destination india

Thursday, December 15, 2005

birth of a nation

On 16th of December 1971 a new nation Bangladesh was formed.

For more on Bangladesh - http://www.bangladeshonline.com/

It was on this day that General A A K Niazi of Pakistan surrendered to Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora of the Eastern Command ending the long fight in which Indian Gnat fighters humbled the Pak Sabre jets. It was a day of rejoicing for Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and his Mukti Bahini. This bahini (or force) was formed to fight against the Pakistanis to secure the freedom of Bangladesh and India assisted them in their mission. Those days are still fresh in my memory – there would be black outs in the nights, window curtains were always kept pulled so that not a ray of light penetrated outside, all vehicles had to use dippers and the top half of heads lights were painted black to ensure that light did jot spread externally. In the day time mock drills would be held and trenches dug up in the nearby grounds where people could rush and take shelter in the event of the sounding if the air raid sirens. I stayed in Deolali at the time and, since it was a military area of sorts, rigid compliance of these measures was mandatory. Of course, when I went home after the war was over, I heard from my brothers about the dogfights in the air between Indian and Pakistani aircrafts. Unfortunately, no such incident happened in or near Deolali.

Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, affectionately called the Banga-bondhu is no more. Bangladesh today is an independent nation; over the years, they have built up their infrastructure. Cultural exchanges between them and Bengalis this side of the border is strong. Consignments of the tasty hilsa fish of the Padma River come in the markets of Kolkata quite frequently. They have a talented cricket team and, have chosen a poem of Tagore as their national anthem – ‘amaar sonar bangla’. Let us convey our good wishes to the Bangladeshis on this happy occasion.

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