement will sweep away all sorts of wrong and injustice done to Akmal. I will collect the price of my honesty. If I can’t do that, I shall not be worthy of my name.’
‘You have become too emotional.’ commented Humayun Kabir. ‘What you said is fact. Because of political use of the police force, law and order situation has deteriorated to such low depths in the country. Whenever the police go to arrest a terrorist the people in the helms of affairs say he belongs to our party. He can’t be arrested. The police are harassed for their attempt to arrest the terrorists belonging to the party in power. He is closed or transferred to a bad posting or suspended. I may be the first spark of that movement.’
‘Excellent Manzur, excellent.’ Your rhetoric inspires me to live again. Why are you silent? Marufa, tell something.’
‘I am also impressed by what Manzur Ahmed just said. Like him I am still optimistic. I feel Akmal is not a boy to be lost. Even if he is lost he will be lost with glory. The sleeping people of the country are all around. They will again be kindled as the gunpowder kindled them in 1971. The green, fruitful, peaceful country will be retrieved from the grip of the demon. Let brother Manzur do his work. Let us see what unfolds,’ said Marufa Rahman.