Time Line of 1971
1930-47: Development of the Two Nations Theory which led to the Partition of the Indiansub-continent on the basis of two religion Hindu and Muslim, a separate state for each religion.
August 14: The Partition of India:
“‘Partition’ here refers not only to the division of the Bengal province of British India into the Pakistani state of East Bengal (later East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) and the Indian state of West Bengal, as well as the similar partition of the Punjab region of British India into the Punjab province of West Pakistan and the Indian state of Punjab, but also to the division of the British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Service and other administrative services, the railways, and the central treasury, and other assets.
“The partition of India in 1947 led to a process which we today probably would describe as ‘ethnic cleansing’. Hundreds of thousands of people were massacred and millions had to move; Muslims from India to Pakistan, Hindus in the opposite direction.” - Øyvind Tønnesson(Image credit: Wannabehuman)
Partition of India and Bengal and Some Myths:
# Muslims wanted Pakistan as a separate state for Muslims and they voted for itMore on Partition of India.
# Congress did everything possible to avert partition
# The Bengal partition was not opposed
‘East Bengal won’t last for more than 25 years in Pakistan’
Mountbatten told this to his successor C Rajgopalacharya as governor general of India during this farewell banquet in June 1948. Health Minister Rajkumari Amrit Kaur is seated between the outgoing and incoming governor generals.
Khwaja Nazimuddin (chief minister of East Pakistan) introduces the East Pakistan cabinet to Mr Jinnah (the founding father of Pakistan) in March 1948. Arrogant ICS Chief Secretary Aziz Ahmed is seen at extreme left. It is said that even Bengali ministers could not enter his office and he created more ill will against West Pakistan than any other single indivdual
(Images credit: Doc Kazi from Flickr)
The Language Movement Starts
“Bengalees, who speak Bangla, constitute 54% of the population of Pakistan at its inception. But Urdu is widely favored by the establishment in the Western wing, even if only a tiny minority really speak it. The major native languages in the West are: Punjabi, Baluchi, Sindhi, and Pashtu (Pakhtun).1949:
In 1947, a key resolution at a national education summit in Karachi advocated Urdu as the sole state language, and its exclusive use in the media and in schools. Begalis started to protest and later it was transformed into a movement.”
Awami Muslim League formed
The “All Pakistan Awami Muslim League” was formed by Maulana Abdul Hameed Khan Bhashani as a breakaway faction of the “All Pakistan Muslim League” in 1949. The word “Muslim” was dropped in 1955. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was one of its three initial assistant general secretaries.
Ekushey February (21st February) – The International Mother Language Day:
“Politicians and students join their forces for a broader movement under the leadership of Maulana Bhashani of Awami League. As demonstrations and unrests seem to get out of control, the Government cracks down by imposing a curfew in Dhaka; a number of demonstrators are killed in front of the Dhaka Medical College over a period of one week (February 21-27, 1952). Hundreds and thousands of people took the streets to protests unanimously and the seeds of Bangladeshi nationalism was sown during that mobement.”1953:
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the fifties
April - Awami Muslim League becomes Awami League, reflecting its evolution into a more secular organization. Sheikh Mujib was made the party’s general secretary.
September – Sher-e-Bangla Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq forms Krishak Sramik Party
March: The United Front (Awami League and the Krishak Sramik Party) wins most of the seats in the East Bengal Legislative Assembly. Sheikh Mujib was elected to the East Bengal Legislative Assembly and serving briefly as the minister for agriculture.
March-October: The Bengali dominated United Front Government (East Bengal leg. Assembly) is dismissed by the Governor General of Pakistan. The Governor General imposes his direct rule in East Pakistan.
October: The West Pakistan Bill had been passed. East Bengal is renamed East Pakistan and the west wing provinces of the Punjab, Baluchistan, Sindh, and NWFP are grouped into one unit called West Pakistan.
The Awami Muslim League dropped the word Muslim from its name at a spacial council of the Bangladesh Awami League, making the party a truly modern and secular one. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was re-elected General Secretary of the Party.
February: Pakistan becomes an Islamic Republic, constitution adopted, Bangla becomes a state language along with Urdu.
Awami League leaders, during a meeting with the Chief Minister, demanded that the subject of provincial autonomy be included in the draft constitution.
September: Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, the seasoned politician from East Pakistan replaced Chaudhry Mohammad Ali as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujib joined the coalition government, assuming the charge of Industries, Commerce, Labour, Anti-Corruption and Village Aid Ministry.
March: Governor Gurmani declares presidential rule in West Pakistan.
May: Sheikh Mujib resigned from the cabinet in response to a resolution of the Party to strengthen the organization by working for it full-time.
June-July: Maulana Bhashani resigns as President of the Awami League; forms the National Awami Party (NAP)
August: Sheikh Mujib went on an official tour of China and the Soviet Union.
October: Suhrawardy lost support in the National Assembly and was forced to resign. Chundrigar is sworn in as the new PM.
December: Malik Feroz Khan Noon replaces Chundrigar as Prime Minister.
An unequal rate of growth between the two wings of the country seems to have been an important feature of economic development since the independence: only one-fifth of large-scale manufacturing is located in East Pakistan after ten years.
September: Shahid Ali, Deputy Speaker of East Pakistan Assembly died. It was beleived that the cause of death were the wounds suffered 2 days ago when disorder broke out inside the assembly.
October: Martial Law: General Ayub Khan exiles President Iskander Mirza and assumes all powers. (The instrument of transfer)
Muhammed Ayub Khan
Ayub Khan announced his cabinet: three military officials including Lt General Azam Khan, and eight civilians including a young politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
“All meetings and demonstrations are forbidden and political parties banned. Popular politicians are either imprisoned — including Sheikh Mujib, Maulana Bhashani, and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (NWFP)— or their activities are restricted.”After Sheikh Mujib’s arrest on 11 October he was continiously harassed through one false case after another. Released from prison after 14 months, he was arrested again at the jail gate.
October: On the first anniversary of ‘his revolution’ President Ayub Khan promulgated an ordinance for setting up “basic democracies,” or small units of local self-government in the country. There would be around 120000 such units, each representing from 1000 to 15000 citizens. “Democracy has been brought to the very doorstep of the people,” he said.
January: Elections for Basic Democracies (BD) members were carried out this month according to the presidential plan. The 80,000 elected BDs would decide whom they want to be the ruler. The system is criticised for eliminating the basic purpose of democracy, but some defend for being closer to the tribal majlis-e-shura current in early days of Islam.
February: Ayub Khan is elected President for a five-year term by 80,000 elected BD members. In the Presidential Elections held on the simple formula of referendum, 95.6% of all BD members have said yes to the question: “Do you have confidence in President Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan?”
April: Lt Gen Azam Khan becomes governor of East Pakistan.
February: Once again Sheikh Mujib was arrested under the Public Security Act.
June: Martial Law ends, national assembly elected. The National Assembly consisted of 150 seats from each province to be elected by the Basic Democracy (BD) members with an additional 3 seats for women from each province to be elected by the members of National Assembly.The ban on political parties is lifted. Sheikh Mujib was freed.
The Pakistan Muslim League splits into two groups – Council and Convention. The Convention Muslim League is backed by President Ayub.
January: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, former Minister for Basic Democracies is appointed Foreign Minister on death of Mohammad Ali Bogra.
Combined Opposition Parties (COP) stuns Ayub’s camp by nominating Miss Fatima Jinnah (sister of Jinnah), popularly called “Mother of the Nation” as presidential candidate for the elections to be held in Jan, 1965. The 9 point program of COP includes restoration of direct elections, adult franchise, democratization of 1962 Constitution.
After suffering a brief ban, the Jamaat-e-Islami does an about-turn on its established dogma of not accepting the leadership of a woman and supports Miss Fatima Jinnah for head of state against Ayub Khan.
The government charged Sheikh Mujib with sedition and making objectionable statements. He was sentenced to a one year jail term. He was later released on an order of the High Court.
January: Ayub Khan is elected President for a second five-year term defeating Fatema Jinnah.
Miss Jinnah says:
“The system under which these elections were fought was initially devised to perpetuate the… incumbent of the Presidential Office. Neither does it provide room for the free expression of the popular will, nor does it conform to the known and established principles of democracy in the civilised world… There is no doubt that the elections have been rigged.August: Hidden away from public eyes, Indian and Pakistani armies have been engaged in secret conflicts over Kashmir boundary for the past two months.
Z A Bhutto seems indifferent as Ayub Khan declares war in 1965
(Image credit: Doc Kazi from Flickr)
September: The second India-Pakistan War breaks out over Kashmir as Ayub addresses the nation “We are at war”.
UN Security Council calls upon India and Pakistan to cease fire on September 20. India and Pakistan cease fire on September 23.
The 1965 India-Pakistan War – A NDTV report
Political discontent, especially in the much neglected East Pakistan, resurfaces in the aftermath of the war.
“During the last fifteen years, East Pakistan has been drained out of one thousand crores of rupees of its solid assets by way of less imports and more exports. Today is the sixteenth year we have been reduced to paupers to build West Pakistan; we are told ‘get out boys’, we have nothing for you, we do not require you.” — Mahbubul Haq, a member of the National Assembly
On the contrary the economy was booming in West Pakistan with industrialization over the last five years. GNP grew by 30 percent during the second five year plan period (1960 – 65), industrial production grew by 61 per cent and forex earnings at 7 per cent per annum.