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 Home > BangladeshIndependence War



A Long Way to Freedom 

The people of Bangladesh discovered  their identity through  the Language Movement in 1952. The struggle to establish their  identity and national spirit began soon after 1947 when they realized that  under Pakistan created on the  two nation theory they was little scope for the distance culture of Banglees to flourish . The  refusal of the central government to  grant status  to  Bangla language became the focal point of struggle, because language was the most  important  vehicle of the  cultural expression of the people of this land. 

The contradiction of the two Pakistans , the racial oppression and the exploitation of the West over the East was gradually unveiled. The struggle for the consciousness of identity and cultural freedom which began with the  advent of the student movements of the  60's  gained  momentum in the mass movement of 1969. Though it brought about the  fall of a mighty military ruler like Ayub Khan, the  ultimate goal was not achieved. After this, came the election of 1970 with absolute victory  of Sheikh Mujibur  Rahaman.

In the elections of December 7, 1970 the Awami League won 160 out of 162 seats in East Pakistan, all but two, and would have had a clear majority in the new assembly had it been convened. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the majority party leader of the  Pakistan National  Assembly .

The military rules of Pakistan refused to allow  the  Awami  League to form a government. Major General Ziaur Rahman on behalf of Mujib declared independence. A full scale  movement of non-cooperation with the  military government began on  the 26th of March, 1971 which is celebrated as the Independence Day every year. Thus Bangladesh  plunged into  a civil war.  

The Pakistan  Army began  their  genocide  by attacking  the innocent  Bangalees of Dhaka city. The dwellers of  Dhaka city never confronted such  intolerable days. The  Pakistani army  massacred 35,000 Bengali intellectuals and unleashed a brutal  war against the  Bangalees of East Pakistan to prevent their secession.  But  no one let  the dream encircled flag  fall down  to dust . 

During the nine month struggle which ensued an estimated three million Bengalis died and and ten million refuges fled into India Sheikh Mujib was imprisoned in west Pakistan. A Bangladesh Government in exile  was established. The  actual military campaign took place in December and  lasted only ten days. The Indian Army launched  a massive offensive against the  Pakistani forces to  support the Bangladesh movement . On December 16, 1971, the Pakistan army surrendered.

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