Holding hands -Nawra Mehrin
Holding hand is a sign of affection and love, ethics and morality, love and companionship, unity and spirit. I feel that it is a symbol far stronger and greater than any other motivational emblems of social change or revolution. Being born as a woman in a country which holds a rich history of a War of Independence with Pakistan, “holding hands” is of special significance to me.
The women of Bangladesh took part in the fight for their language alongside men in the war in 1971. Through unison, the large scale population of the country had fulfilled their aspirations of freedom and the role of women in various sectors of the war cannot be left out. Women were there on battlefields, they were at training camps, rearing children at homes, taking care of the sick and wounded in medical camps, supporting the freedom fighters with food, shelter, money and clothing; they were subjects of sexual abuse from the war rivals and still survived to pass on their stories to the future generations. This is an exemplary story of unity that not only every Bangladeshi citizen should bear in their minds and hearts, but the entire world community should preserve for their children to know and learn.
After about 39 years of the bloodshed, Bangladesh still stands by the identity that her freedom fighters have given her. However, thanks to social perspectives, mores, taboos and stereotypes, the role of women in the war history is left neglected. It is time such perceptions are changed and women are recognized as pivotal factors in the cause and strength behind achieving this nationwide freedom that speaks to the world community of our national spirit and ability to “hold hands.” Only a woman can be a selfless friend, a daughter, a wife, a mother and also an asset for its nation and the world.
As a representative of Bangladesh, I salute all those mothers of the nation who have shared with us tales of their endurance, courage and bravery.