On this day 41 years ago, Bangladesh woke up to the horrendous genocidal killings hitherto unknown to the Bangalees. This darkest episode in our history led to the declaration of independence which soon turned into a full-fledged people's war. It was not only the Mukti Bahini that fought vigorously under the direction of the Mujibnagar government, but thousands of ordinary people comprising farmers, workers, women and indigenous people also resisted the Pakistan army with equal courage and vigour.

When the resistance spread all over the country with the Pakistan occupation forces and their Bangalee collaborators constantly prowling around, people in their thousands including women and children were tortured to death because of their suspected link with the freedom fighters. But stories of these common people have been buried underneath the heroic exploits of our most revered leaders and fighters. In the historiography of our liberation war, the valour and sacrifices of these people have largely remained unheard and unrecognized.

Our supplement this year, therefore, is dedicated to those unsung men and women some of whose valiant acts are chronicled in the following pages. And along with the valiant deeds of many heretofore unknown fighters we also present a few friends of whom we know very little, if at all, but without whose selfless help the struggle of the freedom fighters would have been even harder. We recount too some of the gruesome events that have not found mention in the pages of our books and chronicles.

A scholarly reflection by one of the country's esteemed researcher, a personal anecdote and a brief consideration of the atrocities perpetrated on the Dhaka University campus on the night of March 25 will reveal facts that should find a place in mainstream history writing of our country. The editor's conversation with Brig RP Sing who was a trainer of the freedom fighters will add a new dimension to readers' perception of the Liberation War.

Illustration: Manan Morshed

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