Chariot of Life
Liberation War Politics & Sojourn In Jail
Chariot of Life is an engaging memoir of an intrepid adventurer over a checkered career, uncommon to many. For Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, his sunny youth was caught in the vortex of Movement for Bangladesh and then consumed in the War of Liberation. He served his motherland well and, as a soldier, was decorated for gallantry as Bir Bikram.
And yet this book is beyond an autobiographical account of his life. It is a history, eyewitness accounts of those breathtaking events that led to the ceremony of the Proclamation of Independence and swearing-in of the first ever Government of Bangladesh in April 1971 at Mujbnagar, informing the world of the birth of a much awaited independent nation. As a key organizer of the momentous events, Chowdhury was part of that phase in national history. Indeed, he contributed to making the history
Chowdhury goes beyond the war that shaped and reshaped life for the Bengali nation and the bloody history that took away our innocence—the imposition of emergency in 2007 by an unconstitutional government was the last nail in the coffin. Chowdhury oscillates between his accounts during the liberation war and draws contrasts to the time spent unjustly in prison during the imposition, shares a chronicle of uncertainty, the unknown timeline of freedom, anguished at being mistreated by a country that he loves unremittingly and the continuous attempts to impose a prejudiced verdict on him and no less than a former Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina.
Yet he remains resolute in belief in justice and an abiding faith in God’s deliverance. His fellow cell mates educate him, poignantly though, of the inner working of the judicial system.
Along the way, the author, privileged of sitting next to Sheikh Hasina in the dock, recounts briefly though, her dauntless political journey, her many trysts with fate and her indomitable belief in the destiny of Bangladesh.