Why Pakistan Lost Bengalis - Some Insights
By Saroop Ijaz, The Express Tribune, December 21, 2013
The State of Pakistan wants the 16th of December to pass silently and quickly every year. Theexecution of Abdul Quader Molla made this extraordinarily difficult this time around. Enough has been said on the execution and its implications, and saying any further will be surplus to requirements. However, not nearly enough has ever been said about 1971. There is some talk every year, lament mostly, meticulously avoiding the specifics. The attempt sometimes it seems is to make the fall of Dhaka look like a natural catastrophe, beyond the locus of human and state control. Let bygones be bygones, Bangladesh is a sovereign nation and the vile Yahya Khan lives in eternal infamy, where he belongs. By all means, however, let’s trace our steps a little and briefly revisit the statements made by the architect of the “decade of prosperity” (according to our textbooks), Field Marshal Ayub Khan.
Ayub’s ghost-written, and unironically titled book, Friends, not Masters, says about the Bengalis as “ … (having) all the inhibitions of downtrodden races and have not yet found it possible to adjust psychologically to the requirement of the new born freedom”. In his diary, he further writes that the East Pakistanis have the desire “to isolate themselves from West Pakistan and revert to Hindu language and culture”. He felt that it was because of the reason that the Bengalis had “no culture and language of their own”. Aside, from the obvious point of the gallant Field Marshal being ignorant, bigoted and a racist, there is something else. The Sandhurst-trained Field Marshal sought to emulate the “Masters” in taking upon himself the mantle to pass condescending, conclusive statements about the natives. Lord Macaulay’s observation on the matter was that the Bengalis were “feeble” people … trampled upon by men of bolder and hardy breeds” and whose “mind is weak … for the purposes of manly resistance”. Repulsive thoughts by two racists, are they not? Yet, we wonder, what went wrong in East Pakistan?
For complete article, click here