I take photographs and I know a little bit about how to take snaps that give the impression that there were more people than actually present. Sometimes people seeing several thousand people packed in a small area think that hundreds of thousands of people are present, especially in Bangladesh.
The few images that I have seen of Gulam Azam's funeral seems to give the impression that a huge crowd attended the prayer, some claiming to be hundreds of thousands and I have seen one absurd claim that millions of poeple were present. Now think about it carefully. Pictures of several thousand people packed in a not so wide road outside the national mosque in Dhaka may give the impression that hundreds of thousands of people were present, especially if no one bothers to think and consider how many people can actually be cramped into that small space. So be aware of figures quoted by anyone.
Image: Participants in Golam Azam Janajah,held in Dhaka 25/10/14
However, the numbers that did turn up at the national mosque and the images of smaller funeral prayes held in different districts in Bangladesh have both hurt and unnerved a section of the people in Bangladesh who cannot understand why anyone would support Gulam Azam in that way when he 'supported or directly participated in a genocide, condoned rapes of hundreds of thousand of women, killings of millions of inocent people and opposed the creation of Pakistan, etc'. The simple answer to this is that his followers, sympathisers and a large section of the poeple in Bangladesh do not believe that he was was war criminal and thats why many in large numbers joined his funeral prayers.
Image: Golam Azam, Ex-Ameer of Bangladesh Jamaat e Islami
Why is it that a large section of the people in Bangladesh do not believe that Gulam Azam was a criminal? There are many reasons, of which, there seems to be three main ones.
First, many people who were present in Bangladesh during the war do not recall the kind of violence taking place as alleged by hard core Bengali Naitonalist, including who did what.
Second, Bengali Nationalists did not bother to collect evidence to show what happened during the war, rather, they rely on the use of arts - in the form of paintings / drawings, poetry, films, TV dramas, stage plays - and political speeches to promote a particular picture of the war without credible evidence and proof.
Third, the War Crimes Trial, which convicted Gulam Azam of many charges of war crimes, does not have any real credibility within Bangladesh and abroad. No matter how often a number of newspapers repeats the terms 'convicted war criminal' before the name Gulam Azam, which will have diminishing returns with their continued usage, because the War Crimes Trial have been and seen to be a political trial by the Awami League, the arch political enemy of Jamaat e Islam, any verdicts handed down by the court are not seen as legitimate and credible.
Although AL gained some short term benefits from the war crimes trial, including showing its prowes with the judicial murder of Kader Mollah there are going to be long term negative consequences for politicising the Bangladesh judiaciary in this way to achieve preplanned and later slightly improvised verdicts.
Some people have expressed deep hurt, disappointment and anger at allowing Gulam Azam's funeral to take place at the National Mosque and allowing his body to be burried in the soil of Bangladesh when he opposed the very creation of the country. I have seen an article where one person apologising to his father Shahidullah Kaiser for failing to keep this soil sacred. I have thought about it and I feel that people do not carefully consider things but allow their emotion to rule.
As far as I know Bangladesh is Gulam Azam's motherland where he was born and lived most of his life. During partition of India Jamaat is said to have opposed the creation of Pakistan but later accepted it. I have not done any research to find out what exactly was the role of Gulam Azam during the partition of India in 1947.
In 1971 he along with his party Jamaat e Islam opposed the creation of Bangladesh and actively supported the Pakistan army to defeat the mukti bahini and prevent a new country being born. Now what he wanted to do was to keep Bangladesh as East Pakistan and keep the Pakistan state as one. This does not mean that he does not have any rights to his motherland Bangladesh where he was born. Pakistan is not his motherland but Bangladesh is so he has every right to be buried where he was born. He did not want to become a Pakistani but keep Bangladesh as part of Pakistan. But after he accepted Bangladesh and worked to promote the hard line orientation of Islam as preached by Jamaat e Islam.
If Gulam Azam commited any crimes then he should have been punished in an internationally recognised fair trial but the War Crimes Trial in Bangladesh, the way it has been carried out, evidence provided by the prosecution, the challenges brought by the defence, Skypegate, kidnapping of Bali, etc. means that no matter how much noise the so called pro liberation people make, their arts will not help in their efforts to demonise Gulam Azam as the top war criminal who is responsible for, directly or indirectly, killing 3 million people, raping 2-400,000 thousands women and genocide during the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971.
They should focus on science, credible evidence and research to prove what they allege about Gulam Azam and others who the Bengali Nationalists consider to be war criminals. Lazy arts will not help their cause any more.
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