The Lessons That Should Be Learnt From Fall of Dhaka

on 16, Dec 2011 | 35 Comments | in Category: Debate Desk

D. Asghar

D. Asghar

pak bang

Somehow after over 4 decades, we have not learned much from the fall of Dhaka. A wing of Pakistan was severed while we were busy spinning “conspiracy theories”, much like we are at the present time. This scribe clearly remembers as a young child, what transpired to lead to our shameful surrender.

 

Back then the mantra was the ‘Evil Indian’ conspiracy and today our boogey man happens to be “Evil Umreeka.” We fail to do an honest introspection of our failures and faults that led to the inevitable division.

 

 

As someone once said, “history is a rear view mirror, which helps you focus on the windshield, in order to move forward.”

 

The East Pakistanis, commonly referred to as Bengalis and/or Biharis were marginalised based on their language and color. There was a major disparity between the two wings. It was clear as day – perhaps not to the West Pakistanis – that their brethren were being shortchanged. Looking at it from the perspective of Quaid, who created this ‘United Pakistan’, he must have given this glaring difference a serious thought. The two wings of the Pakistan that was, were geographically apart, had two different languages and two entirely different cultures. Yet, the Quaid was hopeful that under his vision, the two wings will overcome all those differences. In his mind, he had envisioned a common theme of unity – unity of purpose based on a common faith and ability to prosper and move forward under the green flag.

 

 

As some sage people say, at times gaining independence is much easier, than building a collective and cohesive nation. This is in no shape or form an attempt to diminish the loss of thousands of lives that were lost to gain Pakistan. My ancestors migrated from Amritsar and I grew up on their accounts of sheer horror.  The savagery and butchery demonstrated on both sides was beyond shameful.

 

However, when it comes to the atrocities, we tend to portray ourselves as only victims. Rarely do we admit that there were similar accounts of killings from our side as well. We lay great tributes to the lost lives – and rightfully so – to gain Pakistan. But we also turn a blind eye to the ones lost for Bangladesh’s freedom, by dismissing it as an Indian conspiracy. By not admitting our major blunders we are being dishonest to ourselves and our history.

 

If one looks closely at Pakistan today, they will see we are still as divided as we were perhaps 40 years ago. The ethnic, religious and linguistic segmentation is still there and we have not emerged as a united nation – a nation beyond petty differences. Yes, we pat ourselves on the back whenever everyone comes together as a nation in the face of a natural calamity. But just a grim reminder tells us that all nations do so on such occasions.

 

What is absent in our fabric is respect for diversity and the understanding that diversity is actually the strength of any nation. It shouldn’t matter if one is Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Hindu or a Parsi, so long as they are a Pakistani is all that should matter. Some ill informed and overly misguided persons try to feed the false narrative that Pakistan was created to become the citadel of Islam and exists for Muslim inhabitants alone.

 

 

Can we somehow learn from the past and create a different perspective? It is high time that we realize that our identities and ethnicities actually bond us together. Pakistan is as much mine as much as it is yours. A Mujahir is no less a citizen than a Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi or a Pathan. This would be the greatest tribute to the millions of lives lost to earn this land. And perhaps the biggest apology to many lives that were lost in order to create Bangladesh.



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  • M.Saeed

    From a historic background, it would be observed that, East Bengal based leaders were in the forefront of movement for the creation of Independent Muslim state in India. It will also be observed that the leadership of Muslim Bengal known as the “Dhaka Nawab (Khwaja) Family”, had its roots in Kashmir. It is another unfortunate historic fact that, rejecting historic linkage with Kashmir, or more generally, creating geographic and ethnic barriers have gravely harmed the Muslim cause, although it is the main force behind the creation of Pakistan. Therefore, by covertly acting, enemy forces have created a wide gulf between the very concepts of Muslim unification. Separation of East wing from Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh, out of the original Pakistan, will continue to frustrate any effort of Muslim unification and renaissance of Islam. This needs emphatic consideration and finding a way out of it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/satish.k.chadha Satish Kumar Chadha

      Bro, there was one Adam and Eve. So let us have universal brotherhood. It is only your mindset which is frustrating you. :-)

  • Taj Ahmad

    December 16th, 1971 was a sad day in the history of Pakistan, despite
    over 39 years passed of this tragedy in which we lost then East Pakistan
    due to a political power play between Pakistan Awami League laid by
    Mujeeb-ur-Rehman and Pakistan Peoples Party laid by Z.A.Bhutto and
    in the middle of all this power play was Gen.Yaha Khan to be blamed
    for a military surrendered in East Pakistan war between India and
    Pakistan.

  • Mian Farrukh Nazeer

    Agartala Case was the begining of formation of Bangladesh. If Ayub Khan had punished Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman when the snake had raised his head, Bangladesh was not possible. Now Memgate is another same alike move. Do not spare anyone who is involved in this case, no matter who high up is in it. SC should not put this case on long trail. They should hear on daily basis, because this time Pakistan is on stake.

    • Mkhan2057

      Mian Farrukh, this kind of mentality was the main cause of Bangladesh. Was it not a fact that Mujib won landslide. even you twist the fact what ever way you want, it is a fact you can never subjugate someone just that you have power. Look at Bangladesh now and Pakistan who is most stable. We should quit blaming others for our problems.

    • Nasir

      Mr. Mian Farrukh, please don’t malign facts, I am totally agree with you if someone dare to answer me following questions : Question 1- How many bangalis were representing PAK Army + PAK NAvy + PAK AirForce ????? what was the % ??? Question no 2. Could you count for me on your fingure tips how many Cricket+Hockey or any other game Bangalis represent Pak before creation of Bangladesh ??? Could you please tell me how many bureaucrats + Technocrats + ambassadors were Bangalis ???? I know what answer you will give but before pointing out finger on them that they were not capable and talented, they were not clever, they were poor and we are only in the world talented, clever, honest, religious etc. etc. So, please tell me where is your cleverness & talent now when Pakistan has reached at this stage ??? Who is controlling Pakistan ??? Bangalis ??? If sheikh mujib was Snake but we and with our mentality we are not more than snails.

    • http://www.facebook.com/satish.k.chadha Satish Kumar Chadha

      Bro, your comment is against kaid-e-azam of Bangladesh. How would you feel if such comment is made by some Indian against your kaid-e-azam ??

  • Babruk Aijaz

    ‎1: We all are Pakistani beyond province , community, petrographical area, race.

    2: Any race, community, tribe, living in Pakistan is well wisher of Pakistan as we are.

    3: Aggressive arguments / conflict of thoughts against Government, Military , living or dead Personality of Pakistan doesn’t mean suppose person/arrogant is enemy of Pakistan.

    4: Issues between Pakistanis should be solved by talks not by military operations.

    5: Major issues must be discuss and solved in parliament rather then Kitchen cabinet.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Asghar, as you rightly say “By not admitting our major blunders we are being dishonest to ourselves and our history.” …and appears no lessons learnt as the blame is still on external forces instead of introspection…

    Perhaps the only confirmation we may have from 1971 is that of tribalism. Despite the well-intetioned comments about unity based on a common faith (Islam in this case) reality is somewhat different. If that was a sufficient condition for unity, most of the Middle East would be one country – the Arabs atleast have a common language as well amongst other commonalities!

  • krishna kumar tiwari

    Asghar saheb .Really a very correct daring and bold article

  • Shafiq ur Rehman

    Pakistan’s political trouble can be related to Sikandar Mirza, Ghulam Muhammad, Ayyb and Yahya and thereafter Zia and Musharaff.Had there beed democracy instead of “basic deemocracy” i.e. shadowy martial law, Pakistan would hv not met then fate and today’s fate.We miscalculated sincere nature of our Bangali brothers and did not cummunicate with them as brother. Even if you tell today to any Bangali |(a homogenoiuos population) that Pakiatan (west then) has over 3 dozen languages they are astonished.They were propogated to believe that West is imposing urdu language on them, which is the common language of subcontinent muslims and great Qaid had this in mind.Had we proper NFC Award, matters would hv been different.Despite all if we had to seperate in a democratic ways with the participation of political representative , shame, blood, and hatered could have been avoided. We need to practice this today for today’s Pakistan

  • NASAH

    The lesson is that Islamabad is about to fall to the forces from Rawalpindi.

  • Silent Soldier

    I have met many young Bengali while in University in UK. Nearly all said that making Bangladesh was a mistake. As they feel extremely marginalized due to Indian influence. There markets are full of Indian made crap products. They also said Mujeeb promised them Bengal will become another Hong Kong after independence but poverty still widely prevails.

  • Wahab Khan Afridi

    very good article wish we had wise people who could have solve this issue right after the partition in 47, unfortunately we still dont have the right leader or person to make it on correct path. furthermore, we have been thrown back again centuries ago after the introduction of zia islamisation , literate people would never support that and unfortunately till date nobody has done much to takle it. well in pakistan if you say something against the betterment of country you cant survive or will be able to live more than a day because these illiterate molvis culture who just only know about spreading hate-redness and dividing us. In fact this is Govt responsibility to make such kind of policies but wish we had someone genius. further research is needed

    • Quamrul Huda

      Brother Wahab Khan Afridi please tell me that any Moulvi was responsible for fall of dhaka, yes there are good and bad moulvi, moulvi with real education of Deen and Moulvi who just have a beard, all the character we hear about or can think about responsible for fall of dhaka, were high class secular, Bhutto, yahya, mujib. If from 1947 Moulvi were running pakistan and the injustices happened, we must and sure should blame moulvi. moreover you may not know that even today bangladeshi Jamaat Islami leaders are being tried in courts of Bangladesh for treason, means they were against the separation of pakistan.

  • Mukhlisrahi

    Of course we have not learned much from the fall of Dhaka. What our behave and attitudes in past had been with the Bengolis are still similar with Urdu speakings Pakistanis living in Karachi. Mukhlis Rahi

  • Salman Ahmed73

    Well at least cricket would have progressed in what is now called Bangladesh.

  • Mukhlisrahi

    Of course we have not learned much from the fall of Dhaka. What our behave and attitudes in past had been with the Bengolis are still similar with Urdu speakings Pakistanis living in Karachi. Mukhlis Rahi

  • Anonymous

    Yes it is rightly said “history is a rear view mirror, which helps you focus on the windshield, in order to move forward.” Now we should learn the lessons from our history, forget the past and move forward for the betterment of this region.

  • Anonymous

    Yes Malik Sahab I fully endorse your views. Bangladesh knows its position in the region and utilizing its hard earned limited resources for the uplift of its country instead of negative sides. Despite of very large poor population it is trying hard to prove it self a responsible state in the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/satish.k.chadha Satish Kumar Chadha

    Saeed Sahib: You are grossly mistaken and putting entire blame on singly linguistic differnces. For surprise of my Pak brothers, Urdu even today is an Official Language of West Bengal in India.

    Unlike Pakistan we have 26 scheduled languages (eighth schedule of Constitution of India) and under federal structure the Union and States are free to adopt different Official languages. The Official Language of Union is English and Hindi.

    Few Official Languages of States are not even mentioned in Constitution e.g. French in Pondicherry, Kokborok in Tripura, Mizo in Mizoram, Khasi and Garo in Meghalaya. It is surprising that Rajasthani which does not have its own script is official language of Rajasthan.

    Even the genome of Indian differs a lot, like Mangolian in Sikkim & North East States, Aryan in Northern India and Dravidian in Southern Parts.
    It is respect for each other’s ethnicity & culture and equality in distribution of resources which binds a nation. Unity in diversity is more important.

    The morons in India tried to impose Hindi on southern states and the division widened. It took India years to come back on right track.

    Many Indians, with Mongolian Features, visiting to western or southern parts of India are treated by locals at times as foreigners. This pains them a lot and makes them feel that they are foreigner in their own nation.

    When East Pakistani said ‘Shala Punjabi’, it was not just linguistic consideration. It was abhorrence towards imposition of strange culture, language or ethnicity especially when national wealth is also not evenly distributed. Your writing suggests that Pakistan is still divided in Punjabi verses others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/satish.k.chadha Satish Kumar Chadha

    Saeed Sahib: You are grossly mistaken and putting entire blame on singly linguistic differences. For surprise of my Pak brothers, Urdu even today is an Official Language of West Bengal in India.

    Unlike Pakistan we have 26 scheduled languages (eighth schedule of Constitution of India) and under federal structure the Union and States are free to adopt different Official languages. The Official Language of Union is English and Hindi.

    Few Official Languages of States are not even mentioned in Constitution e.g. French in Pondicherry, Kokborok in Tripura, Mizo in Mizoram, Khasi and Garo in Meghalaya. It is surprising that Rajasthani which does not have its own script is official language of Rajasthan.

    Even the genome of Indian differs a lot, like Mongolian in Sikkim & North East States, Aryan in Northern India and Dravidian in Southern Parts.
    It is respect for each other’s ethnicity & culture and equality in distribution of resources which binds a nation. Unity in diversity is more important.

    The morons in India tried to impose Hindi on southern states and the division widened. It took India years to come back on right track.

    Many Indians, with Mongolian Features, visiting to western or southern parts of India are treated by locals at times as foreigners. This pains them a lot and makes them feel that they are foreigner in their own nation.

    When East Pakistani said ‘Shala Punjabi’, it was not just linguistic consideration. It was abhorrence towards imposition of strange culture, language or ethnicity especially when national wealth is also not evenly distributed. Your writing suggests that Pakistan is still divided in Punjabi verses others

  • Murtaza_nasir

    I wouldn’t like to blame personally anyone alone for “fall of Dhaka” neither Politician, Armed Forces as an institution nor some other elements but it was the combination move of these all above where dominant majority of one group was holding all key positions and their mentality & thinking pattern was same. They didn’t give any chance & allow others to interfere their monopoly. Eventually, we got this result in 1971. They didn’t learn any lesson, not accepting the facts and still they are trying to defend their narrow mentality & thinking and repeating the same mistakes “me naa maanoooo”.

    If you want to change the world start from your self & your home 1st change yourself & your home. Accept the truth, come back to right path, follow Islamic teaching. Otherwise so many proud nations are lying beneath to earth with bad name in the history. For references of those nations learn Quran.

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    The deeper you delve into the factors responsible for the secession of East Pakistan, the deeper you are lost in the labyrinth of thinking.The sworn enemies of Z.A.Bhutto have hitherto,dumped a humongous amount of filth on him through unscrupulously,laying the charge of East Pakistan break-away at his door.The reality is that East Pakistan was destined to breakaway from West Pakistan sooner or later.In terms of Political Science,never does religion play a vital role in yoking totally different and discordant bodies of people into a nation.A nation is a multitude of people populating a specific territory and is bound into a unity through common language,culture,ethnicity,descent and history.Since,Bengalis have a distinct common language,a distinct culture,a distinct ethnicity,a distinct descent,a distinct history and populate a distinct territory,they are essentially a distinct nation.A novel experiment of welding the Bengali and the West Pakistani peoples into one single nation had sanction neither of history,nor of Political Science.Geographically speaking,it was not possible to keep the two wings politically united while they were more than a thousand miles apart and wedged in by India.The hard fact is that subsequent to the Urdu and the Bengali languages strife of the early fifties in East Pakistan,a irreparable crack had occurred in the cohesion of the east and the west wings of the country.While passing through multiple critical and tortuous stages the crack had continued to widen till the sandy-dome of the oneness of both the wings of the country collapsed with a loud thud in 1971.Also,it is a bitter reality that anti-Pakistan elements in the east wing had taken birth with the birth of Pakistan.To the utmost ill-luck of ZAB,the surreptitious centrifugal activities had reached their apex during the election of 1970.If one reverts to the historical annals of 1970 elections,one will find that ‘Idher hum,udher tum’ balderdash maliciously ascribed to ZAB,was in fact,the brain-child of the the daily ‘ Azad ‘ and it had it flashed as the banner head-line of its issue of the day following the day ZAB had given his historic address in the Iqbal Parks,Lahore.The daily ‘ Azad ‘ had adopted a flamboyant pattern of journalism to beat the circulation of ‘ Musawat ‘, the most popular daily of that era.History tells us that Mujib-ur-Rehman,a dyed-in-the-wool Bengali nationalist would never have settled at less than a sovereign status for East Pakistan.And had power been conferred upon him,he would have transfused the entire life-blood of the West wing to the East wing prior to to declaring East Pakistan a sovereign state.The jingoists will be flabbergasted to know that in the course of an interview, months before the catastrophic elections,an Italian journalist had asked Mujib-ur-Rehman if he wanted East Pakistan as a sovereign country. ” Not yet “,Mujib replied. Neither a Bhutto,nor a Yayha could forestall the God-ordained separation of East Pakistan.Those of the enemies of Z.A.Bhutto who waste their breath in ascribing the secession of East Pakistan to ‘ Idher hum,udher tum ‘slogan,falsely imputed to ZAB, either lack in the knowledge of history of Pakistan or deliberately distort the historical facts for the achievement of their evil designs.

  • Anonymous

    A decade and only one Dhaka, the way hot wind is blowing in Pakistan it would lead to many more Dhakas not in a decade but in few years or may be months.

  • S Nasrullah

    Pure speculation Mr Hashmi. Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report tends to indict both Gen Yahya and ZAB for their frivolous attempts to maintain superiority of the Western Wing over the Eastern counterpart. One must not forget that religion invariably cements social and cultural bonds. There have been many illustrious Freedom Fighters from erstwhile East Pakistan in the vanguard of the Pakistan Movement. The Elections of the 70s gave Awami League of Mujibur Rahman an over-all lead over all Parties and it was their right to claim a position of the Leader of the House and thereafter the mantle of the Premier of the Country. But the dubious and ultra-nationalist slogan of “Idhar Hum, Udhar Tum” rented the Unity and the desperation and the disquiet it generated emboldened the people of Bengal to conceive a State of their own.
    Forty years on, the BBC conducted a survey of the educated and the enlightened young students from Dhaka Colleges and University and the response was highly complimentary with the participants exuding goodwill and good wishes for their brothers and sisters in Pakistan. Almost 90% of them spiritedly exhibited their favoritism for Pakistani Cricket and Hockey Teams when they were pitched against India. Most of them showed their genuine care and concern for the lawlessness and deaths of innocent Pakistanis under the rapacious WoT. Mind you, they were all under 30 years of age and thus were never witness to the tragedy of 1971.
    The youth of Pakistan must reciprocate similar feelings of goodwill and good wishes for their brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a progressive, peaceful Muslim State and we wish them Prosperity and Success.

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    I talk of horse, and Mr.Nasrullah of hey.I’m afraid Mr.Nasrullah is mixed up on the concept of ‘nation’and ‘state’.A nation stands on a much broader pedestal than does a state.Since Bangla Deshis have a common language,a common decent,a common culture,a common history,a common ethnicity ,populate a distinct territory and are bound together with the sense of unity,they are a nation distinct from that of Pakistanis.With the help of religion,constitution and its other organs,the state had strived to graft the totally nonconforming scion of east wing with the west wing but the result was horrid.It created a freakish political organism in 1947 flying in the face of the scientific principles of Political Science.As this grotesque figure had born with some fatal deformities,it was destined to die, and it met with its natural death in 1971.When it comes to the question of Bangla Deshis as a distinct nation,the state instruments as Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report,results of the Elections of 1970,surveys reflecting pro-Pakistan feelings of the students of the educational institutions of Dhaka,and Bangla Deshis’ good wish for Pakistani Cricket and Hockey teams, cannot change the Bangla Deshis status of a separate nation. Any attempt to deny that Bangla Deshis are a separate nation,will provoke the sardonic ridicule by Political Science.

  • S Nasrullah

    I respect your opinion Mr Hashmi, but at the same time would like you to realize your own faulty perception :” A nation stands on a much broader pedestal than does a state.” You go on to define what constitutes a Nation. By your own misconception, if India sports 47 nationalities and has the cohesion through their so-called secularism, then the State of India must have ‘much broader pedestal’ than nationalism to make it a vibrant State and a country. In Canada, we have two distinct Provinces – one English speaking and the other French speaking, each staunchly holding their distinct traditions, yet they co-exist in the best of blending of the two.
    Bangladesh is an Independent country on its own and I do not dispute the reality. I had commended the goodwill of the Bangladeshi educated youth and had recommended our own youth in Pakistan to reciprocate the gesture to strike a lasting chord of amity, friendship and brotherhood.

  • Taj Ahmad

    To learn lessons from this tragic events in the history of Pakistan
    when Bangladesh got independent is just a political game plan
    by then Gen.Yaha Khan and Z.A.Bhutto, please don’t blame
    Mujeeb-ur-Rehman for this tragic events, as I remembered
    Mujeeb’s party Awami League won the most majority seats in
    the center and he should be given to form the government in
    both East and West Pakistan, but, he was not given o.k. by
    then Gen.Yaha Khan that changed Mujeeb’s mind to get help
    from India and Russia for independent from West Pakistan.
    Maujeeb wanted to rule in both parts of Pakistan and he should
    be given power by then Gen.Yaha Khan and Mr.Z.A.Bhutto and
    his People’s Party should stay in opposition party in the National
    Assembly in Islamabad.

    • Anonymous

      ….and Bilawal Zardari’s speech the other day is a bad omen of things to come – pkaying the ethnic card again for personal power even if it gets restricted to Larkana.

  • Syed Hussain

    It was interesting to read the comments of various readers on creation of Bangladesh. I am so pleased that some one is still interested to learn the lessons from the tragic separation of East Pakistan.the people who blame Yahya Khan and ZAB responsible for separation of pakistan are short sighted and have poor knowldghe of History. East Bengal was a great force in creation of United pakistan in 1947. what changed the land of Tiger of bengal to become Mukti bhani? what changed them to creat an other country in 1971? Failure of west pakistanis to accept their East bengali brothers as equal was the primary reason of creation of Bangladesh. there was exploitation at all level, starting right from declaring Urdu as the national language of pakistan in 1948. from there onwards the exploition continued all those years. The important thing to remember is that Military had been in power most of the years from 1947 to 1971. Can some one explain to me that province( East Pakistan ) where 52 % 0f population was living had no infrastructure of Army, Air force and Navy of their own. What happened in 1971 was just a tragic drop scene of drama of exploition going on for 25 years. Carrying out a military operation in a land which was separated by thousand miles of indian territory with no local public support was the most stupid thing to which only an Army General would agree to. this stupid decision met its expected out come leading to humiliation Of Pakistan Army in particular and the country of pakistan in general.
    we,as pakistanis have still not learnt the lessons from Fall of Dhaka. the lesson is to give the people of the land their right to rule them selves. Generals are too stupid to understand the human nature and the right of self determination.they must understand, learn and remember that defending the country and ruling the country are two very different things.they must spend all their energy to make them competent in the former(defending the country) rather than later Ruling the country. In the end i wish my bengali brothers the best of luck for their country and if it can be any compensation say sorry for all the suffering they had at our hands of west pakistanis. we now have a much bigger challange on the international stage to stick togather as Muslims.

  • Tariqdanial

    Dhaka was never ours perhaps.,, it is not abt land but the people of dat land and y shd’nt they get infependence wen we got it in 1947… Infact same is the solution to ksshmir aswell.. Viws of people sjd be final decision..

  • NASAH (USA)

    The writing on the wall: BALUCHISTAN — take care of Baluchistan — remember EAST Pakistan?

  • Mukhlis Rahi

    The lesson we never and never would learn from Dhaka because of lack of sincerity. No any leader of is sincere with Pakistan at all. Their tendency is no thing but “looto and phutto” and so are the general people as well.

  • Quamrul Huda

    The reason he told you that because somehow he was able to escape from bangladesh to karachi, otherwise pakistani government and pakistanis in general dont give a damn about those Biharis(urdu speakers) who were living in bangladesh. Till fall of dhaka they were pakistani citizen, till today they claim to be pakistani, but pakistan will not accept them, and bangladesh says that they are left over pakistanis, they are a population without any citizenship till to date, if they were from the soil of punjab, sindh, baluchistan, or kpk,,sure they would have been repatriated in 1971, but they were muhajir from india, so even they were pakistani till 1971, they are no more pakistani after the fall of dhaka, how much patriotic you want him to be

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