Bangladesh: How a New Nation Emerged in 1971

Talking on 1974 famine
Talking on 1974 famine

7th march 1971 address of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Top brasses of Pakistan army in Eastern Command formally surrendering to Indian Army

Nation of Bangladesh


Our country Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan after the creation of Pakistan state. The British quit India In 1947 dividing it into two independent parts- Pakistan and India. Pakistan was divided into two parts- East Pakistan and West Pakistan. So called East Pakistan was a part of greater Bengal province of India. The name Bangladesh was originated from Bengal. Bangla means Bengal and Desh means country. So Bangladesh means `the country of Bengal'. West part of Bengal province remained with India.Three Bengali speaking persons have been awarded Nobel Prize so far.

Ruling power of the newly formed state was in the hand of West Pakistanis. Central government was in the West Pakistan. They ruled East Pakistan. Bengalis were 56% of the total population of Pakistan. Being the minority of the whole Pakistan the central government always kept the state power in their hands. West Pakistanis always enjoyed the first citizenship status while the East Pakistanis as the second. They kept the nation under martial law for long days. In 1952 Bengalis had to protest the decision of making the state language as Urdu of Pakistan when 56% of total population speak in Bangla and only 7% people speak in Urdu. Some Bengali people laid their lives in that language movement in 21 February 1952. The UNO has declared the day ‘International Language Day.’


The dictator Ayub Khan ran the country ten years and stepped down in 1969 on demand of mass people. Ayub turned over the state power to army chief general Yahya Khan. The military junta of West Pakistan arranged an election in 1970. Bengali leader Bangabandhu (friend of Bengal) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League came out with a landslide victory. It was a nightmare for the Pakistani leaders to hand over the state power to a Bengali leader. They were born to govern but not to be governed by a Bengali. The military dictator Yahya Khan started to dillydally in handing the power over to the majority voted Bengali leader. He came to East Pakistan for a discussion. Discussions went on day after day and in the mean time thousands of Pakistani soldiers came to East Pakistan with arms and ammunition. In the mean time on 7th march 1971 the leader gave a historic speech to the nation “if they do not hand over power to the elected representatives of the people, if they try to kill a single person then defend yourself with whatever you have. We will liberate ourselves this time.”

With journalist david frost
With journalist david frost

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi talking on the situation of Pakistani attack


State power of Pakistan can’t go to a Bengali leader that’s why Yahya decided to destroy the Bengali nation. On 25th march of 1971 the Pakistani army crashed on the Bengalis. Bengalis were ready for this. Earlier it was clear to the Bengalis that the Pakistanis would not hand over power. In the mean time the leader proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh. The bloody war started on. The Paki Army started to kill thousands of innocent unarmed people. It was the bloodiest genocide in the world history. Over l0 million people took shelter in neighboring country India. India generously extended its hand to freedom loving mass people of Bangladesh. In nine month war the nation lost its millions of innocent people. Over two hundred thousand women lost their chastity. The sun of long lasted independence arose at last. The killer army at last surrendered to the Bengali. The arrested leader was kept in custody in West Pakistan jail. He was freed and came to an independent country of his own and started to build up the war trodden nation.

The leader was murdered along with his family members on 15 august in 1975 in a brutal attack by misled army personnel. Two of his daughters were saved their lives due to non presence in the country.

In london on the way to liberated homeland from Pakistani prison
In london on the way to liberated homeland from Pakistani prison

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

He was born in 17th march 1920 at tungipara of gopalganj district of Bangladesh. His father’s name is Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Mother’s name is Saira Khatun. He was third of his 6 brothers and sisters. His nickname was ‘khoka’- a beloved child. In 1927 he got admitted to a primary school at the age of 7. In 1934 he suffered from eye disease which hampered his study. In 1938 at the age of 18 he married his cousin Fajilatunnesa. They had 5 children named Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, Sheikh Hasina (The present Prime Minister of Bangladesh), Sheikh Rehana and Sheikh Rasel. Sheikh hasina is now the prime minister of Bangladesh. She got a landslide victory in December 2008.

Sheikh Mujib was enrolled in the Dhaka University to study law. He spent much of his life time in jail. In 1966 he proclaimed 6 point plan to reserve the rights of Bengali people. He emerged as a sole leader of Bengali people. Actually Bengalis were fed up with Pakistani leaders’ step mother like behavior. People were looking for a chance. At last the chance came in 1970. Mass people voted for a change but the military junta neglected the people’s verdict and ultimately faced the bitter consequences. The mighty Pakistani army’s pride broke down when they had to surrender to brave Bengalis.

After 40 years of independence Bangladesh has now started trial of the local collaborators who helped the Pakistan army in 1971great war. They acted as a helping hand for Pakistani barbarous army. They mercilessly killed native brothers and sisters in 1971. They are responsible for the killing of leading intellectuals of the nation throughout the war. They used to supply women to their Pakistani bosses. It was current ruling party Awami League’s 2008 election commitment for the trial of the traitor collaborators. Top collaborators are facing the trial.

Comments 14 comments

allexia26 profile image

allexia26 5 years ago

I never knew about this war, so many people died thats so sad.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka Author

Allexia, Thanks for commnenting. This war was an unjust utmost cruelty to a nation. Just watch this video of cricketer Imran Khan commenting on the army crackdown to a nation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7ni1tDWIY4


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Well done, upal19. It is history in a 'capsule', and what a history it is-one filled with much violence and inhumane acts. It is a difficult way for a nation to reach its independence, isn't it? Thanks for sharing the important key events. I was not aware of much of the details. Voted it up and useful. Keep up the great writing.


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

Thanks for this Excellent Hub upal19. It is great to read your story about Bangladesh history. I happened to meet the Jewish General who led India's army during the Bangladesh-Pakistan war. He said at first the Muslim pakistanis refused to sign a peace treaty with a Jew.

You are correct that some of Pakistan's corrupt leaders have contributed to the creation of a violent factionalised terror ridden country where so many youth are on drugs.What a horrible waste of people and resourses.

It is incredibly sad to have cultural and religious conflict turn horribly violent. Luckily India has avoided most of this social breakdown so far and is prospering.

I hope Bangladesh grows democratically and prospers.And I hope Pakistan can work it's way out of the pattern of violence. There must be other ways to resolve issues.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka Author

Thank you Denise, Your comments are inspiring for me . Their attacks were started in the midnight. Main targets were University halls, slum areas, police and para military barracks. Thousands were killed in the first night.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka Author

Marsha, Thank you very much for insightful comments. It seems that you are aware of Indian sub continent political trends.


Jean Bakula 5 years ago

Hello Upal19--

My husband works with many Bengali people who live in Northern NJ. They are lovely people. Although I knew the history of your country's independence was a difficult one, I had no idea it was so bloody and violent. It is important to remember. I hope that sanity will prevail. It's such a shame too many people are corrupt and want control. Thank you for sharing your country's history.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka Author

Thank you Jean. We had to shed millions of people's blood for our independence. We mourn for the heros. Thanks for visiting and commenting. This is so lovely to know that your husband is working with my fellow countrymen.


Barook 5 years ago

@marshacanada:

You will be surprised to know and I'm happy to tell you that that Jewish Lt. General was none other than my cousin Jacob-Farj-Rafael Jacob known simply as "Jack".

I have a very interesting Jewish background from my father's side... my mother was of Portuguese descent.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka Author

Marsha, I see. very nice to hear from you these. I've not checked yet but I hope there are hubs on your backgrounds. I must check it later. Thanks for come back.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for this outstanding history lesson. You have enlightened my mind as to the founding of Bangladesh. I am grateful to you for this educative experience.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka Author

Thank you James for having the patience of reading this piece. It is too short but I had an impulsion in me to write on this. Thanks for kind visit to my hub.


Naim Hasan profile image

Naim Hasan 4 years ago from Dhaka

Good hub, but i think you could have added more info. about Bangladesh. Instead of going deep, you tried to attach our history with Indians, which i think was not justified.

"West part of Bengal province remained with India"-did Bengal ever truly belong to India? the question of "to remain with India" would only come if we were truly a part of "India" but the fact is we Bengalis never did the mistake of thinking ourselves as Indian as we have got our own ethnic, regional and political identity since ancient time. and the India you have mentioned here was "British India" created and defined by the overseas British rulers and the term "india" and "indian" was almost vague and unclear that time. as a Bangladeshi you may know that before losing our freedom to British East India Company, Bengal was an independent kingdom, which was never a part of Hindustan later named as India by Europeans. despite that, If you say for the sake of argument that we had been a part of India, then my question is what was not a part of India?? from where this "India" started n where it ended? before 1947, India had never been a well defined land, sometimes its area increased, sometimes decreased, once upon a time even today's Afghanistan was also ruled by ancient indic rulers but that dose not mean Afghanistan was a part of India. British ruled Burma from British India, but burma was not a part of india. Even after 1947, the map of indian union altered as some independent princely kingdoms like Tripura and Sikkim joined Indian union. We Bengalis dreamed to free Bengal from British and to make "Bangladesh" in 1947, but due to political division and British conspiracy, it wasnt possible that time. Moreover the Hindu Leaders of Kolkata perceived themselves as more Indian then Bengali. But you may also admit that Bengal is a muslim majority land, even in west Bengal more than 40% is muslim, and we never considered ourselves as indian, even when muslims ruled Hindustan, we bengali muslims along with other religions made ourselves distinct from others and lived independently, and ultimately Bangladesh was born on the basis of Bengali nationalism, which makes us very unique as Indian Bengalis do not believe in Bengali nationalism like us rather they believe in "Indian nationalism".

Then you attached a video "Top brasses of Pakistan army in Eastern Command formally surrendering to Indian Army"- we each and every Bangladeshi represent our great nation, we should not present information which might mislead others. That was not Indian Army, it was the Alliance force of Indian army and Bangladeshi "Mukti Bahini" which started its joint operation in November, 1971. and Pakistani army surrendered to the alliance force on 16 december, 1971, not to the Indian army. before the alliance was made, Mukti Bahini faced and fought with the mighty Paki Army alone but with great courage and superior tactics which made Indian army believe that yes its possible to defeat Pakistanis. Before that Indians were not so sure of any positive results.

As a Bangladeshi we remember the help of the Indian Gov. and our Indian friends with due respect and gratitude, but some people exaggerate history and say that India gave birth to Bangladesh in 1971 which is absolutely an untrue statement. we had an alliance based on mutual interest and trust, which makes sense of the whole thing.

you could also have mentioned our four national leaders who led the nation toward independence in absence of Bangobondhu.

1971 freedom war of Bangladesh is the great episode of the valorous history of Bengali nation which is impossible to describe in short. I request to all of us, please when you write about 1971, please give plenty of information and do more research.

Thank you for writing on Bangladesh, i hugely appreciate your works and hope you will help build the image of Bangladesh to the rest of the world through your hubs.


upal19 profile image

upal19 4 years ago from Dhaka Author

I admit that this is very very short story on our historic liberation war. I've written this just to introduce our country to a person who doesn't know anything about our country. I also admit that India is highlighted in my hub. This is because the hub is an incomplete one.

I want to inform you that after surrendering to the joint forces on 16 December 1971 The Paki force formally surrendered to Indian force probably on 20 December 1971. The video attached here is of that occasion.

You have raised some important issues which I want to discuss with you in person.

I convey my heartfelt gratitude to you for the thoughtful comment on my hub. Thank you so much.

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