Prathom Pratirodh features Bengalis’ first mutinyCultural Correspondent
The first resistance by Bengalis, against the mighty Pakistani army on March 19, 1971, has been presented in a documentary titled Prothom Pratirodh, which premiered on Sunday at the Bangladesh Liberation War Museum.
Jointly directed by Prabir Pal and Satyajit Roy Majumdar, the documentary explores the historic moment on the day when a mob created a barricade on the road near Joydevpur level crossing, to prevent the Pakistani Army, led by Pathan Brigadier Jahenzeb Arbab, to reach the then East Bengal Regiment at Joydevpur Palace.
Using exclusive interviews, rare photographs and newspapers reports, the documentary creates the climax of the very moment of retaliation, by the then Joydevpur Sangram Committee, along with rebellious members of the East Bengal Regiment-2, to resist the Punjabi contingent which was going to disarm the Bengalis dominating the Second East Bengal Regiment.
The Brigadier became furious and ordered to clear the path: a non-Bangali soldier carried out the order and fired on the mob killing two people on the spot and wounding many. Later, another wounded person also died. Ultimately a curfew was declared in the area. One of the martyrs of the uprising was only a class seven student named
Neyamat. The March 19 incident had been documented as the first act of 'mutiny'.
In the recorded interview shown in the documentary, convener of Joydevpur Sangram Committee, Awami League leader AKM Mozammel Hoq, says, ‘We used a stray wagon of a goods-train as a barricade to prevent the Punjabi army contingent to enter into Joydevpur. On that day, we also took control over the ammunition station of the Pakistani force at Joydevpur.’
BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan, who was then the treasurer of the committee, said in the recorded interview ‘Our resistance story became so popular across the country that people in other areas proclaimed the slogan Bir bangali osro dhoro, Joydevpur er path dhoro (valorous Bengalis -- take arms and follow Joydevpur) ’.
The documentary also features some clips of the war of independence and the surrender of Pakistani occupation forces on December 16, 1971, at the historic Race Course Ground, without giving any narration of the series of events in the 37-minute long documentary.
Sector commander Major General KM Safiullah, Bir Uttam, spoke at the premiere as chief guest. The documentary made him nostalgic since he had been posted at the East Bengal Regiment in March 1971. He narrated his experience of the ‘mutiny’ in the documentary.
‘Since March 1, 1971, we were alert of a possible crude mission of Pakistani troupes to disarm the soldiers of the East Bengal Regiment. Subsequently, when the war began, we defected with arms to fight against the Pakistani army.’
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