Article Tale Of A Freedom Fighter's Life


Mi Colonel
MI.Net Member
Oct 5, 2016
Tale of a warrior’s life
An infant she had in her arms and yet she had the strength to man a rifle. She knew how to be a mother and how to protect her motherland. She reveals her extraordinary story, the history, to you... here
Rifle on her back, grenades in her pockets and her baby in arms, a young woman travels from camp to camp on a small boat, treating injured fighters, training new recruits, ensuring supplies and spying on the enemy.

Such was the life of Khurshid Jahan, the commander of female fighters of the Sundarbans sub sector.

Sitting in her home on Khulna town’s AN Das Lane, Jahan recently gave the Dhaka Tribune an interview, reminiscing about her life as a freedom fighter.

“I was a student of PC College during the war. I got involved with the movement of 1969,” she said, describing the beginning of her career as a freedom fighter.

She was a member of the leftist students party, Bangladesh Students Union.

“My commander Lt Ziauddin trained me. My brother too. I did not have the opportunity to go to India,” she said.

Other women in her camp and a young freedom fighter named Salam often helped take care of the baby.

The sundarbans sub sector under Sector Nine was perhaps the harshest place for a freedom fighter. The unforgiving forest with its dangerous and deadly wildlife was a perilous environment to be in. One of Jahan’s regular tasks was to sew mosquito nets for the entire force.

The Sundarbans was also one of the greatest strongholds of freedom fighters during the war. The deep forest and the intricate waterways provided shelter for thousands of fighters and refugees.

Jahan’s brother was a soldier in the Pakistan Army who had deserted in January. They had both escaped the village three months after the war began and turned up at the Tafalbari camp, deep inside the Sundarbans. Because of the child, despite her training and skills, she was never allowed in operations, much to her despair.

One day she decided to change that. Sneaking out at night, she took her boat to the commander’s post and stole his trousers and jacket. The next morning she disguised herself and fell in with the others on the field before the operation.

But she was caught and sent back to her camp.

Khurshid Jahan with her grandchildren Courtesy

Lt Ziauddin Ahmed was a strict military leader reputed to have run the most disciplined force during the war. He was not pleased with the soldier’s breach of orders.

“He told me, ‘In a regular force, you would have faced court-martial.’ Then he gave me a giant task, in addition to my regular duty, as punishment and ordered everyone not to help me,” she said.

But as adept and capable as Khurshid was in the war, she faced more difficulties after the liberation when she returned to her normal life.

Her husband, Shamsul Alam Talukder, was the second-in-command of the sub-sector. Together they returned to Barisal but sometime later came back to Bagerhat and settled there.

Because she, being a woman, had gone to the war, she faced difficulties in her family life and was distanced by relatives.

“I do not have the many happy family photos that people usually do,” Khurshid pointed out with a wry smile.

In Bagerhat, a group of freedom fighters came to see her and lavished her with praise. At one point one of them asked, where in India was she trained?

When they heard she was trained locally, their faces changed and one whispered to another: “What sort of a freedom fighter is that?”

Having done what she did in the war, this was a terrible insult for the commander.

“That still hurts me,” she said.

Khurshid found a job at the Sonali Bank and raised three children.

Her son, nicknamed Taj, is now a consultant for an international NGO, stationed in Nepal.

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