DARSHANA, Bangladesh - Haider Ali, a freedom fighter from Darshana, Chuadanga's Damurhuda Upazila, who once responded to the call of duty and put his life at stake to liberate his nation in 1971, is still waiting to be recognized as a gazetted freedom fighter
Fast forward to November 2021, when the country is celebrating its golden jubilee of independence, Haider is struggling to feed his two kids.
Haider's job as a painter hardly pays him enough to live on, so every day is a struggle for him. He can't use the freedom fighter privileges because he doesn't have official status.
In 1971, Haider, a twenty-year-old from Darshana's Paranpur, enlisted in Sector 8 of the Liberation War. The young gun traveled to India to get military training.
Haider received a certificate from the Majhdia camp after the war ended, signed by Commander-in-Chief of the Bangladesh Army Colonel MAG Osmani, attesting to his participation in the conflict.
"Even though I have the evidence [certificate] that I fought in the Liberation War, I did not get any recognition as a freedom fighter even after 50 years of independence," Haider said.
"I also met with Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque. After going through my documents, who assured to include me on the list of freedom fighters."
"I feel like money is the real issue here. My name could have been on the list of freedom fighters if I had put money into the effort. I am hardly making ends meet with my work as a painter. How would I afford this much money? Although I directly fought the war, I am still not a freedom fighter."
Another freedom fighter Tamser Ali said: "I can testify for Haider. He joined the battle of Bishoykhali with me."
However, it is unclear if Haider will be acknowledged as a freedom fighter in the future. The man, who was willing to die for his country, is now just scraping by.