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Book review
On the fight for freedom of Bangladesh

There is no need reminding our dear readers that this is the month we declared our independence back in 1971. The glory of independence panned out in December 1971 but at the cost of millions of lives. Sadly, the number of books on our liberation war is not many- rather small considering the huge emotions relating to the independence.

Today's perhaps most popular writer, Humayun Ahmed's “Josna O Jononir Golpo” is an excellent book on the war. His unique way of story telling mixed with his trademark writing style give us quite a treat to read. In this novel we find the writer's personal experiences portrayed along with various others. The most amazing thing about this novel is its portrayal of people from nearly all sections of the society.

We have Shahed, an ordinary service holder, Irtazuddin, his brother and a devoted Muslim, Shahed's friend Gouro, Shah Kalim, a sly poet, Shahed's other friend Nazmul, a valiant freedom fighter and many others. We get a quite a clear conception of the mindset of the people of different backgrounds. Mr. Ahmed mixes their stories with apparent ease, frequently mentioning confirmed facts about the affairs.

I can assure you that this is one book you cannot put down until the end. The cheeky dialogues, Humayun Ahmed's characteristic philosophical remarks, and above all the amazing story of our freedom makes this book really a masterpiece and obviously a must read on the subject of liberation.

Naming even five prominent writers of modern times in Bangladesh cannot leave out Anisul Hoque. He is perhaps more famous for his light-hearted novels and screen-plays, but his “Ma” novel comes out in a serious tone. This is also a novel on the liberation war. Contrary to the novel mentioned previously, it deals with the life of one individual only. This person is the mother of another valiant freedom fighter Azad. This novel is based on facts and sometimes discloses first hand accounts of the events. Shahid Azad was the only son of Younus Choudhury and Safia Begum, a very rich and powerful couple.

Azad's mother broke up with his dad and lived with Azad in quite a lowly way compared to their previous state. Azad grew up to be a very fine and peace-loving young man.

But even he could not deny the call of the motherland to free her soul of oppressors. He joined the liberation war and after some successful missions he was capture by the Pak army. He died without betraying his companions. His last words to his mother were to eat a plate of rice and hope for a pillow in the jail. In memory of her only son, Saphia Begum refrained from having rice and sleeping on the bed for the rest of her life. This novel is quite heart touching and is also a great book to learn about the liberation war. Somoy publications published this book and I should recommend everyone to at least try this book. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

By Jawad Mahmud

Sectors of '71 the pillars of resistance

During Bangladesh Liberation War of '71, our country was divided into eleven sectors according to geographical and operational ease. Each sector had a sector commander, who directed the guerrilla warfare. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors.

Cabinet meeting of Bangladesh government of July 11, 1971 appointed Col. M A G Osmani as Commander in Chief, Lt. Col. Abdur Rab as Chief of Army Staff and Group Captain A K Khandker as Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Force. In this meeting, Bangladesh was divided into Eleven Sectors under the Sector Commanders.

Sector 1
This sector was spear-headed by the charismatic Major Ziaur Rahman consisting of the 1st, 3rd and 8th East Bengal Regiment (also known as the Z-Forces), who mutinied and captured Kalurghat radio station, from whereon, he declared the liberation of Bangladesh on behalf of BangaBondhu.

The sector composed of Chittagong District, Chittagong Hill Tracts and the entire eastern area of the Noakhali District. The headquarters of the sector was at Harina.

Sector 2
Major Khaled Mosharraf, OC of the 4th Bengal Regiment, led his unit to mutiny. A pioneer in guerilla warfare, he organized the 4th, 9th and 10th East Bengal Regiment to form the K Forces. In an encounter with Pakistani forces, he was wounded by a bullet shot in his head.

The sector consisted of districts of Dhaka, Comilla, and Faridpur, Feni, part of Noakhali District and the Meghna and Padma Rivers.

Sector 3
The forces in this sector were called The S Forces, under Major KM Shafiullah. He was the Second in Command of 2nd East Bengal Regiment that revolted with 6 officers on the night of March 25th. The S Forces consisted of the 2nd and 11th East Bengal Regiment.

Areas between Churaman Kathi and Sylhet in the north and Singerbil of Brahmanbaria in the south, portions of northern Dhaka districts, Narshingdi, and Gazipur comprised the region.

Sector 4
Led by the strong Major Chittarajan Datta, the sector included areas from Habiganj District on the north to Kanaighat Police Station on the south along the border with India. The headquarters of the sector was initially at Karimganj and later at Masimpur. Major Datta led an army of about nine thousand guerilla fighters and about four thousand regular members of the armed forces.

Sector 5
Major Mir Shawkat Ali, who hails from the Bengal Regiment, was in charge of this sector. He, along side Major Zia, led the mutiny of the Bengal Regiment in Chittagong. He went on to take charge of Sector 5, which comprised of areas from Durgapur to Tamabil and the entire area up to the eastern borders of the district including Shunamganj, Chataak and the Shurma Rivers. The headquarters of the sector was at Banshtala.

Sector 6
M Khademul Bashar was a Wing Commander in the Pakistan Army in 1970, and was in command of a Radar squadron in Dhaka. He joined the war of liberation in 1971, and though an officer of the Air Force he was deputed to command the land force in the Rangpur District and part of Dinajpur District. The headquarters of the sector was at Burimari near Patgram.

Sector 7
Sector 7, which comprised of Naogaon, Rajshahi, Bogra, Natore, Pabna, Shirajganj, parts of Dinajpur District and the Ganges River, was lead by Major Nazmul Haq. Later he was replaced by Major Kazi Nuruzzaman. The sector had about fifteen thousand freedom fighters, who fought valiantly and relentlessly in the liberation war. The sector had a few Mukti-bahini camps to train the freedom-fighters. The headquarters of the sector was at Taranngapur.

Sector 8
The operational area of the sector comprised the districts of Barisal, Faridpur and Patuakhali. At the end of May the sector was reconstituted and comprised the districts of Kuhstia, Jessore, Khulna, Satkhira and the northern part of Faridpur district. The headquarters of the sector was at Benapole. About ten thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector, under the leadership of Major Abu Osman Chowdhury and later on under Major MA Manzur.

Sector 9
Under the command of Major Jalil, the sector covered Barisal, Patuakhali, and parts of the district of Khulna and Faridpur. Major Jalil defected from the Pakistan Army and joined the War of Liberation in March. He was appointed commander of the ninth sector.

Sector 10
This Sector, which consisted of the Naval Commandos, was charged with fighting the enemy in the waters. It was a key sector in the liberation war, as most Pakistani military supply used to come through this route. A contingent of eight Bengali officers of Pakistan Navy was the instigator behind forming this force. Naval Commandos conducted major operations in rivers and seaports at Chittagong, Mangla and Chandpur. In a single operation on the night of August 15, seventeen Pakistani ships were destroyed.

Sector 11
Sector Commander Major Abu Taher was part of the Special Service Group of the Commando Force in Pakistan. Chilmari Raid and Operation Kamalpur were two of his famous operations. One month prior to the end of the war, Major Taher was seriously wounded during Operation Kamalpur on 14th November 1971. His left leg had to be amputated.

The sector consisted of Sherpur, Tangail, Netrokona, and the Jamuna Rivers. The headquarters of the sector was at Mahendraganj.

By Tahsin Mahmood
Sources: Wikipedia, Banglapedia, Sector Comm
anders Forum and Bangladesh War Museum.



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