BIR SRESHTHO FLIGHT LIEUTENANT MATIUR RAHMAN
(October 29, 1941 – August 20, 1971)
Bir Sreshtho, Flight Lieutenant, War Hero
In the annals of the Bangladesh Air Force, Matiur Rahman holds a place of honor as a legendary figure. He was a military pilot who made significant contributions to the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. His accomplishments in this conflict earned him the title of “WAR HERO.” On October 29, 1941, Matiur Rahman was born at 109, Old Dhaka Aga Sadek Road, in his ancestral house “Mobarok Lodge”. He went on to have a remarkable career in the Pakistan Air Force Academy in the year 1961. In recognition of his extraordinary bravery and selflessness in his attempt to defect from the Pakistan Air Force during the war for Bangladesh’s independence, he was given the Bir Sreshtho, Bangladesh’s highest military honor, as a reward.
Life of “Matiur Rahman” At a Glance
Known For: Bir Sreshtho Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman Military Pilot
Years of service: Almost 10 years (15 August 1961 – 20 August 1971)
Born: October 29, 1941
Birthplace: Aga Sadek Road, “Mobarok Lodge”, Old Dhaka
Father: Maulvi Abdus Samad
Mother: Syeda Mobarakunnesa Khatun
☛ Dhaka Collegiate School, Dhaka, Bangladesh
☛ Pakistan Air Force Public School in Sargodha, West Pakistan
☛ Pakistan Air Force Academy (former Pakistan Air Force College), Risalpur
☛ Pilot Officer
☛ Flying Officer
☛ Flight Lieutenant
☛ Instructor pilot
Spouse: Milly Rahman
Children: 2 Daughters
Awards: BIR SRESHTHO, BANGLADESH’S HIGHEST MILITARY GALLANTRY AWARD
Death: August 20, 1971
Dying Age: 29
Death Reason: Airplane Accident
On the date of 22 June 1963, Matiur Rahman was designated as a Pilot Officer from the 36th General Duty (Pilot) Course. He was stationed at the 2nd Squadron of Mauripur Air Base (presently Masroor Air Base) in Karachi, West Pakistan. He successfully completed the Jet Conversion Training on T-33 jet trainers with a mark of 75.66% and was earmarked for Fighter Conversion Training. The training was in F-86 Sabre Jets, which he passed with a mark of 81%. After that, he was posted in Peshawar (in19th Squadron) in lieu of his luminous outcome in the Fighter Conversion Course. He became Flying Officer during the Indo-Pakistani War, in 1965. After the war, he attended the Mig Conversion Course at Sargodha. In 1967, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.
BIR SRESHTHO Matiur Rahman was sixth among nine brothers and two sisters. He was married to Milly Rahman and happily together they had two daughters.
Bangladesh Liberation War Time
Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman performed a valiant act of heroism during the Bangladesh Liberation War by putting his own life in danger. During the war, he smuggled the family of Group Captain Taher Quddus out of the country on a Royal Saudi Arabian C-130 transport plane that was en route to Riyadh. On March 25, 1971, when Operation Searchlight was initiated by the Pakistani military, Rahman was with his family, on a vacation in the village of Ramanagar, which is located in the city of Raipur.
In spite of the fact that Rahman was a member of the Pakistan Air Force, he secretly established a training camp in Vairab for the purpose of instructing Bengali individuals who were interested in joining the Mukti Bahini. He went as far as organizing a small defense force and gathering weapons in order to engage the Pakistani forces in combat. On the other hand, the camp that Rahman was staying in was bombed by the Pakistan Air Force on April 14, 1971. But Rahman predicted the attack earlier and moved his camp before the assault. Therefore, he and his crew were able to avoid injury or death as a result of the bombing. After making valiant efforts to assist in the liberation of Bangladesh, Rahman eventually made it back to Dhaka on April 23, and then he and his family left for Karachi on May 9.
At the time of the Liberation War, Matiur Rahman was an instructor pilot at PAF Base Masroor. He was planning to defect to Bangladesh with a plane to join the Bangladesh Liberation War. On 20th August 1971, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas was scheduled to fly with a Lockheed T-33 jet trainer. Rahman grabbed the opportunity asking to join him. He then jumped into the instructor’s seat. In mid-air, he attempted to hijack the T-33 from Karachi, Pakistan to India to join the liberation movement. Realizing the situation Minhas sent a message to the control tower and struggled with Rahman for control. But unfortunately, the plane missed crossing into India’s airspace and crashed close to the border in Pakistan.
Yawar A. Mazhar, a writer for Pakistan Military Consortium, relayed in 2004 that he spoke to retired Pakistan Air Force Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry about Minhas and that he learned more details not generally known to the public. According to Mazhar, Chaudhry led the immediate task of investigating the wreckage and writing the accident report. Chaudhry told Mazhar that he found the jet had hit the ground nose first, instantly killing Minhas in the front seat. Rahman’s body, however, was not in the jet and the canopy was missing. Chaudhry searched the area and saw Rahman’s body some distance behind the jet, the body was found with severe abrasions from hitting the sand at a low angle and a high speed. Chaudhry thought that Minhas probably jettisoned the canopy at a low altitude causing Rahman to be thrown from the cockpit because he was not strapped in. Chaudhry felt that the jet was too close to the ground at that time, too far out of control for Minhas to be able to prevent the crash.
His family and the government of Bangladesh are unable to visit the cemetery in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where he was laid to rest because it is off-limits to them.
After more than three decades of negotiations, Rahman’s body was finally returned to Bangladesh on June 24, 2006, where it was reinterred in a ceremony that was both highly symbolic and ceremonial. Tasneem Aslam, a spokesperson for the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, referred to it as a “goodwill gesture.” He was laid to rest with complete military honors at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard in Mirpur, which is located in Dhaka
Both his initial interment in a grave in Pakistan’s fourth-class employees’ graveyard and the hanging of his photo at the entrance of Masroor Airbase with a sign identifying him as a Traitor had been a reason for disagreement between Bangladesh and Pakistan for many years.
Yet finally his remains are bought back to its original place for the country he has sacrificed himself.
Rahman received the Bir Sreshtho, Bangladesh’s highest military gallantry award, for his contributions to the state of Bangladesh. This award honors those who have demonstrated exceptional bravery in the face of the enemy and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Depictions of Matiur Rahman's Life and Legacy in Fiction
Matiur Rahman was an important figure in the history of Bangladesh, and his story has been dramatized and brought to life in a variety of forms of media. The realm of fiction has shown a particular interest in his story through the creation of two different works: a docudrama with the title “Ognibolaka,” and a Bengali film with the title “Ostitto Amar Desh.” The former was directed by the renowned Khijir Hayat Khan, and the latter was co-written by Matiur’s wife, Milly Rahman, who also appears in the film. The former film was portrayed by the gifted Bangladeshi film actor Riaz, who played the role of Matiur, while the latter was directed by Khiljir Hayat Khan. Because of the imaginative and skilled minds of these artists, Matiur’s life and legacy have been preserved for all time through the depictions that they have made of his extraordinary story.
Honoring the Sacrifice of Bir Sreshtha Matiur Rahman: Bangladesh Air Force Observes 49th Death Anniversary
On the occasion of the 49th anniversary of Bir Sreshtha Matiur Rahman’s passing, the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) held a memorial service to pay tribute to one of the BAF’s most courageous soldiers.
Through a press release that was distributed on Thursday, the Bangladesh Armed Forces (BAF) provided confirmation of the commemoration and indicated that the heroic sacrifice made by Matiur Rahman during the Liberation War in 1971 continues to serve as a source of pride and motivation for the nation.
The Bangladesh Air Force holds Matiur Rahman’s extraordinary bravery and selflessness in the face of danger in the highest regard, and they remember him with this every day. In his memory, a special milad mahfil was held at each mosque in the BAF. Officers, airmen, and other members of the force gathered there to pray and ask for divine blessings for the departed soul of the individual who had passed away.
An emotional moment occurred in the morning when a floral wreath was laid at the grave of the martyr on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff by the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Administration) Air Vice Marshal A K M Ahsanul Hoque, BSP, ndu, afwc, psc. This was a moment that will be remembered for a long time. In addition, he took part, along with the other attendees, in the solemn Munajat that was held in his honor to commemorate the significance of his contributions.
The celebration of Bir Sreshtha Matiur Rahman was not confined to the Air Force alone; rather, online programs were also organized in schools and colleges to educate young people about his life and the accomplishments that he achieved. The significance of the event was emphasized by the presence of Air Officer Commanding of Bangladesh Air Force Base Bangabandhu, Air Vice Marshal M Sayed Hossain, OSP, BSP, GUP, ndc, and psc. He was also present at the occasion.
Matiur Rahman’s story shows how brave and determined the people of Bangladesh were as they fought for their freedom. Rahman was willing to risk everything to join the resistance and fight for his country’s freedom, even though he faced a lot of trouble and opposition. His bravery and sacrifice will forever be remembered as a source of inspiration for generations to come.