Friday, 15 May 2020

Karagarer Rojnamcha - A Jail Diary: Book Review

Karagarer Rojnamcha is one of the books which demonstrate Bangabandhu’s continuous thought and love toward the nation. The Bengali book has 332 pages in which 240 pages (from 27 to 267) contain the great leader's words and his prison life from the diary. The way Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman narrates his day to day events in the jail have already caught the attention to readers. Bangabandhu is not a poet but a ‘Poet of Politics’. In any situation, he always thinks about his people and the land even while living behind the bars. 

It's quite different from 'Unfinished Memories'. This is a personal description of the prison. What life is like, how difficult it is to go to jail, the 'hell of the world'. 
Karagarer Rojnamcha (A Jail Diary): Book Review

Karagarer Rojnamcha – A Book Review 
'Karagarer Rojnamcha' is the second autobiography of Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In English, it is called the prison diary. In the book, one can know the historical description of his political life and struggle during the Pakistan regime from 1966 to 1968. The name of the book has been given by his daughter Sheikh Rehana. 

The dramatic beginning
He starts his book by introducing the jail to the public- 

Those who have not gone to the prison or not experienced life in prison do not understand what the prison is. There are smaller jails in the jail. All kinds of criminals as well as innocent people live in jail. Furthermore, he gives a comprehensive description of customs and conventions of the prison. 

From the very beginning of his prison life, Bangabandhu had developed very cordial relations with the sepoys and prisoners. That is why everyone treated him with courtesy. He also obeyed prison laws, but protested against the unjust treatment of ordinary prisoners by prison authorities. 

Because of believing good politics and dreaming an independent country with justice, Bangabandhu was being punished by the elite rulers of Pakistan. But living in jail could not stop him from think about the nation and the people and the book is a proof for Bangladeshi people. 

Regarding the suppression of the opposition ideology, Sheikh Mujib said, "There can be differences of opinion in politics. For this, it is dangerous path to conspire and kill the people of the opposition party. Many people have to suffer the consequences of this sin." Sitting in his jail room, Sheikh Mujib was watching his party workers being put in jail one by one. He then said, "Eight more activists have been arrested in different places. The government is pursuing a policy of repression. People's demands cannot be suppressed through torture. The democratic movement should be dealt with in a democratic way." 

When the true news is stopped, many weird rumors spread in the villages; it does not benefit the government without harm. (Page 69) 

Forgiveness is a sign of greatness, but forgiving the wrongdoer is a sign of weakness. (Page 152) 

Knowing and watching prisoners closely, you can understand their lifestyle and why they commit crimes. Bangabandhu has always looked at the common man with affection and sympathy. The respect he has shown to Ludu alias Lutfar Rahman is unprecedented. Ludu is a professional thief. Bangabandhu's kind behaviour towards Ludu seemed to suggest that he literally believed in 'hate crime, not criminals'. He wrote from the events of Ludu’s life to get a picture of our society, the human character. People fall into the misery and disorder of our society; they become robbers, thieves and pickpockets. God does not create man to be a thief. 

Betrayal, Corruption and Ethics 
Animal cannot betray with its own species but human does. This prosperous Bangladesh is so fertile that gold is harvested here and parasites and weeds also grow more. Some Bengali is opportunists who are ready to sell their country for petty personal gains. These Bengalis have harmed themselves by forgetting their own people, joining hands with foreigners for personal gain. Bangladesh has suffered all its life only for some traitors. We usually speak of Mir Zafar Ali Khan. But they are more who have betrayed us. They have quarreled with each other and summoned foreign lords out of greed. Mir Jafar brought the English and Sirajuddaula was killed by betrayal. There were no shortages of people to help the British. So the people of this country have hanged the boys of this land for a little money or promotion. Even after becoming Pakistan, there was no shortage of agents or brokers - who were willing to give everything to West Pakistan for rewards. There is no shortage of these traitors in this country to shoot in the chest or imprison those who are fighting for the interests of Bengal. How can the golden country be saved from traitors? 

There is a long discussion about the quality of treatment in prison hospitals. Some doctors are good and some are evil. There are also examples of hypocrite people. A Maulana Sahib raped his student. 

Hobby and works 
Bangabandhu even plays the chef. He is seen cooking what he feels is a khichuri (hotchpotch dish). He used to feed chickens for a small yellow bird to wait, to alleviate his loneliness. 

He did gardening (decorating flower garden), planted rose plants and took care of it. Flower trees have got new life. He even wrote about yellow birds, pigeons, crows living inside the jail. These everyday works of the leader are depicted in the book. 

International Affairs & Foreign Policy 
In the diary, Bangabandhu commented on international politics, foreign relations of different countries with Pakistan, loans, aid, etc. He said the Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully in the interest of the people of both India and Pakistan. He further blamed India, saying: "India should have reached a peace agreement between the two countries through a referendum recognizing the right of the people of Kashmir to self-determination." 

Bangabandhu was shocked at the disrespectful process of seeking US aid after the Pakistan-India war and wrote: it has insulted the people and the country and the beggar has no respect. ” He was rather inclined to establish relations with Soviet Russia. He voted for the establishment of socialism in the interest of the people. However, he was dissatisfied with China's role. 

Health & Illness 
He was in solitary confinement (living alone); no one is allowed to mingle with him. Those who are not victims do not realize how difficult it is to spend time alone. Sometimes, he broke down in the pain of loneliness. He also became physically weak, but by capitalizing on his mental strength, he wrote. Moreover, he had gastric, eye problems and piles 

Summary of the book that you will find: the prison-life of Bangabandhu, prison-torture, the unknown words of the prisoners, the words of the criminals, why they set foot in this criminal world. Similarly, the political situation at that time, dictatorship of Pakistani government and their ruthless repression, the misery of the Awami League leaders and workers in jail, the condition of the press & media, the brutal torture of the ruling group, the attempt to divert the 6-point passion, conspiracy, betrayal, father-mother affection, the emotional state of prisoners meeting their children, happiness of the insane in prison. Laughter-tears are presented with absolute compassion and sensitivity. 

The writer of this book is not a novelist or columnist but he is a pure politician. He talks and writes from his heart. While in jail, Banga-mata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa (Bangabandhu called her Renu) inspired him to write about his imprisonment. These writings were later collected and preserved with great effort and they became a unique document of history. The book is basically a printed version of those writings. 

This is a rare opportunity to see Bangabandhu's handwriting in the book. Besides, at the end of the book, the political life of Bangabandhu from 1955-1975, a brief biography of Bangabandhu, brief descriptions of various personalities in the annotations, some rare pictures of Bangabandhu family and 6 points are given in detail. 

One can understood by reading the book how many conspiracies and betrayals; how many thorny paths and how much pain & bleeding Bangabandhu has tolerated to give us a country and, a national flag. The great self-sacrifice has been shown by sacrificing his life and youth for the betterment of the destiny of the Bengalis. 


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