Bangladesh celebrates independence


by Al-Hack
20th December, 2005 at 12:08 am    

A bit belatedly we cast an eye towards Bangladesh which celebrated its 34th year of liberation this week.

On December 16, 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces surrendered to the joint command of Indian Army and Bangladeshi freedom fighters in Dhaka after a nine-month bloody war for independence of the country. Bangladesh boldly said no to Pakistan, which was formed on the basis of religion and still married to it. Bangladeshis gave their blood to the cause of democracy and secularism, to be free from oppression and to have a separate identity for the Bengali culture that is thousands of years old.

But the victory against the Pakistanis did come with a price. The Bangladeshis will not forget that between March 25 and December 16, 1971 estimated 3 million Bengalees were killed by Pakistani Army and their collaborators, 200,000 women raped and 10 million were displaced. This was the worst genocide after the second world war.

A short history lesson there by Rezwan, rounding up what Bangladeshi bloggers are saying about it now. Read it dammit.


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  1. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 1:10 am  

    Most of these statistics have been refuted by Bangladeshi scholars themselves:

    http://dawn.com/2005/07/07/nat3.htm

    Salient points:

    “During the seminar, Bangladeshi scholars acknowledged that their official figure of more than 3 million killed during and after the military action was not authentic.

    They said that the original figure was close to 300,000, which was wrongly translated from Bengali into English as three million.

    Shamsher M. Chowdhury, the Bangladesh ambassador in Washington who was commissioned in the Pakistan Army in 1969 but had joined his country’s war of liberation in 1971, acknowledged that Bangladesh alone cannot correct this mistake. Instead, he suggested that Pakistan and Bangladesh form a joint commission to investigate the 1971 disaster and prepare a report.

    Almost all scholars agreed that the real figure was somewhere between 26,000, as reported by the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, and not three million, the official figure put forward by Bangladesh and India.

    Prof Sarmila Bose, an Indian academic, told the seminar that allegations of Pakistani army personnel raping Bengali women were grossly exaggerated.

    Based on her extensive interviews with eyewitnesses, the study also determines the pattern of conflict as three-layered: West Pakistan versus East Pakistan, East Pakistanis (pro-Independence) versus East Pakistanis (pro-Union) and the fateful war between India and Pakistan.

    Prof Bose noted that no neutral study of the conflict has been done and reports that are passed on as part of history are narratives that strengthen one point of view by rubbishing the other. The Bangladeshi narratives, for instance, focus on the rape issue and use that not only to demonize the Pakistan army but also exploit it as a symbol of why it was important to break away from (West) Pakistan.

    Prof Bose, a Bengali herself and belonging to the family of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, emphasized the need for conducting independent studies of the 1971 conflict to bring out the facts.”

    While none of this excuses the suffering infllicted on the Bangladeshi people, it does show how facts are swept aside in the name of emotion and rhetoric.

  2. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 4:42 am  

    Raz Sharmilla Bose isnt exactly considered an authority on this. Shes preety constroversial commie scholar. The genocide has been well documented. Just as there are holocaust deniers, you Mr, are a genocide deinier. This shame is yours and your counntry’s for generations.

  3. Rezwan — on 20th December, 2005 at 5:26 am  

    Hi Raz,

    Perhaps this will shed a light on the Sharmila Bose controversy.

    Sharmila Bose rewrites history

    Also please go through the Liberation War Museum (LWM) site, where you will find facts supported by documents, not fictions. There are tons of documents online and the figures might not be exactly 3 million but its not less than 3,00,000 either. As there is no record it will be hard to verify but experts say something close to 3 millions as almost every family in Bangladesh has lost a closed one or affected significantly during 1971. Also take into account hundreds of Indian soldiers died for the cause of Bangladesh and all the pain of the refugees India had to take.

    I am surprised by the tendency of the Pakistani media, and some of the new generation Pakistanis to play down the facts of 1971. Because those Pakistani drunken generals do not represent mindsets of the ordinary Pakistanis. A large part of Pakistanis were kept in dark about what was happening in Bangladesh. And admitting their mistake can only make a nation more humane and confident.

  4. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 9:42 am  

    Hi rizwan,

    “As there is no record it will be hard to verify”

    But this is exactly the problem. It’s not just Pakistanis who dispute the figures. Even some Bangladeshis and Indians want to know the facts. As the Bangladeshi ambassador himself said:

    “Bangladesh alone cannot correct this mistake. Instead, he suggested that Pakistan and Bangladesh form a joint commission to investigate the 1971 disaster and prepare a report.”

    Rizwan, whether the number of Bangladeshi dead is 300,000 or 3 million, it does not excuse the suffering of Bangladeshi people during this terrible time. This is not about denying that Bangladeshis have endured terrible things. But historical accuracy demands that a thorough,neutral and academic investigation is needed to establish the scale of what happened in 1971. It should be noted, however, that on Musharraf’s last visit, he did express regret for the pas, an apology accepted by some but not all Bangladeshis who demanded a full apology.

    Some other points:

    Despite the pain of 1971, all Pakistanis quickly accepted reality of Bangladesh as a nation. Nobody in Pakistan wants to see Bangladesh destroyed or re-integrated into Pakistan. Contrast this to Indians like Vikrant, who even after 60 years refuse to accept the reality of partition and continue to fantasise about destroying Pakistan. A striking contrast between Pakistan and India. Another issue to consider is that despite India’s liberation of Bangladesh, today Pakistan has in some ways better relations with Bangladesh than India does. The Indian government has regularly accused Bangladesh of formenting terrorism within India. Indian and Bangladeshi soldiers often open fire on one another across their border, with casualties on both sides. In contrast, today Pakistan sells weapons and provides military/air force training to Bangladesh, which may one day help Bangladeshis defend themselves from India.

    Rizwan, you are right that whatever happened in the past should not affect the future. On Musharraf’s last visit to Bangladesh, he uttered these wise words:

    “Let us bury the past in the spirit of magnanimity. Let not the light of the future be dimmed. Let us move forward together,” Musharraf said, adding that ‘courage to compromise is greater than to confront’

    I remember a Pakistan-India cricket match being played in Bangladesh for the independence cup a few years ago with most Bangladeshis in the crowd supporting Pakistan. Let’s hope we can move on from the past and work towards a better future for South Asia.

  5. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 10:08 am  

    Notwithstanding the creepy David Irving-like Genocide-denial of Sharmila Bose’s paper, it is also, it must be said, a shoddy piece of work as research papers go.

    Even in the cold light of day, as academic research paper it fails to satisfy the basic requirements of objective and academic research. It has been said of Bose that she gravitates towards subjects that are contentious and controversial and then positions herself in a contrarian position so that the resulting furore (and this is by no means the first) helps to gloss over the academic failings of the work. Her politics is hard right and its worth considering that her political and academic benefactors are American and given the USA’s (namely Nixon and Kissinger) backing of Pakistan in the 1971 War of Independence, it cannot be discounted that there are interests that would like to distance any culpability of the the USA in the Genocide of 1971. To be blunt, she’s a paid hack.

  6. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 10:29 am  

    Christopher Hitchens devotes an entire chapter to the War of Independence in his book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger.

    Hitchen’s contention is that Henry Kissinger was directly responsible for the crimes against humanity, both, in the role of national security supreme, as well as the head of the Forty Committee (supervisor of all foreign covert actions.One chapter of the book, more germane to the subcontinent, describes the period that led to the creation of Bangladesh. Here, Henry Kissinger looked the other way while General Yaha’s military dictatorship was involved in massacring independent-minded Bengalis.

    The reason why he colluded was that, at the time, Yahya Khan was acting as facilitator in the Sino-US demarche. So furious was the reaction of the US embassy officials in Dhaka that twenty of them wrote a strongly worded letter criticizing US complicity in the genocide committed by the Pakistani army; the letter was also signed by another nine diplomats in the South Asian division.

    Henry Kissinger is also indicted on two other counts. The coup, which overthrew the government of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, had the tacit backing of the CIA. Khondkar Mushtaq Ahmed, right-leaning leader of the Awami League, was in touch with coup plotters before the coup occurred. It is not surprising therefore, that he was placed in the driving-seat after the coup had succeeded.

    Indeed, Khondkar Mushtaq Ahmed’s links with the Americans go way back to the days of the independence struggle, when he was prevailed upon to dilute the Awami League demand for outright independence. All these goings-on in Bangladesh, Hitchens argues, could not have happened without the authorization of Henry Kissinger.

  7. Mahmud Rahman — on 20th December, 2005 at 10:51 am  

    Wow – Siddhartha is absolutely correct in stating that Raz’s squirming is comparable to David Irving’s holocaust revisionism. But I would imagine that as a Pakistani nationalist it is in his blood to slander and try to whitewash the event. The same kind of Pakistani nationalists celebrated the rapists and genocidalists on 1971 in the salons of Lahore and Karachi.

    Lets be clear about this – 1971 was a genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani state with a killing rate that matched that of Pol Pot in Cambodia. The reason why it is not more widely known is partly because of Pakistani Nationalists who are shameless in their attempts to mitigate the wholesale genocide that took place. It is also because of current sensitivity about Islam – and in Britain the mood is not one to rock the boat, especially when Pakistanis and Ummah Freaks outnumber Bangladeshis.

    Bangladesh is the forgotten genocide of the twentieth century.

    Pan-Islamism of the type fostered by some Ummah fanatics is one reason why it is ignored – Pakistani Nationalists believe that if they squeal loud enough, engage in genocide-revisionism, enough people will be scared away from investigating.

    The Bangladesh genocide had an added depravity, in that it was an attempt by Pakistan to ‘purify’ Bangladesh – and this took the form of targetting Hindus specifically and killing them in a systematic way in their hundreds of thousands. Bengali Muslims were considered to be untermenschen, and were classified as being close to monkeys, apostates, traitors, and the worst thing of all for Pakistani Nationalists, they were called little better than Hindus (who are the most basic form of scum on the Earth to the Pakistani Army and their apologists)

    This then was a heady brew – racist psycopathic hatred, mixed with an Islamic and Racial superiority complex, mixed with religious fervour, that allowed the Pakistani Army to engage in a sustained killing spree that amounted to a genocide of Bengali Muslims, Hindus, and intellectuals, artists and academics who were rounded up and shout en masse like some scene from The Killing Fields.

    It is this obscenity and genocide that was celebrated in the salons of Lahore, when the Pakistani journalist Anthony Mascarenas described about how the chattering classes of the Punjabi elite in Pakistan declared, when told of the mass rape of Bengali women by Pakistani soldiers, they laughed and said it was a good thing, because it would improve the gene pool of the horrible black Bengali monkeys. The news of targetted massacre and genocide of Hindus was greeted as a natural thing to do, as natural as the killing of rats and other vermin. Bengali Muslims were triple scum because:

    (1) They dared to counter the ideology of the The Land of the Pure (Pakistan)

    (2) They were kaffirs and apostates for refusing to accept their Bengalis language and culture play second fiddle to Pakistan ideology (And to the twisted Islamic logic of Pakistani Army, kaffirs deserve death)

    (3) They stood in solidarity with their Hindu Bengali brothers and sisters – a crime of immense offence against the Ummah.

    It is this sickening genocide that even today Pakistani Nationalists and Pan Islamists seek to mitigate and white wash. Such people make me feel sick to my core.

    Thanks for writing this and bringing it to the attention of the readers of this site. It is vital and neccessary that the 1971 genocide against the people of Bengal by the Pakistani State is never forgotten and is known as widely as possible – if for no other reason to make plain to the world exactly what the crimes of the Pakistani Army, who are in control of Pakistan today are – and exactly what the Islamists who terrorise Bangladesh today are in league with.

    This genocide should never be forgotten.

    Thank you.

    Amar shonar Bangla
    Ami tomae bhalobashi

  8. Mahmud Rahman — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:00 am  

    Raz

    I read your post again with incredulity. There is nothing more vicious and unforgetting of crimes and slights against its ego than a Pakistani Nationalist Attack Dog – unrelenting and hypocritical. The arrogance is breathtaking. Your attempt to misdirect attention to this issue by dragging current relations with India into the equation is typical of the breathtaking arrogance displayed in this Pan Islamist – Pakistani Nationalist mindset. As if the goodwill of Bangladeshis despite what happened in 1971 is a sign of the good hearts of Bengalis, you interpret it as some kind of generalised asscension to the burying of the history of Pakistani genocide.

    This instinct is unburied and utterly without shame – you are shameless, like the Pakistani state is without shame, like Musharaff with his patronising speech is without shame, and a people without shame are easily capable of carrying out genocide of the scale we witnessed in 1971, against Muslims, non Muslims, artists, academics and intellectuals. Without shame, without humanity, without introspection, without insight, without reflection. Just carry on your games of the Ummah being all, totally shameless and without any humanity.

    Personally, I believe Musharaff deserves a slap for his arrogant patronising speech. But he is typical of the Pakistani Army, the genocide machine that it is – how can you expect such an organisation to ever show any remorse when it is up to its neck in blood? And yes, Raz, Islamist fanatics are threatening Bangladesh today, they are not a figment of the imagination – and they are descended from those elements who sided with the genocidal machine back in 1971, and they do have links with Pakistani Jihadi outfits, and they want to drag secular and democratic Bangladesh back to the stone age of Pakistani style Islamist tyranny – but it shall never happen, and WE SHALL NEVER FORGET.

  9. Mahmud Rahman — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:14 am  

    Millions of Bengalis slaughtered and Raz thinks its so wonderful because Bangladeshis still show friendship to the common Pakistani man because that is in their nature – amazing. Talk about the goodwill of good hearted people being interpreted as supine surrender by people with black hearts and nasty attempts to brush away the genocide of well over a million people – and the patronising smears and references to ‘emotion’ and ‘lets compromise and forget about the past’ – as if the Pakistani Nationalist is ever one to compromise or forget about anything. They did the blood letting in Bangladesh, then they carried on every where else.

    People should know what the Pakistani Army is capable of – people should be under no illusions.

  10. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:17 am  

    ‘Mahmud Rahman’ = Vikrant :)

  11. Mahmud Rahman — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:21 am  

    Sorry Raz – My name is Mahmud Rahman – it is typical of your type of Pakistani Nationalist to slander and smear all those who tell the truth – it is in your nature – unable to comprehend the truth telling and mote in the eye of your Pan Islamism and unable to face up to the truth of the genocide you slander and smear.

    What is interesting is how similar your mindset is to the actual perpetrators of the genocide itself – anyone who speaks the truth and tells it like it is is immediately relegated and dealt with by accusations of being ‘traitorous’ – this is how you deal with those who oppose you – this is why you are typical of the Pakistani Nationalist mentality.

    Even then, when the genocide was taking place, all the limited mental capability of the ideologues who cheered it could say – Kill the Bengalis Monkeys – they are more Hindu than Muslim.

    You are typical, and as I said, utterly without shame.

  12. Mahmud Rahman — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:29 am  

    Take a look at the link to the Bangladeshi bloggers at the end of the article Raz – click on ‘Rezwan’ then go and insult them too and call them Hindus as well – just like the rapists and killers of 1971 did – you are so out of your depth it is unbelievable, so crude, so vulgar, so without shame.

    But I thank you for giving everyone an insight into the psychology that created the conditions for the 1971 genocide – for your arrogance, idiocy, superiority-complex and sheer shamelessness, it is a valuable contribution to have made – thanks.

  13. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:38 am  

    ROFLMAO. Looks like another comedy account :) Shaka Zula has some competition :)

  14. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:42 am  

    More fool you Raz

  15. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:45 am  

    Siddarth, I have plenty of time to engage with sensible people like Rezwan. I have no time for hatemongers like “Mahmud Rehman”.

  16. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:46 am  

    Here’s a perfectly sensible question:

    1) Why have Muslim organisations in the UK never addressed the shameful acts of Muslim on Muslim barbarism such as:
    The Massacre of Armenians by the Turks
    The Genocide of Bangladeshis by Pakistan
    The Massacre of Africans by Somalians in Darfur

    2) Check the backgrounds of the majority of the Muslims that front these Muslim organisations like MPACuk, MAP and MCB – and you will find that they are disproportionately made up of Pakistani men.

    Should any study be made on the correlation between (1) and (2).

    Is there something about the Pakistani Muslim sensibility that likes to brush the crimes of Genocide in East Bengal in 1971 under the carpet (MCB), scuttle around screaming anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial rants (MPACuk) and downsize the culpability of the four London Underground terrorists (because 3/4 were Pakistani)?

    Thank you.
    Siddhartha the “black Bangali Monkey Man”

  17. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:56 am  

    Siddarth, there are plenty of non-Pakistanis involved in these organisations. The Muslims idiot in chief, Iqbal Sacraie – responsble for the despicable refusal to attend holocaust memorial day -, is from Malawi. I have addressed the spectre of Muslim anti-semitism on this site many times, check my previous posts fro details. I believe what the MPAC, MAP and MCB have in common is that they are Muslims – and it is Muslims (not Pakistanis) who are in denial about terrorism. You only have to see the rediculous ‘Zionist conspiracy theories’ which blame everything from 9/11 to 7/7 on ‘the Jews’ to see this stupidity in action. If you’re trying to paint me as an apologist for Muslim violence then you’re having a laugh.

    None of this has anything to do with my original point. I am not denying the massace of Bangladeshis – I am asking for a reappraisal of the FACTS. Even the BANGLADESHI AMBASSADOR TO WASHINGTON is calling for a joint report into 1971. Indian and Bangladeshi scholars who attended this summit agreed. It is in the interests of all parties to carry out a dispassionate analysis of what happened, both for the sake of historical accuracy and closure for all the peoples concerned.

  18. El Cid — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:57 am  

    Um, Siddharth… I think Armenians tend to be Christian not Moslem, no?
    (Not that that makes things any better, being a Christian myself!! There are also any number of other moslem-on-moslem crimes I could think of. Yes yes, Christian-on-Christian too).

  19. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:59 am  

    Iran and Iraq is another Muslim or Muslim war of massive proportions.

  20. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:00 pm  

    it seems raz’s IQ has dipped substantially since we last dueled.

    Quote:Contrast this to Indians like Vikrant, who even after 60 years refuse to accept the reality of partition and continue to fantasise about destroying Pakistan

    Me fantacise about destroying Pakistan? Naaah man… Pakistan is on its way to self destruction. A pathetic Punjabi dominated failed jehadi state.

    As for acceptance of reality of partition, dude didnt we “Hindutva” people propund the two nation theorey?. India is lot better without your benighted land. If Indians hadnt accepted reality of partition then there wont have been deiplomatic relations between the two countries.

    It is Pakistan that doesnt want to recognise Indias growing economic and military power. Most Pakistani publications like Dawn devote most of their time to India’s troubles. Isnt it ironic that a paper whose target readership is mostly Pakistani devotes most of its paperspace for India-bashing and Indias woes.

    P.S Do consider petitioning your goverment to change the tone of your history textbooks. They give an interesting insight into the twisted mentality of your government and military.

  21. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:02 pm  

    El-Cid you’re right of course. And a good share of the victims of the Bangladesh Genocide were Hindus and Buddhists. Lets just say Muslim violence, then.

  22. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:02 pm  

    You forget ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley and continued campaign of intimidation and violence against Bangladeshi Hindus.

  23. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:03 pm  

    Of course Times of India never posted a story about Pakistan in its history :)

  24. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:04 pm  

    The Massacre of Africans by Somalians in Darfur

    I though its the Sudanese Arabs who are doing the killing there. Here a good site:

    http://www.iabolish.org

  25. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:06 pm  

    Time of India lol! Thought you’d really love your PR representatives in India. Sorry TOI, your effort arent really appretiated by Pakistanis.

  26. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:06 pm  

    pardon my typos..

  27. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:10 pm  

    LOL, every non RSS Indian is a traitor to you are’t they :)

  28. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:15 pm  

    Lol you consider me the-khaki-short-wearing-chav? Thats last time i tell you, I have no love for the vitriolic philosophy of Hindutva and Brahminism which RSS unintentionally protects. But even that doesnt make me blind to Pakistans war against Hinduism, India and my culture… you LeT scum.

  29. Dynesh — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:22 pm  

    All things considered, we in India tend to romanticise our involvement in Bangaldesh. Yes, the Pakistan Army committed genocide and by December of 71, we were helping the Bangladeshis in every way save for troops. What finally triggered our troops was the stupid act of pre-emptive aggression by Pakistan in bombing Indian targets. After this, the inevitable happened. It was expected that the USA would back Pakistan, since Yahya Khan was practically pimping America to China at that time. I think it was imperative that the Indian Army acted when it did, because while I do believe that either the Bangaldeshis would have won independence anyway or the international community would have woken up, both of these couldnt have happened within the fortnight in which the Mukti Bahini and the Indian Army won the war.

  30. raz — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:29 pm  

    “really in what sense you queer…”

    Ahem…not very ‘progressive’ of you :)

    Dynesh,

    Remember also that the Soviet Union played a big role in this whole affair. They encouraged India to attack Pakistan, and threatened to get involved if the USA intervened. This was part of their plan to dismember Pakistan, which was a US ally, unlike India which was allied to the communist Soviets. ISI paid the Russians back big time for that in Afghanistan :)

  31. Dynesh — on 20th December, 2005 at 12:40 pm  

    raz, maybe you should check your history books…the Soviet Union’s role was limited to supplying arms..yes, it isnt exactly a small role, but Nixon and Kissinger tried to pass resolutions at the UN condemning India’s actions. The USSR had to veto those. Remember, Nixon wanted to nuke us – whatever happened the USSR wasnt prepared to use nuclear weapons against Pakistan. The USS Enterprise was Nixon’s response to his failed attempts to try and build opinion supporting Pakistan. The USSR did not send its submarine until after the Enterprise took up its position. The big role the USSR played was negating the USA’s attempts to stop India from helping Bangladesh. Now in the light of things and with the benefit of hindsight, what the USSR did was just about enough to discourage Dick from going ahead with his plans since by the time he managed to get the UN around, we had won the war.

  32. Tanvir — on 20th December, 2005 at 1:31 pm  

    The war was fought by ‘Islamists’ – a myth

    It is very easy for some to make generalisations on ‘Islamists’. Most people involved in the struggle were ordinary people with their own interpretation of what was going on – it is not so black and white. You would have neighbours, one of whom was a freedom fighter, and one who was a ‘razakar’ (siding with the Pakistanis), and both families today probably get on very well.

    You see the racism coupled with the concept that Bengalis were inferior Muslims (by the Pakistanis) was not well understood by many Bengalis, and the attempts to ‘purify’ the Bengalis by the Pakistanis were looked upon in good faith by much of the population. Add this with the fact that much of the population were poor, uneducated and lacked insight, you ended up with a huge portion of East Pakistan, being easily led to believe that this was an attempt by India to split a Muslim nation into two and unfortunately, you ended up with a large number of collaborators, or traitors or ‘razakars’. Many of these were very religious people, as it was the guise of religion that was used by the Pakistanis to trick these people into collaborating with them to fight against the liberation cause. Of course there is a range of extents to which people were razakars, surely they needed to be educated, and rehabilitated, and many of them did especially after independence – that sad fact is to this day, anyone seen as a practising Muslim is vilified and called a razakar by the Awami League and minority groups. The people needed to be educated on the reality of the situation and many did eventually, when they saw how brutal the Pakistani army were, and join the liberation forces instead.

    Educating the masses on what was actually going on

    My grandmother Amina Begum, a General Secretary of the Awami League at the time and a member of parliament was instrumental in raising awareness of ‘choi dofol andolon’ (six point demand for justice from the Pakistanis) before we were liberated. She stood up for the rights of the Hindu minorities and played a big part in educating the masses through Grand Rallies across the nation and Sheikh Mujib’s children lived with her when he was thrown into jail in the Punjab when the Awami League won the elections and were set to take power.

    To call the Pakistani military of 1971 and the perpetrators of the war crimes ‘Islamists’ is incorrect. They were a brutal military force, using the cause of Islam to woo support from locals Bengalis. You can hardly call forces that were engaged in genocide and mass rapes to stop a breakaway republic Islamists. Surely Islamist are those who wish to spread Islam, or install Islamic rule. Next you lot will be calling animal rights militants, or tamil tigers or anything else negative Islamists too. Having said that, the pre-war persecution was supported by the widespread arrogance and superiority complex of the elite Pakistanis, and here some Pakistanis did feel they were more ‘purer’ Muslims… whether their motives coupled with the suppression of the Bengalis can be called Islamists I don’t know, although many would….again… it’s the trend of calling anything negative with Muslims involved ‘Islamists’.

    The ‘Islamist’ myth being continued and modified for current day use

    As for the Bangladeshis involved collaborating…..There is a very delicate distinction to be made, and I accept this is difficult to understand, but very important for the sake of justice, because to this day, wittingly or unwittingly, many still associate the religious parties in Bangladesh with mass genocide and rapes of the Pakistani military – and unfair automatic association – although a convenient one for the pro-India/Hindutva sympathisers/ anti-Muslims/or the likes of the Awami League who use Islam as a scapegoat for the troubles in BD, to their advantage. The truth of the matter is that the (often uneducated/lacking insight) religious masses were convinced through propaganda that fighting against the liberation was a just cause – there is nothing to say this means they automatically took part in war crimes, just as there is nothing to say the entire nation of Pakistan knew of, and actively gave its blessings for the war crimes.

    How India is seen today

    As for the role of India, we do business with India, and co-operate in trade, but apart from the Hindu minorities and few secularists, the vast majority of the nation, holds India in the same light as all the other neighbours, and a good number hold India with suspicion ( the current Prime Minister of Bangaldesh is actually considering putting on ice a multi-billion dollar investment deal with TATA of India….because she fears the masses will associate her with India..which is very damaging with elections coming up). I’m sorry to all you Indians out there, call it ungrateful, but that’s just how it is. I personally am indifferent, and just care about the trade and investment relations. There is also a sizable chunk of the population who absolutely hate Pakistan for the war crimes. You would think from the history that Pakistan would be hated more than India if there was some sort of hate scale.. but surprisingly, I’m pretty sure the scales are tipped the other way around – if it was actually measured. However – If you choose to mix with hardcore anti-Muslims, Bengali Hindus who are part of that crew who want to see Islam wiped out of Bangladesh etc, then obviously you are going to be fed the we love India we hate Pakistan bullshit. The thing is, people have their opinions, but the Indian / Pakistan love or hate thing just isn’t a pressing issue for the vast majority of normal Bangladeshis. It just inst comparable to the: India – Pakistan hate hate talk about Kashimir hate each hate each other scenario whatsoever. We just are not that sad!!

    How Pakistan is seen today

    There are various issues going in Bangladesh today, ones things for sure, we need to look forward. The Pakistanis are not sitting on our land – it is not like Palestine where we still have a battle to fight against the invaders and occupiers. They are not causing us any problems at this very moment. There is a mixture of acceptance of their war crimes by Pakistanis to outright arrogance about it. There are some small numbers who still hold the contempt for Bengalis that they did pre-liberation, and this makes Bangladeshi Industrialists and Businessmen well motivated to make Pakistan the first place for expansion of their businesses. I think it took them a while to get over it when a Bangladeshi mobile fone network set-up in Pakistan a few years back!! However, I’m glad we are moving forward, the generation of war criminals are soon to die and get what they have coming to them in hell, and Musharaff embarrassed was forced to release a bit of his ego in his trip to Bangladesh where he was taken to visit the War memorial and regretted Pakistan’s ‘excesses’ – not quite an apology but I bet it had the old cronies in Islamabad fuming!! I think Pakistani-Bangladeshi relations are very good, I think we even do joint naval exercises these days!! It would be nice to have equally warm feelings for India, but then it would be nice if the terrorists groups in Bangladesh would stop getting guns and ammo for free!!

    Recent Issues in Bangladesh

    Many people on PP, including the editor Sunny were adamant recently that the recent bombings in Bangladesh were the work of the coalition partners in the current Bangladesh government, and that the Jamaat-e-Islam was directly responsible. Given any common sense and thought, this would sound absolutely ridiculous – why would a party in power sponsor bombings calling for its own downfall? Surely the bombings have caused the ruling coalition trouble more than anything else??

    The Amir of Jamaat-e-Islam, in grand rallies across the country denounced terrorism, and called the bombers enemies of Islam, who tarnish the image of the religion. The thing is, it wasn’t just these bombs that instigated him to say this, he has been saying this for YEARS…. so why the mud-slinging anyway?? The accusations are purely politically motivated.

    Then there is the accusation that Khaleda Zia also does nothing against terrorism, and that she sponsors it. I understand why anti-Muslims don’t like her – she formed an alliance with Islamic parties, and she is the arch enemy of the Indian puppet Sheikh Hasina. The 4-party alliance has made good progress in Bangladesh – although its recent failing in the Hong Kong WTO summit was disastrous and unacceptable.

    But Khaleda Zia’s Rapid Action Battalion have been going after the terrorists on a daily basis, and have arrested hundreds of them, including one of the chiefs of the militant group. Infact, the progress that has been made in wiping out the JMB organisation would put the rest of the world’s ‘war on terror’ to shame. Having crippled their finances, uncovering their bank account networks, and arms and explosives.

    Propaganda by the Opposition hoping to regain power

    If you take a look at the activities of the main opposition, party the Awami League since they fell from power, they have been engaging in a campaign to tarnish the image of Bangladesh abroad, hoping donors etc favour the Awami League in the next elections. As soon as they fell from power Sheikh Hasina toured the world telling them the Taliban have control over Bangladesh – (surely if extremists have such a hand and are so prevalent, it didn’t happen overnight, but happened when you were in power too, and its also your fault bitch?!?!)
    The bomb blasts work in their(AL’s) favour. If you have experience in Bangladeshi politics, and know how grand rallies are organised, how protests and ‘missiels’ are brought about, or how political opponents are intimidated, you would understand that it is much more likely these bomb blasts are politically motivated as opposed to be the work of ‘Islamists’. In fact the Awami League are the only people who have benefited from this. Previous bombings, that were also claimed by an unknown Islamic group….had the claim traced to a cyber cafe in elephant Road in Dhaka, where they eventually traced the guy who sent the claim…it turned out to be some random dude…who wasn’t even Muslim, surprise, surprise.

    Who are the terrorists in Bangladesh? What do they want?

    The ‘Islamists’ who have caused trouble in Bangladesh in recent times like JMB, are small-time groups in terms of politics, without any theological insight – they detonate bombs….and then call for Islamic rule. Yet they do not have any organised political infrastructure, to take over say, if their plan works. They are just dudes releasing bombs, and leaving leaflets (many of which are cut and paste jobs from literature from peaceful religious groups!), and they give away tell-tall signs of working to only cause political instability and basically just being on a pay-roll doing someone’s dirty work.

    Is there Islamic Fundamentalism in Bangladesh? How does it manifest?

    No doubt there is Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh, but nothing like what is being reported where all the troubles of the nation are being bracketed together and labelled Islamic extremism. Often the clerics in rural areas are so poorly educated their religious education amounts to less than what a Muslim school kid in England knows about Islam, and these clerics have just knowledge of memorised passages of the Koran (in Arabic!)…and the decisions and norms they advocate (remember they ARE the authority in these rural areas sometimes)… are usually off the top of their head, cultural ideas, so sexism and racism against minorities can flourish. – This is the main problem of Islamic extremism in the Bangladesh in my view – and thankfully the government is taking initiatives to counter this, although to what extent and how long it is going to take to do this nationwide is unknown.

    I’m not denying there is fundamentalism in Bangladesh, but it exists in the UK too! It’s better to tell it how it is…because that is what is going to bring solutions. The news is usually hijacked by politicians and other groups with their agendas to forward their cause.

    ——————————–

    Now let’s look at the positive sides…. Dhaka is absolutely blingin’ !! (I know I know about the inequality etc etc). I have been there more times than my age, and every summer of my life, so about a good 10% of my life and every time I see good progress in terms of infrastructure. Not just in Dhaka, but Chittagong and Comilla also. Remember, in Partition, it was an agreement, and Pakistan got some assets of India… Bangladesh, fought a liberation war, was pretty much flattened, and got nothing despite having contributing to the state more since Pakistan’s existence. So basically, we had to start from scratch, and in 34 years, has done pretty well considering the political set-backs and restrictions of corruption. And, despite the Islamist militancy, Bangladesh has been listed among the “Next Eleven” by Goldman Sachs in the list of ‘next generation of nations with promising economic growth potential’. The Asian Development Bank recently said Bangladesh going to become the transport hub of he South Asia and South East Asian region – but said the government needs to get its act together, this is why we need General Ershad back, he was responsible for the major infrastructure advances in Bangladesh in the last 20 years.

    Inshallah next year, will be another election where the nation decides to keep out the Awami League and perhaps the Jatiya Party will have the upper hand in being the decider of a coalition with the BNP, hopefully his time led by Tariq Zia ( for those who oppose the ‘dynastic’ system – I think Tariq must be the next leader for the sake of unity in the BNP or the party will split into the different factions).

    Joi Pollibondhu, Joi Bangladesh

  33. sonia — on 20th December, 2005 at 1:53 pm  

    bangladeshi scholars ‘themselves’. implying that a bangladeshi scholar has somehow more idea than some other scholar.

    the unfortunate point of war is that ‘scholars’ anywhere cannot ‘confirm’ anything. the very nature of war is violent and confusing. obviously there will always be more than ‘one’ account of how things happened, who killed who etc, how many people died or suffered or were raped. Certainly with rape – even in peacetime society – e.g. now we don’t have ‘evidence’ of how many rapes take place because that is all tied up with who comes forward etc. Also there is a great difficulty with war crimes in ‘proving’ them – as any sensible scholar and academic is aware.

    The point should be more of understanding and awareness of this, and then also being aware of the tendency towards what i call the Holocaust denial syndrome – which exists in tandem- so we don’t go round and round the houses every bl**dy time and with every bl**dy conflict. Clearly we need to move on, and that ain’t gonna happen with a lot of yes you beat me up no i didnt nani nani boo boo you can’t prove it ha ha sort of vicious cycle.

  34. Rohin — on 20th December, 2005 at 2:00 pm  

    As a Bengali, I’m enjoying this discussion and good post Al-Hack. But Vikrant – come on no name-calling please. That includes calling someone queer or LeT scum. As long as you stick to attacking people’s views, it’s fine by me.

    Raz I do think you need to re-assess your take on what happened in the 70s. It was a dark time in Pakistan’s history and there’s no down-playing or ignoring it.

  35. sonia — on 20th December, 2005 at 2:02 pm  

    the point about sarmila bose’s paper – ( read it yourself actually) yes its one thing if you say well i have interviewed some people and not met any women who said they’ve been raped.

    her conclusion: stories of rape are gross exaggerated.

    not a sound scientific extrapolation. a) any decent social scientist knows full well the problem of ‘documenting’ rape – and ..

    in any case even then – there are women out there who have alleged rape. whether or not sarmila bose interviewed them is another matter!

    its the falsifiability issue all over again – just cos she hasn’t met the rape victims doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Like the white crows thesis cannot be falsified because every crow you’ve seen so far is black. You never know that you’ve met every crow and they’re all black. Simple eh?

    Which is why, academically speaking, it isn’t difficult to criticise the paper – plenty of bias involved which haven’t been addressed in the methodological issues.

    However, the problem is its not about an academic, methodological debate – because of the popular reaction and the use of this ‘research’ – essentially a political one – and one to fuel the already existing slanging match.

  36. Col. Mustafa — on 20th December, 2005 at 2:09 pm  

    I try and stay away from the whole bengali community thing all my life, and i end up in a forum full of bengalis. hmm interesting.

    This entire thread is a great read and good post Tanvir.
    I don’t know too much about my own country so im just gonna read.

  37. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 2:30 pm  

    Lefties, Jehadis, BNP and history denial… things are comming to a full circle here.

  38. El Cid — on 20th December, 2005 at 2:38 pm  

    it’s the trend of calling anything negative with Muslims involved ‘Islamists’. Good point Tanvir.

    On the positive side, I also understand that Bangladesh now feeds 140 million people itself, when it used to be completely dependent on aid. IMpressive considering the perpetual flooding. Let’s hope the worst-case scenarios from global warming don’t come to pass.

  39. Tanvir — on 20th December, 2005 at 2:47 pm  

    Prof Bose’s conclusions seem lame. You have to understand that this happened only 34 years ago….if you are well interested, take a trip to Bangladesh and you can get tens of thousands of eye-witness accounts of the brutality of the Pakistani army, I have heard plenty from my relatives. Some mass graves were uncovered only a few years ago. There should be plenty of info from Bangladeshis in London, one of my uncles was involved in the campaign for raising awareness in England and he told me of stories where Sylheti families would hear about the atrocities from back home, and there are many families who sold their restaurants, homes assets to send money to fight the Pakistanis. The genocide seems to be forgotten, but that doesn’t matter to me, one of the war memorials that I visit before going home from the airport on arriving in Dhaka fittingly has a sign on the entrance saying “ Heroes Live forever” the existence of Bangladesh is testimony to the courage of its freedom fighters.

    As for Sheikh Mujib wanting for form a confederation with Pakistan…(from that weak story linked by Raz at the top of this thread)….. my uncle’s best mate was stuck in jail with Sheikh Mujib when the war was going on…when he was being released…he was not prepared for the news that Bangladesh was actually liberated, “ No I am a Pakistani “ he yelled (unbelievable I know) …. this guy wanted to be Prime Minister of the whole of Pakistan! He then switched sides, he was flown to London, and here he met the Indian Ambassador. Here he practically agreed to India calling all the shots for Bangladesh. He obviously wasn’t a very confident man, and the prospect of him sitting as a leader for the rest of his life, with India running the show for him was very attractive. The Indians had their own plans to eventually annex a chunk of Bangladesh. This along with his Saddam-style dictatorship taking advantage of whole nation worshiping him for supposedly being the one, who brought Independence, was what brought his downfall. No doubt he played a huge role in Bangladesh gaining independence, but let’s just leave it at that.

    And no it is not unpatriotic to refrain from idolising Sheikh Mujib, or blindly supporting his daughter (Sheikh Hasina) and her political party the Awami League, no matter how much she will tell you, you are a razakar or traitor if you don’t, nor is it unpatriotic to not hate Pakistan.

  40. FOB — on 20th December, 2005 at 3:32 pm  

    Mahmud Rehman, excellent post. I sincerly hope that B’desh continues to do well and believe me most Indians want to see a prosperous and stable B’desh.

    Tanvir,
    WHY do Bangaldeshis hate Indians more than Pakis?
    I am inteterested to know this really.Its quite incomprehensible to me .Is it the Hindu/Muslim thing?The bonds of religion more important than the memories of genocide?

    From the point of view of the common Indian , they just want all Bangaldeshis immigrants out of India and they want B’desh to stop supporting terrorists.
    As far as TATA ,they themselves have cancelled the planned multibillion dollar investment in B’desh.Good news for some Indian state which will probably get that investment instead.

  41. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 4:21 pm  

    dont you mean: all illegalBangaldeshis immigrants

  42. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 4:24 pm  

    The Indians had their own plans to eventually annex a chunk of Bangladesh.

    And may i ask how you got hold of this info?…. Its sad to see a BNP fanatic who openly justified JeI and its doings in Bangladesh, being openly patronised by unsuspecting white dhimmis (El Cid) and pinkos.

  43. Vikrant — on 20th December, 2005 at 4:38 pm  

    As for India annexing a chunk of Bangladesh! its theory as wild as conspiraies get. 20 million Bangladeshi illegals have infact “annexed” border districts of West Bengal & Assam. Why would India or for that matter any country in the world dream of annexing “the swamp” (forgive me Sid.. cant help meself). India-Bangladesh illegal immigration tiff is similar to Mexico-USA thingy with Mexican and Bangladeshi governments turning a blind eye to the uncontrolled illegal immigration by their citizens.

  44. sonia — on 20th December, 2005 at 5:26 pm  

    who said bangladeshis hated indians more than pakistani’s – ha ha. anyway depends on who you refer to as bangladeshi’s. if you’re referring to people inside the country, then there’s so much anti-pakistani feeling about… obviously not very constructive, but given the nature of war and ‘othering’ that’s what’s relevant to those people.

  45. FOB — on 20th December, 2005 at 6:09 pm  

    sonia, it was tanvir who said that b’deshis hate indians more than pakis in his marathon comment above .

  46. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 6:31 pm  

    forgive me Sid.. cant help meself

    Don’t worry mate. I’ve come to agree with Sunny that, apart from your occassional flashes of brilliance, your’e a one-trick donkey. And that donkey is getting sooooo lame. :-)

  47. Siddharth — on 20th December, 2005 at 6:42 pm  

    Tanvir: Lets not forget – if there were no India to fight shoulder to shoulder with Bangladesh and sacrifice hundreds of her soldiers, and if there were no Mujib to galvanise the mood of the country there would be no Bangladesh National Party. That means Tariq Zia would not be here to embezzle/steal millions of dollars of Bangladeshi money on no credit of his own other than his ammu-ji being Prime Minister.

  48. Sunny — on 20th December, 2005 at 7:30 pm  

    Vikrant might be a pompous little name-calling monkey but he ain’t Mahmud Rahman.

    Raz – I’m disappointed that you chose to try and play down the extent of the Bangladeshi genocide using a few trumped up “intellectuals”. Hell, there’s more than one so-called Historian willing to deny the holocaust, and our Presidential friend from Iran willing to deny it – doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    Tanvir’s extended essay was also interesting, but amusing because it is still borne out of another kind of defensive mentality.

    He is of the mentality that talking about some issues is some Indian attempt to “divide and rule”, whether talking about the bombs in Bangladesh or the independence struggle. You probably think the killing of innocent Iraqis by suicide terrorists is also an American attempt to divide Sunnis and Shias.

    That is reflected by your “Bangladeshis hate Indians more than Pakistanis” rubbish. Why should Bangladeshis in general hate anyone? I have tons of Bangladeshi friends who see no reason to hate anyone just because they’re Indian (or even Pakistani). Some do, some don’t. Either way, I’m not falling for your rubbish.

    The point is, we have never published anything here on Bangladesh that does not reflect sentiment already out there published by Bangladeshis. Rezwan’s roundup reflects that. So your cheap shots have no impact.

    What I want is a self-confident Bangladesh, Pakistan and India that can pull their own people out of poverty, work together as sensible countries and deal with the big issues of the 21st century (environmental degradation, water shortages etc) rather than bicker.

  49. Tanvir — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:11 pm  

    Siddarth (post 47) I 100% agree with you.

    You guys need to read what I wrote carefully rather than automatically diss me just cos you don’t see eye to eye on other views.

    I pretty much said what you said when I wrote: The thing is, people have their opinions, but the Indian / Pakistan love or hate thing just isn’t a pressing issue for the vast majority of normal Bangladeshis

    And I further ridiculed having hate for any of the countries…(as Indians and Pakistanis are obsessed with)…co-operation and development is the key.

    See I didn’t have some rubbish to have some sort of ‘impact’… I wished to clarify the misconception: Bangladesh is a staunchly anti-Pakistan country…(much to the cheering of Indians)… the very fact that I explained hating any country shouldn’t be a factor….and you turn it round and tell me the same thing as if to diss me illustrates your desperation and childishness when debating with me Sunny And I think you are lying when you say you have tons of Bangladeshi friends, and even if you do have one or two expat (probably Calcutta origins Bengali friends) it doesn’t qualify you by any stretch of the imagination to comment on regular Bangladeshis

    But if you really do have to answer the question, and again I’ll point out that a very very small minority of people actually indulge in this nation-hating issue (before you make another lame cheap shot at trying to tell me the same thing)… the small minority of people who I have come across who give a shit, I have heard more people be pissed off with India than Pakistan. I couldn’t accurately say exactly why it is, cos different people have different reasons, but I am suspecting because the liberation war has ended long ago, the countries have made peace… (An analogy (although circumstances are different) would be say where as much as I look upon the Nazis in disgust for the holocaust….I don’t hold a grudge against Germany for it). You see the anti-Pakistan thing is in the past and not causing grief to Bangladeshis to this very present day, where as the reasons why the small number of people who hold grudges against India are present day, I couldn’t say to what extent they are all true, there is only evidence for a few of the things…it doesn’t matter to me, but there is an anti-India sentiment in Bangladesh, I wont repeat it, because it doesn’t really matter who thinks what, I said it for the sake of clarity anyway…. its getting a bit of a joke to me now anyway, cos this is like fact and undeniable fact, simply because the political parties all chat about it in their rallies, and the uneducated masses buy what they are told, whether it is true or not, I speak to an average of 4-5 people daily , be is rickshaw drivers shop keepers etc when im in Dhaka solely to discuss party politics because of my deep interest and work in it, and first of all, I can only remember two occasions when issues with India or Pakistan came up when discussing current affairs..See people have more pressing things to think about…but the two times (in about 7 years) a regular Joe brought up any S. Asian issue, it was shit about India. You just have to google anti-Indian sentiment in Bangladesh, to see even Indian newspapers talking about it. And the political parties play on this, and are probably are responsible for even telling lies and spreading propaganda… but the bottom line is that.

    Now the likes of you and Vikrant are always going to be surprised and resentful that Bangladesh is getting over the war crimes of the liberation war and does not have a problem with Pakistan, and be even more pissed off when Bangladesh doesn’t kiss India’s ass despite it being so big and powerful. I mean Bangladesh has been an honourable nation, in gratitude for the help in the liberation war; Bangladesh actually gave India a small territory as a symbolic gesture. But don’t expect Bangladesh to be India’s bitch. It aint gonna happen. And the same superiority complex of the Pakistanis is carried by many Indians, even the minor border patrol guards, who would treat the Bengalis living there like shit….I remember at one time, quite a few civilians got killed….then a few Bangladesh Rifles Soldiers got killed…and then they pissed off and executed about 5 Indian border patrol and it went as far as their bodies getting desecrated ( I do condemn this however)…then theres a sponsoring of terrorism inside Bangladesh accusation, the controlling of one of the major political parties in Bangladesh it all adds up and then the masses hear this stuff be in through some politicians loudspeaker or in the news, some will start to buy it, the resentment and suspicion is there and to this very present day, and if there is anything in the media on present day issues against any country, it is against India not Pakistan.

    You see the nation is effectively divided into 3, one third is pro-Awami League, one third BNP and the other third between the other, with the Jatiya Party taking the biggest slice. Now the BNP has always spread anti-India messages mainly to raise suspicion of the Awami League (their main rivals) but of current day issues, and many of the other small parties have followed suit (depending on whose side who is on at the time). The only thing the Awami League can say to counter, is call all their opposition collaborators, or razakars, as in collaborating with the Pakistanis…but they cant really make up shit about Pakistan to do with current problems of Bangaldesh, cos people wont really belive it, there is a big massive country in the way, its not that easiy for Pakistan to meddle in the affairs of Bangladesh. This cheap-shot politics has been going on for decades!

    You lot have basically illustrated exactly why issues Bangladesh has with each country…. some Pakistanis deny the genocide (but ur President visited our war memorials and said sorry)…. where as Indians refer to Bangladesh as a swamp…push their unwanted Muslims through our borders…look down upon us…expect us to jump when they tell us….expect us to hate their enemy…and expect us to love them unconditionally… it just aint happening so stop kidding yourselves guys. The only relations the nations have is business…and that’s where all the energies should go…not kissing each others ass nor hating.

    Sunny your summary was just weaaaaak….you make out you’re indifferent with regards to Bangladesh’s stance toward either country, but you like to re-iterate Pakistani genocide, yet effectively deny any ill-feeling between India and Bangladesh…. Just look at your mate Vikrant and how he calls Bangladesh a swamp…don’t you get it that there are people like this in much more influential positions in India and Bangladeshi dont like it. You tried to kind of dismiss my comments… and failed …..and then finished off as if you were saying something different… when I had emphasize on the moving forward and development as the main issue in my original post…. Man you need to get a life.

  50. contrarymary — on 20th December, 2005 at 11:53 pm  

    wow. that’s a damn interesting thread and series of posts. I’ve learnt shed loads. big up PP. this is exactly why it should exist! brapbrapbrap

  51. Siddharth — on 21st December, 2005 at 1:20 am  

    Tanvir: superb post (49). But don’t take things so personally man. Thats a Bangali trait too. ;-)

  52. Rezwan — on 21st December, 2005 at 5:16 am  

    “WHY do Bangaldeshis hate Indians more than Pakis?”

    - As far as I know this issue is fully political.

    Awami League is deemed to have close ties with India. So the other parties in Bangladesh had long used the strategy of inflicting the idea upon the general Bangladeshis that Awami League is trying to give India some undue benefits. By creating an anti-Indian feeling they want to tackle Awami League.

    But practically Bangladeshi livelihood is more exposed to India and Indian culture. Some Bangladeshis are rather negatively more inclined to Indian satellite channels rather than other channels. People understand Hindi widely if not speak. The 90% of Cabs are Indian manufactured. Beef, onions and many such consumer goods are mostly Indian. The latest Eid fashion was Bubbly-Aur-Bunty dresses.

    So it is really a hypocrisy hearing an Anti Indian comment from a BNP or Jamaat lawmaker, when no doubt, his family is watching the Hindi serials regularly.

    And adding to that the role of the Indian media. Ironically India blames Bangladesh for the weak relations where Bangladeshi satellite channels are taboo in India. If there is deterrents in the exchange of culture and goodwill, people certainly will have apprehensions about it. This is one example, how Indian media is creating impediment for the bi-lateral relations.

  53. Sunny — on 21st December, 2005 at 8:22 am  

    Tanvir, please don’t make me laugh.

    And I think you are lying when you say you have tons of Bangladeshi friends,
    Why? An Indian having Bangladeshi friends is hard to understand? I don’t have to prove any of my friendships to you boy.

    I wished to clarify the misconception: Bangladesh is a staunchly anti-Pakistan country…(much to the cheering of Indians)
    Get rid of that silly chip on your shoulder. No one even said anything along those lines.

    it doesn’t qualify you by any stretch of the imagination to comment on regular Bangladeshis
    It qualifies me as much as it qualifies you.

    Your retort is also fully of silly contradictions.

    First you say:
    The thing is, people have their opinions, but the Indian / Pakistan love or hate thing just isn’t a pressing issue for the vast majority of normal Bangladeshis

    and then you say….
    I mean Bangladesh has been an honourable nation, in gratitude for the help in the liberation war; Bangladesh actually gave India a small territory as a symbolic gesture. But don’t expect Bangladesh to be India’s bitch. It aint gonna happen.

    seems like the only person here with an irrational hatred of India here is you mate. I never said anything about Bangladesh being anyone’s bitch. Maybe you can find anything along those lines for me. Did I even mention anything about Bangladesh showing any gratitude to India? No I didn’t.

    where as Indians refer to Bangladesh as a swamp…
    Only the 16yr old little kid with a baseball for a brain did that. No one else did. You want to go down to his level now?

    ou make out you’re indifferent with regards to Bangladesh’s stance toward either country, but you like to re-iterate Pakistani genocide, yet effectively deny any ill-feeling between India and Bangladesh

    I didn’t re-iterate the genocide – Rezwan did on Global Voice and his own blog , and Al-Hack linked to it on Bangladesh’s independence day. And at no point did I deny any ill feeling… except I don’t fester on it unlike you.

    So, once again, that chip on your shoulder only makes you look like an idiot, not me.

  54. El Cid — on 21st December, 2005 at 10:37 am  

    Sunny, Tanvir — I think if you really tried, you could give this discussion a more positive spin. It’s been very interesting for the most part, but I think you have more in common than you may care to admit. From the outside, it looks rather silly – intelligent people calling each other liars, idiots, etc.

    Why not focus on the common ground, like the following?

    What I want is a self-confident Bangladesh, Pakistan and India that can pull their own people out of poverty, work together as sensible countries and deal with the big issues of the 21st century (environmental degradation, water shortages etc) rather than bicker.

  55. Tanvir — on 21st December, 2005 at 12:12 pm  

    Listen Sunny, you just can’t handle being told you your own website can you, look at the little signs of bitterness where you call me ‘boy’ ….hehe. get over it mate im here to stay and u need to get used to getting told. I don’t have any chips on my shoulder, particularly for the sake of your blog!! I was just trying to help, clear the misconceptions – especially yours… bearing in mind I live in Bangladesh for part of the year, every year, and you dont.!!..(so the prob of you knowing native Bangladeshis who live there (hence having a good idea of a regular Joe in BD)..as opposed to just being mates with people of Bangladeshi origin is slim)…but i’ll leave it, since you are being stubborn. And that post 49 wasn’t written solely for your benefit don’t flatter yourself it was written to educate Sonia and Vikrant, as well as yourself, hence talking about stuff you didn’t mention.

    Rezwan,
    I think you hit the nail on the head, most of the anti-Indian sentiment is spread for purely political reasons, and its just become a common scare mongering tactic, and the ill-feeling comes from both sides, but the extreme right in India and extreme left in Bangladesh fan the fire greatly… you just have to look at what the Indian newspapers write about Bangladesh and to some, but lesser extent, vice-versa.

    These are some of the basic issues/conceptions, from each side – where both have small degree of truth but are blown out of proportion:

    BD: The AL is India’s puppet to make moves to favour India
    India: A question was actually raised in Congress in the early 90s asking why India spends so much $$ in the millions funding BD’s AL.

    BD: The Indians are funding all the traditional terrorist groups (not recent JMB) e.g. Santu Lama etc, in CHT Hill tracks
    India: BD is giving rebels of Assam etc shelter

    India: Bangladeshi immigrants are flooding India
    BD: India is forcing unwanted Bengali speaking Muslims through the border

    BD: India is flooding BD with its goods through smuggling through weak borders and BD industry is suffering. There are other stories that don’t really mean much but are all part of urban myths against India i.e. They use our coins to melt into cutlery.. etc etc.. there are loads infact, but the more uneducated people buy them.

    And then there is the water issue with the Farakkah Dam, the latter half of this Washington post article very succinctly summarises the background and effects of the Farakkah Dam issue. Although the countries have come to some agreement…it took decades..and many ill-feelings fostered.

    As I said in Post 32: I personally am indifferent, and just care about the trade and investment relations.

    There are going to be always people on both sides, for whatever reason using either country as a scapegoat for problems and to forward their own political agenda, and always hating on one another for pointless reasons e.g. whenever BD-Pak relations improve. That coupled with the issues I listed above I think there is an overnight solution to reverse the accusations from either side, particularly because they do have a slight degree of truth… call me cynical, but I’m just being realistic.

    Going back to what Rezwan said……. Indian entertainment is big, and after Thailand I think India is the most popular destination for medical treatment. (although I think Toyota Corolla cabs are most common in Dhaka these days than the Maruti ones!), but anyway, the point is: the fact that Khaleda Zia didn’t want to make that deal with TATA worth billions, just because it was close to elections, shows, that the political parties themselves know the truth and the anti-Indian sentiment is just to cloud the judgement of the uneducated masses and those who have a bias against the country.

    But what the politicians should be doing, and what I think is what matters most is business. Indians and Bangladeshis have relatives in each others countries, similar cultures and shared interests etc. That’s going to come and go naturally. What the government needs to concentrate on is trade and business cos we need to feed our people and develop infrastructure, that is whats going make relations better. Only time can heal the bitterness for the other issues. No doubt Bangladesh has good potential for development, and I’m hoping with the next generation of more educated politicians and technocrats having more influence things are going to get better.

  56. Col. Mustafa — on 21st December, 2005 at 1:49 pm  

    I went to school in Bangladesh for about 3 yrs from the age of 12 to 15 before coming back to England.
    Some sort of experiment by parents, apparently you learn more over there.
    I found my memorising skills improved a whole lot more and i found it easier to be nastier to people.

    While there in English medium schools, i noticed that there were pakistanis and indians that were in my class.
    Back then it didn’t really bother me as i used to go school in uk before with a huge mix of races.
    I noticed while there the bengali students would occasionally take the piss out of the pakistanis or indians but in good humour, as the they were all friends.
    The pakistanis and indians also spoke bengali and not Urdu or Hindi.
    I don’t know what the overall view is in Bangladesh towards the indians or Pakistanis but i don’t think its a fixed view.
    There is some prejudice, but then most countries populations have some prejudice. Even i am sometimes, but i try and use logic to counter act it.

    “Only time can heal the bitterness for the other issues. No doubt Bangladesh has good potential for development, and I’m hoping with the next generation of more educated politicians and technocrats having more influence things are going to get better.”

    Its all about the next generation; as many more of them or us are much more educated and want to see the country develop in the right way.
    I don’t think the best way for Bangladesh to be heading in is a political system that incorporates religion into it.
    I don’t see why the Bangladeshi people won’t understand being friends with either India or Pakistan.
    Why should we be siding with one or the other when having both as friends is clearly more better for the stability of Bangladesh.
    I hope in the future that this sort of a message from all sides is given out.

    We can see while living in multi cultural societies that the myth of Pakistanis being a certain way is bollox, or how indians are is bollox also.
    I have friends all over the joint, from pakistani to indian to jews to nigerians and so on.
    Ive learnt not to be prejudice towards them as i haven’t found any reason to.

    But it is true as Tanvir said that Bangladeshis are more into Indian culture and media than anything else.
    Obviously the whole American influence has to be taken into account as well, but i hope that has a positive effect and not goto far.
    As always i think religion is somehow still reinforcing alot of views within people as well though.
    The islamists don’t want the type of Bangladesh that it is today or where its heading.
    We must destroy them with our lasers, or is it LAYYZORSSS.

  57. Mutahara Ahmed — on 21st December, 2005 at 11:43 pm  

    I have to say that reading this as a British-Pakistani makes me feel sad and ashamed.

    I know a lot of lovely, tolerant and genuine Pakistani people but the sad fact is that there are a number of people who are racist towards Bangladeshis and towards non-Muslims.

    What really surprises me though is when I met Islamic fundamentalist Bangladeshis, who are keen on Islamising Bangladesh along Pakistani lines. Intolerance towards minorities, re-writing history, and disregard for women’s rights are nothing to aspire to.

    I just heard today that Khutme Nabuwat and Jamaat-e-Islaami are agitating to have the peaceful Ahmadi Muslim minority declared non-Muslim in Bangladesh, as they were in Pakistan under pressure from Jamaat-e-Islaami.

    The bizarre thing is that these Jamaat activists have come over from Pakistan, and are often the same people who see themselves as superior to Bangladeshis.

    Yet under the concept of ‘Ulema’ they’ve managed to persuade the Bangaladeshi fundamentalists that they are all part of the same gang!! What’s that all about?

    Apparently, they have given an ultimatum to the Bangladeshi government – either you declare Ahmadis non-Muslim by 23 December or we will destroy their mosques.

    Also worth noting – Chawdhury Mueen-Uddin – who was named as a collaborator during the 1971 war (there was a 1995 dispatches documentary about it) and accused of playing a part in the assasinations of intellectuals and journalists – is now way up there in the Muslim Council of Britain and jointly runs East London Mosque.

  58. Sunny — on 22nd December, 2005 at 7:10 am  

    Listen Sunny, you just can’t handle being told you your own website can you,
    Tanvir – again – don’t flatter yourself. This isn’t the first Asian website I’ve set up where I discuss politics and current affairs and I’ve never banned a person for having an opposing viewpoint to mine (unless they start being racist/xenophobic/homophobic). The chip on your shoulder with you thinking Indians regard Bangladeshis as inferior or something is clear to see. To me nothing could be further from the truth – but you read my post as how you want to, rather than actually trying to get what I’m saying. No matter, it’s not the first time you’ve done that. And for the record, I wouldn’t want to ban ytou either. I think you’re intelligent and articulate, but its unfortunate that like most Asians you get so defensive over your own tribe and don’t get where others are coming from. Maybe one day we’ll come to some sort of an agreement.

  59. raz — on 22nd December, 2005 at 9:32 am  

    Sad that a thread that started out about Pakistan’s behaviour in 1971 turns into a Indian-Bengali flamewar. Pretty much demonstrates why we South Asians are so backward compared to the rest of the world.

    “What I want is a self-confident Bangladesh, Pakistan and India that can pull their own people out of poverty, work together as sensible countries and deal with the big issues of the 21st century (environmental degradation, water shortages etc) rather than bicker”

    One of the few sane things to come out of this. As I once again quote President Musharraf on his last visit to Bangladesh:

    “Your brothers and sisters in Pakistan share the pains of the events of 1971. The excesses committed during the unfortunate period are regrettable,”

    “Let us bury the past in the spirit of magnanimity. Let not the light of the future be dimmed. Let us move forward together,” Musharraf said, adding that ‘courage to compromise is greater than to confront’

    Whether we’re talking about 1947,1971 or today, these wise words ring true.

  60. Siddharth — on 22nd December, 2005 at 11:01 am  

    Bangladesh wants to re-kindle ties with Israel.

    Salam Dhaka reports on this encouraging development.

  61. DAtley — on 27th December, 2005 at 12:50 am  

    The reason more people know about the polpot genocide and not the bangladeshi genoice are:-
    (1)Race & Color Its allways there you cant run away from it. The rest of the world could care less for bangladesh b/c physical traits of bangladeshis. If its a whitie white or a ‘cute’ looking oriental race suffering it evokes more sympathy. The only other race to have it much worse than bangladeshis are blacks. weather they be of the australian aboriginal stock or african, or papua new guinea. Their being muslims doesnt buy them that much leverage in geo political terms either. I suspect race has something but it could also be cultural. Pakistanis are quite successful in terms of getting along well with arabs and persians and use that to their advantage.
    (2)US
    US has the biggest propoganda machine on the planet.
    Uk is number 2 especialy after you add in cousins from australia,nz and feeble canada.
    During the bangladesh creation turmoils UK decided to keep out of it. US was in bed with pakistan, so pakistan was not chided like milosovich and others were.

  62. Rape, torture and killing of Banglees in 1971 cann’t be seperated from the then Pakistani Army and Bangladesh Jamat-e-Islam. We will never forget and forgive them for those heinus crime against humanity.
    Long live Bangladesh,
    Joy heroic Nation
    Joy Bangla,
    Joy Banga Bandhu.
    Bangladesh will always be shining in the World in every sector In sha Allah.

  63. Wy Tsi — on 9th January, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

    sir, if i say that you are wrong in saying that there were human atrocities against bengalis – i would be lying through my teeth.

    yet, i can’t help but raise a question:

    why is it that a country’s population bears the brunt of its (previous) leaders’ actions?

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