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Remembering Victory Day: Bangladesh's battle for freedom

The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka

Dec 15, 2017
By Anwar A. Khan
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land. East Pakistan arose as one man in 1971 to achieve Bangladesh through a bloody liberation war with the complete support of the Indian people and Indian government under the able and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Lying and violence had been the Pakistani ploy for the people of the East for more than two decades. Pakistani rulers rampaged through the eastern territory with great brutality during the 9-month period before war formally broke out in December 1971. They created anarchy everywhere. They tried to enslave the people of the region and boasted of their bravery.
But like the words of Robert Frost, the Bengali people had a firm conviction that, “Freedom lies in being bold.” A befitting response was given to them in the 1971 war, when India stood beside us valiantly.
The Pakistanis stole and murdered, leaving desolation and waste everywhere. Millions of people died in Bangladesh in 1971. Trifling with God’s Holy Name and mixing Islam into their unholy diktats, they openly used the language of death – spraying bullets and using cannon and bayonet charges to crack down on the populace with brute force.
Not a fair chance gave they our people to rise, brutish liars we saw in their eyes.
It is human nature. None of us likes to lose or fail in a task. We set out in 1971 to conquer and were determined to finish that evil subjugation they had perpetrated and, finally, after battle, they were dealt a crushing defeat. Our valiant and patriotic people, along with the patriotic Indian people and brave Indian army, fought and vanquished the oppressors.
“And with shot and shell, they prove it theirs: What can we do who love their own people and land, but fight, pray, watch and wait.” Our valiant and patriotic freedom fighters greeted these evil men with their due in our glorious Liberation War in 1971.
Many gallant people fought and died, alien hordes in triumph thus defied.
We marched at high speed through the land of Bangladesh during our 1971 war with the savage Pakistani military rulers and dealt them a savage blow.
Our men and women fought against the ugly amoral griffins burying them beneath Bangladesh’s soil. They reacted violently, in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh for Bangladesh’s people is right: This is the doctrine of the world order. Even the downtrodden, poor people among us joined together to prevent the loot and pillage that the Pakistani rulers had unleashed, seeking to purloin our rights and freedom.
The words of Louis D. Brandeis aptly captured the mood of the people of Bangladesh: “Those who won our independence... valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”
The Pakistanis and their Bengali-speaking local cohorts were engulfed in their vanity; they thought of only themselves and did not care where the fratricidal course they had adopted would lead.
The role of people of all walks of life in the struggle to liberate Bangladesh from the thralldom in 1971 was much greater than anybody can imagine. Much has been written about their struggles.
The worst bloodletting occurred on the soil of Bangladesh during the 1971 war and during Bangladesh’s liberation struggles.
Samuel Smiles said, “The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it with a struggle is perhaps to win it with honor. If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.”
In 1971, our people fought an uphill battle and attained Bangladesh on 16 December, our Victory Day, for which we salute our leaders and people and we salute India.
(The author is a senior citizen of Bangladesh. He can be contacted at

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