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     Volume 8 Issue 98 | December 18, 2009 |

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Book Review

Knowing 1971
For those of us born after the liberation war, books and movies primarily provide us with a glimpse of our country's glorious history of birth. Here is a sample of some recently published books on the liberation war.

Tamanna Khan

Swapna by Anisul Haque
Publisher: Ananya
Price. 80.00 Taka
Those of you who have already read “Ma”, by Anisul Haque are well acquainted with the writer's talent of portraying real life characters through amazing story-telling. He did this yet once again in Swapna, where renowned artist Shimul Yusuf dreams of Altaf Mahmud visiting her after 36 years of his death. Conversation, between these two artists slowly unwraps the life and work of the martyr Altaf Mahmood. The book also presents a number of songs sung by Altaf Mahmood. The various anecdotes on Altaf Mahmood's life reflect the effort that the writer has put on research while writing the book. The writer has also avoided putting too many hard-core facts in the book and rather stuck to his more lenient way of story telling. Thus for young readers who want to know more about our war heroes, Swapna would be a good start.

Thikana Ekattur by Shamsul Alam Sayed
Publisher: Adorn Publication
Price: 120.00 Taka
Shamsul Alam Sayed, a freedom fighter, now a professor and a researcher, depicts the yearning of Latu, the main character of the novel, in rediscovering his home, his identity. The main plot is set in recent times in which war collaborators are shamelessly being protected by the government. However, the story often retraces back to 1971 and even to the British period. In fact many of the lead characters like Sharbati and Soleiman evolve during the British period and remain prominent throughout the book. In contrast, Latu's entry into the story occurs much later even though he is presented with little significance at the beginning. Latu's reappearance brings about joy to a faction of the villagers who had fought in the liberation war while the opposing faction feels threatened. As a result, discontent breaks open among the opposing faction making way for a totally unexpected event at the end. The human features of good and evil have been well balanced in most of the characters, including Latu's. In Thikana Ekkatur, the writer has portrayed how as a nation we have failed to uphold the values of our great liberation war.

Annaya Muktijoddha Jagatjoyti by Apurba Sharma
Publisher: Shahittya Prakash
Price: 100.00 Taka
This book presents the biography of martyr Jagatjoyti, a valiant and invincible freedom fighter, whose group the Das Party was much feared by the Pakistani Army and their Razakar Bahini in Sunamganj-Habiganj during the liberation war. The book is orderly divided into eleven chapters familiarising the reader with Jagatjoyti's locality, childhood, political ideal and ultimately his unforgettable contribution in the liberation war of Bangladesh. The writer does a good job at describing the battles fought by Jagatjoyti and his troop. The chapter that describes the last war fought by Jagatjoyti and the brutality of his martyrdom is heartrending. The book also presents some photographs of the liberation war among which the most poignant is the picture of Jagatjoyti's dead body. Unfortunately, as the writer rightfully mentions, our country has failed to provide Jagatjoyti of the highest gallantry award of the Liberation War, which was announced over radio some days after his death. In this book, Apurba Sharma, once again reminds us of our debt to our valiant war heroes.

Muktijuddhe Buddhijibi Hottya by Mohammad Habibur Rahman
Publisher: Kathaprokash
Price: 100.00 Taka
This book briefly incorporates facts and information about the liberation war and the murder of the intellectuals carried out by Pakistani forces and their collaborators during the war. Brief biographies and works of fifty-seven intellectuals of our country is presented along with a long list of students of Jagganath Hall who were killed in the fateful night of 25th March. The first three chapters, however, introduces the readers to the background of the liberation war. The last chapter presents accounts by witnesses of the genocide that Pakistani forces carried out in Dhaka University on 25th March. The writer has congregated many facts in the book but failed to make a statement as such. Nevertheless, for readers who might want to delve more on the facts, the writer has sincerely presented a list of supporting documents.

Muktijuddho - Secret Diplomacy by Professor Abu Sayeed
Publisher: Sucheepatra
Price: 250 Taka only
“Will the world be concerned only if people die because of war between two countries and not if hundreds of thousands are butchered and expelled by a military regime waging war against the people?” This same question asked by Indira Gandhi, kept ringing in my mind after I finished reading this interesting book. Professor Sayeed, an Awami league leader and an ex-minister has concisely presented the global politics that revolved around Bangladesh's fate in 1971. The power game that was initiated among the four countries India, U.S.S.R, China and USA is presented in the book. The most interesting part of the book is Kissinger's double face during the war. While publicly the American government expressed their concern for the people of East Pakistan, and acted neutral, inside the White House they were knitting a conspiracy against Bangladesh's birth. Professor Sayeed has done an excellent job in bringing out the eye opening policies of world power and the game behind wars.

Ekattor Amaar Sreshtho Shomoy by Anwar-ul-Alam Shaheed
Publisher: Shahittya Prakash
Price: 450 Taka
This book is more of an autobiography of freedom fighter Anwar ul Alam Shaheed. The author starts off with his ancestral background, childhood, entry into political arena while introducing many prominent figures of Tangail simultaneously. In 1971, the writer joined the liberation forces of the Tangail area in 1971 fighting alongside the valiant warrior Kader Siddiqui. The writer's direct association with Awami League and its top leaders brings forward some intriguing information. In spite of being an Awami League activist, the writer was unbiased in his description of other great leaders of the time such as Shaheed Sarawardi and Moulana Bhashani, and the role played by them in the liberation war. The book comes up with many unseen pictures of the liberation war along with the writer's childhood. The writer has given a first hand account of those glorious times of our history in simple words. However the book abruptly finishes off with the arms surrendering event of the freedom fighters of Tangail to Bangabandhu.

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