Monthly Archives: August 2014

PAF Chasma to Karachi & repatriation : Syed mohd. Saleh uddin

PAF Chasma to Karachi & repatriation

Syed mohd. Saleh uddin

The authority of the camp to keep us busy arranged Cricket, Football etc games. A group named Pancha Pandab played cricket and under the leadership of Sgt. Muso (thus named as the Sgt kept thick Mustachio) gathered under a tree to discuss about communism. Most probably the name of the Sgt was Akbor (not sure). I have forgotten the name of the Pandabs. However they were satisfied about what they were doing. Sgt. Alamgir with few of his friends used to play tennis. There was a very good tennis ground. Since after publishing a Wall magazine Cpl Baki bhai had find no other important job he was seen walking with his met Ansar. Intelligentsias Samad, Anis, Sulaiman etc had their own way to pass time. They all had also some kind of life related socialistic idea but I doubt literally they had any idea about that ideology. Now Baki bhai is not among us. May Allah bless him! His dismissal from life is my sorrow specially. After retirement from the BAF he was serving in the Bangladesh Biman where he had natural death. In other stories I told you about Commando Cpl. Sadiq, Sgt. Rashid, Kobi Ahsan. I did not mention the names of Aftab who was my entry fellow and class mate in the Tejgaon Poly technique High School, Dhaka (SSC 1968). They and few others were the prey of a misshapen in BAF and were sentenced to death probably in 1978. May Allah forgive them and bless them in the next life! Such deaths are always sorrowful for individual and family.

In Chasma camp when we heard that we are going to be repatriated soon, we burst into joy. In due date in December 1973 we started moving again by train to Karachi for repatriation. Party by party we were moving. It was joyous day for the party. From Mianwali to Karachi cantt was a long journey. In Karachi the shade of big round shape mosque of DOHS made reflection in my mind. It was in the way of our first journey to PAF Korangi Creek. It was an eye pleasing mosque. Such mosque is now we have in Dhaka cantonment. In my old age when I go there for any purpose I look at that and go back in my youth of 1970. I said my prayer in that mosque of Karachi for few waqt (times). Now also the mosque of Dhaka cantonment attracts me.

Few days we were in the PAF base Drigh road, Karachi. It was December 18, 1973 we all who were living in one room took our lunch together. For weight and balance problem of the aircraft we had to leave in the room our trunk and extra goods. PAF trucks were waiting for us to carry us to Karachi airport. We came out of the room. I pulled the door and closed that as if it was closed for us forever. Our aircraft took off. It was moment of great joy for us. The aircraft was Royal Air force Military passenger aircraft. Its name was Britannia. After taken off its cabin crew a Cpl of Royal Air Force came forward to help us. He did his duty politely.The aircraft reached at its required height. Then that went to its level flight. It was moving towards Bangladesh. Under its wing was Karachi. The people of Bengali Bastis were leading their uncertain life. In my memory a family of Piara chacha came. He had a wife and 2 or 3 three children; they all lived in a Basti of Korangi. Now we know till today their heirs are living there. Very less out of them could be repatriated. Their numbers day by day were increasing. By the news paper we come to know their number now is not less than 16 lacs. Their fate now is like non Bengali in Bangladesh. Who knows will they able to return to Bangladesh or not! Wish their best of life. Let them be happy where ever they are.

Our aircraft crossed the Pakistani sky border. Flew over Delhi, Calcutta and then entered Bangladesh crossing Indian sky border. Duly we landed in the Tejgaon Airport, Dhaka. We joined the BAF. Tears of joy were in the eyes of everybody. Though we were given leave the BAF authority followed all the procedure to send us leave. After leave I joined the no-3 squadron of BAF. There I had to work in the VIP Kite of Bango Bandu named Balaka. There other kites were a DHC-3 otter which fought in the liberation war against enemy and Antonov -26 Military transport aircraft. In December 1976 I joined in the Army Education (AEC). There I served in the Army School of Education and Administration for few years. It was also a joy for me. There I had a chance to work under officer like Commandant Col. Ain uddin, CI Maj. Anwar and Maj Nuruzzaman. Then Director AEC was Col. Shamsul Islam. Col. Ain uddin or most probably Col. Shawkot (if my memory is not weak) were very cultural minded. Once on conclusion of a RTOC course in 1980 or 1981 there was arrangement of ‘Moshaira’. Where RT i.e. trainee religious teachers of the Bangladesh Army had to recite four lines poetry or rhymes. In Pakistan such Moshaira was very popular. There culture loving people gathered together in a place that might be under a tree. Small poetry after poetry was recited of the famous poets or written by some one of the gatherings. They had to recite any poetry under given conditions. I am citing an example: “ Koncor chun chun kar mohal banaka, / chosing good stones (brick) and making home, Koha log Ghor Hamara / people say our house, Nehi ghor tera / not your house, Nehi ghor mera / not my house, Ratko kora chria basera/ there live birds at night.” Etc. I am giving another example without giving its meanings: “ Deenki Baghini; Raatki Mohini; Pol pol kor loho chosa; Fer vi dunia Pagol ho kar;Baghini posha.” It was written by a Hindi poet and the former one is written by an Urdo poet. Names of none is now not in my memory. Now by four lines poetry written by Nurjahan the daughter of Moghul emperor Shahjahan in her deathbed I like to conclude this Moshaira chapter: “Ber mazara/ in my grave, Ma garima/ I am poor woman, Nai Cheraga/ no light, Nai gola/ no flower, Nai pora/ will not burn, Porwana sujat/ wings of flying ant, Nai sada a bulbula/ Bulbul (a kind of bird of Robin species) will not sing.

Above officers were great men. I do not know now where they are. I came to know on retirement the rank of Col. Ain uddin was Major General and other three officers were Brigadier General. My heartfelt respect for them and I expect their Dua. In my instructor life in ASEA I had many inspirations from them. During my period there I remember one trainee officer Major Nurun Nabi. He has retired as a colonel. Now he is serving the nation with his Mile Stone School and College. He now also is my source of inspiration. Whenever I go to him with my publication, he never hesitates to purchase my book for the college library. He is great for his present work as Mile Stone is actually a mile stone in the education sector in Bangladesh.

Lahore to PAF Kohat : Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

Lahore to PAF Kohat

Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

In February 18, 1969 I travelled by PIA from Dhaka to Lahore. It was my first journey by an aircraft. Our aircraft landed in Lahore at about evening. Here in the joy there was a sorrow of living home was hidden in heart. Before flight from Dhaka in the airmen mess we all the recruits were issued a blanket and a sweater. We did not understand its reason. When we came out of the aircraft and given our first step in the gangway scorching cold wave made us clear the mojaja (secret) of the blanket and sweater. So, hurriedly in the airport we wore the sweater. In the flying aircraft the dealings of cabin crews, their supplying of food and drinks, chocolates and other entertainments also charmed us. From the windows of the aircraft flying clouds below and other phenomenon were events of joy no doubt except little headache and tendency of closing ears due to high altitude. Some also vomited. Many face such problems due to high altitude.

From Lahore Rail Station our train journey began. There also we had few occasions of joy and sorrow. In our room a group of Poly tech technique students also travelled. Soon they became our friends though languages of each other were little known. They purchased food like pakura and fruit like malta, keno and tried to entertain us. In Lahore rail station pakura, fruits etc were sold by vendors. Pukura was prepared hot in the van and used to supply hot shouting Pakura, pakura….! Some of the students probably could sing. Someone started singing in unknown language to us. I made request to sing a Kawali the very popular songs of Pakistan. Someone started, “ O- lal mera pate rakhio bala.” By next two or three stations students got down. Till they were in the train we were in immense pleasure. Kohat was long away from Lahore. Night was increasing. Only sound of the high speed train was heard. Till advancing towards the north cold was gradually increasing. Our blanket helped us to sleep but at interval i.e. sleeping and its break and again sleep.

We did not know when Mari, Islamabad etc area gone back. At about 8 or 9 o-clocks (AM) the train stopped in a station. I have forgotten the name of the station and reason of our getting down. Did we change the station? My memory failed to help me. However that might be a junction. But around us there were many Pakistani students. They were also moving towards Kohat. At that time ISSB center for West Pakistan was there. They were going to face ISSB with a dream to become officer in the Defense Forces. They took us to be also ISSB candidates. They were laughing, gossiping and passing their time. Why I became emotional it was not clear to me. I failed to check my tear. Was it sorrow of leaving home or something else! Again train started. As that was not local train, things were going back fast. It ignored less important stations. Some where it entered tunnel of mountain and came out in the plain. Most probably we crossed the bridge over Jhelum River. Things of beauty were running back. In the two sides harvested fields. Many event of joy soon passed back. In some place girls seen on the back of buffaloes, somewhere man on the back of donkey, somewhere cattle were walking from one bush to another bush to graze etc. Hod–Hod ( a type of bird) seen fly and sat and again fly. It’s the nature of this type of bird. But that gave us pleasure. This bird is like big Wood peckers of Bangladesh.

Again after the noon we saw a hill in front of us. Gradually it became clearer. The train stopped in a station. It was Kohat. A big trailer truck was waiting there. A smart looking person came there to receive us. The hill seemed hanging over the station. We looked at that. A command came, “ get in the Queen Mary” “Hurry up” etc ( exact commands now is not in memory). Later we came to know the smart good looking Commander was Bengali GCI Cpl. Kamal. Next ten months (with one month extension) he commanded us in the Parade ground. His harsh Commands to somebody were not joy but sorrow. Once I spoke with him in Bengali. He shouted (rest I will not tell you as it was very good bull sheeting). In defense forces everyone takes it easy but it was my sorrow. I never tried to speak Bengali with him in my Kohat life till the initial training was over. After training I saw his soft heart. He spoke in Bengali with us. By the by, once I went a shoe shop in Kohat market. I saw Cpl. Kamal was also purchasing shoes or just choosing. He saw me and told me, “If I choice a pair of shoe for you wills you buy it?” I told him, “Yes sir!” It is worth mentioning here that later his choice was liked by many of my colleagues. Was it not a token of his soft heart? To make a civilian a soldier a GCI must be very hard in the field. He did not talk in Bengali with trainees because in PAF training centers communication in English was obligatory.

So, only GCI could show recruits proper path to learn English and air force manner.

Now I feel my skill of writing English to present you my experience is in great extend his gift. Salam to my GCI Cpl. Kamal (he retired as a Master Warrant Officer from the BAF). There I saw the mixed reaction of joy and sorrow among other trainees also. For the job they were happy but for hard training, extra drill and military battle practice by night after hard work throughout the day disheartened them. Here is a story of one of my entry fellows, who most probably was either from Noakhali or Comilla made a rhyme. It was as follows: HAIRA TAHARA TAHA, ATO DUR AI GHOR BARI CHARI, TAHA KAMAI KORI, HAIRA TAHARA TAHA! ( O- Taka O-Money, I came such long distance leaving home, Earning money, O-Taka O-money.). It is also a mixed expression of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. He was satisfied because he was provided but had also sighed as he had been far away from his home.

Air force is the way of life. From the beginning this process started. Though airmen are beginner soldiers of the Air force yet authority has every possible care to train them in a way so that their merits can be used to work in the high technology like aircraft, helicopter, radar, radio, arms and many other sophisticated electrical and mechanical devices. So, in our time also during training there were good arrangements of entertainment like picnic, education tour etc. There were also arrangements of games and sports. On conclusion of training of certain entry in ATTS, PAF kohat there was a cultural function. There famous singer of that time Nur Zahan was also invited. Most of the audiences were Panjabi. They were charmed with her and other Gazal singers’ performance. Among the airmen there were few Pusto speaking also. Hence a famous Pusto singer was invited. He started singing with a ‘Robab’ a local musical instrument. The language I did not understand but I liked the music of that folk song. It might be the song of love or sorrow or emotion. But the Panjabis were shouting ‘no more’ ‘no more’. It hurt me and Pusto speaking pathans. It was much dishonor to a great Pusto singer. Once I wanted to quote in mind a Pusto love song. Only four lines of that I can remember now. “Jo entajar kum eshna distargo/ I am waiting for your blue eyes; oli ponashi jomao distargo/ I will be waiting for you for decades together; johur chita gorum donya lotama/ to your beauty world becomes crazi; golu lala oa distargo/ mountain rose is also bleak to your beauty.” I am sorry if my recollection and translation is not correct. Salam to that singer.