British India was partitioned and the independent states of India and Pakistan were created in 1947; the region of Bengal was divided along religious lines. The predominantly Muslim eastern half of Bengal became the East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan) state of Pakistan and the predominantly Hindu western part became the Indian state of West Bengal.
February 21 – In DHAKA East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) police open fire on a procession of students, killing 4 people and starting a country-wide protest which leads to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The day is later declared “International Mother Language Day” by UNESCO.
This United Entrance (Bengali: যুক্ত ফ্রন্ট) had been any coalition connected with political get-togethers in East Pakistan which contested the particular 1954 East Bengal intention elections. This coalition consisted of the particular Awami Little league, the particular Krishak Praja Celebration, the particular Ganatantri Dal (Democratic Party) as well as Nizam-e-Islam. This coalition had been directed by means of several key Bengali populist leaders- The Okay Fazlul Huq, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy as well as Maulana Bhashani. This political election ended in any bashing defeat with the Muslim Little league, along with United Entrance get-togethers acquiring any landslide success as well as getting 223 seats within the 309-member putting your unit together. This Awami Little league come forth for the reason that majority get together, along with 143 seats.
In September 1956, the Awami League formed a coalition with the Republican Party to secure amajority in the new National Assembly of Pakistan and took over the central government. Awami LeaguePresident Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Suhrawardy pursued areform agenda to reduce the long standing economic disparity between East and West Pakistan, greaterrepresentation of Bengalis in the Pakistani civil and armed services and he unsuccessfully attempted toalleviate the food shortage in the country.
The dismissal of the United Front was a key turning point in aggravating East Pakistan’s grievances in the Pakistani union, and lead Maulana Bhashani to openly call for separation and independence in 1957,in his Salaam, Pakistan (Farewell, Pakistan) speech.
A. K. Fazl-ul-Haque is dismissed as Governor East Pakistan
1958 to 1966
In East Pakistan the political impasse culminated in 1958 in a violent scuffle in the provincial assembly between members of the opposition and the police force, in which the deputy speaker was fatally injured and two ministers badly wounded. Uncomfortable with the workings of parliamentary democracy, unruliness in the East Pakistani provincial assembly elections and the threat of Baluch separatism in West Pakistan, on October 7, 1958, Iskander Mirza issued a proclamation that abolished political parties, abrogated the two-year-old constitution, and placed the country under martial law. Mirza announced that martial law would be a temporary measure lasting only until a new constitution was drafted. On October 27, he swore in a twelve-member cabinet that included Ayub Khan as prime minister and three other generals in ministerial positions. Included among the eight civilians was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former university lecturer. On the same day, the general exiled Mirza to London because “the armed services and the people demanded a clean break with the past.” Until 1962, martial law continued and Ayub purged a number of politicians and civil servants from the government and replaced them with army officers. Ayub called his regime a “revolution to clean up the mess of black marketing and corruption.”
The new constitution promulgated by Ayub in March 1962 vested all executive authority of the republic in the president. As chief executive, the president could appoint ministers without approval by the legislature. There was no provision for a prime minister. There was a provision for a National Assembly and two provincial assemblies, whose members were to be chosen by the “Basic Democrats”—80,000 voters organised into a five-tier hierarchy, with each tier electing officials to the next tier. Pakistan was declared a republic (without being specifically an Islamic republic) but, in deference to the ulamas (religious scholars), the president was required to be a Muslim, and no law could be passed that was contrary to the tenets of Islam.
The 1962 constitution made few concessions to Bengalis. It was, instead, a document that buttressed centralised government under the guise of “basic democracies” programs, gave legal support to martial law, and turned parliamentary bodies into forums for debate. Throughout the Ayub years, East Pakistan and West Pakistan grew farther apart. The death of the Awami League’s Suhrawardy in 1963 gave the mercurial Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (commonly known as Mujib) the leadership of East Pakistan’s dominant party. Mujib, who as early as 1956 had advocated the “liberation” of East Pakistan and had been jailed in 1958 during the military coup, quickly and successfully brought the issue of East Pakistan’s movement for autonomy to the forefront of the nation’s politics.
During the years between 1960 and 1965, the annual rate of growth of the gross domestic product per capita was 4.4 percent in West Pakistan versus just 2.6 percent in East Pakistan. Furthermore, Bengali politicians pushing for more autonomy complained that much of Pakistan’s export earnings were generated in East Pakistan by the export of Bengali jute and tea. As late as 1960, approximately 70 percent of Pakistan’s export earnings originated in the East Wing, although this percentage declined as international demand for jute dwindled. By the mid-1960s, the East Wing was accounting for less than 60 percent of the nation’s export earnings, and by the time of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, this percentage had dipped below 50 percent. This reality did not dissuade Mujib from demanding in 1966 that separate foreign exchange accounts be kept and that separate trade offices be opened overseas. By the mid-1960s, West Pakistan was benefiting from Ayub’s “Decade of Progress,” with its successful “green revolution” in wheat, and from the expansion of markets for West Pakistani textiles, while the East Pakistani standard of living remained at an abysmally low level. Bengalis were also upset that West Pakistan, because it was the seat of government, was the major beneficiary of foreign aid.
Agartala Conspiracy Case was a sedition case in Pakistan, brought forward by the Government of Pakistan against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then leader of the Awami League and East Pakistan, and 34 other persons.
Uprising in East Pakistan Uprising in East Pakistan was a democratic political movement in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) that took place in 1969. The uprising consisted of a series of mass demonstrations and sporadic conflicts between government armed forces and the demonstrators. Although the unrest began in 1966 with the Six point movement of Awami League, it got momentum at the beginning of 1969 and culminated in the resignation of Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the first military ruler of Pakistan. The uprising also led to the withdrawal of Agartala Conspiracy Case and acquittal of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his colleagues from the case.
7 march 1971
The speech started with this: “Today, I come to you with a heavy heart. You know everything and understand as well. We tried our best. But the streets of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur have been dyed red with the blood of our brethren. People of Bangladesh today want freedom. They want to survive. They want to have their rights. What wrong did we do?”. The extempore speech lasted about 19 minutes, with more than 1100 words. In this speech, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib mentioned a 4-point condition before joining the National Assembly meeting on 25th March; these were:
1. The immediate lifting of martial law, 2. Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks, 3. Im mediate transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people, 4. Proper inquiry into the loss of life.
Sheikh Mujib also articulated several directives to the nation as part of civil disobedience movement, such as:
• people would not pay taxes and the Government servants would take orders only from him
• The secretariat, government and semi-government offices, High court and other courts throughout East Bangla would observe Strikes. Necessary exemptions would be announced from time to time
• Only local and inter-district telephone communication would function
• Railway and ports might function, but railway and port workers would not cooperate if railway or ports were used for mobilizing of forces for the purpose of repression against the people of East Bangla
At the end, raising his fist, Sheikh Mujib cried out at the top of his voice : “OUR STRUGGLE THIS TIME IS A STRUGGLE FOR OUR FREEDOM, OUR STRUGGLE THIS TIME IS A STRUGGLE FOR OUR INDEPENDENCE. JOY BANGLA.”
This historic address was a de facto declaration of Bangladesh’s independence.
Operation Searchlight, a planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army started on 25 March, 1971 to curb the Bengali nationalist movement by taking control of the major cities on March 26, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military, within one month. Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from Bangladesh. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid May.
New York Times (4/1/71) 35,000 were killed in Dhaka during operation searchlight.
After the night of March 25, 1971, Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in the whole country. The violence unleashed by the Pakistani forces on 25 March 1971, proved the last straw to the efforts to negotiate a settlement. Following these outrages, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman signed an official declaration that read:
“Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night, West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between E.P.R. and Police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy Bangla.”
On 28 March Major Ziaur Rahman made another announcement, which was as follows:
“This is Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. I, Major Ziaur Rahman, at the direction of Bangobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hereby declare that the independent People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been established. At his direction, I have taken command as the temporary Head of the Republic. In the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I call upon all Bengalis to rise against the attack by the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our Motherland. By the grace of Allah, victory is ours. Joy Bangla.”
A provisional government was formed in Meherpur district in western Bangladesh bordering India with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was in prison in Pakistan, as President, Syed Nazrul Islam as Acting President, Tajuddin Ahmed as Prime Minister, and General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani as Commander-in-Chief, Bangladesh Forces. As fighting grew between the occupation army and the Bengali Mukti Bahini, an estimated 10 million Bengalis, sought refuge in the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal
Indian army starts nourishing Mukti Bahini.
Sector Commanders Conference 1971
August 1: The Concert for Bangladesh in Madison Square Garden, New York by George Harrison and friends.
August 16: Operation Jackpot, Bangladesh naval commando operation.
August 20: Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman’s attempt to defect by hijacking a fighter.
August 30: Pakistan Army crackdown on Dhaka guerrillas.
September 5: Battle of Goahati, Jessore.
September 28: Bangladesh Air Force starts functioning.
October 13: Dhaka guerrillas kill Abdul Monem Khan, governor of East Pakistan.
October 28: Battle of Dhalai Outpost, Srimongol.
October 31 to November 3: Battle of Dhalai: Indian attack from Tripura into East Pakistan to stop Pakistani cross-border shelling.
November 9: Six small ships constitute the first fleet of Bangladesh Navy.
November 16: Battle of Ajmiriganj, an 18 hour encounter between Mukti Bahini and Pakistan army. A famous freedom fighter, Jagatyoti Das, is martyred.
November 20 to November 21: Battle of Garibpur: Indian attack in Boyra salient in East Pakistan
November 21: Bangladesh Armed Forces is formed.
November 22 to December 13, and sporadic fighting to December 16: Battle of Hilli: Indian attack on Bogra in East Pakistan.
December 3: Bangladesh Air Force destroys Pakistani oil depots. Pakistani air attacks on India result in India declaring war on Pakistan.
December 4 : Battle of Longewala; Indians stop a Pakistani invasion directed at Jaisalmer.
December 5 : Battle of Basantar; Indians attack and take over Pakistani territory opposite Jammu.
December 6: Bhutan becomes the first country to recognize Bangladesh after India. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra becomes Bangladesh Betar.
December 7: Liberation of Jessore, Sylhet and Moulovi Bazar.
December 8: Operation Python: Indian naval attack on Karachi, West Pakistan.
December 9: Battle of Kushtia: Indian attack from West Bengal into East Pakistan.
Chandpur and Daudkandi liberated.
December 10: Liberation of Laksham. Two Bangladeshi ships sunk mistakenly by Indian air attack.
December 11: Liberation of Hilli, Mymenshingh, Kushtia and Noakhali. USS Enterprise is deployed by the USA in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate Indian Navy.
December 13: Soviet Navy deploys a group of warships to counter USS Enterprise.
December 14: Selective genocide of Bengali nationalist intellectuals.
Liberation of Bogra.
December 16: End of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Mitro Bahini takes Dhaka. East Pakistan Army surrenders to Mitro Bahini represented by Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Indian Army faction of the military coalition.
Freedom of Bangladeshi people.
December 22: The provisional government of Bangladesh arrives in Dhaka from exile.