Karma-Memories of East Pakistan

This is an attempt for Five00 for the month of June 2023.

East Pakistan, 1971- Bengali Liberation War. Pakistani Forces unleash genocide against the Bengali Community and Hindus. It’s hell on Earth.

There I stood, cradling my lifeless mother in my embrace, her body eerily still, devoid of warmth, a chilling reminder of the irreversible loss- that of my entire family.

Dhaka was quite horrible even before the war, but now, the monsters of the Pakistani Army have amplified its horrors.

I remember my life before the war. My family was part of the small Dhaka middle class. My father, Aariv, was generous and gave away large parts of his income to charity. My twin sister, Divya, was pure in every way, so innocent—my mother, Durga, was as sweet as a raindrop.

But then the cyclone came and changed everything. I remember how, on that fateful day in 1970, I looked out of my room window and saw slums and entire settlements torn to bits by the merciless rain. No help arrived from Pakistan, only from India.

The protests in the streets of Dhaka are etched in my memory; men, women and children, some rich, some poor, some Hindu, some Muslim, all chanting, “We want freedom, Pakistan, go home!”

I remember our Independence- 26th of March, 1971. I remember Operation Searchlight. That day, my school was burned to the ground and turned ash. Pakistani forces entered the house, killing my father and sister. My mother and I escaped from a backdoor.

“We will get out of this hell.” asserted my mother.

We ran and ran past pure hell on Earth. This was genocide, and we needed to escape. Somehow, we escaped the city and took shelter in the humble abode of a kind farmer for the night.

I wanted to talk to my mother while sleeping on the makeshift beds.

“Ma, will we get out of East Pakistan?” I asked her, “Will I be able to study? Will we safely escape?”

“Yes,” affirmed my mother, “We are going to be safe! We did good Karma! We are going to India, where we will be safe. You can pursue your passion there, be whatever you want there! God helps good people, son!”

How wrong she was.

The next day, I was abruptly jolted from my sleep by a resounding bang on the door. The door came crashing down. It was the Pakistani Army. The kind farmer tried to halt their advance, but a bullet callously slaughtered him. As soon as they laid eyes on me, a young Bengali Boy, their guns were aimed in my direction. My mother rushed forward, interposing herself, desperately attempting to dissuade them, praying they wouldn’t end her life. Yet, regardless of her pleas, they pulled the trigger anyways.

There I stood, cradling my lifeless mother in my embrace, her body eerily still, devoid of warmth, a chilling reminder of the irreversible loss- that of my entire family.

It only seemed like Karma, to me, when Pakistan lost the War, and we gained freedom.

Author Notes:

The Word is ‘Karma.’ Karma means ‘action,’ and is linked to the system of Cause and Effect, as well as rebirth. Nowadays, Karma is a trend in the west (although none of them can pronounce it correctly.)

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  1. Well researched story.
    The word karma has been incorporated well into the story.
    The language is sensitive, apt for the genre.
    Vocabulary is good, I really liked the Show Don’t Tell – the part where the protagonist holds the lifeless body of his mother.
    Well done. Keep writing and keep sharing.


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