Sixty-year-old war veteran Abul Khair Munshi recently received a pleasant surprise from the prime minister -- a complete single-storey building named Bir Nibas.
When young Munshi from Biswas Bekta area in Tangail municipal area signed up for the Mukti Bahini during the Liberation War of 1971, he did not expect or think of what he would gain if the country won independence.
Like thousands of the country's sons of the soil, Munshi's only concern was to free the motherland from the foreign oppressors at any cost -- be it with his own life. He took two bullets to do this during a frontal assault in the battle of Singulia in Sirajganj on September 18 in 1971.
Forty five years have gone by since injured Munshi returned home where he had been living with his wife, two sons and their wives and the grandchildren in two separate rickety tin-roofed rooms on a small piece of land.
Despite all his financial woes, Munshi, till date, held his head high and did not resort to any unethical means to overcome the situation.
The new red and green brick house, with a concrete roof on top, comes with almost all basic amenities -- two bedrooms, a dining space and a kitchen. The toilet is built adjacent to the main building. There are even a tube well, a cow barn and a poultry cage.
"My heartiest appreciation goes to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for bestowing such honour on me by giving this house to me," Munshi told this correspondent.
Until I received this gift, I struggled all these years, trying to fit in all my family members in the two small tin-roofed rooms, he added.
At the directive of the prime minister, Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) in Tangail is implementing a Tk 12.5 crore housing project for insolvent freedom fighters. Out of a total of 146 Bir Nibas to be built under the project, 117 have already been handed over while 29 are currently under construction, said LGED officials.
Another of the proud recipients of such a Bir Nibas is Asya Begum, wife of late freedom fighter Abul Kalam of Gala village in Sadar upazila.