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  #1  
Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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Default The fall (and rise) of Dhaka

The fall (and rise) of Dhaka




By S.G. Jilanee
O, what a fall there was my countrymen!
—Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene II

THE morning in Chittagong on December 16, 1971 was chilly. There was some fog, too. But people of all ages had begun to pour out from their homes since dawn and line up along the main trunk road from Dhaka. Celebrations had started the previous night as news of the surrender of the Pakistan army came over the radio. But now the excitement was beyond control. The crowd awaited the arrival of the Indian troops. As the fog lifted and the first truck of a convoy came into view a thunderous roar of “Joi Bangla” from the multitude rent the air.

Cheerful faces glowed with a sense of victory (vijoi). The pall of gloom that had enveloped them for more than eight months had disappeared. The old Dhaka had fallen and a new Dhaka arisen from its ashes. A province had become a country. Bangladesh was born. And people were welcoming Indian troops as their liberators.

Liberators? Standing wrapped in a shawl among the crowd, I was lost in a reverie. Events from the past flashed on memory’s screen. In 1947, these same people had celebrated the birth of Pakistan and freedom from Indian hegemony with similar unbounded succes fou.

In the 16th century it was Emperor Humayun’s troops that were trapped and routed in these parts; now it were Pakistan’s. The planners of military action then and now were from the same part of the country, smug, self-sufficient, ignorant of the cast of the Bengali’s mind.

Bengalis are a spirited people with an acute sense of self-respect. They furiously resent tyranny. In the 19th century when a Hindu zamindar in the 24-Parganas district of (now West) Bengal attempted to levy subscription for Durga Puja from his Muslim ryots, Titu Mir rose in an armed revolt against him and gave his life fighting. And, in 1975, when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founder of Bangladesh, whom they had hailed as Bangabandhu (Friend of the Bengalis), tried to become a dictator, they killed him without a qualm.

Bengal had always been divided on “communal” lines; the eastern part predominantly Muslim; the western, Hindu. Lord Curzon partitioned the province on those lines in 1907. But it was annulled four years later after violent Hindu agitation. The cultural divide is manifest in their language and even their cooking. They use different spices and different names for curries.

So, when A.K. Fazlul Haq moved the Pakistan Resolution, the Bengalis hoped that their dream, shattered when the separation of Bengal was annulled, would now be realized. For instance, when, during his tour of north Bengal, Jinnah stopped by the wayside near the level crossing of the Natore railway station and asked the crowd that had gathered to greet him, “apni ki Pakistan chahen? (Do you want Pakistan?),” there was a crescendo of “yes!” A pillar with Jinnah’s words in Bengali was erected at the spot to commemorate the event.

Another flash. Direct Action Day on August 16, 1946. The Bengal Muslim League appeals for a complete hartal in Calcutta, and suburbs. The Hindus, instigated by the Congress and Hindu Mahasabha, resist the Muslim League’s call. The face-off ignites, what the Statesman called, “The Great Calcutta Killing.”

Bengalis become the first to give their blood for Pakistan and set the pace for its birth. Calcutta killings trigger anti-Hindu riots in Noakhali and the adjoining areas of the Chandpur subdivision of Comilla district. The Hindus in turn wantonly massacre Muslims in Bihar after which Pakistan becomes a settled fact.

And the same people were now welcoming Indians as their liberators. The mood of the Bengalis had begun to sour quite early. Mass outflux of Hindu officials after the partition had caused a vacuum in the administration in East Pakistan. There were few Muslim Bengalis in superior jobs even in provincial administration; in federal government services scarcely any. The only Bengali ICS was T.I.M. Nurunnabi Choudhry. So, while the federal government departments already overflowed with non-Bengalis, swarms of officers from West Pakistan swooped upon East Pakistan, occupying most of the superior administrative positions. The Bengali felt disappointed.

But what irked him most was their behaviour. The British were colonialists, yet they gave them respect and empathized with their aspirations; the West Pakistanis saw no need for that. That music and dancing were part of Bengali culture was not seen in good light.

The Muslim ‘ryots’ of big landlords in Bengal, also, were unlike the “kammis” of West Pakistan. No Hindu zamindar or Muslim nawab could exercise droit de signeur over the wife or other womenfolk of his “ryot” as they did in West Pakistan. Nor had Bengali Muslims suffered the like of a Ranjit Singh. And finally, the land of Faraizi Movement least needed any lecture about how to be “good Muslims.”

In 1948, the founder of Pakistan made his controversial declaration that “Urdu, — and Urdu alone, shall be Pakistan’s national language.” It ignited a prairie fire of nationalist sentiments which translated into the “language movement.”

In 1952, Dhaka’s police superintendent, Masood Mahmood ordered his men to fire on an unarmed procession of protesting students, killing four. It gave further boost to Bengali nationalism and the Awami Muslim League, later Awami League (AL), was founded. Maulana Abdul Hameed Khan Bhashani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, two fire-brand demagogues took command. Bhashani had led a violent protest against cow-slaughter in Goalpara district of Assam before partition. Mujib was cutting his teeth. They took the people by storm.

In 1954, the ruling Muslim League was routed by the AL-KSP (Krishak-Sramik Party). It was followed by dismissal of provincial government, imposition of governor’s rule, the Agartala conspiracy case, the six-points, “gherao-jalao” against Ayub, 1970 elections, political stand-off, break-up of negotiations, army action and, finally, the declaration of the birth of Bangladesh in the wee hours of March 26, 1971.

While the major political and economic factors had paved the way for independence, smaller incidents had contributed to buttress it. These included the mistreatment of Khwaja Nazimuddin, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan and Suhrawardy and Fazlul Haq.

Then there was the Bihari factor. Because east Bengal was expected to become Pakistan, many people from Bihar had fled to settle there after the Bihar massacre. The Biharis identified themselves more with the West Pakistanis than the Bengalis, and both spoke Urdu. They made little attempt to assimilate with the local populace. So a distance between the two communities developed which became gradually wider.

In 1954, as soon as the AL-KSP government was formed, there were violent anti-Bihari riots in the Adamjee Jute Mills in Narayanganj. The incident was a clear signal of the shape of things to come. But being sure that the West Pakistanis would protect them the Biharis kept the blinkers on. To make matters worse, in 1971 they went all out to assist the Pakistan Army.

This morning I mused on their ultimate fate as I recalled how during the first few days after the launch of the army action when Chittagong was under Mukti Bahini control, many Biharis and West Pakistanis were brutally killed in Pahartali Railway workshop, Chandraghona and Kaptai.

Quaid-i-Azam’s portentous pronouncement again came to mind. He thought that Muslim Bengalis would one day be lured by the Hindus to secede from Pakistan and merge with West Bengal. This did not happen. East Pakistan became Bangladesh, not even “East Bengal.” If there is anything that the Bengali loves as dearly as life, it is his independence.
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  #2  
Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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Salam All,

All i can say at this point, this was awful and whenever i hear of this or read that some where i feel like start crying and i fell so hopeless.

70,000 or according to some refrences 90,000 Pakistan Army surrendered to Indian Army in the command of Gen Niazi (what a disgrace) and we have to live with that ugly mark right on our forhead. It was then a shame and it is still a shame.

I can write a lot more but i dont see my self brave enough to face that brutal reality.

Reagrds
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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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The further disintegration is on its way. Don't lose your heart guys. Abhi to Kalabagh dam banega .

Regards,

(Will somebody put light on who was responsible for the debacle)

One more thing...

Brother Wah Boy, I heard General Niazi was just a titular leader of the army. Infact it was being commanded by Yahya Khan and some other stupid army man.

Else, General Niazi was a great strategist.

(Will you please rectify me?)
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Last edited by marwatone; Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 08:22 PM.
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  #4  
Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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adil bhai ,,,,it was just due to institutional decay or in the words of SM Burkey the"Institutional GraveYard", that went on to be the reason 4 all that,,,our officer shahi both civil and khaki is in a habit of doing away with the institutional values, and that also with an absolute impunity,,,,,a lot of guys here say that pakistan doesn't need democracy,,,,,but can anyone please tell me , if there had been a single day in our tmulutous history when the democratic values were observed in letter n spirit , by our khaki, executive and political mafia
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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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Salam Adil Bahi,

Well u r quiet right in saying that Yayha khan was behind this as he was the dictator at that time. He was an alcholic at the same time and whenever he was told about the situation about Bangal he just laughed and abuse bangali's. He without a doubt was the worst we ever had to run our govt.

There were other Generals involved too that is not a doubt such as Gen Tika Khan but the reason i have mentioned his name specifically as he was the one who surrendered the 90,000 men.

Brother that is the biggest disgrace we have ever had, i mean 90000 men with weapon to fight for 6 days why not show some dignity and fight like a man for 6 days rather then be a coward and hand over all ur men with weapons. Whenever tension arise between pakistan and india, Indian channel shows that footage in which Gen Niazi sigining the surrender documents and then after few sec been hit by a boot on his head by a Indian soldier.

Genral Niazi was also the commander of the Army in Easy for some time and he knew what was yayha like infact every one knew what yayha like and brother there was another Gen (sorry i cant remember his name) who faught and stood like a man in north west bangal and that is where indian army faced their biggest casaulty of that war. None of the Gens have any specific order to fight the war they were just taking intiatives themselves and honestly speaking that why they are calleg Genrals.

Gen Niazi in genral was very corrupt man and was invvolved in so many scandles some authors even called him a PERVERT, he has done such a crimes which i dont have power to write. I wouldnt class him a strategist as he didnt have strategy to tackle MUKTIBHANI, but i would call him a sick business man as he was heaviley involved in women traficking.

I would recomend u two books " hamood-ur-rehman commision report" and "main ney Dhaka bante dekha" and a bit was disscussed in "Parliment sey Bazar-e-hussan tak" as well. That will give a better picture of that incident.

My apologies in advance if i have been aggressive

Kind Regards
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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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Salaam,

Brother Yasir, I appreciate your feelings. I just spoke my mind. According to my memory-recall Gen. Niazi was the guy who won us the 1965 War.

Anyways, I won't oppose your views due to my lack of knowledge.

Thanks for the info.

Brother Naveed, this western democracy has certain pre-requisites for its successful implementation. It requires morality and education in people. We lack both. Do you think it can succeed?

On the other hand, it's also a truth that democracy hasn't been given a chance in this country. It's a system that flourishes progressively towards the perfect implementation. Democracy hasn't failed in our country. It actually hasn't been given a chance.

(Nice logic, brother Naveed)

Regards,
Adil
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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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I read all this conversation and kindly put this comments, well only GEN NAIZI where not involved in Bengal partition there are may army ppl like Gen Tuka khan, Gen umer, and gen niuzai, after announcement of partition a ppl from Pakistan deny it very strictly and want to know who may responsible for it, Mr. Bhutto then make comity (hamood ur rhman commission) which is started from December 13 1927(not sure) and July 1973 this comity gives there result.
This report showed following ppl involved
GEN NUAZI
GEN GUL HASAN
GEN MUTHA KHAN
MAJOR GEN RAHEEM KHAN
These all ppl not arrested at that time and after this they all appointed on very important and higher authorities of Pakistan.
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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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Kalabagh Dam: Time ripe for bold, unpopular decisions - Shujaat(the news 12 dec)

This looks another step forward in damaging the unity of pakistan. Can anybody tell me that " is kalabagh dam more important than the unity of pakistan", and also, is the only hope, that is left to uplift the standard of living and to eleviate poverty, is the kalabagh dam. Will this change our future. A project which is opposed by three provinces, will obviously have a negative impact on the country's integrity. your comments are wellcome.
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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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well it is certainly not the only hope for Pakistan, there are many other things canbe done to improve the current situation of Pakistan and without a doubt Kalbagh Dam is also one of those many things.

"A project opposed by three proviences" Honestly spekaing i would nt put a bet on it, There are people opposing Kalabag Dam in all four proviences but that does not Necessarily means that all proviences are against it. There are only few typical "Qom Prast" parties aganist it.

I agree with u 500% that unity is more importanat then any other thing but what we need to understand that these issues need to be resolved alongside.

I beleive on open discussion, and there is a soloution to every problem and that can be achieved by dialogue and i honestly beleive that Sindhim Balochi, punjabi, Pathan, saraiki that is nothing, we are all Pakistani.

There are only handfull people making theses issues based on discrimination, There is no discrimination. I must state here that i never liked Musharaf and I still oppose him at my personal level but he has challanged all of them opposing the dam to come on T.V and have a open discussion(Manazira).

Now I could be all wrong favuring the Kalabagh Dam but at least not taking this as a discrimental issues.
In the end this project have the potiental to change a lot.

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Old Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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Salam Sister,

I agree with you the genrals u have mentioned in ur post were all accused of that incident by hamood-ur-rehman report and nothing has done against them. There were also few high profile officals not found gulity by that commsion. So the whole incident cannot be blame solely on Pakistan Army either.

Just to clarify my slef i am not just blaming all on to Gen Niaz i just felt very bad about surrendering the army while he was the commander of the Army.
If you look at that issue more openly or if u read the authors from both side what you ll find that there are number of people and thinkers those who blam Z.A Bhutto for all this incident.

Now that does make sense to an extent as some slogans have been attached to him which he did or did not say.
(still no proof if he did or did not say as some authors said in their books that he did and some said he didnt).

There is another set of people those who say that Hamood-ur-rehman comission was assigned to pionalise army officals so the attention can be diverted from politicians i.e Z.A Bhutto(As he assigned the comission).

A question i am trying to answer since i have read books on that incident is if the Bhutto was that bothered to find the root of that problem and setting up the commsion why didnt he punish the peple found gulity?

Whenever there is such incident there are people to be blamed and we cant just blame it all on Gen Niazi but he was definately one of the major player.

Whole of this didnt happen in a week, it takes ages and a lot of strategy to do a such a brutal act. So basicaly it all started way back from 1971.

I hope i have cleared my self.
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