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Distorting history with ulterior motive
Distorting history with ulterior motive
Recently the Bangladesh High Court issued an order directing the police to confiscate all such books that distorted the country’s liberation war history. These books projected Bangladesh’s first military ruler and BNP founder Gen Ziaur Rahman as the architect of Bangladesh’s liberation.

After the emergence of Bangladesh, an authentication committee was formed for writing and printing of the country’s liberation war. Soon the Information Ministry compiled and published documentary evidence of Bangladesh liberation war in 15 parts in 1982.

 

In the history books prescribed in schools and colleges post -1975, name of Pakistan simply disappeared from the narratives of Liberation War. The army personnel and their accomplices who ruthlessly killed freedom fighters and raped Bengali women in thousands were termed "hanadar bahini" (attacking army) without any identification of who they were and where they came from. Not only identity but also full description of what the so-called "hanadar bahini" did was removed from the accounts of the 1971 war. This demonstrated how deep the conspiracy was to prevent the young generations from knowing the truth.
But the Liberation War Affairs Ministry set up during the BNP/Jamaat regime changed some basic facts related to liberation  war. It deleted the first document of the third part that contained declaration of independence made in the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra on March 25, 1971. In its place it inserted a document stating that it was Gen Ziaur Rahman who declared independence from Biplabi Betar Kendra Chittagong.

 

After murdering the monumental icon of independence and founding father of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on Aug15, 1975, the anti-liberation and pro-Pak Islamist forces initiated the process of distorting the history of liberation war of Bangladesh in text books prescribed in schools and colleges. The ulterior motive was to brain wash and misguide the young generations and keep them in the dark about the heinous role played by them to crush liberation war in 1971.

 

Following retreat of secular and progressive forces in the aftermath of assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, the pro-Pakistani Islamist forces occupied the space vacated by the former. As dismantling the newly emerged state and reuniting it with Pakistan would be neither possible nor acceptable to the people, a state sponsored campaign was launched to distort the history of the greatest moment of the nation's existence.

 

In the history books prescribed in schools and colleges post -1975, name of Pakistan simply disappeared from the narratives of Liberation War. The army personnel and their accomplices who ruthlessly killed freedom fighters and raped Bengali women in thousands were termed "hanadar bahini" (attacking army) without any identification of who they were and where they came from. Not only identity but also full description of what the so-called "hanadar bahini" did was removed from the accounts of the 1971 war. This demonstrated how deep the conspiracy was to prevent the young generations from knowing the truth.

 

Pro-Pak Islamist forces, mostly Jamaat, who had opposed the liberation war were depicted as actually opposing Indian aggression. Jamaat was  portrayed in the text books not as one collaborating with the killers who butchered the freedom fighters, looted their properties and raped their mothers, daughters and sisters, but as dedicated protectors of the sovereignty of Pakistan. In this version of history, the brutal suppression of the freedom fighters, the genocide, the rapes, the destruction of homes and properties, stories / pictures of dead bodies of freedom fighters with hands tied at the back floating in rivers were completely removed, and replaced by stories of how the Indian army waged war against Pakistan, invaded its territories and took over its eastern wing.

The role of Gen Ziaur Rahman had been blown out of proportion, depicting him as the key organizer of the country’s liberation war. This over emphasis has been marked to such an extent that the young generations got the impression that unless he had declared the proclamation of the country’s independence, the emergence of Bangladesh would not have been possible.

 

Also conspicuous by its absence from the distorted history was India’s intervention that had saved the hapless people and freedom fighters as well as the country from near extermination. Nor was there any mention of India’s continued economic assistance that sustained the new born country. Far from it, India was portrayed as one preying on the new born country like a hyena. It was even stated that the killing of intellectuals on December 14, 1971 -- just two days before Bangladesh was to be born -- was carried out by India to intellectually dominate the new country.

 

The role of Gen Ziaur Rahman had been blown out of proportion, depicting him as the key organizer of the country’s liberation war. This over emphasis has been marked to such an extent that the young generations got the impression that unless he had declared the proclamation of the country’s independence, the emergence of Bangladesh would not have been possible.

 

The younger generations, particularly those born after 1971 who did not witness the extreme brutalities and distress inflicted on their forefathers and freedom fighters in 1971, grew up studying distorted history and remained unaware of the reality.

 

It was this section of people who had, out of ignorance, elected the condemned Pak collaborators, rapists and war criminals including Jamaat leaders Matiur Rahman Nizami and Delwar Hossen Saeedi as well as BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury as members of Parliament instead of trashing them into the dustbin. Many of them also became Ministers. National flag of the country, dipped in blood of millions of martyrs, was defiled as it flew on the ministerial cars of the enemies of Bangladesh’s independence.

 

An impartial and objective history of the liberation war of Bangladesh and the process initiated by the present government to bring the war criminals of 1971 to justice complement and supplement each other as an objective and unbiased history constitutes the basis for carrying out trial of war crimes in Bangladesh. The narratives of 1971liberation war have now found their proper place in history. The High Court has now settled the issue about who proclaimed the country’s independence. It was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and not Ziaur Rahman.




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