Touch of Atheism: am I a Loser?! (6)

As I was growing up, it was becoming bitterest thing to go to Muktobkhana early in the morning. Going to Muktobkhana means—going to have some strokes of cane on my body. Normally, the Hujus used to hitting us 2 or 3 strokes of cane just to keep Satan away from us. Hujur used to asking us about our daily deeds of yesterday—I mean about saying prayers; if we missed one time of prayer out of five times a day, we were given five strokes of cane, if two times then 10 strokes, if three times then 15 strokes and so forth. If anyone went to Mela (a fair, a festival of Bangla new year), then he/she was given 50 strokes unless he/she got senseless with horrible screaming. ‘You are the children of Muslim parents, why did you go there; Mela is a culture of Hinduism, going there is sin; do you want to go to hell, where you will be burned up with thousand times intensified fire’—the Hujur said. Then about watching television, if anyone watched television, he or she was given 10 strokes; so 10 strokes were very common for me. I asked the Hujur—television is in our house, how can I resist myself watching from television? Then the Hujur said—Allah will not accept any excuse, watching television is sin; where there is a television, Feresta (angel) does not come there; tell your parents to sell the television, otherwise, you better sleep away when television is on. None of us dared to say lie to Hujur, we thought and believed that if we say anything lie to Hujur then anything devastating would be happened with us immediately by the miracle of Allah. Coming back from Muktobkhana, I told my mom—mom you should sell the television because Hujur said if we have television in our house then Feresta (angel) will not come to our house, terrible things will happen with our family and we will go to hell; moreover, Hujur has beaten me a lot because of watching television. My mom said—Hujur said right about that, but what can I do, my son? When your father comes to home, he wants to watch the news; but don’t worry my boy, the part of your body where Hujur has beaten will go to heaven. I did not ask my mom—how come a part of a body will go to heaven? I believed the part of my body will go to heaven where Hujur has beaten.
Feud and fighting one with another family was or is very common in our Bari. Our family was/is comparably sober, my parents did not or do not like quarreling. No family had sanitary toilet in our Bari except our family and Rashid vai’s family. Billal’s father was making a sanitary toilet and he was making a tank of dirt in our land; my eldest uncle wanted to stop him from making tank over there, he started to bicker with my uncle; we all went there to see what’s happened, suddenly, Billal’s eldest brother Jasim came from somewhere and hit my sister Shilpi;s leg with a hard cane of bamboo! Her leg was almost broken. I did not get it—why he hit my sister, she was kid, she was not fighting. Billal’s younger Uncle Jahangir vai brought my sister to Gouripur hospital; we had or have good relationship with him. My eldest uncle wanted to file a case against him in our district court, but Jahangir vai stopped him; he said—Jasim would be punished by village court. But it did not happen.
That year, we had been introduced with a new game that is ‘Cricket’, we could not pronounce the word ‘Cricket’, we used to saying ‘Tiket’. Bangladesh got the status of playing world cup cricket by winning the ICC trophy against Kenya. I got crazy of playing cricket. My eldest sister Yesmin said—Babu you should not waste your time playing that much, you have to study more; you have to participate for Primary School Scholarship Competition. I told my sister—I am not a good student, I don’t want to participate in the competition of scholarship. She said—if you take preparation for this examination then you will be a good student in your high school life. My sister got me introduced with a new high school teacher of mathematics, his name is Mr. Alamgir Hossain; I studied mathematics under his tutorship and I studied English and other subjects under the tutorship of Abdullah sir. There was no least of hope of winning the scholarship, but I participated in the examination. My cousin Mafuz Vai got me to Gouripur by riding his bicycle to sit for the examination. There I introduced with two new boys—Babu and Tazu, both of them are boy of our village, but I did not know them before. Tazu was from Maligaon Primary School and Babu was from Eliatgong primary school. Babu’s family lived in Eliatgong because his father was a banker so he had to go to his office at Chandina; going to Chandian is easy from Eliatgong. But from that year Babu’s family shifted to our village Maligaon. Babu was a very good student.

Gross learning of my Muktobkhana and Primary School life:
Under the torturing and indoctrination of Hujur, I had been able to memorized some verses of Quran, that are required to say my prayers, I learned reading Quran in Arabic; I had completed reading 17 chapters out of 30 chapters. I did not know the meaning of single words of Quran, and it was/is not necessary to know the meaning of Quran. I memorized so many ‘Dowa’ (verses- not directly from Quran) that we should recite before doing our different daily deeds, say—before eating any food, in the middle of eating food, after finishing of eating food, before wearing any new dress, before starting reading anything, before entering to the house, before entering to the mosque, before entering to the toilet, before traveling anywhere, before traveling by vehicle and so forth. ‘Dowa’ means basically doing anything by the name of Allah. I was told by Hujur that we should always say “Dowa" before doing anything, so that Allah can be pleased on us. I was indoctrinated by Hujurs and all others people I knew that only Muslims are the only real human beings, all other religious and non-religious people are pigs and apes; they will be burned up in hell, they will be given worst punishment in eternity life. On the other hand, Muslims will go to heaven, sooner or later, depending on their deeds. Heaven is the place which is made of all happiness, inhabitants of heaven will be given anything they wish to have, they will be given super delicious foods—the taste of those foods can’t be imagined in this physical world. These were my actual learning, my core belief!
Apart from Islamic indoctrination, I learned something from my school’s books. I memorized some Bengali poems. I learned that Bangladesh got its independence from Pakistan in 1971 by 9 months of armed force fighting, 3 million people of our country were killed by West Pakistan; 26 March is our Independence Day, 16 December is our Victory Day and 21 February is our Mother Language Day; Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the founder of Bangladesh. I read and memorized some essays in Bengali about—Cow, Paddy, Our village, Our School and A village market. I learned little bit about the difference between livings being and non-living being, I learned that trees and plants are living being and they eat their food by photosynthesis, I didn’t know what is photosynthesis (in Bengali ‘Salokshngsleshon— সালোকসংশ"লেষন, it was very hard word to remember). I learned that ancient human being used to living in jungle and cave of mountain, they could not speak with proper language, discovery of fire was the greatest invention of ancient human being—all of these were just imaginary story to me. In my mathematics subject I learned about addition, subtraction, multiplication, dividing and simple simplification. I learned that human being had landed on moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong is the man who first stepped his foot on moon; I heard the words of solar system, galaxy, stars and comets—the Bengali meaning of these words did not make any sense to me, all of these were just fiction to me, not real things to realize.