WWII soldier in Kishoreganj still receives British allowance

Published : 06 Aug 2022 08:53 PM

Abdul Mannan is a resident of Bara Ajaldi village of Sukhia Union of Pakundia Upazila of Kishoreganj. He was born on June 5, 1915, according to his National Identity Card. As such, he is 107 years old. But he claimed he was more than 115 years old. A hundred years old man still walks by himself. He does not feel the need of anyone's help in this matter. Abdul Mannan, a centenarian who grew up in the mud of the village, participated in World War II. Today he is getting allowance from the British government for this.

Although he had no formal education, he wrote a letter to the then British Prime Minister through a local cleric after World War II. And the then British Prime Minister also replied to that letter. And after the publication of this letter, Abdul Mannan's allowance started.

In front of Abdul Mannan's house in Bara Azaldi village of Pakundia, several people can be seen in a tangle. An old man wearing a black hat, khaki color shirt and black shoes is sitting in the courtyard of the house. He is Abdul Mannan, a British soldier who participated in World War II. And the creation of chaos in the yard is around him. Went there and talked to Abdul Mannan. This hundred-year-old soldier has not forgotten the memory of that time. Although he has no formal education, he speaks in English. He also signed in English. And he received this education through the English.

When asked about the Second World War, he started reminiscing. At one point, he took out all the documents of that time from the old tank in the house. He brought out the wartime clothes. The dress still has various British Army rank medals hanging on it. He still carefully kept three such clothes and various documents from that war. He did not let anyone touch these documents and clothes which were in the trunk of the house for a long time.

During the Second World War in 1942, his father Abdur Rahman went to the local market and heard the British authorities calling for soldiers by beating drums. Those who are interested should go to Dakbungalow in Kishoreganj Sadar and participate. Hearing this announcement, his father asked him to go there. He also went to Dak Bungalow after hearing his father's words. As a result of going late, he went there and saw that many people were standing in line. He was behind. At one point he heard that those who were short in weight or height would not be accepted as soldiers. Hearing this, he secretly drank water three times to gain weight. At one point he survived the weight, medical and height measurements.

He said, then a British officer came to select soldiers from the line. He came and slapped everyone's chest hard. Many fell on the ground after being slapped, but he stood still. Later, they were taken to the border area of Pakistan and China in Hassanabad border for training. There is training. He got fever during training. As he was suffering from high fever for many days, an officer in charge there sent a letter to his father. In the letter, the officer wrote that your son is very sick, he may die at any time, what should we do now? In response to this letter, his father wrote that whether he was found alive or not, the son's body must be found. I sent him to war as a soldier, no question of life or death. Later, after a month of training there, Mannan was given the responsibility of Lance Naik. He had 11 soldiers under him.

When asked how he went, he said, after the training, 4000 soldiers prepared for war from there. A large ship left for Colombo with six months of food. In that ship there were weapons, ammunition and four cannons pointed in different directions. Only India, Pakistan and Indian continental soldiers were in that ship. The ship spent a month in the Atlantic Ocean rehearsing with them. There, the soldiers were told that many people would come to attack this waterway. Let them be shot dead. But no enemy fell before them. After a month they returned to Colombo from the Atlantic Ocean. Then they sank one of Hitler's ships near Colombo. Later they were brought back to Hyderabad from there.

After that they were given 15 days leave. After rejoining after the leave, he left Karachi with the army team towards Myanmar. Facing adverse conditions, their army team reached Myanmar under the Himalayas. He fired at some places on receiving news of the enemy side, but he could not say whether any of the enemy fighters were killed by his fire. Later, after coming to Myanmar and camping, they got the news that the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's when the war ended.

He also said that he did not kill a single person from the enemy side in a face-to-face battle. Because he did not have to fall in the battlefield in front of such a situation. During their first training in combat, four things were explained to them. No one can be slapped, no wealth looted, no sexual abuse of women and no lying.

How did you return home? To such a question, he said, when the bomb was attacked in Hiroshima, the British soldiers gave us to the Indians and they left. Groups of five to seven people were leaving the camp. Then we asked where you go? Then the Indian soldiers hid the truth from us that they were going to quarter.

And the truth is that all the British soldiers were leaving us in the camp and flying to London. Within a few days, all the white-skinned officers were gone. He said the war was actually over after the bombing of Hiroshima.

Then from there we were brought back to Hyderabad. After that we were handed only five hundred taka and sent to Calcutta. From there I was sent home.

I did not get anything in that war. I didn't even get the respect I deserved. Then I wanted to write a letter to the British government. But I don't know how to study. I can speak English but can't write. I only know how to write my own name in English writing. So I surrendered to Altaf Maulvir of our area. He was very proficient in English.

What did you write in that letter? To such a question, he said that it was during the Ershad government. I wrote at that time, when the Second World War ended, your British Army left us and left the command, but I was not told anything. I did not get my rights. After winning the war, the soldiers of your country left quietly without saying anything to us. Now in the city of London they walk with their heads held high. And you did not give me the respect that I deserved because I participated in the war for you. 

He said, I gave one copy of the letter to President Ershad and another to the British High Commission. From there the British Queen answered my letter. The British Queen said, we have asked your President Ershad to look into your matter. I received a letter from the British Embassy. Your matter will be resolved shortly by the British Soldier Board.

He said, at that time I was called to Kacharighat Soldier Board of Mymensingh and was paid 3 thousand five hundred 38 taka 77 paisa.

Then the Kacharighat Soldier Board officer told me that you have built a road from Kishoreganj to London. How did you do this to us? Praising my courage, he said, "You have a lot of courage too." we are surprised After that, when Ershad was arrested, the allowance was stopped for some time. Later three men from Kacharighat Soldier Board of Mymensingh again came and inquired about me. They said, apart from me, they met 75 other people. All the people you meet have to be picked up and seated. And they were surprised to see me. Because I can still do everything by myself. He said, now he is getting regular allowance.

Also I served as Security Incharge in Kaliachapara Sugar Mill for many days. Since then I have been retired but my rights have not been explained to me. Still I get 1 lakh 80 thousand from them.

Abdul Mannan married five times. One of the five wives is still alive. In all, he is the father of 17 children. Among them, six sons and five daughters are alive. All except one son are married. Even they are all self-sufficient.