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Book Review: Birth of Bangladesh by Kanakasabapathy Pandyan and 4 Others

It’s a wide-known fact that India played a major role in liberating East Pakistan (Bangladesh) from Pakistan in 1971. It was a major war that India fought for the other country. India and its then prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi used all three forces to liberate Bangladesh from the oppression of Pakistan.

The war lasted over 9 days but its real reason goes back to democratic election of 1971. When from (Bangladesh) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won with full majority, at this time he demanded East Pakistan as an independent nation. Pakistan started its operations and began trampling the people of East Pakistan. In their attempt to curb everything, they landed up killing many and looted the people and raped the women. The war atrocities were nothing less than the holocaust epoch of Nazi.

On 16 December 1971 the war was over. East Pakistan was declared a free nation, and called as Bangladesh. At this time students from IIM Calcutta were excited for the news and wanted to know the status of war-affected people. This non-fiction book of war memoir is one such attempt by K Pandyan and others to put what they saw on their 7-day journey into the newly created Bangladesh.   

Four students: Clement, Shyamal, Ganesh, K Pandyan. Start their journey into Bangladesh on 17 December 1971. With some cash and id cards of their college and no support or experience of the war zone, they venture on their own, purely on their luck. The author given a map at the start as what journey they took. They walk, take help from Indian army, and continue on boats without much convenience like food and tea. They find refugees returning to normal life but in abysmal stage. They, students, struggle for food and trust. As when they are confronted by the Indian army and locals they are taken as either spies or Pakistani soldiers in disguise. However, every time they were able to produce their identities and won hearts of Indian army.

The experience the students went through is worth captivating. Though they did not meet the direct bloodshed but their experience of refugees and hunger and other aspects make their heart break. But at the same time they were feeling proud to see the achievements of the Indian army. Also, locals like members of Mukti Bahini helped them and took them through the cities and places.

Trundling from one place to another is difficult especially in a war zone area. How they catch up and miss trains is really fascinating to listen. Birth of Bangladesh is a good and authentic book. The authors decided to pen down their experiences at the 50th year of liberation of Bangladesh. There were four people who visited the country but at the time of writing this book only two are alive. The main author took help from others who eventually became the contributors of the book. This book is a fantastic resource for war and crime and history students. Before their coverage of journey commences, the book takes us to the introduction and much more.

Towards, the end, the book sheds light on its authors and contributors. You will also find the image gallery captured during that time in Bangladesh. In more than one ways, this book is high on nostalgia of the people who directly or indirectly participated in that war for the sake of humanity.

Other than Kanakasabapathy Pandyan, the other contributors of the book are: Shyamal Chakravarty, Jayanta Sengupta, Devasis Gupta, and T R Sankaranarayanan.

Buy your copy from Amazon.


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