Thursday, August 22, 2019 | ePaper

Brig. Gen. Jamil

An Epitome of Courage

  • Print
Enayetullah Khan :
[On a night when many brave souls hesitated, Jamil did not waver. It was the supreme test of courage and honour - and he passed with flying colours. In 2010, Jamil was promoted posthumously to the rank of Brigadier General, and awarded the Bir Uttam in recognition of his valour as he was killed trying to save Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib on the fateful morning of August 15, 1975, writes Enayetullah Khan.]
In the dawn of August 15, 1975, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made one of his final phone calls to his military secretary Col Jamil Uddin Ahmad. He had been attacked, Bangabandhu told Col Jamil, and the residence on Road 32 was surrounded. Then the line went dead.
On a night when conspiracy was afoot and uncertainty gripped the city, and with the country's leadership seemingly paralysed, Col Jamil did not shrink from doing his duty. He called senior officers, including the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Shafiullah, and told them to send in troops. He then ordered the Presidential Guard Regiment, charged to defend Bangabandhu, and headed for Road 32 immediately.
Calmly holstering his service revolver, Jamil tried to reassure his wife and children: "Bangabandhu is in danger. How can I not go?"
"Look after my daughters," was his final request before he mounted his jeep and headed off into the darkness.
Arriving in front of Sobhanbagh mosque, Col Jamil found that the PGR convoy had halted. He demanded to know the reason, and was told that there were army units ahead and that there was gunfire. He tried to convince the troops to march forward. Then realising that time was running out, he got into his jeep and prepared to drive into Road 32 himself.
The valiant patriot was shot dead as he sat in his jeep and embraced martyrdom, trying to save the leader whom he had, like many others, sworn to protect. It was the steadfast adherence to his principles that guided Col Jamil in the final moments of his life. On a night when many brave souls hesitated, Jamil did not waver. It was the supreme test of courage and honour - and he passed with flying colours.
It was not until about 2pm on August 16, 1975 that the family of Col Jamil learnt anything definitive about his fate.
A call came from Gen Shafiullah, whom Col Jamil had asked at dawn to send troops to Bangabandhu's rescue. Mrs Jamil answered the phone and the Chief of Army choked as he broke the news of her husband's death. Bangladesh had lost a true patriot.
A man of extraordinary character, Col Jamil had been held hostage in Pakistan during the Liberation War. But his integrity and professionalism as a career army officer led him to be appointed military secretary to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in an independent Bangladesh.
Gen Shafiullah, who had trained with Jamil at the Pakistan Military Academy, had this to say when remembering his slain comrade many years later: "Jamil Bhai, myself, and the few Bangalee officers who were in Pakistan in those days had a regular liaison among ourselves. That was the time when Bangalee nationalism was at its budding stage.
As members of the majority of the population of Pakistan, we saw it the hard way how small our representations had been in the armed forces. Whenever we met, we used to talk about this. Jamil Bhai's sense of nationalism was the strongest among us, and at times he would burst out in anger and desperation."
In 2010, Jamil was promoted posthumously to the rank of Brig General, and awarded the Bir Uttam in recognition of his valour as he was killed trying to save Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib on the fateful morning of August 15, 1975.
That the recognition was so late in coming is a sign of the polarisation of our country, where even supreme act of courage and sacrifice are seen through the lens of partisanship. For the nation it's a belated reminder of the man's greatness. And it also is a time to reflect on what the actions of this true hero mean to Bangladesh's history in general.
"Jamil's soul will be in peace and I will also die in peace," Jamil's eldest daughter Tehmina Enayet said. "My father was an honest officer. I'm proud that my father sacrificed his life for such a great leader."
Brig Gen Jamil's deeds outlive his mortal existence. He answered his country's call, and did not hesitate to lay down his life in the line of duty. When the nation stood at a crossroads, Brig Gen Jamil displayed the moral courage that marks a great soldier and a true hero.

(Enayetullah Khan is Editor-in-Chief, Dhaka Courier and United News of Bangladesh - UNB).

More News For this Category

Muhith can't be blamed, he is part of the system

National Board of Revenue has allowed former finance minister AMA Muhith to release an imported car under the duty-free scheme meant for the Members of Parliament. The NBR on

We have to see positive results in our relations with India

INDIAN External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday reconfirmed his government's stance on most-hyped Teesta water-sharing treaty that remained "unchanged" and "mutually acceptable formula" for sharing water of 54

Readers’ Forum

Departure is the regular routine of nature. Someone before, someone after. The mortal body mixes with the soil and with it, one has to tempt to pull from all

Equity In The Workplace

Taslim Ahammad :Equality in the workplace helps bring together workers from all different backgrounds, and lays all perspectives on the table. It promotes company networking, boosts morale, and builds

Kashmir Dispute

Mohammad Amjad Hossain :Unsolved Kashmir issue has flared up again following Indian administration of the BJP revoked Indian Constitutional Article 370 dislodging special status to Jammu and Kashmir without

Rohingya repatriation shouldn't be delayed

THE much complicated Rohingya repatriation process is set to begin on Thursday, around 10 months after the first attempt failed as the refugees refused to go back without assurance of

DCCs' dengue drama

AS Bangladesh, especially the capital is reeling under massive dengue outbreak, mobile courts run by Dhaka's two city corporations are penalising the residents keeping public places and government establishments hosting

Co-operative Farming

Md Bayazid Khan :The news that broke across the country recently is about a frustrated farmer who sets his paddy plants ablaze out of frustration of low price has shocked

Pre-primary Education

Gazi Md. Abdur Rashid :Pre-primary education is education that focuses on educating children from the ages of infancy until six years old. Pre-primary Education means that a enjoyable education preparation

Eid homegoers most sufferers this year

AMIDST the collapsed train schedule, transport shortage and allegations of extra charges on buses, people are suffering most while returning after celebrating Eid to their workstations, particularly Dhaka. Most trains