THIS is with reference to the report ‘Sheikh Mujib didn’t want independent nation, documentary reveals’ (Dec 14) about the documentary Separation of East Pakistan — The Untold Story, which, to me, seemed like an attempt to distort historical facts, because Mujibur Rahman’s Six Points were surely a recipe for the country’s dismemberment. If he did not want to secede, what exactly did he want?

The salient features of his demand were two currencies, two reserve banks, independent trade and commerce (mainly with India), receiving of foreign aid directly from donor countries, no flight of capital from East to West Pakistan, and the Centre to control just the portfolios of defence and communications.

Here, I may add the seventh demand which remained unstated, but there was enough evidence on the ground to make its presence felt. It related to having two different ‘national’ flags. On Pakistan Day in 1971, ‘Bangladesh’ flags were hoisted atop all government buildings in East Pakistan. Mujib also took salute at a march-past held in Ramna.

He virtually became the de facto ruler of East Pakistan. Everything was well-prepared and synchronised with foreign agents. Although he kept on promising that his agenda was flexible and negotiable, Mujib stuck to the plan that had made him exceedingly popular among the people of East Pakistan.

J.N. Dixit, a former Indian foreign secretary, wrote in his book, Liberation and Beyond, that when he had asked Mujib about when he had first conceived the idea of ‘Bangladesh’, Mujib replied that it had been in his mind since the inception of Pakistan. Dixit also confessed that the creation of Bangladesh was an economic necessity for India.

I spent two decades in East Pakistan and was a student of Dhaka University as well as of the notorious Jagannath College where Mujib would come and incite the students to strive for the creation of a separate homeland that he called ‘Sonar Bangla’.

Bengalis had issues with the Urdu language, and, by implication, with anybody who spoke that language. I experienced all this first-hand.

Safir Siddiqui
Karachi

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2021

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