LAHORE - It was a cold December evening in Multan when I heard the tragic news of Fall of Dhaka. The City was in darkness under curfew. The news caused me to bursts into tears screaming on the big national loss. We were helpless and could not keep Eastern Pakistan with us. This was a great tragedy for people of our generation who have great love for Bengal, its Urdu films, music, literature and paintings. Even memories sadden us, especially on the day of separation of East Pakistan.

These feelings were shared by leading writer, intellectual and teacher Asghar Nadeem Syed who was a student of masters at the time of Dhaka Fall. Creator of famous play “Chaand Garhan”, an Urdu drama serial aired on Pakistan Television (PTV), focusing social injustices in his writings. In most of the plays, he depicts the feudal culture in rural Sindh, exploitation of women, the oligarchic structure in Pakistan comprising politicians, feudal and bureaucracy.

I was a student on the side of progressive writers and was well aware of happenings in last few years. It was not just me but the people of our whole generation loved Bengal. There was no lingual issue – the national language – as a number of Urdu films were big hits at the box office. These movies with extraordinary music made a good business for years. The problems were political that could be resolved by understanding Bengalis and giving them due rights democratically. Sending troops was not a good decision. Instead bringing people of Bengal closer by listening to them and giving them due rights was more realistic option. But it is a pity that the wrong decision was taken at a wrong time that ultimately led to the tragic incident.

It was probably October, 10 months after the Dhaka tragedy, when I arranged Sham-e-Afsana Mehfil in Multan. Late Intezar Hussain was amongst guests and he read out his short story Shehr-e-Afsos. It took him 45 minutes to complete reading and no one could even heard breathing during the period. When he completed the reading, all the participants were in tears. People of our generation could not come out of the shock even till today. We still remember Dhaka University, East Pakistan’s Urdu movies, music and literature.

For our children, both united India prior to the creation of Pakistan and Dhaka fall are part of history. Unlike our generation, they don’t have any emotional attachment with East Pakistan.

On national level, efforts are made to close the chapter of Dhaka fall. May be it is aimed at avoiding scratching wounds. No event is arranged at national level. Instead people mark the day on own way through varying events.