Maa is a novel by Anisul Haq. It is available online. It is based on a true story, in fact editor Shahadat Chowdhury termed it as a docu-fiction.

I heared about this novel of Anisul quite a while ago, but somehow couldn’t find it handy to be able to read it. During this Dhaka trip, Maa was in my list of the must buy books.

Last night, after many years, I cried while reading this book.

This books tells, vividly, the story of a mother who lost her only son during our war of independence. Azad was one of the crack platoon guerillas fighting with the Pakistani armies in 1971. On 30th August, 1971, along with other guerillas like Rumi, Bodi, Jewel, Alam, Chullu; Azad was also arrested from his house at Magbazar.

It was saturday night. I finished the book in one sitting. I cried all along.

Azad’s mother lived fourteen years after Azad was taken away by Pakistani armies. When Azad’s mother went to see Azad at Ramna thana, Azad asked her mother for rice. Azad’s mother returned with cooked rice and curry, but Azad was not there anymore. Azad’s mother never saw Azad again. With this deep pain, Azad’s mother never eat one grain of rice for the rest of her life. She also saw Azad lying on the cement floor of Ramna thana. And she never slept anywhere but on cement floor for the rest of her life.

Don’t know why. A unearthly gloom gripped me all over. I kept on crying.

In Ramna thana, when Azad asked her mother’s advice whether he would divulge his comrades names on the face of torture, she asked Azad to remain strong and not to betray his country and friends.

All these sacrifice, all these agony, all these tears, for all these years, —what else can be a better tribute than a prosperous, progressive and peaceful bangladesh?