13th and 15th Century
From the 13th century A.D.
the Buddhists and Hindus were swamped by the flood
of Muslim conquerors and the tide of Islam up
to 18th century. Sometimes there were independent
rulers like the Hussain Shahi and Ilyas Shahi
dynasties, while at other times they ruled on
behalf of the Imperial seat of Delhi.
From the 15th century,
the Europeans, namely Portuguese, Dutch, French
and British traders exerted an economic influence
over the region. British political rule over the
region began in 1757 A.D., when the last Muslim
ruler of Bengal was defeated at Palassey. In 1947
the subcontinent was partitioned into India and
Pakistan. Present Bangladesh became the Eastern
Wing of the then Pakistan. But the movement for
autonomy of East Pakistan started within a couple
of years because of language and cultural differences
and economic disparity between the two wings.
The Language Movement
The Language Movement of 1952 to recognize
Bangla as a state language may be termed as the
first step towards independence.
Political and economic deprivation of the Bengalees
prompted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the
Father of the Nation, to put forward in 1966 his
historic six points, the "Magna Carta"
which in effect structured the foundation for
East Pakistan's future independence.
The War of Liberation
In the 1970 elections, even though the Awami League
emerged as the largest party in Pakistan Parliament,
it was not allowed to form the government by the
ruling military junta. In the backdrop of a non-cooperation
movement launched against the military regime
by Awami League.
Bangabandhu declared at a historic public meeting
held at Ramna Race Course (renamed Suhrawardy
Uddyan) on 7 March, 1971, attended by around 2
million people, "The struggle this tune is
the struggle for freedom, the struggle this tune
is the struggle for independence." It was
a defacto declaration of independence.
Thus in a preplanned manner on 25th March 1971.
The Pakistan army embarked on what may be termed
as history's worst genocide. A military crackdown
was ordered, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was
arrested and taken away to West Pakistan. But
just before he was arrested he sent out a call
for the liberation war to begin. Known as the
Declaration of (lie War of Independence, this
hurriedly written historic document read as follows:
"Pak Army suddenly
attacked EPR Base at Pilkhana, Rajarbagh Police
Line and killing citizens. Street battles are
going on in every street of Dacca. Chittagong.
I appeal to the nations of the world for help.
Our freedom fighters are gallantly fighting with
the enemies to free the motherland. I appeal and
order you all in the name of Almighty Allah to
fight to the last drop of blood to liberate the
country. Ask Police, EPR, Bengal Regiment and
Ansar to stand by you and to fight. No compromise.
Victory is ours. Drive out the enemies from the
holy soil of motherland. Convey this message to
all Awami League leaders, workers and other patriots
and lovers of freedom. May Allah bless you. Joy
After nine months of war, the Pakistani occupation
forces surrendered in Dhaka on 16th December.
1971 after killing an estimated three million
people. Due to the heroic resistance and supreme
sacrifices of the valiant freedom fighters Bangladesh
finally became an independent sovereign state.
Father of the Nation Bangahandhu Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman was the founder- president of Bangladesh.
He was subsequently assassinated on 15th August,
1975 by a group of conspirators. After 21 years
of military and authoritarian rule, Bangabandhu's
party-Bangladesh Awami League led by his illustrious
daughter Sheikh Hasina, swept hack to power through
a very free and fair parliamentary election held
under a Caretaker Government in June. 1996.