Bir Srestha is the highest gallantry award. After the War of Liberation the awards were introduced and awarded immediately for the extraordinary courage and making the greatest sacrifice in the war. The award was published by the Bangladesh Gazette on 15 December 1973. Seven brave martyrs of the War were invested with this Khetab. They were:
Bir Srestha Sepoy Mohammad Mostafa Kamal:
Early life: Mostafa Kamal was born at village West Hajipur under daulatkhan upazila of Bhola district. His father, Habibur Rahman was a Havildar. He escaped from his house and joined the East Bengal Regiment as a soldier on 16 December 1967, after completing his training he had his posting at the Fourth East Bengal Regiment in Comilla.
Contributions: In March 1971, he was transferred to the headquarters of the Regiment at Brahmanbaria whence he joined the War of Liberation. During the War he had the status of a Lance Nayek, and was posted at village Daruin in Akhaura as a section commander.
Death: The Pak-army launched an attack on the second platoon of the Fourth East Bengal Regiment at village Daruin on 17 April. On 18 April 1971, Mostafa Kamal was killed in a defensive battle against the occupying Pakistani Army in during village Cumilla. His actions inflicted heavy casualties on his enemy troops. He lies buried at village Daruin.
Bir Srestha Captain Mahiuddin Jahangir:
Early Life: Mahiuddin Jahangir was born at village Rahimganj in Babuganj upazila of Barisal district in 1948. He joined Pakistan Military Academy as a cadet in 1967. He obtained commissioned rank in 1968. He was an officer in Sector 7 of the Muktibahini. Mahiuddin Jahangir was posted in the 173, Engineer Battalion in West Pakistan during the War of Liberation.
Contributions: With an avowed object of joining the War Mahiuddin along with three of his fellow officers managed to escape from his station on 3 July, and passing through the inaccessible hilly tracts reached the camp of the freedom fighters at Mehdipur in Maldah district of west Bengal. Captain Mahiuddin along with Lieutenant Qayum, Lieutenant Awal and nearly 50 freedom fighters took position at Bargharia on the west of Nawabganj town on 10 December. At the dawn of 14 December, they crossed the Mahananda through Rehaichar on some country boats and surprised some trenches of the enemy.
Death: 14 December, in a fiercely contested battle an enemy bullet struck Mahiuddin on his forehead and he succumbed to death near Nawabganj. Undaunted the freedom fighters renewed their attacks and compelled the Pak-army to take to their heels. He was buried near Chhota Sona mosque where most of his activities had taken place during the war. The main gate of Dhaka Cantonment is named in his name “Shaheed Jahangir Gate”.
Bir Srestha Mohammad Hamidur Rahman:
Early life: Hamidur Rahman was born on 2 February 1953 at village Khalishpur in Mohespur police station of Jhenaidah district. During the partition of India in 1947, his parents came to East Bengal and settled at Khalispur in khulna district. His father is Akkas Ali and mother is Kaidasunnesa. Hamidur started his study at Khalispur Primary School and then at a night schoo. About two months before the liberation war, on February 2, 1971, he joined as a Siphahi in East Bengal Regiment (EBR) and then was transfered to Chittagong.
Contributions: On March 25, 1971, Chittagong East Bengal Regiment together with some units protest against Pakistan Army and joined the Liberation War. Hamidur Rahman left the Cantonment on that night and returned back to his village. He joined the Liberation War as a Muktijoddha on October, 1971 under Z force. Their unit headquarter was at Dhalai on south eastern border of Sreemangal in Sylhet.
During the war he made a significant contribution in capturing the Dhalai Border Outpost at Srimangal. For its strategic importance the freedom fighters took a bid for capturing the Dhalai border outpost of the Pak-army. The ‘C’ Company of the First East Bengal Regiment was entrusted with the task with which Hamidur Rahman was enrolled. On the preceding night of 28 October three platoons of freedom fighters silently advanced towards the outpost. The platoons while approaching near to the enemy post and were on the verge of attempting a surprise, a sudden explosion of a mine alarmed the enemies who started indiscriminate firing. A battle continued for hours; but the advance of the freedom fighters was seriously obstructed by enemy firing with LMG from south-west direction.
Death: At this critical juncture Hamidur Rahman seceded in the darkness, silently proceeded by crawling towards the LMG post, attacked and killed the two LMG operators, thereby silencing the enemy guns ; but he himself succumbed to death by an enemy bullet (28 October 1971). Thus the tide of the battle was turned and the outpost was captured by the freedom fighters. 10 December 2007 the remains of Hamidur Rahman were bought back to Bangladesh and on 11 December 2007 he was buried again at Buddhijibi Koborsthan (Cemetery), Dhaka.
Bir Srestha Ruhul Amin:
Early Life: He was born in 1934 at Bagpanchra village under Sonaimuri thana of Noakhali district. His father was Mohammad Azhar Patwari and mother was Zulekha Khatun. He joined the Pakistan Navy and went to Karachi for training. He took his training at the Pakistani Naval Base at Manora Island and later finished his professional training from the PNS Karsaz at Karachi. He joined the Pakistan Navy in 1953 as junior mechanical engineer, and was elevated to the post of Junior Commissioned officer in 1965.
Contributions: At the start of Bangladesh Liberation War, Amin immediately resigned from Pakistan Navy and left “PNS Comilla” at Chittagong and came back to his village. He organized youths and soldiers for the war.
On 10 December an accident occurred at the Rupsha River in Khulna. Two of the warships of the Mukti Bahini named “Padma” and “Palash” mistakenly came under fire from the Indian Air Force. Earlier that day, Indian Air Force fired at different places of Khunla city. Incidentally one of those bombs had fallen at the warship “Palash”. Ruhul Amin was working as an artificer of that ship.
Death: After the heavy bombing, the engine room got burned and Ruhul Amin was forced to dive into the water. When he reached the river shore, he got caught by the Razakars who killed him using their bayonets.
Bir Srestha Matiur Rahman:
Early Life: He was born in dhaka on 29 November 1941. He received his primary education at Dhaka Collegiate School. Next he got himself admitted into Pakistan Air Force Public School at Sargoda in West Pakistan. After completing his twelfth class course there he entered Pakistan Air Force Academy. He was commissioned in June 1963 and was posted at Risalpur, West Pakistan.
Contributions: He made a secret plan of hijacking an aircraft. His aim was to join the liberation forces with the hijacked plane. On the morning of 20 August Pilot Officer Minhaz Rashid was scheduled to fly in a T-33 aircraft from Masrur Airbase in Karachi with Matiur Rahman as his trainer. During the training flight Matiur Rahman attempted to take control of the aircraft into his own hands, but failed. The plane crashed in Thatta, a place near the Indian border.
Death: Matiur’s dead body was found near the crash sight. Matiur Rahman was buried at the graveyard of fourth class employees at Masrur Airbase.
Grave Transfer: After over 30 years of negotiations, Motiur’s body was finally returned to Bangladesh on June 24, 2006 for a ceremonial and highly symbolic reburial in 2006. He was buried at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard, in Mirpur, Dhaka, with full military honors.
Bir Srestha Munshi Abdur Rauf:
Early Life: Munshi Abdur Rouf was born on 1 May 1943 at Salamatpur village under Boalmari thana currently Madhukhali thana in Faridpur District. After his father’s death in 1955, Rouf had to stop his education at his eighth grade. He joined the East Pakistan Rifles on 8 May 1963. He had to increase his age three years in order to get the job. After the preliminary training at the EPR camp at Chuadanga, Rouf went to West Pakistan to receive advanced training. He was appointed to Comilla after 6 months.
Contributions: On 18 April 1971, Pakistan Army attacked at the defense position of Mukti Bahini with 7 speed boats and 2 launches. They surrounded the freedom fighters and managed to isolate nearly 100 of them. Rouf realized the threat to the entire company and he crawled forward to his trench and continuously fired towards the enemies with his automatic machine gun.
Death: During this time a mortar directly hit Rouf and he died immediately. But he saved 150 solders of the day.
Bir Srestha Nur Mohammad Sheikh:
Early Life: Nur Mohammad Sheikh was born at Moheshkhali village in Narail. His father was Mohammad Amanat Sheikh and mother was Mosammat Jinnatunnesa Khanam. He continued his education up to seventh grade at local schools. On 14 March 1959, he joined the East Pakistan Rifles. After finishing the elementary training, he was appointed at the Dinajpur secto
Contributions: During the War of Liberation he fought in Sector 8 in Jessore. He was then in charge of a regular petrol force. On September 5, Nur Mohammad was patrolling with 4 fellow soldiers. The Pakistan army managed to point out the position of Nur Mohammad’s team and attacked them from three different sides.
Death: On September 5, one of his fellow soldiers was shot by the bullet and Nur Mohammad started carrying him towards safety. But Nur Mohammad himself was hit by a mortar. Even though he was seriously injured he decided to continue fire. He kept a self-loaded rifle with him and kept on fighting until he died.