Jahangir, Birsrestha Mahiuddin

Jahangir, Birsrestha Mahiuddin (1949-1971) an officer in the army Engineers Corps and a martyr in the war of liberation. Mahiuddin Jahangir was born on 7 March 1949 at village Rahimganj in Babuganj upazila of Barisal district. His father Abdul Motaleb Hawlader was indifferent of worldly interest and was devoted to the culture of mystic and spiritual songs. Mahiuddin had his early education at Patarchar Primary School of Muladi. He passed Matriculation examination in 1964 from Muladi Mahmud Jan Pilot High School, and H.S.C in Science group in 1966 from Barisal BM College.

Birsrestha Mahiuddin Jahangir

He then got himself admitted in B.Sc (Hons) in Statistics in the Dhaka University. While a student in the University, Mahiuddin Jahangir was selected as a trainee officer cadet in the 15th short service course in 1967, and joined Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul as a cadet. He obtained commissioned rank in the Engineering Corps in 1968, and joined 173 Engineer Battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 3 December 1968. Between 1969 and 1970 he completed the basic course training at Military College of Engineering (Risalpur) and then Officer Weapon (OW) Course-13 from Infantry School of Tactics. He was elevated to the post of Captain on 30 August 1970.

During the War of Liberation, Mahiuddin Jahangir was working in the 173 Engineer Battalion at Saiydur Sharif in Swat. With an avowed object of joining the War, Mahiuddin along with three of his fellow officers, Captain Salauddin, Captain Shahriar and Captain Anam managed to escape from their station on 3 July, and after a perilous journey through the inaccessible hilly tracts and the river Munawar Tayi crossed the border near Sialkot, and joined the liberation war. Mahiuddin Jahangir was posted as commander of the Mehdipur (in Maldah district) sub sector of sector 7 of which Lieutenant Colonel Kazi Nuruzzaman was then the sector commander.

Mahiuddin Jahangir had displayed extraordinary skill and valour in some of the successful operations against the Pakistan army like Kansat, Argararhat and Shahpur campaigns, and was consequently placed in charge of the contingent of the freedom fighters deputed to capture Chapai Nawabganj in Rajshahi (December). The Pakistan army had already constructed bunkers with five-feet-deep communication trenches on the bank of the Mahananda covering an area of three kilometres for the protection of the town of Nawabganj.

Captain Mahiuddin along with Lieutenant Qayyum, Lieutenant Awwal and nearly fifty freedom fighters took position (10 December) at Bargharia on the west of Nawabganj town. At the dawn of 13 December, he along with a platoon of freedom fighters crossed the Mahananda through Rehaichar on some country boats and surprised most of the trenches of the enemy. The Pak army then retreated, took position in the town of Nawabganj and continued machine gun firing from the roof of a building thereby obstructing the advance of the freedom fighters towards the town. At this critical juncture, Mohiuddin planned to destruct the machine-gun of the enemy, and with a SMG on his left hand and a grenade on the right he secretly seceded from the camp. He crossed the road by crawling, quickly rushed towards the building and instantly threw the grenade on the machine-gun point. The explosion that followed caused the machine-gun point totally dismantled. But an enemy bullet from a nearby two-storied building struck Mahiuddin on his forehead, and he succumbed to death (14 December).

Undaunted the freedom fighters renewed their attacks at nightfall, which continued till dead of night when the Pak army was compelled to retreat in darkness from Nawabganj town. The dead body of Mahiuddin was traced at dawn, and he was laid to rest at the premises of the Chhota Sona Masjid.

In recognition of his valour and sacrifice in the War of Liberation, Mahiuddin Jahangir was honoured with the highest state insignia of Birsrestha. Some institutions and relics still recollect the memory of Mahiuddin Jahangir, such as Birsrestha Shaheed Captain Mahiuddin Jahangir College (now at Swarupnagar, Chapai Nawabganj), Birsrestha Jahangir Gate (Dhaka Cantonment), Birsrestha Jahangir High School (at Rahimganj), Birsrestha Jahangir Sarani (a road in Rajshahi), Birsrestha Jahangir Ferry (BIWTC), Birsrestha Jahangir Club (Chapai Nawabganj). [Muazzam Hussain Khan]