Commemorating fifty years of Bangladesh which struggled for the right to freedom from oppression and succeeded finally on 16th December, 1971
Bengal went through three Partitions, the final one being in 1971, when Bangladesh came to be its own entity. The first Partition of Bengal was in 1905, when Lord Curzon sliced it along the lines of faith, which as Ratnottama Sengupta points out in her musing was the result of the colonial policy of divide and rule implemented along religious lines for earlier when Hindus and Muslims had combined forces against colonials, it took a year to quell the revolt of 1857. Due to opposition from many, including Tagore, the colonials were forced to revoke the Partition in 1911.
In 1947, the subcontinent was again divided along religious lines. So, technically, there was Pakistan and India. Pakistan included East (Bengal) and West. As Fakrul Alam tells us in his essay, the Bengalis resented the imposition of Urdu by Pakistan. After a struggle of three decades, and a war in which India supported East Pakistan and America supported West Pakistan, Bangladesh gained complete independence in 1971 with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the country, at its helm.
We present to you a glimpse of this part of history as told by various contributors on our forum.
Professor Fakrul Alam, the translator of Bongobondhu (friend of Bengal) Mujibur Rahman’s autobiography, to takes us on a journey to the inception of Bangladesh and beyond. Click here to read the interview.
Poetry & Prose of Nazrul extolls the union of all faiths. Known as the ‘rebel’, now the national poet of Bangladesh, he has been translated by Fakrul Alam, Sohana Manzoor and Shahriyer Hossain Shetu. Click here to read.
The Birth of Bangladesh & the University of Dhaka
Professor Fakrul Alam takes us through the three Partitions of Bengal which ultimately led to the creation of Bangladesh, with focus on the role of Dhaka University. Click here to read.
Ratnottama Sengupta recaptures vignettes from her past, from across the border where the same language was spoken, some in voices of refugees from East Pakistan to India. Click here to read.
The Voice that Sings Hope through Suffering…
Rakibul Hasan Khan pays a tribute with a twist to a recently deceased Bangladeshi writer, Hasan Azizul Huq, a writer who wrote of the Partition victims. Click here to read.
Golden Bangladesh at 50: Book Review by Aruna Chakravarti
Aruna Chakravarti reviews Golden Bangladesh at 50: Contemporary Stories & Poems edited by Shazia Omar, bringing to focus the Partition between 1905-1911. She also explains the story of the creation of Aamar Shonar Bangla (My Golden Bengal, the Bangladesh National Anthem) by Tagore around this period. Click here to read.
Flash Fiction: In Search of a New Home
Marzia Rahman shares a short narrative about refugees in Bangladesh. Click here to read.
Sohana Manzoor gives us a glimpse of contemporary Bangladesh in a poignant short story. Click here to read.