Enayetullah caused much stir during those days with this article in
question. Due to his uncompromising role, bangosatru mujib threw him
into jail. His book 'A Testament of Time' covers the political
scenario of Bangladesh from mid-60s thru' mid-70s. Readers
might want to keep it as a handy history reference. _____________________________________________
Sixty-Five Million Collaborators
by Enayetullah Khan
The Weekly Holiday, February 6, 1972
The TV and the radio are today faced with an acute famine of
performing artistes consequent upon the summary banning of those who
had appeared on the TV screen or lent their voices on the air during
the nine months of terror and genocide in occupied Bangladesh. The
embargo was reportedly imposed by some functionaries of the Ministry
of Information who zealously branded them as collaborators of the
occupation regime of Yahya.
The excommunication of the defenseless artistes from the holy
communion of patriots, and the incidence of high-handedness by some
Swadhin Bangla Radio personnel over some respected artists like Abdul
Ahad abd Abdul Latif have come as a rude shock to many. A similar
attitude has also been displayed by our noveau-patriots fn other
spheres, where they merrily bludgeoned their helpless victims with
their perverted judgement.
The rationale offered by these people in support of such brazen
actions, which often smack of professional jealousies arid personal animosities, is a curious blend of egotism and spite, and
self-glorification. It is symptomatic of the aberrations of a twisted
psyche, and hence an unpardonable offense against the majority of
silent sufferers by a minority of freaks.
This has naturally resulted in a crisis of confidence between the
civilians who sought refuge across the border and those who had to
stay in perforce to live through the agony and misery of nine long and interminable months. And this has been due to the exaggeration of the
former of their role in the liberation struggle in the safe recluse of Calcutta or Mujibnagar in total negation of the suffering millions
trapped inside the territory of occupied Bangladesh.
While the above does not apply to those who have really fought with
arms and the saner elements among the civilian refugess, this strain
seems to have vitiated the social, political, and cultural life in Bangladesh.
Context of struggle: The context of the struggle for national
independence and economic emancipation in Bangladesh is not as recent
as that of the period intervening March 25,1970 and December 16, 1971.
In fact, this period was the high watermark in our struggle against
national repression which began exactly 25 years ago.
Hence, the record of the last 24 years, and not merely the nine
months, will have to be taken into consideration in determining the
bonafide of each and every individual case. Just as one does not
become a collaborator by merely attending the office or performing for
the radio or the TV under duress over the nine black months, one
cannot also quash one's guilt of the past 24 years by merely crossing
over the border and turning into a glorified refugee.
Collaboration is a political term and it has got to be defined
politically. A collaborator is one who/her own volition helps in the
scheme of the regime, who agrees with the political, cultural and
economic blueprint of the rulers and assists the government machine in
all its anti-people and repressive measures for the perpetuation of
Judged in this context, only the anti-national elements belonging to
the hated Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League and other communal parties
and their cadres in the administration, educational institutions,
business world and other spheres, and the linguistic but pampered
minority population of Bangladesh are the collaborators of the
occupation regime. The rest of the population put up either active or
passive resistance against the demonic occupation army wherever they
To repeat what has been stated in our earlier reports, genocide is
committed only when the rulers treat the entire people as their enemy.
The Bengalees were the enemies of Yahya regime by the time it was
March 25, 1971, and hence each Bengalee was a suspect in the eye of
the government. If collaborators were found in abundance, the regime
would not have had to import West Pakistani police, West Pakistan
civil servants, West Pakistani programme producers in the TV and the
Radio to run the civil administration.
Patriotism: Going back to the question of the performing artistes, the functionaries of the Ministry of Information have no right to question
their patriotism. If some of them had appeared on the TV or performed
over the radio, they had done so under compelling circumstances and at gunpoint.
Did they not play their glorious part in the struggle for emancipation
and national independence during the past 24 years? Did they not
inspire the nation with their resonant voices and music, with their
enactment of patriotic plays and dramas during the month of March at
the call of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman? If they have done so, the
authorities concerned must take those into consideration.
Artistes like Abdul Latif, Abdul Ahad, Abdul Alim, Ferdousi Rahman and
scores of others have always been with the people of Bangladesh. Any
sinister attempt to blacken their names will be resisted by the
people. With liberation, they -- like the rest of the six and a half
crores of people -- have broken their chains. The era of slavery and
forced labour is gone now and they would be free to sing the songs of
freedom to enthrall the millions all over this golden land.
It has been reported that the ministry of Information has set up `a
screening committee' to clear or ban the performing artistes for the
TV and the radio. This would be an affront to the entire community of performing artistes. They have earned their inalienable right to earn
a living as patriots without having to establish their bonafide before
a committee of glorified refugees. And this principle should apply to
every sector of our national life.
The community of artistes should for once rise to the occasion and
fight it out to the last. If one of them is victimised by the
officials, they should prefer starvation to humiliation.
Respect had always been denied to our performing artistes. They should
earn it the hard way.
It is ironic that when the real collaborators are still at large and
some of them rehabilitated with honour, witchhunting of defenseless
officials and artistes has become the favourite pastime with some of
our own people in the administration. The people have earned their
freedom. No one has any right to deny it to them.
Collaborator: Let us be clear, reporting to office under strict
government orders, attending schools and colleges at gunpoint,
receiving citations from Yahya for no initiative of one's own,
performing for the TV and the radio under threat of dire consequences,
and earning a living for oneself and one's family are not measures of collaboration. If that be so, six and a half crores of Bengalees are collaborators and they are proud to remain collaborators, if the
Bangladesh, during the nine months of occupation, was like a vast concentration camp where government officers and employees, teachers
of schools and colleges, industrial workers and artisans,
intellectuals and artistes were compelled to go on forced labour like
slaves in chains. They could neither breathe nor talk freely, awaiting penalty and death with each passing moment. Yet they fought bravely
and silently, paying a heavy toll in terms of lives and properties
until they were delivered by our gallant freedom fighters from the
tyranny of Yahya, and his marauding troops and political
Let us cite some instances to drive some sense into the head of the
zealous patriots -- the glorified refugees who fled this country.
Sardar Fazlul Karim who was forced to sign the statement of 64
intellectuals singing hymn for the regime was taken into custody by
the same regime. Munir Choudhury, a signatory was deemed to be too
dangerous by the collaborators of Yahya to be kept alive.
This does not mean that all the rest of the signatories come under the
same category. But there must be many more people like the
above-mentioned ones whose patriotism should not be questioned merely
on the basis of an isolated action situation and certainly the past 24
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