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1 25th May 14:40
mwzaman
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Posts: 1
Default Tampering with Birth History of Bangladesh


[Daily Star, July 12, 20040

Editorial

Tampering with history

Dangerous game, go back to the original

We are at a loss to comprehend the logic of creating another
controversy regarding proclamation of independence of Bangladesh, as
if there are not enough controversies already to divide the nation. It
is our view that the latest controversy that has been kicked up by new
insertions related to the proclamation of independence has very little
to do with history and everything to do with politics.

The insertion lacks historical propriety and exhibits scant regard for
truth. This stands vindicated by the fact that the authentication
committee of the "Muktjuddher Dalilpatro" formed by this BNP
government has distanced itself from the change brought about in the
shape of 'a new chapter' on the proclamation of Bangladesh's
independence.

It may be recalled that late president Zia had entrusted the task of
compiling do***ents of our Liberation movement to a committee with
late Hasan Hafeezur Rahman as its chairman in 1977. The do***ents were
compiled in fif**** volumes and first published in 1982. Zia was
assassinated in May 1981 so that most of the work was completed during
the time of a BNP government.


Zia had never claimed the pedestal during his lifetime that his
followers are trying to place him on after his death. It is a pity his
followers cannot emulate the sagacity displayed by Zia. It is
regrettable that what has been accepted without a question during the
last twenty-two years after its publication is suddenly up for
political tinkering.


Even more regrettable is that the proclamation of Mujib has been
omitted in its entirety from the current edition. Not only that, we
are now having to confront with something new which is that Zia made
the first announcement on the night of 25th March. All this is a
travesty of truth.


There cannot be two opinions though, that Mujib's proclamations of
independence as well as Zia's announcement, are facts that occupy a
pride of place in our history. In juxtaposing these two events we
neither serve history nor our posterity.


The BNP government has a track-record of looking at history from a
politically warped angle. Their distorted view got reflected through
some interpolations made in the textbooks, and now we have an
alteration to the original and well-established do***entation of
history which had been duly authenticated by the Constitution.


We demand an immediate cessation of such suicidal and divisive
politicisation of history. No one should try to make a political game
of history which belongs to the whole nation. Let good sense prevail
and the government revert back to the original do***ent. (Daily Star,
July 12, 2004]


(The Daily Star, July 14, 2004)

Worth a look

The debate on declaration of independence

AMM Shawkat Ali

During the last few days, the talk of the town is the controversy over
the declaration of independence. The controversy stemmed from the
recently published 15-volume history of Bangladesh's independence. The
publication was done by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs (MLWA)
and not by the Ministry of Information (MOI) in whose domain the
responsibility of any government publication lies. According to the
Allocation of Business among different Ministries and Divisions, MOI
is vested with the authority of administration of the press and
regulation of the Books Act, and Newspaper Act. MLWA is a newborn
Ministry having been created by the alliance government after it
assumed office in the second half of 2001. It is not known if the
responsibility of the administration of 'Books Act,' a term used in
Schedule I of the Rules of Business, 1996, was vested with the newly
formed MLWA.


There are reasons to doubt if it was so vested with the authority.
This is because the publication by MLWA has led to a writ petition in
the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. The aggrieved party is
said to be Haqqani Publication, which claims the copyright of
15-volume anthology on our War of Liberation, the work of which
started way back in 1982.


Certain facts of history remain immutable not only because facts are
facts and not fictions, but also because of the widespread acceptance
of such facts by all and sundry. Denial of facts as facts amounts to
indulging in travesty of truth; more so when settled and accepted
facts are overlooked and attempts are made to twist facts for narrow
political ends. Additionally, such distortions take place after a
lapse of three decades or more.


This is exactly what the eminent jurist Dr. Kamal Hossain has said
(Prothom Alo, July 11, 2004). Expressing his personal view, Dr.
Hossain is reported to have said that the declaration of independence,
as part of the constitution, is the main basis of our constitution.


As if to add fuel to the fire, a senior Minister of the government
claimed that he has in his personal possession one original copy of
the declaration of independence, which does not contain any reference
to the declaration of independence on March 26, 1971. This claim has
been rejected by another leading lawyer who was closely associated
with War of Liberation and also served in the Cabinet of the then
government.


Informed sources dismiss the idea of any original copy being in
anybody's personal possession. According to this view, it is more a
fiction than a fact primarily because this is in the nature of an
afterthought. If it were true, what prevented the Minister from making
it public way back in 1975-1981 when he was in the Cabinet. In fact,
during Ziaur Rahman era, no such claims were made by anybody, let
alone Ziaur Rahman himself.


On the other hand, it is also a fact that Ziaur Rahman did make a
radio broadcast in Chittagong. A senior citizen, in his late seventies
during his daily morning walk told his fellow walkers that he heard
this himself but part of the statement also referred to the fact that
"Sheikh Mujib is with us." The gentleman further asserts that
immediately on the following morning after the announcement of Ziaur
Rahman, Sheikh Mujib was shown under the custody of Pakistan
Government in Karachi airport. This was evidently done to show that
Sheikh Mujib was not in the then Bangladesh.


Questions have also been raised by some quarters that Sheikh Mujib,
instead of joining the War of Liberation, allowed himself to be
arrested and wanted a political settlement. These are wild and
imaginary ramblings of distorted minds. The best way to look at it is
to say that Sheikh Mujib, in doing what he did, behaved more like a
leader than anything else. He had deep and abiding faith in the
independence of Bangladesh, which is reflected first by his six point
programme and later by his historic declaration of March 7, 1971. This
was his finest hour and his declaration on that day galvanised the
whole of Bangladesh and started the process of people's war against
occupation forces.


Views of authentication body members

The distorted version presently inserted has been opposed by an
eminent member of the Committee Professor Emajuddin Ahmed. Majority of
the members of the authentication body of the first edition of the
history of liberation also castigated the attempt to distort facts.


Other views from independent sources

Borhanuddin Ahmed, in his book, The Generals of Pakistan and
Bangladesh, provides details of the validity of declaration of
independence by Sheikh Mujib. He quotes not only independent academics
like Professor Rounaq Jahan but also freedom fighters. In addition,
Ahmed quotes from Holiday (May 5, 1989), which ranks Ziaur Rahman as
the fourth announcer. Further, Ahmed rests his argument in favour of
Sheikh Mujib, providing quotations from the banner headlines of both
the Times and the Guardian of London dated March 27, 1971. Part of the
quoted text reads: "Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the acknowledged leader of
Bengali nationalism responded heroically to the Pakistan Army's
intervention with a call for resistance and a declaration of
independence…
There is good evidence that most members of the Bengali Regiments will
accept his orders."


"Shortly before his arrest, Mujib had issued a proclamation to his
people, which informed them: You are citizens of a free country…
Today the West Pakistan's military force is engaged in a genocide in
Bangladesh… Our struggle is most rewarding. Certain is our
victory. Allah is with us. The world public opinion is with us. Joy
Bangla [Victory to Bengal]."


Taufiq Imam, in his recently published book Bangladesh Government,
1971 also provides adequate information about the authenticity of
declaration of independence by Sheikh Mujib. Taufiq Imam was the
Cabinet Secretary of the exile government and also later till August,
1975.


There are many facts not so much about declaration of independence but
about announcements by such well-respected personalities like Maulana
Bhasani and other student leaders of 1971. A discerning reader of
history must be able to distinguish between a formal declaration of
independence by a political leader who commands respect of the people
and has countrywide public acceptance as well as international
acceptance and others who make either broadcast or other forms of
announcement.


The declaration of independence by Sheikh Mujib, later built into the
Proclamation of Independence, is what matters. It is on the basis of
Proclamation of Independence on April 10, 1971, that the people's
struggle for independence took definite shape followed by
international support that eventually led to the birth of Bangladesh.
All said and done, it seems a terrible waste of time to pull the
undisputed leader down and push another leader up in this
controversial and meaningless debate. At the end of the day, one must
realise that declaration of independence is too serious a business to
be left to anybody other than a highly popular leader of public
opinion which, doubtless, Sheikh Mujib was.

A M M Shawkat Ali, PhD is former Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture.
[Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 14, 2004]


(The Daily Star, July 12, 2004)

More bodies protest distortion of history
Staff Correspondent

Different organisations have continued to slate the government for
distorting the country's history by naming former president Ziaur
Rahman as the first proclaimer of independence in the reprint of
Swadhinota Juddher Dalilpatro, the official history of Bangladesh's
Liberation War. Liberation Affairs Secretary of the Awami League Capt
(retd) A B Tajul Islam said the alliance government has tarnished the
image of the country by distorting a historic fact. In a statement,
he said the people fought the liberation war after its proclamation by
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Tajul said the vested quarter, now
engaged in a conspiracy to distort the country's liberation war, will
be thrown into the dustbin of history. Leaders of Muktijuddher Smriti
Sangrakkhan Kendra have said the BNP-Jamaat government had been
involved in distorting the history of the liberation war since it came
to power. In a statement, they said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
first proclaimed the independence of the country on March 26, and this
was published in different newspapers around the world.


The signatories to the statement included Professor Kabir Chowdhury,
Barrister Shawkat Ali Khan, Advocate Gaziul Haq, Tagore song exponent
Kalim Sharafi, Major General (retd) C R Dutta, Poet Shamsur Rahman,
Professor B K Jahangir, Litterateur Shahriar Kabir, Professor Hasan
Azizul Haq and Professor Anupom Sen
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal has termed the move as denying the facts of
country's liberation war. In a statement, the JSD said it was a hidden
agenda of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government. Workers Party of
Bangladesh has said there is no historical basis of the first
proclamation of independence by Ziaur Rhaman. "History of the country
cannot be changed with the change of the government," said a statement
of the party. Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Muktijoddha Foundation,
Dhaka University Teachers' Association, Sammilito Nagorik Samaj,
Bangabandhu Sramik League and Bangladesh Chhatra League also issued
separate statements condemning the move. (The Daily Star, July 12,
2004)


[The Daily Star, July 11, 2004)

Front Page
Liberation War History

Authentication body members blame ministry for distortion

Star Report

Members of the authentication committee of the 15-volume 'Bangladesher
Swadhinota Juddho -- Dolilpatro' (Do***ents of Liberation War of
Bangladesh) have accused the Liberation War ministry and its minister
of distorting historical facts in reprinting the book, which the
minister denies.
It has been accused that in the new edition of the Dolilpatro
published by the ministry historical facts have been warped by adding
a chapter on the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence. The
reprint omits the original proclamation of independence through a
message signed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and contains an
inserted text that names late president Ziaur Rahman as the first
proclaimer.


The planted information was totally absent in the first edition of the
Dolilpatro, product of a project initiated by Zia himself. The book
first came out in 1982 with noted poet and journalist Hasan Hafizur
Rahman as its editor. Members of that original editorial team also
have termed the addition a distortion.


The authentication committee formed in late 2002 held several meetings
to reprint the book with necessary corrections of information and
spelling errors. The committee members are Prof Moniruzzaman Miah,
Prof Emaj Uddin Ahmed, Prof KM Mohsin, Prof Serajul Islam, Prof Abul
Kalam Monjoor Morshed, Barrister Mainul Hosein, Prof Jasim Uddin,
Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Siddique and State
Minister of Liberation War Affairs Prof M Rezaul Karim.
Rezaul Karim says the 'new facts' emerged from the 'opinions' of the
nine-member authentication committee comprising historians and
academics. "We had no intention of belittling or glorifying anybody
but to remain authentic and purely based on facts," he said yesterday.
He claimed all the necessary 'corrections and inclusions' have been
made upon the committee's approval.


Prof Emaj Uddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University and
a member of the committee, on the other hand, refuted the minister's
claim and blamed him, as the convenor of the committee, and the
project director for the changes. He said the text on proclamation of
independence by Ziaur Rahman incorporated in the third volume of the
book, popularly known as Muktijudder Dolilpatro (do***ents of
Liberation War), "was not a part of the original edition of the
Dolilpatro. Those were included either by the minister or the project
director." "Please see the resolution of the validation committee to
find the truth," challenges Emaj Uddin, who has long held a key
position in BNP's Zia Parishad.


Project director of the publication, Abbas Ali Mia, declined to
comment on the issue, saying, "I was not a member of this committee."
The section that had been added to the third volume of the official
history of Bangladesh's Liberation War is titled 'The First
Proclamation of Independence by Major Zia'. The section cites Biplobi
Betar Kendro (revolutionary radio centre), Chittagong on March 27,
1971 as the source of information. But, in the footnote, it said, "At
2:15am on March 26, 1971, the Eighth East Bengal Regiment led by the
then Major Ziaur Rahman mutinied and Major Zia arrested Lt Col Zanjua,
commanding officer of the regiment. He (Zia) then united the battalion
officers, junior commissioned officers and privates, and announced the
independence. It was communicated to local politicians and officials
of the administration."


The quoted 'proclamation of independence' by Zia in the book reads,
"Dear fellow freedom fighters, I, Major Ziaur Rahman, Provisional
President and Commander-in-Chief of Liberation Army do hereby proclaim
independence of Bangladesh and appeal for joining our liberation
struggle. Bangladesh is independent. We have waged war for the
liberation of Bangladesh. Everybody is requested to participate in the
liberation war with whatever we have. We will have to fight and
liberate the country from the occupation of Pakistan Army. Inshallah,
victory is ours."


The reprint omitted the EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) message sent by
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which said, "This may be my last message, from
today Bangladesh is independent. I call upon the people of Bangladesh,
wherever you might be and with whatever you have, to resist the army
of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last
solider of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of
Bangladesh and final victory is achieved."
According to the information handed out in the chapter, the
authentication committee at a meeting on June 9 last decided to
include Ziaur Rahman's proclamation of independence and discard
Mujib's EPR message. The committee has been quoted as maintaining that
the EPR message was not based on fact and no authenticity of it was
found.


The explanatory note quoted former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi
as saying, "The cry for independence arose after Sheikh Mujib had been
arrested and not before. He himself, so far as I know, has not asked
for independence even now" in favour of discarding Mujib's message, as
the call was given after his arrest, not before. Noted journalist
Afsan Chowdhury, a member of the authentication committee of the
book's first edition, termed the added text a blatant distortion of
history.


In the first edition, both the proclamation of independence by Ziaur
Rahman and the telegraph message of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were
do***ented as historical facts. He said, "We had collected facts and
do***ents from different districts and there was no controversy on it
during the last 10 years." He apprehended the compilation of
do***ents would lose trustworthiness if any quarter tries to falsify
the facts. "People would not trust it. It will also encourage other
governments to twist facts." Chowdhury observed Zia had announced the
independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujib, which is completely omitted in
this latest edition.


The second edition of the Dolilpatro, however, printed Zia's
proclamation as the second announcement of independence, which is as
follows: "I, Major Zia, Provisional Commander-in-Chief of the
Bangladesh Liberation Army, hereby proclaim, on behalf of Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman, the independence of Bangladesh.
"I also declare, we have already framed a sovereign, legal Government
under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which pledges to function as per law and
the constitution. The new democratic government is committed to a
policy of non-alignment in international relations. It will seek
friendship with all nations and strive for international peace. I
appeal to all governments to mobilise public opinion in their
respective countries against the brutal genocide in Bangladesh.


"The government under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is sovereign legal
Government of Bangladesh and is entitled to recognition from all
democratic nations of the world." (The Daily Star, July 11, 2004).

(The Daily Star, July 11, 2004)

Front Page

Changed history counters constitution

Shakhawat Liton

New additions to the 'Muktijuddher Dolilpatro' claiming late president
Ziaur Rahman as the proclaimer of Bangladesh's independence contradict
the constitution.

The Proclamation of Independence in the Fourth Schedule of the
constitution says Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the
independence on March 26, 1971. "---Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,
the undisputed leader of the 75 million people of Bangladesh, in due
fulfilment of the legitimate right of self-determination of the people
of Bangladesh, duly made a declaration of independence at Dhaka on
March 26, 1971---."
Article 150 of the constitution gives the Fourth Schedule precedence
over other constitutional provisions, saying, "The transitional and
temporary provisions set out in the Fourth Schedule shall have effect
notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution."


But the additions, including a footnote of the new edition of the
'Muktijuddher Dolilpatro' (Do***ents of the Liberation War), published
by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs say Zia first proclaimed
independence.
Eminent jurist and one of the framers of the constitution Dr Kamal
Hossain dismissed the scope of any debate on the declaration of
independence.
The Liberation War affairs ministry's action is against the national
interest, he told The Daily Star, adding it added the footnote on
assumption.
"The preamble of the constitution refers to the proclamation of
independence on March 26, 1971 and no debate arose over the
proclamation in Ziaur Rahman's lifetime."


The wartime Mujibnagar government on April 10, 1971 framed the
Proclamation of Independence, considered as the interim constitution
of Bangladesh.
"There is no scope to change or alter the historic Proclamation of
Independence," said constitutional expert Dr M Zahir.

"The changes to the do***ents were made without legal authority in
violation of the constitution with political intent to undermine the
achievements of Bangabandhu," said Rokanuddin Mahmud, president of
Supreme Court Bar.


Former chief justice Kamal Uddin Hossain in an interview with a Bangla
daily said it was constitutionally established that Bangabandhu was
the proclaimer of independence.

"If anybody denies the fact they could be punished with 10 years of
rigorous imprisonment as well as a fine under Section 123 A (1) of
Bangladesh Penal Code," he told the Daily Banglabazar Patrika on March
25, 2002.

The late jurist Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed in an interview with the same
newspaper said rejecting Bangabandhu as the proclaimer of independence
was a violation of the constitution and a punishable offence.

"The Proclamation of Independence is the bedrock of Bangladesh which
clearly says Bangabandhu is the proclaimer."

"The treatment of the proclamation of independence as merely a part of
the constitution will undermine it, non-recognition of the do***ent is
tantamount to non-recognition of independent Bangladesh," the former
adviser to the caretaker government said in an interview on March 25,
2002. (The Daily Star, July 11, 2004).

(The Daily Star, July 10, 2004)
Front Page

Govt under fire for warping history

Staff Correspondent

Academics and political leaders including Abdul Jalil and Dr Kamal
Hossain yesterday lambasted the government for distorting the
country's history by naming Ziaur Rahman as the first proclaimer of
its independence in the reprint of Swadhinota Juddher Dolilpatro, the
official history of Bangladesh's Liberation War.


Awami League (AL) General Secretary (GS) Jalil even expressed the fear
that "If the BNP-led coalition government continues in power, it will
next change the national anthem and the national flag." Jalil was
addressing a discussion meet organised by Projonmo Ekattor (the
generation of '71), an organisation of the children of Liberation War
martyrs, at Liberation War Museum to mark the 10th death anniversary
of Jahanara Imam, mother of a martyr.

The AL stalwart said with this warping of the Liberation War's history
the coalition government wants to assess how people would react to
further such changes. "The distortion proves that Khaleda Zia wants to
serve the interests of anti-liberation forces," he maintained and
urged all pro-liberation forces to unite to uphold the spirit of
Liberation War.


Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain said no sensible person would
distort the Liberation War's history so callously. "I will look into
the legalities and see if there is a way to declare the people
involved in this falsification mad."
Dr Kamal also emphasised unity of progressive political parties to
ward off the mounting fundamentalism in the country.


Professor Anisuzzaman of Dhaka University accused the government of
using communal forces for its political gains, adding, "In order to
restitute a secular, democratic state we must restore the spirit of
the Constitution of 1972."

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) GS Mujahidul Islam Selim said
ruling alliance member Jamaat-e-Islami, which perpetrated war crimes
in 1971, is now doing the same by establishing a reign of terror
across the country. Bangladesh Economic Association GS Prof Abul
Barakat and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Haque also spoke.
(The Daily Star, July 10, 2004).
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2 25th May 14:40
mwzaman
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default Tampering with Birth History of Bangladesh


[Daily Star, July 12, 20040

Editorial

Tampering with history

Dangerous game, go back to the original

We are at a loss to comprehend the logic of creating another
controversy regarding proclamation of independence of Bangladesh, as
if there are not enough controversies already to divide the nation. It
is our view that the latest controversy that has been kicked up by new
insertions related to the proclamation of independence has very little
to do with history and everything to do with politics.

The insertion lacks historical propriety and exhibits scant regard for
truth. This stands vindicated by the fact that the authentication
committee of the "Muktjuddher Dalilpatro" formed by this BNP
government has distanced itself from the change brought about in the
shape of 'a new chapter' on the proclamation of Bangladesh's
independence.

It may be recalled that late president Zia had entrusted the task of
compiling do***ents of our Liberation movement to a committee with
late Hasan Hafeezur Rahman as its chairman in 1977. The do***ents were
compiled in fif**** volumes and first published in 1982. Zia was
assassinated in May 1981 so that most of the work was completed during
the time of a BNP government.


Zia had never claimed the pedestal during his lifetime that his
followers are trying to place him on after his death. It is a pity his
followers cannot emulate the sagacity displayed by Zia. It is
regrettable that what has been accepted without a question during the
last twenty-two years after its publication is suddenly up for
political tinkering.


Even more regrettable is that the proclamation of Mujib has been
omitted in its entirety from the current edition. Not only that, we
are now having to confront with something new which is that Zia made
the first announcement on the night of 25th March. All this is a
travesty of truth.


There cannot be two opinions though, that Mujib's proclamations of
independence as well as Zia's announcement, are facts that occupy a
pride of place in our history. In juxtaposing these two events we
neither serve history nor our posterity.


The BNP government has a track-record of looking at history from a
politically warped angle. Their distorted view got reflected through
some interpolations made in the textbooks, and now we have an
alteration to the original and well-established do***entation of
history which had been duly authenticated by the Constitution.


We demand an immediate cessation of such suicidal and divisive
politicisation of history. No one should try to make a political game
of history which belongs to the whole nation. Let good sense prevail
and the government revert back to the original do***ent. (Daily Star,
July 12, 2004]


(The Daily Star, July 14, 2004)

Worth a look

The debate on declaration of independence

AMM Shawkat Ali

During the last few days, the talk of the town is the controversy over
the declaration of independence. The controversy stemmed from the
recently published 15-volume history of Bangladesh's independence. The
publication was done by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs (MLWA)
and not by the Ministry of Information (MOI) in whose domain the
responsibility of any government publication lies. According to the
Allocation of Business among different Ministries and Divisions, MOI
is vested with the authority of administration of the press and
regulation of the Books Act, and Newspaper Act. MLWA is a newborn
Ministry having been created by the alliance government after it
assumed office in the second half of 2001. It is not known if the
responsibility of the administration of 'Books Act,' a term used in
Schedule I of the Rules of Business, 1996, was vested with the newly
formed MLWA.


There are reasons to doubt if it was so vested with the authority.
This is because the publication by MLWA has led to a writ petition in
the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. The aggrieved party is
said to be Haqqani Publication, which claims the copyright of
15-volume anthology on our War of Liberation, the work of which
started way back in 1982.


Certain facts of history remain immutable not only because facts are
facts and not fictions, but also because of the widespread acceptance
of such facts by all and sundry. Denial of facts as facts amounts to
indulging in travesty of truth; more so when settled and accepted
facts are overlooked and attempts are made to twist facts for narrow
political ends. Additionally, such distortions take place after a
lapse of three decades or more.


This is exactly what the eminent jurist Dr. Kamal Hossain has said
(Prothom Alo, July 11, 2004). Expressing his personal view, Dr.
Hossain is reported to have said that the declaration of independence,
as part of the constitution, is the main basis of our constitution.


As if to add fuel to the fire, a senior Minister of the government
claimed that he has in his personal possession one original copy of
the declaration of independence, which does not contain any reference
to the declaration of independence on March 26, 1971. This claim has
been rejected by another leading lawyer who was closely associated
with War of Liberation and also served in the Cabinet of the then
government.


Informed sources dismiss the idea of any original copy being in
anybody's personal possession. According to this view, it is more a
fiction than a fact primarily because this is in the nature of an
afterthought. If it were true, what prevented the Minister from making
it public way back in 1975-1981 when he was in the Cabinet. In fact,
during Ziaur Rahman era, no such claims were made by anybody, let
alone Ziaur Rahman himself.


On the other hand, it is also a fact that Ziaur Rahman did make a
radio broadcast in Chittagong. A senior citizen, in his late seventies
during his daily morning walk told his fellow walkers that he heard
this himself but part of the statement also referred to the fact that
"Sheikh Mujib is with us." The gentleman further asserts that
immediately on the following morning after the announcement of Ziaur
Rahman, Sheikh Mujib was shown under the custody of Pakistan
Government in Karachi airport. This was evidently done to show that
Sheikh Mujib was not in the then Bangladesh.


Questions have also been raised by some quarters that Sheikh Mujib,
instead of joining the War of Liberation, allowed himself to be
arrested and wanted a political settlement. These are wild and
imaginary ramblings of distorted minds. The best way to look at it is
to say that Sheikh Mujib, in doing what he did, behaved more like a
leader than anything else. He had deep and abiding faith in the
independence of Bangladesh, which is reflected first by his six point
programme and later by his historic declaration of March 7, 1971. This
was his finest hour and his declaration on that day galvanised the
whole of Bangladesh and started the process of people's war against
occupation forces.


Views of authentication body members

The distorted version presently inserted has been opposed by an
eminent member of the Committee Professor Emajuddin Ahmed. Majority of
the members of the authentication body of the first edition of the
history of liberation also castigated the attempt to distort facts.


Other views from independent sources

Borhanuddin Ahmed, in his book, The Generals of Pakistan and
Bangladesh, provides details of the validity of declaration of
independence by Sheikh Mujib. He quotes not only independent academics
like Professor Rounaq Jahan but also freedom fighters. In addition,
Ahmed quotes from Holiday (May 5, 1989), which ranks Ziaur Rahman as
the fourth announcer. Further, Ahmed rests his argument in favour of
Sheikh Mujib, providing quotations from the banner headlines of both
the Times and the Guardian of London dated March 27, 1971. Part of the
quoted text reads: "Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the acknowledged leader of
Bengali nationalism responded heroically to the Pakistan Army's
intervention with a call for resistance and a declaration of
independence…
There is good evidence that most members of the Bengali Regiments will
accept his orders."


"Shortly before his arrest, Mujib had issued a proclamation to his
people, which informed them: You are citizens of a free country…
Today the West Pakistan's military force is engaged in a genocide in
Bangladesh… Our struggle is most rewarding. Certain is our
victory. Allah is with us. The world public opinion is with us. Joy
Bangla [Victory to Bengal]."


Taufiq Imam, in his recently published book Bangladesh Government,
1971 also provides adequate information about the authenticity of
declaration of independence by Sheikh Mujib. Taufiq Imam was the
Cabinet Secretary of the exile government and also later till August,
1975.


There are many facts not so much about declaration of independence but
about announcements by such well-respected personalities like Maulana
Bhasani and other student leaders of 1971. A discerning reader of
history must be able to distinguish between a formal declaration of
independence by a political leader who commands respect of the people
and has countrywide public acceptance as well as international
acceptance and others who make either broadcast or other forms of
announcement.


The declaration of independence by Sheikh Mujib, later built into the
Proclamation of Independence, is what matters. It is on the basis of
Proclamation of Independence on April 10, 1971, that the people's
struggle for independence took definite shape followed by
international support that eventually led to the birth of Bangladesh.
All said and done, it seems a terrible waste of time to pull the
undisputed leader down and push another leader up in this
controversial and meaningless debate. At the end of the day, one must
realise that declaration of independence is too serious a business to
be left to anybody other than a highly popular leader of public
opinion which, doubtless, Sheikh Mujib was.

A M M Shawkat Ali, PhD is former Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture.
[Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 14, 2004]


(The Daily Star, July 12, 2004)

More bodies protest distortion of history
Staff Correspondent

Different organisations have continued to slate the government for
distorting the country's history by naming former president Ziaur
Rahman as the first proclaimer of independence in the reprint of
Swadhinota Juddher Dalilpatro, the official history of Bangladesh's
Liberation War. Liberation Affairs Secretary of the Awami League Capt
(retd) A B Tajul Islam said the alliance government has tarnished the
image of the country by distorting a historic fact. In a statement,
he said the people fought the liberation war after its proclamation by
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Tajul said the vested quarter, now
engaged in a conspiracy to distort the country's liberation war, will
be thrown into the dustbin of history. Leaders of Muktijuddher Smriti
Sangrakkhan Kendra have said the BNP-Jamaat government had been
involved in distorting the history of the liberation war since it came
to power. In a statement, they said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
first proclaimed the independence of the country on March 26, and this
was published in different newspapers around the world.


The signatories to the statement included Professor Kabir Chowdhury,
Barrister Shawkat Ali Khan, Advocate Gaziul Haq, Tagore song exponent
Kalim Sharafi, Major General (retd) C R Dutta, Poet Shamsur Rahman,
Professor B K Jahangir, Litterateur Shahriar Kabir, Professor Hasan
Azizul Haq and Professor Anupom Sen
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal has termed the move as denying the facts of
country's liberation war. In a statement, the JSD said it was a hidden
agenda of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government. Workers Party of
Bangladesh has said there is no historical basis of the first
proclamation of independence by Ziaur Rhaman. "History of the country
cannot be changed with the change of the government," said a statement
of the party. Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Muktijoddha Foundation,
Dhaka University Teachers' Association, Sammilito Nagorik Samaj,
Bangabandhu Sramik League and Bangladesh Chhatra League also issued
separate statements condemning the move. (The Daily Star, July 12,
2004)


[The Daily Star, July 11, 2004)

Front Page
Liberation War History

Authentication body members blame ministry for distortion

Star Report

Members of the authentication committee of the 15-volume 'Bangladesher
Swadhinota Juddho -- Dolilpatro' (Do***ents of Liberation War of
Bangladesh) have accused the Liberation War ministry and its minister
of distorting historical facts in reprinting the book, which the
minister denies.
It has been accused that in the new edition of the Dolilpatro
published by the ministry historical facts have been warped by adding
a chapter on the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence. The
reprint omits the original proclamation of independence through a
message signed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and contains an
inserted text that names late president Ziaur Rahman as the first
proclaimer.


The planted information was totally absent in the first edition of the
Dolilpatro, product of a project initiated by Zia himself. The book
first came out in 1982 with noted poet and journalist Hasan Hafizur
Rahman as its editor. Members of that original editorial team also
have termed the addition a distortion.


The authentication committee formed in late 2002 held several meetings
to reprint the book with necessary corrections of information and
spelling errors. The committee members are Prof Moniruzzaman Miah,
Prof Emaj Uddin Ahmed, Prof KM Mohsin, Prof Serajul Islam, Prof Abul
Kalam Monjoor Morshed, Barrister Mainul Hosein, Prof Jasim Uddin,
Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Siddique and State
Minister of Liberation War Affairs Prof M Rezaul Karim.
Rezaul Karim says the 'new facts' emerged from the 'opinions' of the
nine-member authentication committee comprising historians and
academics. "We had no intention of belittling or glorifying anybody
but to remain authentic and purely based on facts," he said yesterday.
He claimed all the necessary 'corrections and inclusions' have been
made upon the committee's approval.


Prof Emaj Uddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University and
a member of the committee, on the other hand, refuted the minister's
claim and blamed him, as the convenor of the committee, and the
project director for the changes. He said the text on proclamation of
independence by Ziaur Rahman incorporated in the third volume of the
book, popularly known as Muktijudder Dolilpatro (do***ents of
Liberation War), "was not a part of the original edition of the
Dolilpatro. Those were included either by the minister or the project
director." "Please see the resolution of the validation committee to
find the truth," challenges Emaj Uddin, who has long held a key
position in BNP's Zia Parishad.


Project director of the publication, Abbas Ali Mia, declined to
comment on the issue, saying, "I was not a member of this committee."
The section that had been added to the third volume of the official
history of Bangladesh's Liberation War is titled 'The First
Proclamation of Independence by Major Zia'. The section cites Biplobi
Betar Kendro (revolutionary radio centre), Chittagong on March 27,
1971 as the source of information. But, in the footnote, it said, "At
2:15am on March 26, 1971, the Eighth East Bengal Regiment led by the
then Major Ziaur Rahman mutinied and Major Zia arrested Lt Col Zanjua,
commanding officer of the regiment. He (Zia) then united the battalion
officers, junior commissioned officers and privates, and announced the
independence. It was communicated to local politicians and officials
of the administration."


The quoted 'proclamation of independence' by Zia in the book reads,
"Dear fellow freedom fighters, I, Major Ziaur Rahman, Provisional
President and Commander-in-Chief of Liberation Army do hereby proclaim
independence of Bangladesh and appeal for joining our liberation
struggle. Bangladesh is independent. We have waged war for the
liberation of Bangladesh. Everybody is requested to participate in the
liberation war with whatever we have. We will have to fight and
liberate the country from the occupation of Pakistan Army. Inshallah,
victory is ours."


The reprint omitted the EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) message sent by
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which said, "This may be my last message, from
today Bangladesh is independent. I call upon the people of Bangladesh,
wherever you might be and with whatever you have, to resist the army
of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last
solider of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of
Bangladesh and final victory is achieved."
According to the information handed out in the chapter, the
authentication committee at a meeting on June 9 last decided to
include Ziaur Rahman's proclamation of independence and discard
Mujib's EPR message. The committee has been quoted as maintaining that
the EPR message was not based on fact and no authenticity of it was
found.


The explanatory note quoted former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi
as saying, "The cry for independence arose after Sheikh Mujib had been
arrested and not before. He himself, so far as I know, has not asked
for independence even now" in favour of discarding Mujib's message, as
the call was given after his arrest, not before. Noted journalist
Afsan Chowdhury, a member of the authentication committee of the
book's first edition, termed the added text a blatant distortion of
history.


In the first edition, both the proclamation of independence by Ziaur
Rahman and the telegraph message of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were
do***ented as historical facts. He said, "We had collected facts and
do***ents from different districts and there was no controversy on it
during the last 10 years." He apprehended the compilation of
do***ents would lose trustworthiness if any quarter tries to falsify
the facts. "People would not trust it. It will also encourage other
governments to twist facts." Chowdhury observed Zia had announced the
independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujib, which is completely omitted in
this latest edition.


The second edition of the Dolilpatro, however, printed Zia's
proclamation as the second announcement of independence, which is as
follows: "I, Major Zia, Provisional Commander-in-Chief of the
Bangladesh Liberation Army, hereby proclaim, on behalf of Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman, the independence of Bangladesh.
"I also declare, we have already framed a sovereign, legal Government
under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which pledges to function as per law and
the constitution. The new democratic government is committed to a
policy of non-alignment in international relations. It will seek
friendship with all nations and strive for international peace. I
appeal to all governments to mobilise public opinion in their
respective countries against the brutal genocide in Bangladesh.


"The government under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is sovereign legal
Government of Bangladesh and is entitled to recognition from all
democratic nations of the world." (The Daily Star, July 11, 2004).

(The Daily Star, July 11, 2004)

Front Page

Changed history counters constitution

Shakhawat Liton

New additions to the 'Muktijuddher Dolilpatro' claiming late president
Ziaur Rahman as the proclaimer of Bangladesh's independence contradict
the constitution.

The Proclamation of Independence in the Fourth Schedule of the
constitution says Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the
independence on March 26, 1971. "---Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,
the undisputed leader of the 75 million people of Bangladesh, in due
fulfilment of the legitimate right of self-determination of the people
of Bangladesh, duly made a declaration of independence at Dhaka on
March 26, 1971---."
Article 150 of the constitution gives the Fourth Schedule precedence
over other constitutional provisions, saying, "The transitional and
temporary provisions set out in the Fourth Schedule shall have effect
notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution."


But the additions, including a footnote of the new edition of the
'Muktijuddher Dolilpatro' (Do***ents of the Liberation War), published
by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs say Zia first proclaimed
independence.
Eminent jurist and one of the framers of the constitution Dr Kamal
Hossain dismissed the scope of any debate on the declaration of
independence.
The Liberation War affairs ministry's action is against the national
interest, he told The Daily Star, adding it added the footnote on
assumption.
"The preamble of the constitution refers to the proclamation of
independence on March 26, 1971 and no debate arose over the
proclamation in Ziaur Rahman's lifetime."


The wartime Mujibnagar government on April 10, 1971 framed the
Proclamation of Independence, considered as the interim constitution
of Bangladesh.
"There is no scope to change or alter the historic Proclamation of
Independence," said constitutional expert Dr M Zahir.

"The changes to the do***ents were made without legal authority in
violation of the constitution with political intent to undermine the
achievements of Bangabandhu," said Rokanuddin Mahmud, president of
Supreme Court Bar.


Former chief justice Kamal Uddin Hossain in an interview with a Bangla
daily said it was constitutionally established that Bangabandhu was
the proclaimer of independence.

"If anybody denies the fact they could be punished with 10 years of
rigorous imprisonment as well as a fine under Section 123 A (1) of
Bangladesh Penal Code," he told the Daily Banglabazar Patrika on March
25, 2002.

The late jurist Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed in an interview with the same
newspaper said rejecting Bangabandhu as the proclaimer of independence
was a violation of the constitution and a punishable offence.

"The Proclamation of Independence is the bedrock of Bangladesh which
clearly says Bangabandhu is the proclaimer."

"The treatment of the proclamation of independence as merely a part of
the constitution will undermine it, non-recognition of the do***ent is
tantamount to non-recognition of independent Bangladesh," the former
adviser to the caretaker government said in an interview on March 25,
2002. (The Daily Star, July 11, 2004).

(The Daily Star, July 10, 2004)
Front Page

Govt under fire for warping history

Staff Correspondent

Academics and political leaders including Abdul Jalil and Dr Kamal
Hossain yesterday lambasted the government for distorting the
country's history by naming Ziaur Rahman as the first proclaimer of
its independence in the reprint of Swadhinota Juddher Dolilpatro, the
official history of Bangladesh's Liberation War.


Awami League (AL) General Secretary (GS) Jalil even expressed the fear
that "If the BNP-led coalition government continues in power, it will
next change the national anthem and the national flag." Jalil was
addressing a discussion meet organised by Projonmo Ekattor (the
generation of '71), an organisation of the children of Liberation War
martyrs, at Liberation War Museum to mark the 10th death anniversary
of Jahanara Imam, mother of a martyr.

The AL stalwart said with this warping of the Liberation War's history
the coalition government wants to assess how people would react to
further such changes. "The distortion proves that Khaleda Zia wants to
serve the interests of anti-liberation forces," he maintained and
urged all pro-liberation forces to unite to uphold the spirit of
Liberation War.


Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain said no sensible person would
distort the Liberation War's history so callously. "I will look into
the legalities and see if there is a way to declare the people
involved in this falsification mad."
Dr Kamal also emphasised unity of progressive political parties to
ward off the mounting fundamentalism in the country.


Professor Anisuzzaman of Dhaka University accused the government of
using communal forces for its political gains, adding, "In order to
restitute a secular, democratic state we must restore the spirit of
the Constitution of 1972."

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) GS Mujahidul Islam Selim said
ruling alliance member Jamaat-e-Islami, which perpetrated war crimes
in 1971, is now doing the same by establishing a reign of terror
across the country. Bangladesh Economic Association GS Prof Abul
Barakat and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Haque also spoke.
(The Daily Star, July 10, 2004).
  Reply With Quote
3 25th May 14:41
kgazi
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default Tampering with Birth History of Bangladesh


Copying my last post titled:
BAN ALL MUJIB / ZIA MEMORABILIA - - -

Somebody has ABUSED the POLITICIZING of history so much that a situation
has arrived when a whole day in parliament is wasted on fights of history!!!
Excessive naming of public buildings under Mujib/Zia+family names, Mujib
did this Zia did that, etc has lead to a situation when all national
legacies are turning into national PERSONA NON GRATA in the eyes of the
public!!

To contain all this, so that normality is restored to politics:

a). Ban all debates of Mujib/Zia history in parliament.

b). Ban all FUTURE naming of PUBLIC PROPERTY - roads, buildings etc, with
Mujib/Zia+family names.

c). Withdraw the Bill of posting ANY Mujib/Zia+family pictures on govt
offices walls. NO Mujib/Zia+family PICTURES can be allowed on govt office
walls.
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4 25th May 14:41
nkdatta8839
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default Tampering with Birth History of Bangladesh


The mwzaman posts give a wider perspective
of the issue which is being fought over with
so much passion in Bangladesh.

I got a feel of how much passion was at play
when I learnt that one of the leaders of
Bangladesh had the date of her birthday
changed officially so that she could celebrate
it on the anniversary of the day her rival's
father was assassinated!

Her birthday celebration cannot possibly be any
more joyful now that she celebrates it with
gusto on the anniversary of the date her object
of scorn lost not just her father, but her
mother and three brothers as well!!
  Reply With Quote
5 25th May 14:41
bhanwaram
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default Tampering with Birth History of Bangladesh


Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman was Prime-Minister-elect of all
Pakistan. Having won over half of the total assembly
seats, he held a clear majority in Pakistan, and as
per then stated laws of Pakistan would have become Prime
Minister if the laws were going to be respected. A demand of
Bangladesh Independence, coming from him, would not
have made too much sense.

Of course, the situation changed very fast, but Sheikh
Mujib was quickly put in jail as the situation deteriorated.

In fact, until he found himself in custody, it would
make no sense for Mujib to declare independence. That
would make sense only after he knew for SURE that
the military rulers were going to play foul. Declaring
independence before that, would be rather irresponsible.
And that may be why Indira Gandhi made sure to clarify
that Mujib did not ask for independence until AFTER
the arrest. Indira Gandhi's message also clarified to
the world the legitimacy of Bangladesh. If the Prime-Minister-elect
says, "to heck with you all, I just want the responsibility
for my part of the country", that would be an illegitimate new
country. But if the _arrested_ former Prime-Minister-elect
decides independence is the only remaining approach, that
would be legitimate.

With Mujib gone, it was up to the local leaders remaining
in East Pakistan to realize something was very wrong,
and to start demanding independence instead. It is
not clear how Mujib COULD have started an independent
Bangladesh movement while he was in a Pakistani jail. Even
though it is natural to give him credit for the beginning
of Bangladesh, the actual source for the "independence"
thought had to be in the local leadership in
the East. And of course they did it IN THE NAME
OF Mujib ur Rahman. So in a way it's right to say
he declared independence, but in the actual sense
of putting the words together and signing his
name to it, it's very doubtful he had the opportunity.
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