Our Liberation War in Glocal Literature – Wahidul Islam and Ifrith Islam
War of Independence in 1971 colluded collapses of many cities in Bangladesh but the haunting memories of the war sparked creativities in a large number of people. As a number of nations like Qatar, Bahrain or United Arab Emirate didn’t have to sacrifice blood so these nations in question couldn’t produce that much big bulk of literature what Bangladeshis could do. Thank Allah cities like Dhaka, Doha, Dubai rose to prominence after their independence in 1971 as they were not that much devastated like Aleppo, Damascus, Baghdad, Mosul, Fallujah, Tikrit, Kabul, Kandahar, Sana’a, Srebrenica, Sarajevo, Pristina etc. Death and destruction dawned on lakhs of people, displacing million others.
War gives rise to peace and conflict resolution platforms including those of children organizations. War paves the way for creativities in mausoleum buildings of nations. War unleashes cries, pains, tribulations among the inhabitants, leaving scar on people of war ravaged countries. War piles up dead bodies in burial grounds not dreams or desires. It leaves thousands others maimed and crippled for life. It is destructive not constructive. But one good thing a war caters to people is that creative minds of the war-ravaged countries become proactive in producing texts on the melancholic and heroic sides of the war. On top of all the more bloody the wars the more the litterateurs come up penning down books and articles. The wary situations of wars particularly of War of Independence of Bangladesh and their effects on people leave deep impact on poets, novelists, academicians and columnists around the world. All the media of mass-communications and litterateurs get proactive to cover these wars in their media respectively. The more the war is bloody the wider the treatment it gets in the media.
Books on the struggles for independences of Qatar, Bahrain and UAE
In 1971 Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates got independence. Not many books are written on these countries’ Wars of Independence or struggles for freedom. May be it is because they didn’t have to shed blood at all for independence. Truce earned them liberty in 1971 from Britain but this trio’s contemporary independent country Bangladesh had to go through lots of bloodshed, rape and genocides. As few people were affected by the process of independence so few people had pressing reasons to write stories of their struggle of independence, creating vacuums in publication book sector especially on independence. It is very natural and logical.
Common theory of revolutions
Usually revolutions are theorized first and popularized then by key cultural persons. It is the academicians, artists, artistes, performers, journalists, writers, columnists who theorize the slogans of revolution. The theories must be timely and theoretically flawless and followers must be perfect followers or practitioners of the theory of revolution. Then political activists mobilize opinions of the common mass in favour of the theory of revolution. When those slogans become commoners’ slogan, people in power crack down on protesting demonstrations and bloodshed takes place, beefing up the people’s movement. New leaders in the grassroots are groomed up, making them ready for future leadership. More and more aggrieved and affected people join the protests of all sorts. Mass upsurge occurs, pulling down the regime.
Books on War of Independence of Bangladesh:
Unlike above-mentioned or other Middle Eastern trucial countries Bangladesh didn’t lag behind in creativities. Many writers have written books on the war of independence. Since the freedom fight started with the killings of Bengalis on the night of 25th March in 1971 the liberation war went on for long nine months. After much bloodbath and spine-chilling incidents the country became independent. This liberation war affected everyone so it deeply moved every mind, particularly the sensitive ones. Creative section of the society came up to raise their voices in favour of independence. Number of books, songs, novels, stories, dramas and films started rising and is still now in progress. Dozens of writers set the 1971 as the background of their creative ventures, be it novel, story or drama. Hundreds of creative minds came up to join hands with the Freedom Fighters. Jahanara Imam wrote Ekatturer Dinguli, Buker Vitor Agun, Biday De Ma Ghure Ashi, Of Blood And Fire, M. Hamidullah Khan penned down Ekatture Uttar Ronangon Vol. I & II, Bangaleer Muktijuddher Potobhumi, Abdul Gaffar Choudhury captured the War of Independence in his book Etihasher Rokto Polash, Amra Bangladeshi Na Bangali, Bangladesh Kotha Koy. Abdur Rouf Choudhury wrote Shayattyashason, Shadhikar O Shadhinota, 1971 Vol I, 1971 Vol II, Ekti Jatike Hotya, Smrite Ekattur, Selina Hosain reminisces about 1971 in her Ekatturer Dhaka, Japitu Jibon, Nirontor Ghontabidhan, Nitu, Pakhi O Muktijudhdho. Prof Abul Barkat documented An Inquiry into Causes and Consequences of Deprivation of Hindu Minorities in Bangladesh through the Vested Property Act: Framework for a Realistic Solution. Panna Kaysar had pressing reasons to put her pen to paper to detail what she felt in Muktijuddher Aage O Pore, Hridoye Bangladesh. Versatile genius Humayun Ahmed wrote on 1971 in his Jochna O Jononir Golpo, Aguner Poroshmoni when his brother Muhammed Zafar Iqbal wrote Muktijuddher Itihash, Akash Bariye Dao, Amar Bondhu Rashed, Gramer Naam Kakondubi. Muntasir Mamun’s Sei Shob Pakistani points finger at the perpetrators of the war in 1971. Echoing the slogan of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ‘Ebarer Songram Shadhinotar Songram’ Gaziul Haq wrote using the same title Ebarer Songram Shadhinotar Songram. Akhtaruddin Ahmed elaborated his work Nationalism or Islam in the light of independence war when Ahmad Mazhar flashed back to Pakistani atrocities in his book Bangalir Muktijuddher Itihash. Neelima Ibrahim’s Ami Birongona Bolchi focuses on the female contribution to the freedom fighting. Rashid Haydar wrote Osohojog Andolon- ’71, Purbapor, Sirajul Islam Chaudhury wrote Bangalir Jaya Parajaya. Poet Sufia Kamal published Ekatturer Diary while Shahriyar Kabir delineated the popular theme in his book Ekatturer Pather Dhare and Ekatturer Jishu. Shawkat Osman inked Kalratro Khondochitro, Joy Banglar Joy, Jolangi, Jahannam Hote Biday when M. R. Akhtar Mukul’s Ami Bijoy Dekhechi, Ekatturer Bornomala, Ora Charjon, Joybangla etc are real good read. Among other female writers Shirin Majid wrote Abar Asibo Feerey and Jubayda Gulshan Ara’s Batashe Barud Rokte Ullash is a complete word picture of 1971 while Rabeya Khatun drew the pen picture of our struggle for independence in her books Ferari Surjo, Ekatturer Nishan and Begum Nurjahan inked Ekatturer Kothamala. Besides these people many more wrote on our beloved independence, many are writing now and others will go on writing on this issue in future.
Writing was not confined to Bangladesh alone; the message of independence crossed the border into the neighbouring country India which lost 18 thousand soldiers in this war. It was not like Afghan war against Russians or Iraq war against Americans which drew lots of volunteer fighters to fight in favour Afghans or Iraqis from the Muslim countries. The war between the then East Pakistan and the West Pakistan couldn’t draw volunteers from common Indian and Pakistan. So Indian army played a role in the war and very logically a good number of writers represented Indian army personnel. Such as Air Chief Marshal PC Lal wrote My Years with the IAF, Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacob – Surrender at Dacca – Birth of a Nation, Maj. Gen. Lachhman Singh penned down Victory in Bangladesh, Maj. Gen. D. K. Palit – The Lightning Campaign : Indo/Pakistan War – 1971. Maj. Gen. Sukhwant Singh published ‘India’s Wars Since Independence Vol.1: The Liberation of Bangladesh, India’s Wars Since Independence Vol.2: Defence of the Western Border, India’s Wars Since Independence Vol.3: General Trends, Maj. Gen. Ashok Kalyan Verma describes the situation of water warfare in ‘Rivers of Silence – the Dash to Dhaka Across River Meghna during 1971’, Maj. Gen. Jagjit Singh inks Indian Gunners at War : The Western Front – 1971, Mohammed Ayoob and Subrahmanyam collaborated to compose The Liberation War, J. N. Dixit depicts pre-and-post-independence ties of Bangladesh with India in Liberation and Beyond : Indo-Bangladesh Relations. The contribution of Indian intelligence agency is detailed in B. Raman Kaoboys of R&AW, Lt. Gen. K. P. Candeth, Vice Admiral N. Krishnan, Maj. Gen. Lachhman Singh, Brig. Jagdev Singh etc have jotted down in their diaries to turn them into memoirs.
Pakistani army personnel and their collaborators who are held responsible for the atrocities during the war of independence in Bangladesh produced some writers. They were vanquished army and the defeat prompted some of them and the government resorted to play blame game while others had soul-searching, focusing on their own faults. Brig. Siddiq Salik wrote Witness to Surrender, Lt. Gen. Gul Hassan Khan recounted what he saw in his Memoirs of Lt. Gen. Gul Hassan Khan, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Riza’s soul-searching starts from six years back in his book The Pakistan Army 1966-1971 but KM Arif went much back to the independence of Pakistan itself Khaki Shadows: Pakistan 1947-1997. Lt. Gen. Kamal Matinuddin wrote Tragedy of Errors: East Pakistan Crisis, 1968 – 1971, Maj. Gen. Rao Farman Ali’s book How Pakistan Got Divided features the division and Z. A. Bhutto narrated the incidents in his The Great Tragedy. Lieutenant General AAK Niazee, who surrendered to Indian army command, wrote the book The Betrayal of East Pakistan. Maj. Gen. Fazal Khan Muqeem painted the failure of Pak hegemony in his book ‘Pakistan’s Crisis in Leadership’. Beside these memoir writers and academicians many civilians and army persons wrote on this issue.
As genocides took place so it went global. Not only Bangladeshis but also non-Bangladeshis, comprising a good number of West Pakistanis, recounted their memories. Foreign journalists didn’t fail to portray our War of Independence. Anthony Mascarenhas is one of them to write ‘The Rape of Bangla Desh’. Pakistani, Indian, American and British wrote down with due importance while delineating Bangladesh’s War of Independence though from their own perspectives.
USA, which sided with Pakistan but didn’t send its seventh naval fleet to bombard Dhaka and other cities, had its own academicians like R. J. Rummel detailed genocides in his Death by Government, Richard Sisson and Leo E. Rose had collaboration to write War and Secession: Pakistan, India, and the Creation of Bangladesh. Archer K Blood wrote in the light of his experience as the US diplomat in Dhaka The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh: Memoirs of an American Diplomat, Peter Bertocci edited Prelude to Crisis – Bengal & Bengal Studies (1970), Lawrence Lifschultz looked at the new nation in a different way in his work Bangladesh : The Unfinished Revolution. Sharmila Bose objectively wrote the book Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War much to the ire of winners.
The UK was always a centre of excellence when it comes to the question of creativity. Bangladesh’s war of independence and its’ impact reached not only the diaspora but also the non-Bangladeshis. Owen Bennett Jones wrote Pakistan Eye of the Storm, David Loshak wrote Pakistan Crisis, LF Rushbrook Williams’ The East Pakistan Tragedy offers a different discourse. Dom Moraes grabs the tension in his The Tempest Within: An Account of East Pakistan.
So as we know there is no rating on creative writings on independence wars of different countries, creativities in the construction of graveyards or any battle on the designs of mausoleums. If there were any competitions on books on independence war Bangladesh’s huge bulk of books could have grabbed berth in top ten positions. In mausoleums category National Mausoleum at Savar could have beat any other mausoleums in the world. In the graveyard category Rayer Bazar Boddhyabhumi could have easily competed with the graveyard of Srebrenica where eight thousand Bosnians were butchered by the Balkan butchers Slobodan Milosevic or Ratco Mladic. n