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Commemorating Bangladesh’s victory

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By: Kanchan Basu

Flags fluttering like a sea of green with a red disc symbolising the sun adorning each flag, the National Anthem echoing everywhere, and the air buzzing with the celebratory spirit of revisiting the memory of a nation reborn – that sums up the joyous atmosphere in Bangladesh every year on December 16.

On this day, an entire nation of over 173,743,822 people of Bangladesh and Bangladeshi Diasporas come alive in a rapturous symphony commemorating the nation’s epoch-making victory over the Pakistan Armed Forces in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, which led to the independence of Bangladesh.

The celebration of the same as Victory Day or Vijay Diwas take centre stage not only in Bengladesh on December 16 but also in the territory of its neighbour and longstanding ally, India, which had a central role in aiding Bangladesh attain a historic military victory against Pakistan to claim its ultimate liberation from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Vijay Diwas transcends mere celebration. It is a solemn remembrance of the sacrifices of millions who fought for and made the supreme sacrifice for a nation’s right to self-determination and freedom from Pakistani oppression. The day of colossal significance serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and courage of the Bangladesi people in the face of unimaginable hardship and India’s unswerving commitment to support and aid them in emerging victorious in a war fought for independence.

December 16 is a day etched deeply in the hearts of Bangladeshis as a day commemorating the victorious culmination for the nation of the nine-month-long Bangladesh Liberation War that took place in 1971 and marked the birth of the independent nation of Bangladesh, altering forever the contours of the world map.

The observance of Victory Day in Bangladesh resonates not only within its landscape but also across the border in India, where it is celebrated as Vijay Diwas to honour the sacrifices made during the war and celebrate India’s pivotal role in aiding Bangladesh emerge victorious in it.

The Bangladesh War of Independence – fuelled by Bengali nationalism – that lasted for nine months in 1971 was not just a revolutionary, armed conflict; it was a war waged to forge the independent identity of a nation yearning for self-determination.

The atrocities unleashed by Pakistani forces were met with indomitable resistance from the Mukti Bahini, the freedom fighters fighting guerrilla warfare, their courage bolstered by the dream of forming a sovereign Bangladesh.

India’s role in the Bangladesh Liberation War cannot be overstated. While the Mukti Bahini, the Bangladeshi resistance force, spearheaded the fight on ground, India provided crucial military, diplomatic, and humanitarian support.

This include training and equipping the Mukti Bahini, providing a haven for refugees, and launching a decisive military intervention in December 1971 that ultimately led to the Pakistani surrender, marking the official cessation of East Pakistan’s existence and the founding of the new state of Bangladesh.

The iconic surrender of the Pakistan Armed Forces at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka on 16 December 1971 marked Bangladesh’s monumental victory in the Liberation War and was registered indelibly in the annals of independent Bangladesh’s history with the signing of the Instrument of Surrender by Pakistan’s General Niazi.

As an oppressive chapter came to an end, it uprooted countless families and caused the loss of three million lives. Nevertheless, it led to the dawn of a new era in the newly independent land for Bengalis, Bangladesh, wherein an independent nation rose from the ashes, bringing forth a vibrant democracy with a rich cultural tapestry woven from resilience and hope.




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