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Birth of Bangladesh Eyewitness Memories

Author Name: Kanakasabapathy Pandyan | Format: Paperback | Genre : Biographies & Autobiographies | Other Details
Amazon Sales Rank: Ranked #94 in True Accounts

In 1971, the day after the Pakistan army surrendered to Indian army in Dhaka, four of us classmates at IIM Calcutta crossed over into Bangladesh.  We travelled to Dhaka and returned after a week, traveling by train, bus, military jeep, fishing boat, bullock cart, but mainly our feet.  

In our interaction with people of the newly liberated Bangladesh, we experienced the full spectrum from being felicitated to being threatened.  We were garlanded and served with fresh coconuts; we were also prodded in the back with bayonets in the middle of the night. Those experiences took us through a wide range of emotions – elation, grief, fear, happiness and relief. 

This book captures the emotional roller coaster ride that we, as youngsters, experienced at the birth of a nation. We relate our experiences as vividly as we had lived through them fifty years ago. 

The picture on the front cover has been taken by Mr. Manabendranath Mandal. It is being used with his permission. 

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Kanakasabapathy Pandyan

All the five of us joined IIM Calcutta in the summer of 1971 and our primary emotion was one of excitement.

But Calcutta was anticipating an expected war with the neighbouring country, East Pakistan. The genocide and oppression were the stuff of newspaper headlines and radio announcements, as the whole world just watched and avoided getting involved and stopping the carnage. 

We were closely following the developments, and the surrender of Pakistan army on 16th December 1971 got us excited enough for four of us to go to Bangladesh the next day.  We returned after a week with a disturbing emotional experience, watching the effects of the atrocities and hearing the agonising experiences of the people of Bangladesh.

We have all had successful corporate careers over the subsequent fifty years. The golden Jubilee year of the liberation of Bangladesh triggered our interest to share our memories of 1971 in this book.   Fifty years have not diminished the impact of what we experienced. We interacted amongst ourselves, reliving the memories of the travel into Bangladesh as well as the trips to the refugee camps. We relate our experiences as vividly as we had lived through them fifty years ago.