[Editorial Analysis] How Dhaka fell in 1971

Mains Paper1: India after independence

Prelims level: Bangladesh formation

Mains level: Highlights the significance of Bangladesh formation


• Pakistan came into being on August 14 1947 and broke up on December 16, 1971.

• Pakistan is still wondering what happened and gets riled over what is called the Fall of Dhaka, the day Pakistan army surrendered to the Indian Army.

• The Fall of Dhaka is put at the doorstep of India “that never accepted Partition” and always conspired against it from “day one”.

From Pakistan’s point of view

• Pakistan’s political-social elite has been guessing at other causes too.

• The ideological majority thinks East Pakistan never followed the “pure” nationalism of Pakistan.

• The late Supreme Court of Pakistan judge, Nasim Hassan Shah, once said that he regretted that Arabic was not made Pakistan’s national language in 1947.

• He referred to the language riots of 1948 in East Pakistan and said that had Arabic been suggested to “our Bengali brothers” they would have accepted it as the national language.

From Bangladesh point of view

• Unlike West Pakistan, where it was religion-based, in East Pakistan, nationalism was language-based, on Bengali.

• After Independence, Dhaka took a poem of the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore as its national anthem.

• In Pakistan, the anthem is in Persian except for one preposition “ka” which renders it Urdu.

• The rift that split Pakistan developed over the disparity of governance.

• Punjab and the Punjabi-dominated army ruled Pakistan soon after the birth of Pakistan.

• The services were also dominated by Punjabis through quotas but East Pakistan dominated in literacy and high education.

• Top seats in the civil services exams always went to East Pakistan.

• Pakistan couldn’t tackle the strange phenomenon of being divided by a thousand miles of India.

• Most of the foreign exchange was earned by exports from East Pakistan which was poorly defended when the big war of 1965 with India was fought. That sowed the seeds of December 16, 1971.

Comparison between two nations

• Bangladesh’s current population is 166 million, Pakistan’s is 220 million, while after 1947, East Pakistan was more numerous.

• Bangladesh’s growth rate is nearly 7 per cent, whereas Pakistan’s growth rate is below 5 per cent.

• Extreme poverty, or those living below the poverty line, in Bangladesh is under 9 per cent while those in Pakistan are 29.5 per cent.

• Bangladesh’s literacy rate is 72 per cent, that of Pakistan is 58 per cent and loaded more with ideology than useful knowledge.

• Bangladesh flourishes today. And Pakistan has one-less to worry about from its disaffected components.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Recently Delhi Declaration was concluded on:

A. Global Terrorism

B. Cyber Security

C. Artificial Intelligence

D. Renewable Energy

Correct Answer: D

Mains Questions:

Q.1) To what extent the Bangladesh’s birth owes to Pakistani policy flaws, not India’s intervention. Briefly explain.

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