The 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh
Since Bangladesh is still a relatively young nation, it was not able to experience many wars. However, there is one war which had profound impact on not only the development of the nation but also on the birth of nation itself which is the Liberation War of 1971.
Prior to the Liberation war, Bangladesh was actually a part of the Indian Subcontinent along with Pakistan. But after 1947, the Indian subcontinent was separated which resulted in the creation of West Pakistan (The current Pakistan) and East Pakistan (The current Bangladesh). The liberation war mainly took place since the people of East Pakistan were not willing to speak Urdu as the language of the state by giving up the Bangla language. And this fight for the Bangla language was recognized by UNESCO by establishing 21st February as the International Mother Language Day.
The Liberation War of 1971 was a 9 month long war having numerous deep implications such as tangible as well as intangible impacts.
War Graves: As numerous people were killed in this war, several war graves were established for the martyrs. However, these graves are quite difficult to monitor these days due to the lack of preservation activities taken in the numerous sites where the martyrs were buried and even thrown in marshes, canals and rivers after being killed.
According to War Crimes Facts Finding Committee there are around 50 such sites. Unfortunately, with the exception of a handful of these, including those of Rayer Bazar, Mirpur Intellectuals’ Graveyard, Jalladkhana, Ramna Kali Bari and Razarbag Police Lines, most of other killing fields and mass graves are taken over by structures and developer companies.
What I believe is that, although the war graves represent the sacrifices made by the martyrs and the atrocities that took place during the war, it should be seen as a symbol of our history as well as heritage. And thus it is extremely important to preserve them. In contrast to the limited preservation activities undertaken in the past, the Dhaka City Corporation hinted about a future preservation project. I really hope it is implemented as soon as possible in order to ensure that our history and heritage are not lost due to lack of maintenance so that the future generation are able to learn about the heroic deeds of the martyrs and are motivated by their endeavors.ul writes about the
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The destruction of Jagannath Hall, the only student dormitory for the Hindu students of the University of Dhaka (It was known as University of Dacca at that time) was also a major tangible damage. After 12 o’clock the Pakistan Army entered the Jagannath Hall by initially attacking with mortar and incessant firings. The army entered through the north and south gate and killed any students on sight from any room. Some sources say that around 34 students were killed at this time. Around 34 students were killed at that time. Some students of Jagannath Hall were resident of Ramna Kali Bari. So, around 5-6 were killed there. Among them only Ramonimohom Bhattacharjee was identified. Many guests of the university students who were residing in the dorms were killed as well. Some names include Helal of Bhairab College, Babul Paul of Bajitpur College, Baddruddojha of Jagannath Hall, Jibon Sarkar, Mostaq, Bacchu and Amar of Netrokona.
Archer Blood, the then consul general of United States at Dhaka, wrote in his book called The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh, “Fire was started at Rokeya Hall (girls’ dormitory) and, when the students tried to escape, the military started shooting. From the conversation of military control room and army unit 88, a total of 300 students death was estimated according to various.
The intangible impacts of the war can be observed when making comparisons with the country itself in the past when it was known as East Pakistan, the nation along with its people were very deprived in numerous ways such as low levels of investment and discriminatory policies. And at these times the people were too afraid to speak up and fight back. The second intangible impact was the development of the youth skill for border protection and fighting. As during the war, many unskilled youth with lack of training in fighting and wars sent to the battlefields along with some guidance of experts, lots of valuable experience was obtained by these young fighters who later became integral parts of Bangladesh Army, Police, Navy and also the Border Guard. I believe this was an important aftereffect of the war, and without its occurrence, there would be a chance that the current forces of the nation would be less skilled. Thus some may say these were one of the positive impacts of any war taking place in a developing nation.
Although the 9 month long war took place at the cost of numerous innocent lives, however this Liberation War struggle united all of our people and proved two things, firstly the unity of the people and secondly the potential of the nation to achieve future milestones.
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