In the present world, Bangladesh is known for many small, yet significant factors consisting of both the modern life and even historical sectors acclaimed by those who are fascinated by the arts and the culture of Bengal, before and during the time of the British colonies in India. Bangladesh is a country that is now recognized by many for its International Cricket team, cheap labor, growing crime rates, expanding garment industry, and a vastly populated Muslim centered country.
For many countless things taken into account, this beautiful country, its laws, the business men and its leaders are underestimated and even mocked at various national and international levels. Bangladesh should be a highly developed country, and by now it would not be in the third world category. The only problem here is not the politicians or the corruption we see now. But to what we seek as the fact that the reality is inconspicuous by many, because of the losses the country had gained in the liberation war in 1971, a debt that still has not grown on it to be repaid.
It is that Bangladesh would not be a 3rd world country if not for the liberation war. This war that is remembered by millions of Bangladeshis each year, for the brutal killings of their brothers and sisters. So, the question at hand how did Bangladesh came to be the country it is today, by name or by its delinquent reputation in corruption? The seeds of this whole big tree was slowly sown on August 14, 1947 when the Indian subcontinent was divided in three parts on the basis of religion to form two nations, India and Pakistan. The reason the two major religions divided, was that they could not live together. They wanted their own countries.
Pakistan itself was composed of two different parts, the eastern wing known as East Pakistan and the western wing known as West Pakistan. Despite everything starting from the division of the countries, the main differentiations were noticed within the next four years as slowly the people of West Pakistan noticed all its resources being depleted by its so called West equivalents. There was almost no common ground keeping the country and its administration together but the religion itself. The language was different, so was there political strengths, job opportunities, aspects of their social system, culture and tradition.
A country which never had the shot of rising up to the occasion like its neighbors and for no significant reasons whatsoever had all its Intellectuals murdered. In East Pakistan over 95% of the people’s common language was Bengali and for many centuries they were known as Bengalis. In spite of the major Bengali speakers, there were some who spoke Urdu. These locals migrated to the Eastern areas from India during and after the partition in 1947. They were called Non-Bengalis or “Bihari” (Urdu Speaking Foreigner). There were always people, who even now, have different cultures, traditions, religion, and language known as the tribal.
Many of these tribes were almost wiped and some fully without any immerge or impact on the country Bangladesh is today. On 25th March, 1971 the Pakistani swooped down on the unarmed and deep sleeping Bengalis in a frenzied bid on a mission to force them into total submission to the West Pakistan. Understanding the situation at hand around 8:40 pm that night the start of the first military action was taken against the Pak Forces in Chittagong by East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) stationed there. Nearly about two hours later, at 10. 0 pm, Pakistani soldiers attacked and started killing the Bengalis in East Pakistan using machine guns, artillery, tanks and any other weaponry in their disposal. The first attack was on the two most developed cities of East Pakistan; Chittagong as the most active city in for ports and trading, and Dhaka, the capital city. The simultaneous and coordinated attack, known as “Operation Searchlight” left these cities vulnerable to begin with. The Operation was a plan made by Major General Khadim Hussain Raza and Major General Rao Farman Ali, as a result of a meeting between Pakistani army staff on the 22nd of February.
Any Senior Pakistani officer unwilling to go along with the proposition to kill innocent civilians were relieved of their duties prior to the attack. To minimize the casualties on the Pakistani soldiers’ side, it was advice to disarm all the necessary forces of the East Pakistan like the East Pakistan Police, Rifles (EPR) and the arrest of all the influential politicians of the country as well. One of them was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also known as the Father of the Nation.
The draft also had orders to not only just disarm Police and EPR units, but to massacre thousands of unarmed Police men & EPR troops inside Dhaka’s Police lines at Rajarbag & EPR Headquarters at Pilkhana. This day became to be known as the 25th March Genocide. There were many Bengali soldiers in the Pakistani army and with sheer luck they saw through the darkness and cruelty of the Pakistani soldiers and joined the Liberation War if not willingly then with complete uncertainty and insecurity. Looking from that prospective, the Bengali army personnel were divided in simple minimalistic criteria or groups.
The first group was the ones who were the bravest and were willing to strike or deflect any preemptive strikes to deflect the countries defenses. The second group was those who desired freedom but were fairly reluctant to pick up arms to fight side by side their brothers for the countries freedom, but still were willing to help the resistance any way possible and eventually walking down the road of gunfire. The third group were those who hope everything to be okay, but were neglected to the fact of supporting the liberation was and the freedom fighters in any way.
To them, it did not matter as long as they were alive and their careers were unaffected. The last and forth group was the only hated ones as to them all that mattered was to be nothing but loyalist to their Pakistani masters, just to make themselves saved from the fates of those they decide and for some it was just for the rewards. These war criminals are known as Razakars. They led to many onsite slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and death of hundreds of freedom fighters. They also led many Pakistani soldiers and themselves are responsible for acts of arson, rape and vandalism.
All of the above simply leading to a devastated country with a downfall of an economy. In the 1960s, the East Pakistan’s economy grew by an annual average rate of around of 4 per cent. In spite of the this economic growth, the West Pakistan preferred East Pakistan’s resources to be shifted or traded to the West with little or almost no profit for the locals of East Pakistan. About one fifth of the economy was destroyed in the liberation war, and what little that was there took almost two decades of constant work and improvement to finally achieve the 90’s acceleration in Bangladesh Economy.
As of 2009, Bangladesh’s Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) should have been 10 percent more if things had gone as smooth as they were back in the 60s’. On the other hand, if the 90’s acceleration was not achieved, the GDP could have been as low as 29 percent lower than what it seemed to be in 2009. Speaking of Economy in a wider timeframe and sectors, even the export and import were very stable in the 1960s’ just before it all began to fade away as more and more imports and lesser exports occurred, leading the economy in plunder.
On December 16th 1971, the war officially ended. Although, before it did, on the 14th December, more than 200 intellectuals of the country including teachers, professors, doctors, poets, engineers, lawyers, journalists and writers were rounded up in Dhaka, blindfolded and massacred only to the intentions of making sure of that this nation could not stand up on its two feet. Now, a country which in a close timeline of one year having most of its intellectuals and true leaders dead with a country full of illiterate and millions of innocents murdered.
Simply to speak of the present Bangladesh being a 3rd world country and despite having so much of time, that being about 41 years after the liberation, to improve the country, to manage it in a proper way, to compete with other countries of the world, like taking Singapore as an example here. What most don’t take in an account is what the country had lost in the previous years under the ruling of West Pakistan and what damage it sustained to its economy. Also the affliction that had been done to the country in 9 months ruthless killings and unorthodox destruction of objects and properties.