Book on Christians’ role in Bangladesh’s war of independence

It's a volume on the history of the liberation war which tells the stories of Christians who fought for independence.

Bangladesh
Mar 05 2014, 4:26 PM
Book on Christians’ role in Bangladesh’s war of independence
Author Alex Rozario.

A new book on the role played by Christians during Bangladesh's war of independence was released at a book fair last Friday.

The book titled ‘I saw the war of Independence in 1971’ is the first work by Alex Rozario, a Bangladeshi Catholic who lives in France. To gather material for his book, Rozario returned to Bangladesh several times. "It's a volume on the history of the liberation war which tells the stories of Christians who fought for independence. My purpose was to inform the younger generation about what I saw. It is only fair that people know that Christians participated and contributed," he said.

February is dedicated to the Bengali language. As the world celebrates the International Day of native languages on February 21, the people of Bangladesh organize events to commemorate the language and remember the university students of then East Pakistan killed on this day in 1952 by the Pakistani police while protesting in honour of the Bengali language. The Movement for the Bengali language born in 1952 was the first sign of conflict with Pakistan and found its political representation in the Awami League and its president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In 1971, after nine months of war, East Pakistan declared independence from Pakistan, becoming a parliamentary democracy, aided by neighbour India.

Incidentally, it was Pakistani Christian reporter Anthony Mascarenhas who exposed the scale of the Pakistan army's brutal campaign to suppress its breakaway eastern province.

One of the most influential pieces of South Asian journalism of the past half century, Mascarenhas’ report printed in the UK's Sunday Times altered international opinion on Pakistan and encouraged India to play a decisive role in liberating Bangladesh.

Then editor of the Sunday Times, Harold Evans, many years later recalled to BBC that Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had told him that the article had shocked her so deeply it had set her "on a campaign of personal diplomacy in the European capitals and Moscow to prepare the ground for India's armed intervention."

Source:  Vatican Radio

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