30 students are painting murals on the boundary wall of a high school to mark the Brahmanbaria Free Day on December 8
Samia Zaman, a second year student of Brahmanbaria Government Mohila College, learned about the Language Movement of 1952 and the Liberation War of 1971 from reading books as a child.
Her family also taught her about the supreme sacrifice made by the Bengali people to solidify Bangla's status as one of the state languages, and to free the country from the oppressive Pakistani rule through a gruesome war.
Picturing the epic struggle of the Bengali people against tyranny, Samia was chosen to portray a scene from the Liberation War with strokes of paint and brush on the boundary wall of Brahmanbaria High School.
Samia is not alone in her endeavor, as more than 30 students are also painting murals on the wall to mark the upcoming Brahmanbaria Free Day, set to be observed on December 8.
Pakistani forces, aided by collaborators, perpetrated a massacre in Brahmanbaria on December 6, 1971. They committed the carnage just before leaving the district in the face of strong opposition from freedom fighters and their allies.
On that day, the Pakistani occupation force brutally executed 50 intellectuals and other people, including KM Lutfor Rahman, a professor of Brahmanbaria College, on the bank of the Kurulia canal.
During their retreat, the Pakistani forces torched many buildings in the town, including the college hostel, the Onnoda School hostel, markets and warehouses. They retreated fully on December 7.
On December 8, freedom fighters and their allies entered Brahmanbaria and declared its liberation from occupation forces.
A Facebook-based organisation named Amrai Brahmanbaria has been organising an annual event titled Rongin Hobe Amader School, roughly translated as "Let our school be colourful" for the past five years to mark Brahmanbaria Free Day.
Under the programme, Amrai Brahmanbaria takes the initiative to remove posters and clean boundary walls of a different school every year, and then organise the painting of murals depicting the Language Movement and the Liberation War on them.
The initiative helps children learn the history of the Bengali people and also helps clean up the school boundary walls.
On a visit to Brahmanbaria High School, this correspondent witnessed sprawling activity.
People were busy painting murals of the nation's historic moments on 45 blocks of the boundary wall, including the Language Movement, the March 7 speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the killing grounds, battles of the Liberation War, letters of 1971, genocide and the refugee crisis during the war.
Painting began on November 28 and will continue till December 7. Members of the Brahmanbaria Shishu Nattom are helping Amrai Brahmanbaria organise the event.
Speaking to the Business Standard, college student Samia Zaman said, "I learned about the Language Movement and the Liberation War by reading books and from talking to my family. I am curious about the war.
"I was asked to paint murals featuring a battle of the 1971 war. I greatly enjoyed doing it."
Abu Sayem Bhuiyan, a student of Bangladesh Gas Field School and College, said, "I am painting a picture of refugees during the Liberation War. I was not expecting to do a painting on this topic. I am doing my best to depict the event, and I am delighted to have the opportunity of doing so."
Falguni Mallik, another student of Brahmanbaria Government Mohila College, said, "I am painting a scene of the Language Movement and it is almost done. I really wish I could have participated in the movement."
Meanwhile, Mostafa Kamal, headmaster of the Brahmanbaria High School, said, "Amrai Brahmanbaria's event strongly represents the spirit of Brahmanbaria Free Day and the Liberation War. The initiative is teaching students the history of the Liberation War through murals."
Every year on December 8, eight eminent people are invited to inaugurate the Rongin Hobe Amader School event at 8:08am. Eight freedom fighters have been invited this year.
Founder of Amrai Brahmanbaria, Bibordhon Roy Emon said, "We took the initiative to make students aware of the spirit of the Liberation War. We want to mark Brahmanbaria Free Day by colourfully decorating the school wall with murals.
"We want to celebrate the occasion with everyone."