Ibrahim and Shahan were among the thousands of teenagers who fought against Pakistani army and had made major contributions to the Liberation War of Bangladesh
It was dawn and almost everyone was asleep.
Ibrahim Mia knew it was time to execute the plan he had chalked out with Shahan Ali.
The 14-year-old boy tiptoed to the door, opened it and ran out as fast as he could. The boat was ready at the Ghat and he did not want to miss his chance.
When Ibrahim reached the Ghat, his friend Shahan Ali, also aged 14, was already waiting there. They did not waste another moment and secretly boarded the boat and hid under the deck.
It was 1971 and the boys were on their way to India to get military training. They were determined to fight against the Pakistani military and liberate their country.
Ibrahim and Shahan were among the thousands of teenagers who fought against Pakistani army and had made major contributions to the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
In a recent interview with The Business Standard, Ibrahim Mia, now 62, narrated the story of his fight for independence. Back then, he was a student of class nine.
"We made no sound and tried our best to stay out of the sight of the senior trainees onboard," he said, adding that they feared the seniors would not take them along for the training.
Ibrahim and Shahan heaved a sigh of relief when the boat started moving. But the relief did not last long. They were caught by the senior trainees.
"The deck opened and we were pulled out by the senior trainees. They interrogated us and we had no answer to their un-ending questions," said Ibrahim.
"Our schools were closed. People were fleeing for their lives, and no parent would send their children to school. Most of the school buildings had been captured by the military and turned into camps," Ibrahim told The Business Standard.
He recalled the pre-war days while talking to this correspondent.
"We went to the tea-stall located near our school. All the men had gathered there and looked very restless. After a while we heard Bangabandhu's speech which was aired on the old radio. His speech inspired me to fight the war," Ibrahim said.
From that day onwards, the duo was determined to receive military training. They both knew that their parents would never let the boys go to war. Hence, they chalked out a plan to cross the Jamuna river into India.
Ibrahim said that they did not worry about whether they were old enough to fight the war. They were determined to liberate their motherland.
Their enthusiasm and determination surprised the senior trainees and the two juveniles finally made their way to India for military training in Mainkar Char in India.
After their trainings, they joined the war and joined the Abdul Kader Siddiqui's force, also known as Kaderia Bahini.
"On December 8, 1971 we attacked the Pakistani military in Tangail," Shahan recalled, adding that the attack was so strong that the military reeled back and left the area for Dhaka.
The freedom fighters laid siege to their entire garrison in Tangail. They captured Madhupur upazila and a large part of the Dhaka-Tangail highway, blocking Pakistani soldiers stationed in Jamalpur and Mymensingh from entering Dhaka.
"Seven Pakistani ships laden with arms and ammunitions were destroyed during the attacks," Ibrahim also said.
"Indian paratroopers landed on December 11 to secure the Poongli Bridge. The operation cut off Pakistani advance from Tangail towards Dhaka," Shahan recalled.
"They were surrounded by us from all sides," Ibrahim said, beaming with joy. After being quiet for a moment he added "Pakistani military surrendered to the Kaderia Bahini on December 11, and hence Tangail was liberated".
"When we heard of Tangail's liberation, we were lost in rapture, forgetting the sorrows of losing dear ones and the ordeal we had gone through," Shahan said – as another tear of joy rolled down his cheek.