Monday, December 14, 2015

A Guide for my Pakistani Friends About 1971

  1. Realize that no matter how close we are, 1971 is a sensitive topic. Never, even jokingly, refer to modern Bangladesh as 'East Pakistan'. In fact, NEVER joke about 1971.
  2. Realize that we do not blame you personally or hold you personally responsible for 1971 in any way. We do, however, blame your government for trying to whitewash history and pretend nothing happened.
  3. Never say, 'oh, but both sides committed atrocities'. The scale does not even compare. It's like the Nazis saying, after they have gassed thousands of Jews, that one of them threw a rock at us.
  4. I know it's hard for you to comprehend, but the army that you look up to and revere, has committed horrible war crimes, genocides and atrocities.
  5. Never say 'it's the past and we should forget it in the spirit of forgiveness and brotherhood'. Forgiveness can only be given to those that sincerely repent and ask for it. Your government has denied any atrocities, let alone ask for forgiveness.
  6. Do not automatically start speaking to a Bengali person in Urdu. Know about 1952, and ask for permission first.
  7. Visit Bangladesh. You will find almost all Pakistanis speaking positively about their time there, and visit the War Museum in Dhaka. Educate yourself about your own history.
  8. Ask your own government and challenge your own countrymen as to why 1952, 1971 are forgotten chapters in your history.
  9. Finally, stop blaming India or Indian conspiracies and start building your own country. Start tolerating, no rather, start accepting those who speak and think and believe differently than you. The mistakes you made in 1971 are being repeated today in your country on the Ahmedis and on Baluchistan. Why?


Asrar Chowdhury said...

And listen to Faiz Ahmed Faiz Shaheb's "Humke Thehere Ajnabi Itni Madaraton Ki Baad. Phir Banege Ashna Kitni Mulakaton Ki Baad". The Pak establishment may not come out of its cocoon, but the Pakistani people can by making their government ask for forgivance.

Ravi Krishna said...

Dear Asrar

Pak army and govt is the product of the same society.

You want to see how Pak sees 1971 even today. Check this trend.

And I am pasting below a book I read long time back.

Following excerpt is from a book "Liberty or death" written by Patrick
French in 1997. He visited Pak in 1996 while writing that book. This is in page 421.

When I was in Pakistan, nobody had been very concerned about
Bangladesh. The war of 1971 was a forgotten embarrassment, although most people were vaguely agreed that it had been a mistake to have one country in two separate halves. There was little guilt, or even knowledge, about the atrocities that had been carried out against their fellow Pakistanis in the east. In the words of one retired official in Lahore, the Bengalis were 'just black fellows with monkey beards' -- colonial subjects who had been a liability to the exchequer, and could now be forgotten.

Tahira Mazhar Ali, the political activist and daughter of the Punjabi
leader Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, was the only person who had become noticeably angry when talking about the treatment of the East Pakistanis. She told me a story about a demonstration by a women's group against the military action at the time. We were all span upon and then arrested by the police. As we were being taken away one woman, just a woman from the bustis[slums] shouted,
"When the flower falls from the hair of the Bengali girl, it is the
Punjabi girl who weeps". That was an incredible moment but most
people weren't thinking along those lines at all. I can remember at
one official function where there was a group of women, wives of
members of the elite, and I overheard one laughing to the others
"What does it matter if women in Bengal are being raped by our
soldiers? At least the next generation of Bengalis will be better looking."

that was the kind of attitude you found here in 1971, and it is
still around today.

Ravi Krishna said...

Excellent article.

Riaz Haq said...

Aided and abetted by the Indian and western media, the Bangladeshi Nationalists led by the Awami League have concocted and promoted elaborate myths about the events surrounding Pakistan's defeat in December 1971.

Bangladeshi nationalists claims that "three million people were killed, nearly quarter million women were raped". These claims have failed the scrutiny of the only serious scholarly researcher Sarmila Bose ever done into the subject. Bose's investigation of the 1971 Bangladeshi narrative began when she saw a picture of the Jessore massacre of April 2, 1971. It showed "bodies lie strewn on the ground. All are adult men, in civilian clothes....The caption of the photo is just as grim as its content: "April 2, 1971: Genocide by the Pakistan Occupation Force at Jessore." Upon closer examination, Bose found that "some of the Jessore bodies were dressed in shalwar kameez ' an indication that they were either West Pakistanis or ‘Biharis’, the non-Bengali East Pakistanis who had migrated from northern India". In Bose's book "Dead Reckoning" she has done case-by-case body count estimates that lead her in the end to estimate that between 50,000 and 100,000 people were killed on all sides, including Bengalis, Biharis, West Pakistanis and others, in 1971 war.

Dr. M. Abdul Mu’min Chowdhury, a Bengali nationalist who actively participated in the separatist cause, in his publication "Behind the Myth of 3 Million", challenges the falsehood. Citing an extensive range of sources to show that what the Pakistani army was carrying out in East Pakistan was a limited counter-insurgency, not genocide, the scholar discloses that after the creation of Bangladesh, the new de facto government offered to pay Taka 2,000 to every family that suffered loss of life but only 3,000 families claimed such compensation. Had there been three million Bengalis dead, a lot more of such families would have come forward. The actual fighting force of Pakistan was 40,000 not 93,000. They were given the responsibility to maintain law and order and protect civilians from the India-backed insurgents of Mukti Bahini. India's Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw praised the professionalism and gallantry of Pakistani soldiers facing the Indian Army's 50:1 advantage in the 1971 war.

Recent books and speeches by Indian officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ex top RAW officials, confirm what Pakistanis have known all along: India orchestrated the East Pakistan insurgency and then invaded East Pakistan to break up Pakistan in December 1971.

Ravi Krishna said...

@Riaz, -> Dawn correspondent. -> American Counsel General stationed in Dhaka

Both of them saw the genocide as it was happening, long before the war started with India.

Do read this book:- ->

Ravi Krishna said...


Do you read? Just checking.

Anonymous said...

It takes some real balls to admit your mistake. Unfortunately Pakistani lack them, so even to this day they refuse to accept the fact they have committed atrocity (rape and murder of innocence) in Bangladesh during 71. Still to this day they are looking to blame other for what they have done.

mezba said...

Asrar, thank you Rony bhai for the recommendation.

Ravi K, thanks for the link to the brown pundits.

Riaz Haq,

Aided and abetted by the Indian and western media, the Bangladeshi Nationalists led by the Awami League have concocted and promoted elaborate myths about the events surrounding Pakistan's defeat in December 1971.

I am going to stop you right there. We don't need the Indian or Western media to tell us what happened in 1971. Our fathers and mothers and uncles and aunts are still alive. They have lived through 1971 and have seen what happened with their own eyes.

You sound like a Pakistani who have never gone out with an open mind and talked to a Bengali. Do so.

Don't be so obsessed with your 3 million number. Even if the truth is half or one third of that, it's still a black mark for your Pakistan.

Anon, unfortunately most Pakistanis are unaware and unwilling to learn about 1971.

Ravi Krishna said...

Here is one more.

Bhutto telling that Bengalis are swines who can go to hell. And this he tells in Public.

Vivek said...

Excellent perspective.

This is a fairly long read but interesting to see this view published in the Pakistani media coinciding with anniversary of Bangladesh independence

Anonymous said...

Agree with your most points. What does Bangladeshis say about Bangu Baba - Mujeeb ur Rehman murder by Bengladeshi Army?
The problem is both Pakistan and Bangladesh are a Mess and few powerful are exploiting both countries. People are uneducated, food is expensive, health care is unavailable and both are just producing more kids.

mezba said...

@Anon, the coup against Mujeeb (He is not Bangu baba but Bongobondhu, get it right please) and Mujeeb's rule of Bangladesh happened after 1971, so that doesn't matter in this discussion.

And again, the state of the countries today (even though Bangladesh trumps in most development indices) doesn't matter into the discussion of 1971.

Ravi Krishna said...

I just finished the book.
The hatred West Pak had for Bengalis made me wonder how they even stayed together until 1971. West Pak felt superior based on so called "martial race", color of skin and their ability to speak Urdu.

She has documented (albeit in brief) the atrocity committed by the West Pak in 1971.

Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned Bongobondhu (sorry for misspelling it earlier) murder by Army men as it shows there were bad apples in Bangladeshi Army too otherwise how can they murder father of the nation so early after independence. I'm not saying others are blame free but putting all blame on one or two factors isn't a good idea. Happy New Year!