Bir Srestho, Martyr


Mostafa kamal


Bangladeshi Freedom Fighter

(16 December 1947  – 18 April 1971 )

First, let us go back to the beginning of the year 1971. A nation which is still yet to get freedom from another nation called Pakistan. This still-dependent nation has many young, adventurous, and brave souls who are ready to fight and even give up their own lives for the sake of the country. These pupils do not care if they are just married, or going to be a parents soon, but they are eager to do anything to make this nation an independent nation. 


Even though commoners jumped into the battle against (West) Pakistan, mainly the people who have the official responsibility to defend and secure the nation, the Army persons, went into to fight relentlessly against the (West) Pakistani Armies. It is always difficult to serve in an Army as one has to stay away from families, sometimes during emergency family moments. When an army leaves his house, he takes an oath to win the battle no matter if he is alive or not. 

Many of the armies took such an oath during the Liberation War too.

Today we will be talking about such a Soldier who was one of the valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh and one of the 7 people of the title ‘Bir Sreshtho’, the Sepoy Shaheed Muhammad Mustafa, or as commonly known as Mostafa Kamal. Even though he was just a sepoy in the Bangladesh Army during the Liberation War, his rank can not be underestimated as he was one of the most brave and intelligent soldiers on his team for which he was made the section commander of one of the platoons (units) during the Liberation War. Thanks to his sacrifice along with thousands of other fighters, we can now proudly call ourselves citizens of a free nation, Bangladesh. He had left his pregnant wife back home and went into a battle for the sake of the motherland. This shows his love for the country and his patriotism. It is said that a true Army is someone who loves his motherland more than his mother.


Mostafa Kamal lived only 23 years of his life. Such a young yet brave person had done many things in his short life. He escaped his home to join the army, performed well in the training center to prove his worth and later even fought and died for the country. Tragically, he could not see the face of his unborn child before dying. 


The Bangladesh government posthumously honored him with the highest gallantry award “Bir Sreshtho”. His contributions to the country are not forgotten and are preserved in the history books of the national textbooks and other historical places of Bangladesh. 


Let’s get to know in more depth about the history; his life and contributions to the country. His life story is filled with both heroism and tragedy. As we will explore his story, we can discover and understand why he was given the award of Bir Sreshtho. Indeed he was a Bir to our nation. 

Life of “Bir Sreshtho Mostafa Kamal” at a glance:

Real Name: Mohammad Mostafa

Date of Birth: 16 December 1947

Birth Place: Poshchim Hajipur village, Daulatkhana Upazila, Bhola, Barisal, the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh

Date of Death: 18 April 1971

Place of Death: Daruin village, Akhaura, Brahmanbaria district

Cause of Death: Killed by Pakistani Army

Age: 23

Buried in: Daruin village, Akhaura, Brahmanbaria district

Father’s Name: Md. Habibur Rahman

Mother’s Name: Maleka Begum

Siblings: 5

Education: Up to class 2

Years of service: 1967-1971
Rank: Sepoy

Unit: East Bengal Regiment

Married to: Peyara Begum

Children: 2, 1 son and 1 daughter, both dead

Religion: Muslim

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Awards and Achievements: 

(posthumously) Bir Sreshtho title

Postage Stamp 


East Bengal Regimental Centre Boxing Ring is named after him

Bir Sreshtho Shaheed Sipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium, football stadium, near Kamalapur railway station, Dhaka

Bir Sreshtho Mostafa Kamal Memorial Museum, in Bhola

Books on him: “Bir Sreshtho Shaheed Sepoy Muhammad Mustafa and Comilla Cantonment at Liberation War”, by Colonel Md Farid Uddin, psc, G. 

Early Life and Education:

The young and brave ‘Bir Sreshtho’ Mohammad Mostafa was born on 16 December 1947, in Poshchim (west) Hajipur village under the Daulatkhan upazila in Bhola district, of the then East Pakistan, now in Bangladesh. His father’s name was Md. Habibur Rahman, who was a Habildar (a lower official position of the Pakistani Army). His mother’s name was Maleka Begum. Mostafa Kamal was the eldest child of his parents. That is why his birth brought happiness into his family. But, who knew, 24 years later, this same child will be one of the people who contributed to gain the freedom of the country from Pakistan? Coincidentally, the country for which he sacrificed, got its independence on the same day as his birthday. 


He had 5 siblings. His childhood days were spent with his parents and siblings in the cantonment because of his father’s job. 


He had studied only up to class or grade 2. Despite having a little formal education, he had intelligence, bravery, and presence of mind which helped him later to face the real world. His excellent sense of mind led Bangladesh to eventually win the war against Pakistan. 

Contribution to Liberation War:

Sipahi Mohammad Mostafa had participated in 2 battles against the Pakistani armies during his time as a soldier and in the liberation war. The first battle was quite successful in defeating the Pakistani armies but the second battle took the life of Mostafa Kamal and other fellow Mukti Bahini. Both of the battles were connected and in both the battles, Mostafa Kamal showed excellent bravery. So let us get into details.  


Battle of Gangasagar – Brahmanbaria:

Gangasagar is a place which is situated in Brahmanbaria district’s Kasba Thana, close to Akhaura region. This battle will be remembered for a very long time because of Mostofa Kamal’s incredible sacrifice in the battle. Following the events of March 25, 1971, the 4th Regiment was able to effectively subdue Brahmanbaria. After fighting several lesser encounters, 4th East Bengal took up a defensive position at Akhaura near the river Titash in April 1971. Saidabad was taken by Pakistani squads under the command of 12 Frontier Force (FF), which was moving forward from Comilla. The adversary then made more progress down the railway line and got in touch with Gangasagar’s defense. 

Sipahi Mostofa Kamal served in A Company’s number two platoon. The Pakistani forces arrived at Gangasagar on April 13, 1971, and launched an attack on Akhaura from Brahmanbaria. However, Sipahi Md. Mostofa Kamal’s platoon successfully halted their advance on the southern side of Hawra Nadi. Then, with strong artillery assistance, Pakistani squads swiftly launched an assault against their defensive position at Daruin. Despite doing that, the own squads decisively repelled their onslaught, resulting in the deaths of roughly 75–80 men as well as three Pakistani officers. The Pakistani Brigade Commander enrolled a new battalion and gave it orders to evacuate the village of Daruin at Brahmanbaria within the next two days. 

Now, the battle of Daruin started, where Mostafa Kamal had his ultimate war of life. 


Battle of Daruin – Comilla:

The company “Alpha” dispatched its 2nd Platoon to Daruin village to prevent any unanticipated attacks by the Pakistani armies. Among the section leaders of the 2nd Platoon was Mostafa Kamal. So we can see what an important role he had to play at such a young age. 


The Pakistan Army began moving in the direction of the regimental camp on April 16. They were approaching via the Comilla-Akhaura root railway. At Daruin, the 4th regiment likewise made peace with their position. In the vicinity of a pond, they dug their trenches. Mostafa Kamal occupied the far right spot.

One day later, on April 17, Pakistani armies opened fire. Major Shafayat Jamil dispatched Havilder Munir Ahmed’s number 11 platoon of Delta Company to reinforce the defense at Daruin. However, on April 18,  at around 11 AM. The Pakistani army began to fire. The Pakistanis launched their attack from the west around 1 PM. Mukti Bahini was ambushed by a second Pakistani Army unit from behind. The regiment has therefore decided to withdraw from Daruin. Mostafa Kamal had the duty of providing cover for his fellow combatants. The majority of the combatants withdrew to a more secure location as Kamal continued to fire his light machine gun unrelentingly. He killed or neutralized eight to ten Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan’s advancement was hindered by Mostofa Kamal’s LMG’s continuous fire. However, he was cornered and ran out of ammunition at one point. Shipahi Mostofa’s two remaining battling companions began to retreat, calling on Mostofa to take a step back repeatedly. However, Mostofa would not get out of his trench. He did not get nervous even in such a crisis as he was always a brave person. He knew full well that his allies’ safe escape mainly rested on his continuing to provide support fire. Eventually, Pakistani armies surrounded him and came over within 50 meters of his trench. The army of Pakistan demanded his surrender. Meanwhile, Mostofa used up all of his ammunition. 

Soon his time of death started to arrive.


Mostofa had shown incredible bravery in this dire position and chose not to give up. We know that, since his childhood, he was never a person to give up easily. 


When the opponent came within grenade fire range, he used both of the grenades. Then, yelling “JOY BANGLA,” and “YA ALI”, he leaped from his trench and assaulted the Germans while brandishing an empty LMG. He received a heavy volume of fire during this process. He died from a bayonet; it is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped tool. He lost his life in this combat along with twenty to forty other fellow Mukti Bahini men. He was only 24 years old at the time. If he could live and fight the next 8 months, he would be able to see in his own eyes that his aim and hardship for which he was working for, did not go into vain and the country got its independence. 


To recognize his sacrifice, the village people of Daruin buried him there only and not in his hometown, Bhola. With utmost love and respect, he was buried at the place near to the area where he was killed. There is a tomb in his graveyard as a symbol but due to proper management, the graveyard is not preserved nicely now. It is indeed a sad fact that we do not value the person who had given up his life for the sake of the country.

Awards and Achievements:

One of our national heroes, Mostafa Kamal, due to sacrificing his life for his fellow soldiers and the country, after the independence of Bangladesh, posthumously got the honor of ‘Bir Sreshtho’, the highest military award of Bangladesh in recognition of his utmost bravery. 

Furthermore, a postage stamp was published to pay tribute to him.


Not only Mostafa Kamal was rewarded with the title of Bir Sreshtho, but his name is used as an eponym for a few things in Bangladesh.  


In Chittagong Cantonment, there is a training center of East Bengal Regiment of Bangladesh Army. There, in honor of Bir Sreshtho Mostafa Kamal, the East Bengal Regimental Centre Boxing Ring is now named after him to recognize and honor his excellence in the field of boxing. Certainly, this step has inspired many young current army soldiers in that training center to become boxers like Kamal. 


Furthermore, in Dhaka, near Kamalapur railway station, there is a football stadium which is named Bir Sreshtho Shaheed Sipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium. However, the stadium is simply known as Kamalapur Stadium. It is one of the main venues of the Bangladesh Championship League and Dhaka League.  


Lastly, in his hometown Bhola, a library and a museum together in one building called ‘Bir Shresh Mustafa Kamal Memorial Museum’ is situated. It is one of the attractions of Bhola district. The Government of Bangladesh constructed it on May 3, 2008. In there, Mostafa Kamal’s used clothes, food plates, crests, and medals can be found. Additionally, the library has more than 2,000 books, mainly about the history of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Here, readers of this generation can get to know the real history of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Unfortunately, due to a lack of visitors and proper management, the museum is on the verge of collapse. The location of the museum is at a distance of 3 to 4 km from the district town, which is why not many visitors from other cities know about it or do not want to visit. 


There is a biography book titled “Bir Sreshtho Shaheed Sepoy Muhammad Mustafa and Comilla Cantonment at Liberation War”, written by one of the officers of Bangladesh Army named Colonel Md Farid Uddin, psc, G. He and Mostafa Kamal hail from the same Upazila and also worked together in the Comilla Cantonment. Md Farid realized that Mustafa Kamal’s heroic contributions are not properly reflected in many places. This encouraged him to start to research Mostafa Kamal and therefore he published that book in 2014. 

Personal Life:

The young freedom fighter Mostafa Kamal was brave and adventurous-minded from a very young age. Since his father was also a soldier, Mostafa Kamal had bravery in his blood. He always would take risks and be ready to do anything to achieve his dream and passion. That is why, on 16 December 1967, at the age of 20 years old, he ran away from his house to join the East Bengal Regiment. It is a regiment or a permanent unit of the Bangladesh Army. Because he witnessed the disciplined life of soldiers, he got mesmerized by the military profession and therefore started nurturing the dream of becoming a soldier himself too. However, his father was always reluctant to allow his eldest son, Kamal, to join the Army. Since Kamal was not a person who would give up, he did not hesitate to escape his home and family for the sake of achieving his dream. 


While he was at the 4th East Bengal Regiment, situated in Comilla Cantonment, he displayed some extraordinary qualities. These proved that he genuinely had a passion, dedication, and determination for the military profession. As a result, he became one of the best soldiers in the unit in a very short time.


In marital life, he married Peyara Begum in 1970. At that time, she was a teenage girl, who was only 16 years old and he was a young man 23 years old.  It is reported that when Mostafa Kamal joined the liberation war, his wife was pregnant. Before leaving for the war, he had told his wife to name their child Bacchu (if it is a boy) or Tuni (if it is a girl). 


After joining and while staying in the  East Bengal Regiment, Mostafa Kamal gained fame and popularity among his fellow soldiers as a good boxer. That is why, there, the boxing ring is now named after him. 


As we already know about the biography book about Mostafa Kamal, one of the most interesting findings from the book is that in most places we do not use the correct name of Mostafa. According to the author, our national hero Mostafa Kamal’s birth name is Muhammad Mustafa. But in textbooks, history books on liberation war, and even in many memorials he has been named as Mustafa Kamal, forgetting his actual name which did not have ‘Kamal’. Now obviously a question will arise then how do we get the name Kamal? What is the source of this? To answer this, the researcher and the author Md Farid suggest that probably some people wrongly uttered his name as Mustafa Kamal and later it got popularized in the media. Nowadays, in the military museum, in the memorial library and museum, and some authentic records the correct name- Muhammad Mustafa–has been mentioned. However, both of the names are used frequently. 


 A nation emerges and lives through the sacrifice of its heroes. That is why we can not forget the contribution and sacrifices of Bir Sreshtho Shaheed Sipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal. His bravery gives a lesson to all the youths never to give up and to show courage no matter what the surrounding situation is. Sadly, some of the history is now protected correctly anymore after the 53 years of independence of Bangladesh. However, it is our responsibility to preserve the history of our national heroes, otherwise, our new and upcoming generations will either learn a distorted version of our country’s history or will never know the authentic history. A nation emerges and lives through the sacrifice of its heroes. That is why we can not forget the contribution and sacrifices of Bir Sreshtho Shaheed Sipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal. His bravery gives a lesson to all the youths never to give up and to show courage no matter what the surrounding situation is. Sadly, some of the history is now protected correctly anymore after the 53 years of independence of Bangladesh. However, it is our responsibility to preserve the history of our national heroes, otherwise, our new and upcoming generations will either learn a distorted version of our country’s history or will never know the authentic history.


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