During the liberation struggle, many Hindus in Bangladesh were forced to convert to save their lives. Fearing for his life, he had to spend his days with a Muslim identity. The family of Sachindra Chandra Aich had to go through a similar horrific experience in 1971. English teacher Sachindra was recognized by everyone in the city as Sachin Sir. At that time he was a teacher of English at Mymensingh City College.
Sachindra Chandra Aich told BBC Bangla that after March 25, killings of Hindus and members of the Awami League and arson in their homes started in his city as well. All the members of the Hindu community were suffering from this. Then they went to the villages.
“At the beginning of the war, on March 31, we all went to Shivrampur village. After staying in the village for a long time, the money ran out. Then with the help of my Muslim friends, I returned to the city. I stayed at the house of Muslim students.”
- Conversions to save lives and jobs
Despite being working in City College, Sachindra was not able to go there due to being a Hindu.
“The headmaster who was there at that time said that how will you come to school? Those who are local, those who are Bihari, they cannot tolerate Hindus.”
“That’s why even after not forcing anyone, we were forced to go to Badi Masjid and convert to Islam, to save our lives and jobs. After that I started going to the job.”
At that time he, his wife, parents, sister – all had converted to Islam.
His sister Kanan Sarkar told BBC Bangla, “We had to face some problems even after converting. Due to various pressures, we had to change our religion. Pressure means that no one put pressure directly. But such circumstances had arisen around that it was forced to convert to religion.
“The Pakistanis were searching madly to nab one of our relatives. On meeting him, he said that if you want to live, then become a Muslim. I have also become a Muslim.”
“Then we were in the village. Later we moved back from the village to the city. Even after coming to the city, we could not come out of the house. Even my elder brother was not able to go to his school job. All four On the other hand, it was being told that we could not leave the house without making Islamic cards. We were trapped inside the house. Then saw that there is no way, how long can we stay in captivity like this?”
After this explained to the parents. Stay alive first, then the accounts of religion will be seen. After that we converted..
- We were supervised even after conversion
The Kanan government says that even after the conversion of religion, those people did not get complete peace.
“Even after that, it is not that we were able to live completely in peace. There were all kinds of pressures. Like once the news came that our younger brother would be caught. Then we ran to many people. “
He told, “During Ramzan, women used to enter our house in herds. They used to overturn our food, rice dishes. They used to say – hey you guys do not fast.”
It is considered very important for married Hindu women to wear sindoor. But from then till the country became independent, those people had stopped applying vermilion.
Sachindra Chandra Aich told that even after becoming a Muslim, he had to live in different places by changing houses. At that time he had to hide in the house of various Muslim friends. Valuable gold ornaments had to be kept hidden in their homes.
To prove himself a Muslim, he had to offer prayers in the mosque.
At that time Sachindra Aich often had to go to the mosque to offer prayers to prove that he was a Muslim. Although he did not know much about it, but he used to offer prayers after seeing others in the mosque.
“On the first day he taught me to wash my hands and feet. My student, he said, ‘Sir, after seeing others, you should get up accordingly.’ Then every Friday he used to go to the mosque, on some day he has also offered prayers five times.
He said, “During Ramadan, he fasted for the first few days. After that I could not do it. So when I used to go out I was always without food.”
He got an identity card after he started going on a job as a Muslim. They often had to produce a Muslim identity certificate at checkpoints in different parts of the city.
“Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ ‘
- guilt of converting
Sachindra Aich said that the day the country became independent, it seemed as if we got our religion back.
He told, “As soon as the country became independent, Muslim women who were around came running and applied vermilion on the foreheads of my wife, mother and sister. We became Hindus again.”
Kanan Sarkar said, “The day after Mymen Singh got free, we returned to our city house. On that day our landlord’s wife brought a box of vermilion and put vermilion on my mother and my forehead.”
“Like we forgot the guilt of converting for a moment. With the independence of the country, we got our religion back.”
He said that to return to Hinduism, they did not need any religious rule, law or any kind of atonement.
Sachindra Chandra Aich said, “If the country was not independent, we might not have found our existence.”