Though they were not so educated, the spirit of freedom in the country touched their heart and they willingly risked their lives to join the war.
Azizar Rahman, son of Ahad Ali Prodhan, is one of them. He joined in the early stages of the conflict, sacrificing his happiness like other freedom fighters.
“When the war began, I was only 20 years old and my indomitable spirit and love for motherland made me fight against the Pakistani military," says Azizar.
His war began under the leadership of Freedom Fighters’ Commander Alauddin Hawaladar in Tetulia, Bhozonpur, Jagdal, Islampur and Thukurbari under Sector 6.
Like many of his comrades, Azizar became injured when a bullet of the Pakistani army pierced his body. Though he was able to recover from the wound, he could no longer hear sounds clearly, as his ears were damaged.
After the area had been liberated on December 6, 1971, Azizar received a certificate as a freedom fighter from MAG Osmani, commander-in-chief of the Mukti Bahini during the conflict.
He had defeated the Pakistani regime, but he could not defeat the poverty that followed. His poor financial condition forced him to sell all of his properties and he now lives aged 65 with his eight family members on a piece of khas land near a canal in Domar under Nilphamari.
The government published a new list of freedom fighters in 2013, but Azizar was not there. He went to door-to-door of the authorities concerned to add his name in the new list. But he could not be listed and that made him frustrated.
“I have sacrificed all my personal comforts and pleasure for achieving independence of the country. But now I have to struggle to earn a piece of bread,” Azizar says.
“A list of many people recently approved as freedom fighters are eligible for pensions and other benefits. But in spite of being a freedom fighter, I am deprived of all rights. I want recognition as a freedom fighter.”
Domar Upazila Freedom Fighters’ Commander Md Nurunnabi said many freedom fighters could not be enlisted in the new list for changing political party.
"Azizar is a gazetted freedom fighter. I hope he will be enrolled in the new list," the district unit Freedom Fighters’ Commander said.