The birth of Bangladesh in 1971 is not only a historical event of this region, but an outburst of the long-term socio-political and economic struggle of Bengali nation. The event f 1971 through which Bengali can come forward with a nation-state, which is in fact, an event in which Bengali could reach in its utmost level of SUccess of its thousand-year-long existence for an identity as nation-state in the global arena. In this paper, we will explain the theoretical avenues of the birth of Bangladesh through a nine-month long great liberation war.
Beside this, this paper would put its effort to draw an answer about two questions- what are the root causes and actors behind the liberation war of Bangladesh which took place in 1 971 from March to December and what are the significances, importance and outcome f the liberation war in the life of Bangladesh. The first part of this paper will discuss about the root causes of the great liberation war, 1971 with the political and economic causes of liberation war.. A brief discussion, as a compendium, will also be placed about the liberation war.
In the last part of this paper, the importance, significance and outcome of the liberation war will be discussed briefly. At the end, It will also analyze this historical event with a theory of conflict described by a famous scholar To develop this paper, we have noticed a remarkable challenge for novice researchers and observers that, about liberation AR, there is a plenty of literatures. These literatures created an overflow of information which described the liberation war as historical event. Only a very few number of literatures dealt with the socio-political aspects of the event.
There also were difficulties to choose the correct information as the history of the liberation war has been putrefied many times by different political parties during different regimes. From these plenty of literatures, to find out the cream of analysis is challenging as well as time consuming. Introduction: The liberation of Bangladesh, 1971 is such an important event in the realm of story through which, the world got its last large populated country, the United Nations got its 33rd member state and the region, South Asia got another actor.
By the liberation war in 1971, freedom loving people were at last free from the domination of Pakistan and there ended the long struggle for freedom of Bangladesh. People of Bangladesh got an independent identity through the liberation war. In the cycle of Bangladesh and Bengali nation, the liberation war, 1971 is has a great importance. There are so many actors and factors behind this liberation war. This paper would explore the causes and describe the importance f liberation war in the life of Bangladesh.
Conflict Profile of Bangladesh: The liberation war is not the only event by which Bangladesh gained independence, there are other historical events in the background. These events are as important and significant as the liberation war. These events are described below- 1948 March 21: The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad All Zinnia declared in a civic reception in Dacha that “Urdu and only Urdu will remain as the state language of Pakistan”. The students of Dacha University instantly protested this declaration in front of Zinnia. 1952 February 21: Language
Movement – International Mother Language Day. Pakistan government forcibly tried to stop the demand of the Bengali people to establish “Bangle” as one of the state’s language of Pakistan. As a result, some protesters had been killed, huge number of people took the streets to protests unanimously and thus “seeds of Bangladesh nationalism” was sown during that movement. 1966 March 23: 6-Point Formula – Binnacle’s Right to Live by Sheikh Maximum Raman: 1968 January: Sheikh Maximum Raman arrested on the charge of the Garland Conspiracy Case. 969 January – February: In the whole Pakistan, violence had men broken out between people demonstrating against Baby Khan’s martial law regime and the police. To restoring peace, the ‘Garland Conspiracy Case’ had been dismissed and Sheikh Music had been released by the GOP. Len Dacha, police opened fire on a procession against the rule of Baby Khan, Sad (a student leader) and a high-school student Matter Raman had been killed. It created resentments among the Bengali, gave rise to the Mass Uprising of 1969 (goon- Pythagorean) in East Pakistan. 970 December 7: Miami League won the election, APP refused to allow Sheikh Music as Prime Minister. Len 1970 the Miami League won a landslide victory in the national elections. The party won 167 out of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 31 3 seats in the National Assembly. This gave the Miami League the constitutional right to form a government. The nearest contender was Qualifier All Bout of APP, with a total of 81 seats in the National Assembly.
Duration 26th March-16th December 1971 2 weeks & 2 days) Locations (8 months, Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), Bay of Bengal, West Pakistan Boarder, The Arabian Sea Outcome Collapse of the Pakistan Easter Command & independence of East Pakistan as he new republic of Bangladesh Parties Bangladesh (Must Bambini) India (joined the war in 3rd December) Pakistan: e-lilacs Bad Pakistan Armed Forces Paramilitary Forces: Jamaica- Shanty Committee AY-Shams Strength Arrears Bangladesh: 175000 India:500000 Pakistan Armed in East Pakistan) Paramilitary Forces:25000 Causalities Bangladesh Forces and civilians: 300,000-500,000 India: 1,426 AKA 3,611 wounded (Official) 1,525 AKA 4,061 Wounded Pops (56,694 Armed Forces 12, 192 paramilitary 24,114 Civilians) Civilian death: Table 1: An overview of the liberation war of 1971  Root Causes of the Liberation War:
Economic causes: The people of East Pakistan felt the deprivation from their needs because of some activities of the government. In economic field, the ultimate cause is the sense of relative deprivation. This sense of relative deprivation emerged in the civil mind of East Pakistan for the discrimination of the central government of Pakistan. These discriminations were in three categories. These are –
- Sense of Relative Deprivation in Inter-region Economic Practices
- Sense of Relative Deprivation in Inter-region Economic Policies
- Discrimination in East Pakistan: Bengali vs.. Non-Bengali
- These categories are described below with a nonchalant aspect of analysis.
Sense of relative deprivation in Inter-region Economic Practices : In the exploration of the history of Bangladesh, a large portion of historians stated that in the case of liberation war, the sense of relative deprivation was one of the most important causes. Historians and political-economists argued that the then Pakistan government was completely failure to remove this sense of relative deprivation from the mind of east Pakistani people. It is said that the fundamental ideological basement of the liberation war was the Bengali sectionalism but the fundamental cause behind this war was economic deprivation and the sense of relative deprivation in the mind of east Pakistani citizens Disparity in Per-capita Income: The discrimination of government policies and government jobs, industrialization and state opportunities made a huge difference between the per-capita income of East and West Pakistan.
The following table displays the disparity: Time Per-capita of East Pakistan Per-capita of West Pakistan Disparity Difference in per-capita income between East and West Pakistan. Table shows us that there was a disparity in per-capita income between the two regions of Pakistan. In initial level, the disparity was comparatively low. Afterward, in 1970, the disparity rose up-to 61%. This disparity is a result of discrimination in policy and distribution level which is derived from the policy of central government of Pakistan.
This disparity had a common impact on the life- standards of Pakistani people in both East and West Pakistan. As an outcome, in institution, people of West Pakistan consumed much more goods where people from East Pakistan did not have their enough purchasing power to consume necessary goods. As a result, because of this distribution crisis, people from East Pakistan were suffering from poverty. Discrimination in Government Expenditure: In government expenditure, from 1959 to 1970, it is noticed and recorded that, only 23% of total government expenditure in this time was provided in East Pakistan while the rest 77 % was delivered in West Pakistan.
The matter for which this discrimination took place is that in professional level, n administration, in the statistics of 1966, only 30% officers were from East Pakistan where the rest 70% of government officers were from West Pakistan. Discrimination in Business sector: There was a discrimination in business level in the then united Pakistan. Government could not ensure a safe and healthy environment in East Pakistan. As a result national capitalist class could not emerge in east Pakistan. According to the historical evidences, there were 43 families who were the controllers of the whole economy of Pakistan. Discrimination in Policy Level: In Pakistan, Policy level, particularly economic policy, was one of the most important sector which was facing discrimination.
The discrimination was against East Pakistani people. These policies are l. Trade and Commerce Policy: In the then trade sector, East Pakistan was one of the most famous production field of jute. During that time, India was the largest market of this jute. India, according to the statistics, took 65% of total jute produced in East Pakistan. But in 1949, because of the devaluation of take, Pakistan closed its trade with India. As result, jute businessmen faced severe crisis. In 1950, the jute price index reduced to 71% from 100%. II. Exchange Rate Policy: In Exchange rate policy, Pakistan central Government took the policy of inflation for take.
As a result, East Pakistani businessmen faced two-fold problems. Firstly the importer of West Pakistan got government subsidiary which created a trade imbalance with East Pakistani business community. Secondly, businessmen from East Pakistan got comparatively low price in their imported goods. As a result, the economy of East Pakistan faced severe problem from this policy. Disparity in Inner Level: Bengali and Non-Bengali discrimination: In non-governmental sectors of East Pakistan was a dominance of non-Bengali. Before 1957, in DIP and PICK, from total loans,only 42. 2% was allocated for Bengali people where Bengali are the majority in this region.
In Foreign direct investment, before 1969, from all Pakistan Development Foreign Investment (PDA), from total 1. 18 billion US dollar, only 38 % was allocated for the Bengali people of East Pakistan where rest 62% was allocated for non-Bengali People in East Pakistan. In Trade Sector of East Pakistan: Nib trade sector of East Pakistan, statistics stated that, 93% of largest importers are from non-Bengali classes. In industrial sector: In Industrial sector of East Pakistan, from 1950 to 1971, the total structure of industry in this area was in the hand of non-Bengali people. Economies, particularly from urban area was totally under the control of non-Bengali people. N industrial sector, from all large industries in East Pakistan, non-Bengali people controlled 47% of total industries. Rest 57% were under the control of Bengali people. Statistics said that, in shipping sector, there were only two ship-yards in East Pakistan area. Both of these were owned by non-Bengali owners. In tea forests, 28 tea gardens were controlled and maintained by non-Bengali owners. Room total production of tea, non-Bengali owners produced 19% of tea which was exported abroad. In Export Sector: In export sector, Bengali could control only 33% of total business where non- Bengali could control the 25% of the total export oriented business sector. Rest of the sector was controlled and maintained by foreigners and governmental officials.
Political Causes of Liberation War: Nation-Building Crisis in Pakistan: The fundamental political cause behind the great liberation war of Bangladesh was the problem in nation-building process of the then united Pakistan. In Pakistan, there was an absence of a sense of territorial nationality among common people as well as political and economic elites. The very cause of this lacking is the discrimination of power in the two part of the then Pakistan. Pakistan was failed to establish a national central authority as central authority was not belonged to the majority of Pakistani people. In East Pakistan, the majority of Pakistani people were lived. Around 56%of total people was Bengali who were living in East Pakistan.
But the central government of Pakistan ignored their hopes and expectations in policy and practical level of the state. As a exult, the spirit of Pakistan, as argued by observers, was an illusion for East Pakistani people, particularly Bangles. Pakistan could not ensure a minimum value consensus among its leaders and citizens. Leaders were not aware about the future of the nation. They were aware only about their own position and power. All the leaders of Pakistan had practiced a single policy in their political life. Finally, Pakistan was not success in promoting integrative institutions and behaviors for all sub-national groups of Pakistan.
Leaders were put their over efforts in concentration of authority, maintenance of law and order, economic placement of the centre and make the administrative apparatus effective and efficient. But they did not put any effort to create a unity in national level with all sub national and tribal entities. Leaders did not put effort to transform the primordial sentiments into civil sentiments. They could not create a nation state out of a multiple subordinate groups. In Pakistan, leaders, may be, could achieve some state-building apparatus, but these achievements were at the cost of its national integration and nation-building process. This gap resulted the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.
Problems in Nation-Building process of Pakistan: In the nation-building process of Pakistan, there was a two-fold crisis. These crises were- firstly, Pakistan was not able to create a national ideology, to create a national elite and some national institutions. Secondly Pakistan could not integrate the newly emerged various groups into a national system. Geography and population related factors: It is said that Pakistan was made up with two unequal regions comprising a total area of 365,529 square miles (East Pakistan was 55126 square miles and West Pakistan was 310403 square miles). It was called as a double country which was operated from each other by more than a thousand miles.. His geographical separation between two parts of Pakistan makes communication difficult and expensive which resulted a little mobility of population and resources between them. This was a problem in creating a sense of territorial oneness among the people of these two regions. Discrimination in Military Sector: In Pakistan, in defense, there was a gap in participation from both East and West Pakistan. This created a sense of deprivation. The following table describes the discrimination: Force name East Pakistan West Pakistan Army 7. 4% 2. 6% Air Force 28. 7% 71. 3% Navy 28. 8% 71. 2% Table 3: Ratio of the Participation of East Pakistani people in defense forces in 1963. Beside these causes, there were some chronological events took place in the path of Pakistan.
These events were- the great language movement of 1 952 from which Bengali got their philosophical spirit to be united on the basis of a culture-based, particularly language based nationalism, 21 point movement, anti- military government movement, education commission movement 1962, 6 point movement of 1966, the Granola Conspiracy Case, mass upsurge of 1969, election f 1970 and the operation Search Light on 25th March, 1971. These events were the historical landmarks on the way of liberation war of Bangladesh. Finally, all of these causes worked as an envelope. Through this envelope, the cycle of moments, factors and historical events, on 1971, the great liberation war took place in the history of the world. The liberation war: The war began on 25 March 1971, when the Pakistani military junta led by General Yah Khan began a military operation against Bengali nationalists, civilians, students, intelligentsia, religious minorities and armed personnel, ho were demanding self-determination and acceptance of the 1970 election results.
The junta arrested Prime Minister-elect Sheikh Maximum Raman, banned major political parties, imposed strict press censorship and extended martial law. In response to the crackdown, defecting Bengali military and paramilitary formed the Must Bambini. Led by M. A. G. Samoan and eleven sector commanders, they waged a guerrilla war against Pakistani forces. The Bengali resistance liberated numerous towns and cities in the initial months of the war, before the Pakistan Army temporarily regained momentum. The Provisional Government f Bangladesh was formed on 1 7 April in the free district of Improper, and later moved as a government in exile to Calcutta, India.
The Indian government and military provided extensive support to the Bangladesh movement. The liberation war lasted for nine months. The Bangladesh Forces secured control of large parts of the countryside. India joined the war on 3 December 1 971, after Pakistan launched preemptive air strikes on North India. The subsequent Indo-Pakistani War witnessed engagements on two fronts, as well as the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan became the first country o recognize Bangladesh on 6 December 1971. On 16 December 1971, Pakistan surrendered to the Allied Forces of Bangladesh and India in the East. 90,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken as Pops under the Geneva Convention, the largest since World War II.
The end of the war spelt the emergence of a liberated Bangladesh, the world’s seventh-most populous country at the time. The majority of UN member states recognized the new country in 1972. Theoretical Analysis: The liberation war of 1971 is a form of severe conflict. Conflict is dynamic process. There are many theories of conflict one which is described by Johan Gallant. It is called the BBC triangle theory. In this process there are three phases: attitude, behavior & contradiction. By this theory conflicts are being analyzed with every phase. If take contradiction as the first phase of the process, it refers to the underlying conflict situation, which includes the actual or perceived ‘incompatibility of goals’ between the conflict parties.
Figure 1: BBC conflict triangle (Gallant, 2000:1 3) In the context of liberation war this situation was created from the beginning that means from the birth of West and East Pakistan, as the people of Pakistan new that their language, culture, religion etc were quite different and the people of East Pakistan understood that they need autonomy or independence. Attitude includes the parties’ perceptions and misconceptions of each other and of themselves. In the context of Bangladesh, that was the situation after the election of 1970. In the third phase, behavior can involve cooperation or coercion, gestures signifying conciliation or hostility.