1971 War of Liberation: Memory and History - একাত্তরের মুক্তিযুদ্ধ: স্মৃতিতে ও ইতিহাসে
To celebrate the 53rd victory
day of Bangladesh, BIDS organized a
special commemoration event titled,
"একাত্তরের মুক্তিযুদ্ধ: স্মৃতিতে ও ইতিহাসে —
1971 War of Liberation: Memory and History"
The event took place in the BIDS
conference room on 26 December 2023 at 2:30 pm. Participants from home and
abroad joined the event in person as well as virtually via Zoom.
Dr. Binayak Sen, Director General, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies,
moderated the event. The speakers of the event include Tanvir Mokammel,
Bangladeshi Filmmaker, Writer and Teacher; and Lt. Col (retd.) Quazi Sajjad Ali
Zahir Bir Protik, Swadhinata Padak and Padma Shri.
The eminent filmmaker and writer Tanvir Mokammel has made eight fiction films
and sixteen (16) documentaries. For his contribution to cinema, he has received
ten national film awards. He has also received the prestigious "Ekushey
Padak" award from the government of Bangladesh in 2017 and an honorary "Fellowship
Award" from Bangla Academy in 2023.
Lt. Col (retd.) Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir Bir Protik who was an officer of the
Pakistan Army posted to the 14 Para Brigade in Sialkot in 1971. When the War of
Independence broke out, he defected from the Pakistan Army and crossed the
Jammu-Kashmir border. He fought the War of Liberation from sector four and
raised two field artillery battery. Later, he authored 65 books and many
articles in Bangla and English newspapers.
On the event day, the first speaker, Tanvir Mokammel showed an hour-long
documentary video that highlights the Pakistani armed forces and their collaborators'
persecution of women and mass killings during the nine-month-long war. During
the discussion, he raised an important issue and regretted that not much work had
been done to document the history of our liberation war. One of the event
participants, Shirin Parvin Huq, a founding member of Naripokkho, said that she
regularly maintains contact with a hundred "Biranganas", and none of
them is in good condition. She, sadly, mentioned that no one in society wants
to know about "Biranganas" these days.
The second speaker, Freedom fighter Lt. Col (retd.) Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir Bir
Protik, who was awarded the Swadhinata Padak and the Padma Shri, shared several
incidents about how the mass people joined the liberation war. Regretfully, he
mentioned that though a group of educated rich are nowadays celebrating as
freedom fighters, in reality, mostly the farmer's boys and uneducated youths
joined the liberation war. He pointed out that the working class fought in the
liberation war, leaving their ploughs, and went back to fields after the war,
but the credit goes to the elite class.
The Director General of BIDS opined that the documentation of the terrible
incidents that happened during our liberation war need to be well documented.
He also emphasized the importance of conducting more research on the current
situation of the war-affected people, especially, the women, for example,