Shahbag Square will haunt us

Published: February 18, 2013
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The writer is the Chairperson of the History Department at Forman Christian College, Lahore

The writer is the Chairperson of the History Department at Forman Christian College, Lahore

On February 16, Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy pointed out in an article, in this newspaper, that some students he was speaking to did not know about Shahbag Square. Coincidentally, when I asked my students the same question a few days ago, I got the same blank looks. The question, of course is, first, why is our media not covering the events in Dhaka, but more importantly, why, even after knowing about the event, we still do not care and don’t want to care.

Our media has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade or so and is now largely free — rather notoriously. However, with ‘free’ also comes the word ‘fair’ and unless the media acts in both a ‘free and fair’ manner, its freedom is essentially hollow. The events at Shahbag Square and the creation of a tribunal by the Bangladesh government relating to the crimes of 1970-71, are incidents which are directly related to Pakistan and so, deliberately ignoring them is not only unfair, it is unethical. I hope that even now, the torchbearers of the ‘free and fair’ media take cognisance of this absence of coverage and rectify it.

That said, the real problem is that, as a people, Pakistanis are unwilling to deal with the events of 1970-71. It is as if not recognising what happened then and disengagement with the events will make them go away. No, sorry, this won’t happen. History is an important subject not only because it repeats itself or that it has important lessons, it is also important because deliberate disregard and disengagement with historical events adversely affects the national psyche of the country concerned and keeps it hostage to events of the past. Just as we are still hostage to 1947 and its events and still refuse to deal with them, we have not even begun to deal with 1970-71. The result of not engaging with 1947 means that we have a nonsensical approach towards India, cannot tolerate the advancement of Indian Muslims (from what we have been taught, we ‘have’ to call the Muslims who have advanced in India as “not really Muslim”) and within the country, we have perpetuated the intolerant and separatist nature of the demand of Pakistan, clearly seen through the constant attacks on Ahmadis, Shias, Christians and Hindus.

Similarly, refusal to engage with the events of 1970-71 has resulted in us remaining uneasy about our constituent provinces and stops us from being proud of their identity. We feared that Sindh was about to secede only because its people wanted their language to be at par (not replace) with Urdu; we launched a military operation in Balochistan mainly because its people want to run their province themselves; we are uneasy about letting South Punjab and Bahawalpur become a separate province and hopefully develop; we refuse to deal with the upheaval on the Frontier and we do not want to give the people of Gilgit-Baltistan full citizenship rights — most of these are ghosts of past events that we do not want to engage with and hope that they will miraculously disappear by themselves.

Recently, I asked all of my students why they thought they studied the same Pakistan Studies curriculum for over four years in the Pakistani system. After all, since it was mainly a repeat of things year after year, why was it being done? Only a few students figured out that this was done simply because repetition leads one to get irritated and bored by the subject matter and one eventually ends questioning it. That is why, one student noted, all Pakistan Studies answers are the same!

However, if history could be simply whitewashed by a repetition of lies and its repercussions conjured away, I would not have a job and history departments would shut down.

It is high time that the Government of Pakistan officially accept that atrocities were committed against its own people in East Pakistan, agree that it will open its archives to a truthful uncovering of facts, bring the people still alive and accused to justice and publicly declare that we, as a nation, are sorry for what we, yes ‘we’, collectively did in 1970-71.

Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis, our former fellow citizens and Muslim brethren, are still in Shahbag Square, waiting to hear our reply.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • Ejaaz
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:24AM

    Yaqoob Sahib,

    It is absolutely fascinating that you write: “we have perpetuated the intolerant and separatist nature of the demand of Pakistan, clearly seen through the constant attacks on Ahmadis, Shias, Christians and Hindus.” I wonder if you gave a second thought to including the Shias in that? In 1947, the list used to be Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Parsis, and Christians. The jews an Parsis no longer really exist in Pakistan. The Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians have been reduced to near invisibility and utterly cowed and terrified. Ahmedis and Shias were full participants in reducing them to the terrified status. Ahmedis were beginning to be added to the list in 1953 and we were successful to getting them as full members of that list by 1974. By 2000, I guess there was no question in anyones mind that the Ahmedis were fully terrified in our nation. Shias never objected to what was happening to the Ahmedis. Addition of Shias arose when Zia Ul Haq decided that Shia Iran was not really a friendly neighbor. By 2001, we were well on our way to terrifying the Shias. Your use of the list clearly shows that the Shias are now well on there way to being full members of that list. I expect another ten years or so and they should be feeling like other members of that list in Pakistan. Who do you think will be next to join that list? My personal guess is the Brelevis are ripe for that honor.

    Incidentally, I do agree with the general thrust of your article.

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  • Arifq
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:26AM

    Bangash Sahib, our thirst for blood has not ended with East Pakistan, it has only grown as we can see by the blood shed in Quetta. Bengalis are the lucky one’s dear Pakistanis, they have the courage and honesty to challenge their tormentors and bring them to justice! Here we are molly codling our extremists under the guise of so called Jihadis/votes/strategic depth! Shame on us.

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  • MSS
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:31AM

    Mr Hoodbhoy was lamenting that Pakistanis do not know or remember or care about Shahbagh Square since after 1971. I thought he was optimistic. People before 1971 did not care either. Because if they did, what happened in 1971, in all probability would not have happened.
    “It is high time that the Government of Pakistan officially accept that atrocities were committed against its own people in East Pakistan, agree that it will open its archives to a truthful uncovering of facts, bring the people still alive and accused to justice ….”
    Not a chance. The people responsible included the top brass and some very important politicians. Here accepting the truth is to accept that the army of Pakistan, the mother of Pakistan’s foreign policy were wrong. Hamood ur Rahman report was suppressed by the very person who comissioned it. Nothing is going to happen for the foreseeable future.

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  • Babloo
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:35AM

    Excellent sir. Honesty and truth will liberate the nation. Repeating lies will destroy it and condemn it to repeating the mistakes.

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  • Israr Ahmed
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:38AM

    Please include the atrocities commited by Muki Bhani against the urdu speaking citizens and the Bengali supporters of Pakistan. Why is that only Pakistan is being asked to apologies, they are not the only culprit in this game.

    Israr Ahmed.

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  • Dilip
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:47AM

    Dear sir,
    This is the start. The end is unknown? Being an UNBELIEVER i do know at least that ISLAM can bring the the wayward to the fore. Compassion, peace, truth, forgiveness are all enshrined in ISLAM. It is only time that will tell.

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  • John B
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:57AM

    Sweeping it under the carpet is not going to hide the stench and the events in Shabag Square are a blessing in disguise to confront the issue and get it over with.

    It must be remembered that ZAB, one of the central characters of 1971 swallowed his pride and went to the newly formed Bangladesh on state visit. He paved a way for normalization but subsequent events in PAK spoiled the broth, exactly as it was / is between India and PAK, of late.

    It is time for PAK to clean up the skeletons in the closet for her own progress.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:04AM

    India wins crucial hearing on kishenganga hydro electric project. “Water stealing” – another of those anti-India myths created by Pakistani establishment. Ultimately – Pakistan fools nobody, except Pakistanis.

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  • Arindom
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:25AM

    Ignoring Bangladesh also means ignoring the fact that it is today making for progress than Pakistan ( minus the ‘Bum’) and the horror-inducing reality that 180 million Muslims are living happily and are friends with “Hindu” India in the East!

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  • Zeeshan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:26AM

    One has to ask the so-called “beacon of truth” or the newly minted Pakistani historian why only a Bengali with the name Sarmila Bose has even tried to question the Bangladeshi and Indian versions of 1971? Why isn’t a single Pakistani historian who condemned the “official historiography” purveyed by the state engaged in the same critical scholarship of re-reading and revisiting 1971? Are they too afraid that by virtue of being Pakistanis, their scholarships will be deemed bias and unreliable both both Bangladeshis and Indians who themselves produced their versions of 1971? If that is so, history is incapable of transcending “archives” and Pakistanis are simply parroting someone else’s history (or the imagination of someone else’s past),

    Given the onslaught of attacks on Sarmila Bose by Bangladeshis and Indians alike for merely revisiting the narratives of 1971, one has to wonder whether it’s only Pakistanis which are being “whitewashed by a repetition of lies” and “its repercussions [being] conjured away”.

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  • Arindom
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:27AM

    @Ejaaz:

    ..just curious – who’ll be the last and one one in the list?

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  • Simply Desi
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:48AM

    Yaqoob Sahib, it is the partition of India and Pakistan on wrong premises which has lead to all misfortunes in Indian sub-continent.
    My sincere hopes that our people unite again, religion is not the matter of concern and issue unless we make it an issue. If Indians and Pakistanis can co-exist amicably in rest of world, why cant we do the same being in our own motherland.
    Our unity would have suppressed religious and racial extremists amongst us and would have prevented events like Shahbag square. India and Pakistan still have to celebrate their freedom from British rule and that would never happen until we unite again.

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  • Yasin
    Feb 19, 2013 - 3:50AM

    @Arijit Sharma

    ‘India wins crucial hearing on kishenganga hydro electric project.’

    Where exactly? Which court? Oh! I forgot!! Must be on Dur Darshan!!!

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  • RAW is WAR
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:54AM

    Good article.

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  • Feroz
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:12AM

    Pakistan is a democracy in name and neither spirit or substance. In Pakistan Parliament is simply a rubber stamp for the Establishment. It has no real power to bring any of the murderers who killed millions and raped hundreds of thousands in Bangladesh to justice. In a democracy definitely some Military men, some Bureaucrats and a few Politicians would have been hauled over the coals and convicted. Pakistan Parliament is so scared of its Military that it could not present the Enquiry Commission Report in Parliament.
    Today over six decades after independence citizens continue to pay for their faulty ideological choices with the blood of their brothers and sisters, lacking desire to change themselves and consequently the tragic fate of the country. This is a country created in haste and repenting at leisure.

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  • Raisuddin
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:45AM

    @Israr Ahmed: Waste of breath. cry in wilderness. This new crop of angst-filled pundits will never grant your request. They know only what Bengalis complain. Fir them Bengalis were angels and saints. Had they known even a fraction of the horrors victorious Awami Leaguers unleashed on West Pakistanis and Biharis they would have second thoughts. This is not to dilute the immensity of Pakistani crime. But the point is there is no reciprocal angst among the Bangladeshis about what they did. And, for the information of Mr. Bangash, some of the worst atrocities including driving them out of their homes were inflicted on the Biharis under Sheikh Mujib’s direct watch in 1972.
    Hoodbhoy referred to Pakistani school books. Does he know what Bangladeshi school books teach? .

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  • Raisuddin
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:48AM

    This article will be prominently published in the Daily Star and other newspapers of Bangladesh like Hoodbhoy’s. Hooray!

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  • gp65
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:45AM

    Wonderful OpEd and great comments from Ejaaz, Arifq, MSS and Babloo.

    @Israr Ahmed: “Please include the atrocities commited by Muki Bhani against the urdu speaking citizens and the Bengali supporters of Pakistan. Why is that only Pakistan is being asked to apologies, they are not the only culprit in this game.”

    One group attacked and one responded. You are trying to create a false equivalence between the 2 groups which all but the deluded would not buy.

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  • gp65
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:48AM

    @Yasin: “@Arijit Sharma
    ‘India wins crucial hearing on kishenganga hydro electric project.’
    Where exactly? Which court? Oh! I forgot!! Must be on Dur Darshan!!!”

    He provided a link. If you had clicked it, you would have found the answer “The International Court of Arbitration at the Hague has upheld India’s right to divert water from the Rs. 3600-crore Kishenganga Hydro-electric Project (KHEP) in north Kashmir today.”

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  • Ejaaz
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:34AM

    @Arindom:

    I left Bengalis, those half Hindus, as they were called in the 1970’s. Who will be the last one on that list? Who that Individual will be, only Allah knows. But the candidates to be put on that list are many. We have hundreds of sects and each sect has many sub sects. So we are not about to run out people to straighten out any time soon.

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:53AM

    @Author:

    You need to grow up. Just because Pervez Hoodbhoy – nobody in the field of history and politics – pointed out something in a newspaper article does not mean you also have to beat the same drum. Your knowledge of world politics and history seems only as deep as is the age of your newly established Department of History. It usually takes decades of relentless study to have some grasp of the realities.

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:12PM

    @MSS:
    @Babloo:
    @John B:

    I am so moved by your humanely compassionate and noble natures and the level of your concern for the sufferings of Bengali people that happened 40+ years ago, perhaps before your own birth took place. I am sure your humanity does not end at a particular group of Bengali people, but also encompasses those hapless 500,0000 Bengalis and non-Bengalis as well who were killed by the Indian backed ‘Mukti Bahini’ forces, and would demand a similar apology from the government of Ms. Husina for their sufferings.

    You should also care to look in your own backyard too. There also are some hapless – only a few hundred million Indian and Kashmiri Muslims and Sikhs – waiting for consolation. Don’t you think the Indian government also needs to apologize to the Kashmiri people for the horrendous atrocities inflicted upon them by the Indian occupying forces. Don’t Sikhs and Muslims of India also deserve at least few words of regret and remorse. Don’t they? Or, your humanity is just limited to a particular group of Bengali people?Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:32PM

    @gp65:

    “One group attacked and one responded. You are trying to create a false equivalence between the 2 groups which all but the deluded would not buy.”

    I know no amount of arguments can convince you, and your compatriot ‘Cyber Propaganda Warriors’, what you have already convinced yourself. However, for the sake of clarifying your pretentiously false implying, it was in fact ‘Mukti Bahini’ insurgents who started the attacks against Pakistan Army, Civilian Administration, and destroyed infra-structure like electricity grid stations and bridges to start the civil war with the active financial, arms, and training support of Indian Army.

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:39PM

    @Raisuddin:

    Just clicking the ‘Recommend’ won’t do you the justice. Evey word written in gold.

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  • Sazzad Rahim
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:35PM

    @Lala Gee:
    Where have you got that figure of 5000000 Bengalis and non bengalis being killed by Mukti?? History of mankind has to be re-written.

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 19, 2013 - 3:47PM

    It pains me beyond words to see the absence in Pakistan of any historian who could equal and build on the work of Great Sarmila Bose? Madam Dr Bose, some may not know, is the grand-daughter of the Great leader Sarat Chandra Bose (Subhash Chandra Bose’s brother) who had courageously revolted against the communal Congress Party to form Bengali part of Pakistan. Is it not possible to invite Sarmila Bose to Pakistan so she can train a new generation of young historians? Until that is done, we would continue to be harangued by second-rate historians who have no real training in this subtle and complex subject.

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  • Calm down
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:28PM

    @Lala Gee:
    Nowhere in the article is India mentioned. To hide your downfall, you keep on harping India into your childish tantrums. And yes I was a teenager in 1971. Were you?

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:53PM

    @Sazzad Rahim:

    “Where have you got that figure of 5000000 Bengalis and non bengalis being killed by Mukti?? History of mankind has to be re-written.”

    Wow! what a grave mistake “500,0000”? Isn’t it? But wait a minute, is it? Well if you have no concussions with the Indians and Awami League inflating the number 100 times to a whooping 3 million (Hamood-ru-Rehman Commission Report put the number to 26,000 civilian deaths, and Times Magazine put it to 300,000 including those killed by ‘Mukti Bahini’), then why so much frustration to an innocent typing mistake? The same so called “independent writers” also put the death toll of Bengalis and non-Bengalis killed by ‘Mukti Bahini’ insurgents to 500,000 (half million)-

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  • Salman
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:05PM

    Why don’t the liberals talk about atrocities committed by Mukti Bahani against the state and common Bangaali.

    I wonder with what face Indian are taking sides with Bangaalis here, while otherwise, they hate them to the core. Same Indian trained and helped Mukti Bahani men create a civil war, and even kill common Bangaalis.

    History has been massively distorted by separatist bangalis & Indians. For Indians it was required, otherwise they would have never be able to justify even to their own people, why they invaded east Pakistan.

    http://www.truthbykbaig.com/2012/12/what-our-intellectuals-want-to-prove-by_14.html

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:09PM

    @Calm down:

    “Nowhere in the article is India mentioned.”

    Nowhere in the article Indians are invited to interfere in an issue between two brothers. ie. Pakistan and Bangladesh. Rather, you should have pointed out what part of my comment about India was wrong. Since it was 100% true and based on facts the whole world knows, you couldn’t dare to refute, and instead of showing repentance and remorse of the Indians’ acts of barbarity, you thought it would be convenient not to talk on the issue. Well, enough to show the reality of your care for humanity, and hence sincerity with Bangladeshis.

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  • Saira
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:11PM

    The writer lives in Bangladesh and has been following the Trials closely.

    Response to Tahmima Anam’s article on ‘Shahbag’, 1971 war crimes trials in Bangladesh, and demands for hangings
    by David Bergman on Friday, February 15, 2013

    The writer, Tahmima Anam has written a piece on ‘Shahbag’ on the UK’s Guardian website. This is my response:
    “Hi Tahmina, You do realise, I hope – and I say this just on a point of accuracy – that Abul Quader Mollah was not actually convicted of ‘beheading a poet, raping an 11-year-old girl and shooting 344 people’ as you put it so starkly. He was convicted – if you happen to have read the pretty well reasoned verdict – of being present on all these occasions with a range of men who did; he was not himself the principal actor according to what the court found. I think it is important to make that point clear – as the way you write it is rather misleading. He may be a brute or worse – but you kind of make him into a monster, which is not what the court found.
    And whle I like the tenor of much of your piece, I don’t understand why you – and why so many of those who support Shahbag – are totally blind/silent to the significant problematic parts of the trial process. Just in relation to the Mollah case, the defense was only allowed 6 witnesses to come to court, when the prosecution could bring an unlimited number (in fact the prosecution could only bring 12 in order to support six offenses that took place on 6 different dates at 6 different locations!).
    And then, of course, whilst the court did convict him on five charges – on three of them they were on the basis of a couple of hearsay witnesses (not direct eye-witness evidence), the others were on the basis of limited eyewitness testimony, and four of the witnesses had in fact given statements to 1971 ‘museum’ prior to the tribunal establishment in which they never mentioned Mollah.
    Mollah may well have committed offenses in 71 – but the evidence before the court was far from overwhelming, the defense had their hands tied behind their backs and contradictory statements made by witnesses were rather ignored by the tribunal.
    As you know – and I hope you don’t deny by bona fides – I am and have been a supporter of war crimes accountability and understand resentment of years of impunity (and I also agree that there are certainly many aspects of Shahbag that are exciting and positive – secular space, youth, peacefulness etc, etc) but I also think it is important to consider the actual process of accountability in the tribunals, which do raise very serious questions indeed.
    I know you are not unaware of all the Skype/Economist material which showed significant collusion between prosecutors/tribunal/govt – as well as other problems. Not even alluded to in your article! So many people here in Bangladesh that I know just assume these men are guilty by dint of them having been Jamaatis during the war – and are not concerned about the credibility of the evidence before the court, or indeed the fairness of the trials. That is a real shame. It is kind of odd that you choose to ignore all these points about the trials in what is otherwise a gracefully written article.
    Shahbag promises much. But the demand for hanging – not only Mollah, but also those who have not even been convicted (something which you again ignore in your article) – is worrying in itself (how can the tribunals now run independently?) but also for those concerned about the rule or law and due process in the future in Bangladesh (when perhaps the BNP/Jamaatis are next in power?). ”
               

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:18PM

    I just contacted Dr and Professor Madam, Sarmila Bose, and the good news is that she has agreed to offer a series of lectures and workshops in Pakistan’s major cities to train a new generation of professional historians like her. Will soon have more details on how all Pakistan’s well-wishers may do their part in furthering this very important common goal.

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:40PM

    “We look forward to welcoming @Lala Gee at Wagah-Attari, begging bowl in hand.”

    Jim, you can keep dreaming. You have forgotten ZA Bhutto’s promise: any Pakistani worth his name will rather eat grass than surrender to Indians. Insa allah it will be Indians with a begging bowl soon. Do you realize that OIC has already threatened India over the inhuman treatments of Kashiris? This is just the beginning.

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  • Yaqoob Bangash
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:56PM

    @kaalchakra: Dr Sarmila Bose is a good friend of mine, and I even hosted her book launch in Lahore last year. So don’t think I do not know what she has written about. And if you read her book carefully, even she admits that there were wrongs done on the Pakistani side, so there is really nothing above which she would disagree with. Her work on the 1971 events points out the difference in degree, but not of kind. Even Dr Bose does not absolve the Pakistani army of their attacks on fellow countrymen and women, despite the fact she disagrees with the numbers projected under such attacks.

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:09PM

    @Jim:

    “reflexive, pathological responses of @Lala Gee, built on lies and distortions ….. We look forward to welcoming @Lala Gee at Wagah-Attari, begging bowl in hand.”

    Now read your above statement again. Does that make any sense?

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:54PM

    @Yaqoob Bangash:

    “And if you read her book carefully, even she admits that there were wrongs done on the Pakistani side, so there is really nothing above which she would disagree with. Her work on the 1971 events points out the difference in degree, but not of kind.”

    No sane Pakistani can deny the excesses committed by Pak Army (as pointed out in Hamood-ur-Rehman Commision Report), but strangely no one – neither Pakistani liberals, nor Bangladeshi and Indian scholars – talks about the excesses committed by the Indian sponsored ‘Muktii Bahini’. If anybody, perhaps @kaalchakra or the author himself, could shed some light what Dr. Sarmila Bose says about Mukti Bahini’s role in the war. I know, I lost one of my family members working there in a private firm. Also, the firm, I worked for several years, lost more than half of their business assets as well as several employees deputed there on various infra-structure development projects. Why our pseudo-liberals-cum-scholars always tell us only one sided story?

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  • Shamima
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:57PM

    @ JIM
    Please meet me ar the Wagah-Attari border. I will take you personally to NON- Bengalis who survived the attacks by the Mukhti Bahini in 1971. Please do not make flippant comments on subjects you have little knowledge. Just because you have access to a few pakistani websites you think you are an expert in these matters.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:05AM

    @Lala Gee: It is very likely that the number of dead in East Pakistan were slightly exaggerated. Everybody does it. Pakistan for instance bumps up the number of dead in Gujarat, the number of “soldiers” is Kashmir, the number of people killed in Kashmir (thanks to Pakistan), etc.

    And yes, we got the idea of “Mukti Bahini” from Pakistan. Remember those “lashkars” that invaded Kashmir in 1948 ?

    So the message for Pakistan, still is – reap what you sow.

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  • Feb 20, 2013 - 11:07AM

    Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi citizens and Muslim brethren, are still in Shahbag Square, waiting to hear “as a nation, are sorry for what we, yes ‘we’, collectively did in 1970-71.” History never forgives!!!

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  • Shamima
    Feb 20, 2013 - 8:09PM

    @ Hazlul: if those young people at Shah baagh for one second , nay half a second acknowledge and pay homage to the thousands of Non – Bengalis that were killed, raped, maimed and ethnically-cleansed in East Pakistan from March 3 onwards through April and May,
    and again in January and February after the return of Shaikh Mujib, I would gladly also apologise to the the whole of Bangladesh. Just for half a second, think about us too.

    @ Lala Gee: Thank you for reminding us what we went through.

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 20, 2013 - 8:28PM

    @Arijit Sharma:

    “And yes, we got the idea of “Mukti Bahini” from Pakistan. Remember those “lashkars” that invaded Kashmir in 1948 ?”

    We got ‘Azad’ Kashmir, what you got? Another India hating nation (Read “Why Bangladesh hates India”, by Ramananda Sengupta, in case you have any self-deceiving opposing ideas). What an achievement to be proud of. By the way, what are your “slightly” real numbers? Would love to know from an honest Indian like yourself.

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  • moarah
    Feb 21, 2013 - 12:42AM

    First it was East and West. Now what is left of Pakistan is North and South and it is coming sooner than you think.

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  • Prasenjit Bhattacharjee
    Feb 21, 2013 - 2:16AM

    @Kaalchakra

    Sharmila Bose’s sister in law, that’s her bro Sugato Bose’s wife is a note Pakistani historian Dr. Ayesha Jalal who is also Sadat Hassan Manto’s niece

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 21, 2013 - 8:58AM

    Prasenjit, I am a great fan of the Bose family historians, including Ayesha Jalal Bose. By re-casting Subhash Bose as another Jinnah they are exposing the untruths perpetrated by the dominanat Indian and Bangladeshi narratives.

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  • Aziz Islam
    Feb 21, 2013 - 1:14PM

    We live in an Orwellian world where IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, populated by Y-generation youths who are more occupied and pre-occupied with twitter, Facebook, U-tube, My space, iPhone, Linked-in, and what not! However, I am quite delighted reading Mr Bangash’s article and readers’ comments. May I add that this Shahbag is the same Shahbag where All India Muslim League was born in 1905.

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  • sanity
    Feb 21, 2013 - 5:02PM

    @Shamima:
    you should ask your govt to cut diplomatioc relation with bangladesh. we bangladeshi also want to cut diplomatic relation with pakistan.

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  • Anik
    Feb 21, 2013 - 9:18PM

    Hi, I am a active protester in Shahbag. Thanks for this wonderful article.

    Here are some of tha chants of shahbag.

    1.. Jamat e islam ..made by pakistan …..

    2.Pakistan er pretatta
    pakistan a fire ja.

    which means… The evils of Pakistan (Rajakar) go back to pakistan.

    We Bangladeshis will never forget nor forgive Pakistanis and rajakars for their atrocities. But we would atleast stopped chanting pakistans name and say offensive stuff if ur country had arranged a tribunal to punish war criminals. Bangladesh is probably the only muslim country that believes in democracy and freedom of religion. U know one blogger died last week,,,he is very known or hated for his anti islam writing…still we all attended his funeral. Just because we do not believe in the politics of murder.

    We are banning Jamat from Bangladesh. U sud do it too.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 21, 2013 - 9:43PM

    I find the article and the bloggers exchanges on the subject very humanised. the only missing is the recognition that we are all born as sinners, and “though shall not kill” is one of God’s major commandmnts. Those who do not yield but follow their reflexes have not come of age of civilisation.

    Rex Minor

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  • Lala Gee
    Feb 21, 2013 - 10:57PM

    @Anik:

    “We are banning Jamat from Bangladesh”

    I am not a member of the Jamat-e-Islami, and also may not agree with their religious or political philosophy, but I cannot assume that all the Jamat-e-Islami people are pure evil, and hence should be eliminated. On one hand you claim to be a tolerant society, but at the other hand you are disowning your own Bengali people without discriminating who committed crimes and who was innocent, and demanding their across-the-board expatriation to Pakistan. This looks more of political gimmick than a demand based on principles of fairness and justice. One can also question the sincerity of the purpose of these rallies after passing 40+ years of the event, especially when the relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan, both on governmental and people-to-people level, remained very good for decades. One last thing, justice wouldn’t be complete unless and until the perpetrators of the carnage of non-Bengali and Bengali citizens loyal to their country, i.e. Pakistan, are arrested and punished in the same manner by your government. You should also chant for providing justice to those innocents who were the victims of the atrocities committed by your own fellow compatriots to prove you are really democratic and your cause is for the sake of justice only, and not to serve the political agenda of the Awami League “apparently trying to please a certain country”.

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  • Sumaiya Farah Khan
    Feb 28, 2013 - 6:20PM

    @Lala Gee:

    Salam. Bangladesh and Pakistan were two brothers? Pardon, I did not understand. West and East Pakistan was the same country, however, never the same nation. The Pakistani people had superiority complex coz they are tall, strong etc. and we, bangladeshis are short, dark, weak. And so different culture! Here, Quranic School society’s program and Saraswati Puja of hindus are celebrated in the same floor, but in different halls of the same building. We exchange Lunch boxes with each other. It is the thousand year old Culture of Bengal, tolerance and compassion for other religions. Unfortunately, we were tagged with a country that is both physically and culturally far far distant from Bengal.

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  • Sumaiya Farah Khan
    Feb 28, 2013 - 6:27PM

    @Hazlul:
    Salam. A little correction. Not only Muslim brethren, but also hindus, buddhists, christians, trbial people, and completely religionless people are in shahbag at the moment. They have only one similarity-that they love there country.

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