As Bangladesh celebrates its Independence Day on 26th March, the Bangla blogosphere is inundated with posts reliving the horrific Operation Searchlight that was launched by the Pakistan Army on 25th March 1971, in a desperate attempt to stamp out the Bengali Nationalist movement.
Abul Bahar brings to life that fateful the fateful night of 25 March, 1971 with the following words:
Suddenly Dhaka came to a standstill. There was complete silence all around. The country was shivering under the heavy tread of the evil forces. The earth was soaked red and the fragrant smell of the hasnahana flower was overpowered with the stench of blood.
Bloggers today are vociferous about the estimated 3million people that had been exterminated during 1971. The Bangladesh Genocide Archive has been painstakingly put together by some of the leading Bangla bloggers, to make netizens aware of the extent of atrocities committed on the Bengali population by the Pakistan Army with help from the Razakars. Another new website to be launched by bloggers is Bangladesh 1971, which aims at connecting today’s generation of Bangladeshis with the life and times of the people who fought for the country’s Independence, while simultaneously keeping up the pressure on the Nation’s conscience to bring the perpetrators to book.
Why is it necessary today to relive the freedom struggle? Perhaps to avoid the ‘Hollywoodization of the liberation war’ as Rasel puts it. Also, Shamim clarifies why after so many years, it still remains imperative to bring the war criminals to trial. He says it is not out of a feeling of retribution but rather as a future deterrent that this ‘bringing to book’ is necessary. It is also a necessary step towards ensuring justice and a closure for the victims and their surviving families.
Rabab writes that on this day of Independence, he feels no inspiration but only a sense of hurt and dejection when he sees all around him the corruption and victory of the separatist forces, the dreams of a united and economically strong Bangladesh fading into despair. Blogger Shobjanta seems to share in this hurt. However, the feeling evaporates once he listens closely to the National Anthem “Amar Shonar Bangla, ami tomay bhalobashi” (my precious Bengal, I love you).