The continuing rape of Bangladesh

E-Bangladesh

E-Bangladesh

E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.

In September Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad delivered a speech at Columbia University amidst much protest. The protests stemmed from his views on the Holocaust. Under questioning Ahmedinejad conceded that the Holocaust had indeed happened, but he was calling for further “research” to “approach the topic from different perspectives”. In doing so, Ahmedinejad was engaging in the modern form of Holocaust Denial. Ahmedinejad’s “different perspectives” were on display last year when he called for a conference on the Holocaust. At the time, his spokesman declared “I have visited the Nazi camps in Eastern Europe. I think it is exaggerated.”

Modern Holocaust Denial has three key elements. The Deniers argue that the Nazis did not kill five to six million Jews; that the Nazis did not have a systematic policy of killing Jews; and, that the genocide was not carried out in extermination camps. Ahmedinejad and others call for further “research” to investigate one or more of these key elements. Their goal is to diminish the genocide by, first, questioning its extent and then by arguing that whatever killings took place were part of the normal savagery of war and not as a result of any systematic campaign by the Nazis. Holocaust Denial is anti-Semitism in the cloak of “scholarship”. Over a half century after perhaps the most well-documented act of genocide in the history of mankind, Holocaust Deniers still persist in trying to diminish its horrors.

Holocaust Denial is an example of the phenomenon of genocide denial that crops up to challenge almost every accepted case of genocide. The genocide committed by the Pakistan army during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 is no exception. Because of the scale of the atrocities in 1971 against a civilian population of 70 million people it has proved impossible for genocide deniers to claim that the atrocities did not occur. Instead, they have focused on two tactics used to try to deny the Holocaust: that the scale of the genocide was not that great, and that the Pakistan army had no systematic policy of genocide.

Most estimates of the 1971 genocide put the death toll between 300,000 and 3 million Bangladeshis dead, with between 200,000 to 400,000 women raped. R.J Rummel, in his book Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900, puts the death toll at around 1.5 million. According to Gendercide Watch:

The number of dead in Bangladesh in 1971 was almost certainly well into seven figures. It was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (1 million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66).

Susan Brownmiller, in her book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, puts the number of women raped by the Pakistan military and their local collaborators, the Razakars, between 200,000 and 400,000. She writes:

Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty. Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted … Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use.

On March 25, 1971 the Pakistan army unleashed a systematic campaign of genocide on the civilian population of then East Pakistan. Nine months later a defeated Pakistan army left in its wake one of the most concentrated acts of genocide in the twentieth century.

After the Bangladesh Liberation War the government of Pakistan produced a report on the actions of the Pakistani army during 1971 known as the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report. While the report acknowledged that the Pakistani army had indeed committed atrocities in Bangladesh, it downplayed the extent of the atrocities and denied that there was any systematic policy of genocide:

31. In the circumstances that prevailed in East Pakistan from the 1st of March to the 16th of December 1971, it was hardly possible to obtain an accurate estimate of the toll of death and destruction caused by the Awami League militants and later by the Pakistan Army.  It must also be remembered that even after the military action of the 25th of march 1971, Indian infiltrators and members of the Mukti Bahini sponsored by the Awami League continued to indulge in killings, rape and arson during their raids on peaceful villages in East Pakistan, not only in order to cause panic and disruption and carry out their plans of subversion, but also to punish those East Pakistanis who were not willing to go along with them.  In any estimate of the extent of atrocities alleged to have been committed on the East Pakistani people, the death and destruction caused by the Awami League militants throughout this period and the atrocities committed by them on their own brothers and sisters must, therefore, be always be kept in view.

32. According to the Bangladesh authorities, the Pakistan Army was responsible for killing three million Bengalis and raping 200,000 East Pakistani women.  It does not need any elaborate argument to see that these figures are obviously highly exaggerated.  So much damage could not have been caused by the entire strength of the Pakistan Army then stationed in East Pakistan even if it had nothing else to do.  In fact, however, the army was constantly engaged in fighting the Mukti Bahini, the Indian infiltrators, and later the Indian army.  It has also the task of running the civil administration, maintaining communications and feeding 70 million people of East Pakistan.  It is, therefore, clear that the figures mentioned by the Dacca authorities are altogether fantastic and fanciful.

33. Different figures were mentioned by different persons in authority but the latest statement supplied to us by the GHQ shows approximately 26,000 persons killed during the action by the Pakistan Army.  This figure is based on situation reports submitted from time to time by the Eastern Command to the General Headquarters.  It is possible that even these figures may contain an element of exaggeration as the lower formations may have magnified their own achievements in quelling the rebellion.  However, in the absence of any other reliable date, the Commission is of the view that the latest figure supplied by the GHQ should be accepted. An important consideration which has influenced us in accepting this figure as reasonably correct is the fact that the reports were sent from East Pakistan to GHQ at a time when the Army Officers in East Pakistan could have had no notion whatsoever of any accountability in this behalf. [Emphasis added by me.]

The Report’s estimate of 26,000 dead stands in stark contrast to every other study of the death toll, which put the death toll between 300,000 to 3 million. The Report was an attempt by the Pakistani government and army to dictate the narrative before the true extent of the genocide became evident to the world. The Pakistani Report has nonetheless stood as the document of last resort for most 1971 genocide deniers.

Following up on her 2005 paper denying the extent of the 1971 genocide published in the Economic and Political Weekly, Sarmila Bose has now published a paper denying the extent of the rapes of Bangladeshi women by the Pakistan army and the Razakars. In her paper entitled “Losing the Victims: Problems of Using Women as Weapons in Recounting the Bangladesh War” she states in the introduction:

That rape occurred in East Pakistan in 1971 has never been in any doubt. The question is what was the true extent of rape, who were the victims and who the perpetrators and was there any systematic policy of rape by any party, as opposed to opportunistic sexual crimes in times of war.

At the very beginning of her paper, she lays down the two tactics familiar to all genocide deniers: she questions the extent of the rape and questions whether there was any systematic policy of rape. Ms. Bose argues that claiming “hundreds of thousands” were raped trivializes “the possibly several thousand true rape victims” of the war. She however does not offer a good explanation as to how she reached the “several thousand” number other than saying that so many rapes would not be possible by the size of the Pakistani army in 1971. She also, unsurprisingly, quotes the passage from the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report that I cited above to support her assertion that so many rapes could not have occured.

To try to bolster her argument that the Pakistani forces in Bangladesh could not have raped so many women, she claims:

The number of West Pakistani armed forces personnel in East Pakistan was about 20,000 at the beginning of the conflict, rising to 34,000 by December. Another 11,000 men – civil police and non-combat personnel – also held arms.

For an army of 34,000 to rape on this scale in eight or nine months (while fighting insurgency, guerrilla war and an invasion by India), each would-be perpetrator would have had to commit rape at an incredible rate.

The actual number of Pakistani forces at the end of the war, and taken POW by the Indians, was 90,368, including over 54,000 army and 22,000 paramilitary forces. It is not unreasonable to conclude that a force of 90,000 could rape between 200,000 to 400,000 women in the space of nine months. Even if only 10% of the force raped only one woman each in nine months, the number of rapes are well over “several thousand” claimed by Ms. Bose. Since Ms. Bose does the math in her paper, I will do the macabre calculation for the total force here. To rape 200,000 Bangladeshi women a Pakistani force of 90,000 would have to rape 2 to 3 women each in nine months. Not only is this scale of atrocity possible by an army engaged in a systematic campaign of genocide, it also has parallels in other modern conflicts (for example, the rape of between 250,000 to 500,000 women in Rwanda within 100 days).

Ms. Bose also paints a picture of the Pakistani military as a disciplined force that spared women and children. She writes:

During my field research on several incidents in East Pakistan during 1971, Bangladeshi participants and eyewitnesses described battles, raids, massacres and executions, but told me that women were not harmed by the army in these events except by chance such as in crossfire. The pattern that emerged from these incidents was that the Pakistan army targeted adult males while sparing women and children.

However, her field research is contradicted by all available evidence. From the early days of the war, women and girls were targeted for rape and killed. On March 30, 1971 the American Consul General in Dhaka, Archer Blood, sent a telegram to the State Department recounting the Pakistani atrocities in Dhaka. In it he wrote:

Major atrocity recounted to him took place at [R]okeya Girls’ Hall, where building set ablaze and girls machine-gunned as they fled building. (USIS local who lives nearby confirms girls gunned down.) Girls had no weapons, forty killed. Attacks aimed at eliminating female student leadership, since army apparently told girl student activists resided there. Estimated 1,000 persons, mostly students, but including faculty members resident in dorms, killed.

On March 31, 1971 Archer Blood sent another telegram which contained the following chilling account:

Atrocity rales rampant, including those of reliable eyewitnesses. Bengali businessman not AL supporter saw six naked female bodies at Rokeya Hall, Dacca U. Feet tied together. Bits of rope hanging from ceiling fans. Apparently raped, shot and hung by their heels from fans. Workmen forced to dig mass graves at Dacca U. Report 140 buried within. Other graves equally as large. Japanese report they told 400 killed there.

The reports from the American Embassy in Dhaka give us a small window into the systematic killing spree that was Operation Searchlight, the code name the Pakistani army gave to the first stage of the genocide operation.

Ms. Bose continues to paint the Pakistan military as a disciplined force not capable of systematic rape. She cited a memo written by the Pakistani general leading the army in its campaign, General Niazi,  who reminds his officers that they have a “code of honor” and as “gentlemen and officers” they should abide by it. She then writes that Pakistani officers she spoke to were “indignant” at charges of large-scale rape and claimed these charges are false:

During my research, some Pakistan army officers who had then been junior officers serving in East Pakistan, told me of occasional opportunistic cases of rape or attempted rape by army personnel, such as when on patrolling duty. Usually, the accused soldier was put through the army’s disciplinary process and jailed if found guilty. In some cases officers on the field meted out exemplary punishments themselves – such as thrashing the offender in front of other troops and locals.13 Officers reporting the occasional cases were indignant at the accusations of large-scale rape, which they said were false.

Ms. Bose follows a similar pattern throughout her paper. She gives credence to the stories told to her by the Pakistani military, the perpetrators of the rapes, and dismisses as “alleged” and not credible the accounts of the rape victims. However, contemporaneous news reports from 1971 tell a different story. For example, an October 25, 1971 Time Magazine article detailing the Pakistani military atrocities reports on women and girls held captive and raped at Pakistani military headquarters in Dhaka:

One of the more horrible revelations concerns 563 young Bengali women, some only 18, who have been held captive inside Dacca’s dingy military cantonment since the first days of the fighting. Seized from Dacca University and private homes and forced into military brothels, the girls are all three to five months pregnant. The army is reported to have enlisted Bengali gynecologists to abort girls held at military installations. But for those at the Dacca cantonment it is too late for abortion. The military has begun freeing the girls a few at a time, still carrying the babies of Pakistani soldiers.

Among the countless other reports of systematic rape by the Pakistani army is this report from August 1, 1971 that appeared in the New York Times. It details interviews with some of the 10 million Bengali refugees that fled to India to escape the Pakistani army’s brutality.

Having portrayed the Pakistani military as a benevolent force, Ms. Bose then attempts to discredit a handful of accounts of rape victims as a way of casting doubt on the rapes committed during the 1971 genocide.

She begins by trying to cast doubt on an eyewitness to rape named Rabeya Khatun who she dismisses as illiterate:

She is illiterate, as her signature is a ‘tip-sohi’ or finger imprint. Khatun, therefore, is not in a position to verify what is written in her name.

Ms. Bose then dismisses accounts of two other corroborating witnesses because their testimony is similar to hers and they too are illiterate:

Indeed, the language in this part of the statement is strikingly similar to the statement of Rabeya Khatun’s, raising the possibility that the same person wrote the two testimonies. The language is not what would be used either by illiterate sweepers or by educated Bengalis in everyday conversation.

She then finds refuge in the account of a Pakistani Lt. Colonel Taj who, unsurprisingly, “categorically denied that any molestation of women had taken place at Rajarbag by his men.” Ms. Bose then informs us Lt. Col. Taj was not actually present at Rajarbag after the first night of military action. Yet, she felt the need to inject him as a fact witness. Then she dismisses Ms. Khatun’s account as “highly dubious”:

Still, the account given by Rabeya Khatun is highly dubious. Being a busy police headquarters in the capital city, whatever happened at Rajarbag would have had many witnesses. It is quite possible that sexual violence occurred at Rajarbag – police stations across south Asia are notorious for such offences, but until and unless other, credible witnesses come forward, the hellish account attributed to one illiterate woman simply will not suffice.

It is one of the tragedies of the Third World and of Bangladesh that a large portion of the population is illiterate. However, the Pakistani military did not discriminate between illiterate and literate classes in its campaign of killings and rape.

Ms. Bose then tries to cast doubt on the account of rape victim Ferdousi Priyabhashini, an educated woman and well-known sculptor. Ms. Bose’s argument here is somewhat muddled, but it appears that she is claiming that Mrs. Priyabhashini was less of a rape victim and more of a willing participant. Ms. Bose writes, “It is highly unusual for someone of her background to admit to have been a rape victim, especially in the conservative societies like Bangladesh.” Ms. Bose goes on, “According to her own account, in 1971, Ferdousi Priyabhashini was a mature woman, a divorced mother of three, working for many years.” After a muddled discussion of Mrs. Priyabhashini’s account of rape by Pakistani soldiers, Ms. Bose concludes:

A final inconsistency in Ferdousi’s account is that as the Indian army and Bangladeshi freedom fighters approached Dhaka, she was warned by a non-Bengali clerk in her office that she would be killed and should flee. Ferdousi makes much of the threat to her life – but as Bangladesh became independent, only those who were perceived to have willingly fraternised with the Pakistani regime were at risk of the wrath of freedom fighters, not victims of the regime. [Emphasis added by me.]

I gather Ms. Bose is asserting that since Mrs. Priyabhashini feared for her life, she must have consented to having sex with Pakistani soldiers. I think even a rudamentary understanding of the effect of rape on the victim casts doubt on Ms. Bose’s argument.

Ms. Bose goes on to try to cast doubt on the account of Akhtaruzzaman Mandal who was a freedom fighter who accompanied Indian soldiers as they took control of a Pakistani position and took 30 to 40 Pakistani soldiers captive. There Mr. Mandal states that he saw the dead body of the Pakistani Captain in charge lying beside a dead Bengali woman who showed signs of rape. Mr. Mandal also states that four naked women were discovered locked in a building and one of the women was six months pregnant. Another 16 women were also discovered locked in an adjacent high school, some showing signs of torture.

In discounting Mr. Mandal’s account, Ms. Bose writes that she interviewed two Pakistani officers who told her that only four or five soldiers had been captured. One of the Pakistani soldiers said that dead Captain was “humane” and had only recently arrived at the location. She writes:

The picture painted of Captain Ataullah by this fellow officer,who knew him, completely contradicts the one given by Mandal, who appears to have only seen his dead body. Clearly, if Captain Ataullah had been based in Nageshwari and only gone up to Bhurungamari the day that the Indian attack started, he could not have been responsible for whatever might have been going on in Bhurungamari. Mandal offers no corroborating evidence for his character assassination of an officer who had died defending his country, and therefore, cannot speak in his own defence. [Emphasis added by me.]

Ms. Bose once again is ready to accept the word of the Pakistani soldiers, the perpetrators of rape. There are many cases of rapists in this world who appear to be “humane” to those who know them.

In critiquing accounts of seven rape victims describes in Neelima Ibrahim’s book Ami Birangona Bolchhi, Ms. Bose notes that four of the seven women were abducted by Bengalis and one by a Bihari before being handed over to the Pakistani army. Some of the women were raped by their initial abductors before being handed over to the Pakistani army to be held in barracks and raped. Ms. Bose neglects to mention that those who abducted the women were local collaborators, or Razakars, working with the Pakistani military. Nonetheless, she makes this bizarre observation:

The allegation that the army maintained “comfort women” – even if the numbers were nowhere close to Bangladeshi claims – is a serious charge and merits further inquiry. However, Ibrahim’s book reveals that in most cases the abductors and rapists of Bengali women were Bengali men, who later passed them on to the military. For the majority of these women, therefore, even if the Pakistan army had done nothing, they would still be rape victims. [Emphasis added by me.]

The point of course is that the Pakistani army had done something – they had raped these women. I feel compelled to make the obvious point that in a gang rape situation, all rapists are considered rapists and are culpable, not just the first one. In another attempt to humanize the rapists, Ms. Bose writes of one rape victim in Neelima Ibrahim’s book who went to Pakistan and married her rapists. Ms. Bose then points out that the rape victim then “had a son by her Pathan husband in Pakistan. When the son grew up, he joined the Pakistan army.”

In this latest paper Sarmila Bose tries mightily to diminish the atrocities committed by the Pakistani military in 1971. She, however, offers very little of substance to back up her assertion that the existing research and documentation of the 1971 genocide overestimates the death toll and the rapes. Her claim that, in her words, the “unsubstantiated and implausible” claims of hundreds of thousands of rape victims distracts attention from the “true rape victims” and “insult the true victims by trivialising their suffering” is itself an insult to the victims of rape in Bangladesh. The number of rape victims does not diminish the suffering of any individual rape victim; the vast number of rapes only demonstrates the heinous magnitude of the Pakistani campaign. If there is any insult, the insult lies in not acknowledging all the victims of the Pakistani army’s rapes by trying to dehumanize the rape victims further by asserting that these rapes did not take place.

In her attempt at denial she relies on the Pakistan government’s report on the atrocities and the accounts of Pakistani soldiers. She overlooks news reports from the time, eyewitness accounts, academic works and case studies. In the end, her paper is neither scholarly nor neutral. It is an apologia for the Pakistan army and for the genocide it perpetrated against the Bangladeshi people in 1971.

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E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.


41 Responses to “The continuing rape of Bangladesh”

  1. Manush

    Excellent analysis… I wish you guys are also fair and analytical like this when you report on political news.

  2. Akash

    I have been reading your pieces for a while now, and I think they are brilliant. Thank you for such incisive and analytical writing. You should consider putting them together in print form, in a book.

  3. Amit Paul

    I dug little bit about Sarmila Bose and it is surprising to know that she is the niece of Netaji Shuvash Chandra Bose. I think this is an insult to his great legacy. Thanks Mash for the post.

  4. Sadeek Sobhan

    I would like to say few words for Ms. Sharmila through E-Bangladesh:

    1. Ms. Bose, I think you are very lucky that you were not here in Bangladesh during 1971.

    2. Ms. Bose, you should ask yourself and your morality before writing such things against humanity.

    3. History cannot be changed by someone’s effort. It has its own path. The world knows what crime was committed by Pakistan army in 1971. The brutality of Pakistan army was so excessive that you could find the proof at the records of any new agencies of any where. Not only that even Pakistani human rights workers admit the crimes committed by the Pakistan army. I think Ms. Bose can ask them why the Pakistani human rights workers did so.

    4. Ms. Bose could also go to the Indian army officers and diplomats of that time to ask about the real scenario of Bangladesh. Please ask any of the persons from the Indian army who were in the battle field.

    5. If any one says that what Pakistan army did in 1971 was a crime against humanity, then what term can you use for Ms. Sharmila’s writings?

    6. Ms. Bose, the sacrifice, the lives of the people we lost in 1971 gave birth to our country. Bangladesh fought against one of the most equipped armed forces of the world and won victory. We are born to fight against any brutality or immorality. Please turn your eyes to the actual history.

    E-Bangladesh, thank you for posting the article of Mr. Mashuqur Rahman.

    Mr. Mashuqur Rahman, no words are enough to thank you and again it is people like you who make us proud.

  5. Alim Ullah

    Why did this issue come up in the first place after so many years? Pakistanis and their local collaborators are war criminals. Our history is well documented and the facts are established truth. I don’t care what Bose does or who she is. Bengalis from both sides of a fenced border have a twisted mind and excel in the bad habits of “poroninda, porocharcha and porosrikatorota.” I am sure a sinister circle including the Pakistan army is behind her financing the disinformation cyber-campaign. Ask her to mind her own business. Indian intelligence agencies should see if she is a paid ISI agent trying to smear the joint Indo-Bangla war to liberate Bangladesh in 1971.

  6. Mash

    Sadeek and all, thank you for reading this post and for your support of our heroines of 1971. Those who have lived through the time or studied the genocide committed by the Pakistan army in Bangladesh are not easily susceptible to forays into genocide denial. However, the Bangladesh genocide, though written about and studied at great length in South Asia, is not that well known in the West.

    So in the West is where 1971 genocide denial can do the most damage by trying to create a revisionist history. It appears that papers like the one by Sarmila Bose are aimed at those that are not familiar with the genocide. The best way to counter these attempts is to make sure the facts of the genocide are distributed widely.

    It is vitally important for Bangladeshis to preserve the history of our struggle for independence. To fail to do so would be a dishonor to the memory of those who died and to those survivors who were tormented by the Pakistani army and the Razakars.

    Beyond all our political back and forth, how we preserve our past will define who we are in the future.

  7. Imran

    Mash:

    Another “excellent” writing. It’s sad to see people like Sarmila Bose trying to contradict the facts of our liberation war, especially the women victims. As another commenter mentioned, I also believe that the Indian Government should investigate this “shady” woman. Finally, the Bangladesh Government should lodge an official protest. If its so easy to jail our journalists and cave in to the demands of illiterate mollah’s, then why is it taking so long for them to protest this? Shame on Bose for vouching for the Pakistanis who carried out a genocide in Bangladesh. Mash, kudos for your response against Bose’s propaganda!

  8. Tasneem Khalil

    SB’s campaign can well be a personal stunt aimed at collecting some coins and she is undoubtedly successful if her plan was to attach her name with a controversy.

    However, I smell something sinister as she describes how she interviewed Pakistani officers, fellows of Captain Ataullah, who fought in Bhurungamari in 1971.

    As far as I read the picture, Pakistan army is not that much famous for allowing, cooperating with researchers working on war crimes committed by its members. Maybe till they are sure about a favorable outcome from the research.

    Still, SB managed to track down these officers and interview them. That clearly establishes her extra-special ties with the Pakistani establishment that must have helped her with classified war-time logs and liaisons. Worth digging how she managed that level of access.

    Also, as pointed out by a commenter, SB apparently did not see it fit to go and do some interviews with the Indians, for their version of the story.

    As Mash mentioned, the H Rahman Commission report was clearly an early attempt to dictate the narrative. We have reasons to believe that that kind of covert/overt campaigns are still being engineered.

  9. Angelmorn

    Now this was a good and informative read. The only thing I have to say concerning this whole topic , is what I’ve been telling to many others, “The biggest mistake after 1971 was the “mass-forgiveness” act, where we let go of everyone and anyone.”

    And as for Sarmila Bose, it seems that she only read reports and books, and talked with officers of the Pakistan’e army that were stationed here during the war. How does she expect them to actually confess of what they truly did? What she should have counted on is the various honest eye-witness accounts of the people of Bangladesh who survived the war.

    Anyways, thanks to Mash for this brilliant article.

  10. Alim Ullah

    Sharika:

    Thanks for your info. It’s sheer corporate greed to rape Bangladesh’s economy even if it means bowing to notorious rapist war criminals like Nizami for greed-driven selfish interests! Tata should explore huge gas reserves in Indian Northeast or Burma to fuel its gas guzzling megalomaniac steel industries! Please keep your dirty environment-unfriendly sooty hands off Bangladesh! Pakistan, I am sure has nothing to do with it.

    Sharika, thank you once again for helping me solve the jigsaw puzzle.

  11. Muhamad

    Thanks Mash bhai for re-collecting the issue. Thanks Sharika. For as long as we live, we must tell our children the history of our survival. If 90,000 were POWs, one can conjecture as to how many more were present in East Pakistan to do their dirty deeds.

  12. Tanya

    A fantastic critique of a highly disturbing article.

    It is astonishing (in a terrifyingly morbid way) to me that even within a time frame of living social memory, that some pseudo academics should attempt to re-create history in such a way! She is right about one thing, people do not readily wish to admit that they are victims of rape, be they Bengali or of any other cultural background, so why would she think so many people would choose to make it up? And the author is unfortunately correct, there is little knowledge of the “genocide” of Bangladesh during the liberation war, and article such as Bose’s are incredibly dangerous, I would urge the author to take his work to wider academic fields, they are much needed!

  13. Someone

    It is really a brilliant analysis. Thanks to the writer. History will remember Sharmila Bose, for her attempt to write a commissioned and distorted history.

  14. Iconus Clustus

    Great analysis Mash… kudos to you. I came across the article by Ms. Bose a while ago… gave it a cursory glance and left it at that thinking “yet another one of those revisionists crap”! I still stand by that judgment — and you only solidified it. Thanks again.

  15. Akash

    Sharmila Bose is also the sister of the Indian scholar Sugata Bose who with his partner, the Pakistani scholar, Ayesha Jalal teaches at Tufts University in Boston. Both are well-known academics in the US circuit, but it will not be surprising if Sharmila Bose, who had bypassed Indian and Bangladeshi evidence, is fed into the Pakistani system via Ayesha Jalal (whose work recurrently covers Pakistani nationalism).

  16. Sudhir Mitra

    I find comparing the rape of Bangladesh with the Jewish “holocaust” insulting. The latter was indeed blown out of all proportion by vested quarters who reaped full harvest from it, and are still being compensated by both the winners and losers of the Second World War. Read the “Holocaust Industry” written by a Jewish historian of repute named Norman Finkelstein, whose mother was a survivor of a camp. Bangladesh never received any compensation from anybody , not even a “sorry” from Pakistan or its Israel-loving ally — the USA, who allot the highest foreign aid each year for a few million people in Israel. In fact, Finkelstein’s mother has said, “If so many Jews are being compensated, who did Hitler kill?” Think also of Chechnya, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, Thailand, Philippines and India, where Muslims have been/are being massacred. Think also of Sudan, where non-Muslims are being eliminated.

  17. Mana

    Thanks for this brilliant analysis. I am so proud of you. It’s unbelievable that this paper of Bose has actually been published. It is so clearly biased with regard to the evidence that is presented. The accounts are primarily of the Pakistani army. I mean come on… who in their right mind will admit to raping women? Moreover, it is highly insulting that she discredits the account of the victims just because they are illiterate. They may be speaking more of the truth being illiterate than Bose is with “all her education.” But people like this will always remain. Looking for ways to seek publicity because their work is not of a caliber to be appreciated without the added “push.” But Mash, as a literature major I truly appreciate your analysis and level headed critique. Keep up the good work.

  18. Mohammad Abdul Momen

    I am an associate professor in the Institution of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, and am verily disturbed by the writing of Ms. Bose, because during the war of Liberation of Bangladesh, I was a student of class 5. I have a clear memory of what transpired at that time. Starting from the night of the 25th, we were residing in a house in Shahjahanpur, and witnessed the thousands and thousands of bullets being shot at the Rajarbag police line by the Pakistani army, and subsequently, during the various operations carried out by them, the only fear amongst adult men was to protect their daughters and wives from the atrocities committed by the Pakistan Army.

    In our own household, during the long months of August and September, when four of my uncles were killed by the army, in our village home, everybody who initially fled to the village, returned to Dhaka, and were staying with us in our Shahjahanpur residence. Every time the Pakistani Army would retaliate after the Muktibahini’s blowing up of the railway tracks, adult male head of our families used to hide female cousins and sisters, and our whole neighbourhood would do the same, because they all shared the same fear of their female relatives being raped. The little boys and elder men stayed in the houses. Young men and women, were sent away in the dead of the night, to be hid.

    Sharmila Bose, I ask you, without ever living through the horrors of the war of Liberation, what gives you the right or the privilege to deny them? Did you fight in the war? Were you present as it all happened? Did you experience the destruction and carnage? Millions today, who have lived through it, are alive to the tell the tale. Come interview us. We’ll give you the truth.

  19. Mastermoshai

    Clearly, Sarmila Bose’s paper is the product of some terribly shoddy research/research methodology. From what I’ve read I don’t think it would have been accepted even as an MA thesis by any self-respecting British university. It’s all the more surprising because her brother such a clever academic.

  20. shahnawaz whara

    we want proper punishment of our war criminals wheather they are our relative or not.

  21. Anas

    my dear Bangladeshi brothers ;
    the rape of 20000 women during the 1971 war is the biggest factually fictious figure that the present generation of bangladeshis have been made to believe upon….the sole purpose of this propaganda is to instill the hate for pakistan in the hearts of bangalis….something that indians and some influential hindus living in bangladesh have been putting their efforts on….
    i dont deny that there were not any cases of rape …but the figure of 20000 is simply exagerated and has nothing to do with reality…..there is no doubt that there were mistakes and blunders done by west pakistanis when they mistreated their bengali brothers…and we really regret that we have geographically separated…..

    i hope my comment is posted

  22. chandra

    who is Sharmila Bose? i know shje lives in the UK, is a west/bengali…. why is she riskinh her education and name in doing this.. anyone with 1/2 a brain can find the simplest evidence that will make the “Sharmila Bose” look dumb!

    what is her gain?

  23. A Khatun

    Any animosity towards Pakistan is due to the decisions and actions of Pakistani leaders in 1971 and subsequent failure to acknowledge and account for the atrocities that were committed, including mass rape. Bangladesh is pyschologically scarred by the events of ’71 – this research merely adds insult to injury.

  24. Steve

    Ahhh…Islam the religion of Peace(Trademarked ) strikes again….killings,beheadings,child-porn and slavery,….crimes ? Not at all folks,step right up and witness the glory that is Islam…we have perversions and sins for everyone under the sun…wanna fuck your own dirty hairy daughter? No problem,send us $59.99(all funds in US dollars) and we will arrange for a fatwa especially for you to allow this…..

  25. Asher

    You guys are so pathetic. You have been bought out by the Indian propaganda that you are unable to see light. Can’t you see how India used you against Pakistan? and now the same thing she is doing to you: disintegration of Bangladesh.

    You idiots thought Mujib was your saviour and thought promulgation of Urdu really would marginalize you eventhough during Sirajudaullah’s time official language of Bengal had been Persian and Urdu. Mujib (died a rightful death) deceived your inside out. You guys chose the Kuffars over your Muslim brothers violating the Holy Quranic injunctions against making friends with Kuffars.

    You still believe in that myth of Pakistan Army raping Bengali women. Eventhough, there are numerous reports out there now which negates the well established beliefs. The declassified US reports, Indian military officers account, Pakistan military officers account, General Niazi’s memoirs, Sharmila Bose, Hamoodurahman commission report.

    I first ask you what is the punishment for a defector/rebel throughout the international community? You will agree that it is pain of death. Mujiburahman started the racial divide by creating the language issue: to make Bengali the national language of Pakistan. Bengali, being only spoken in Bengal, could not have been understood in West Pakistan. Urdu, on the other hand, was understood everywhere. He then created more problems for Pakistan. He was not the one who fought for Pakistan movement. He was an opportunists working for Russia and then India.

    Mujib and his cohorts should have been hanged to death as soon as the revolt had started.

    Pakistan Army was justified in her actions against bengali rebels. Any self-respecting country will do that. So did India too when she murdered all members of Khalistan movement. Unfortunately, Pakistan did not have loyal leaders. Their wrong decisions made everything worse.

    Pakistan Military action ONLY begun when Mukti-Bahini hoards started murdering lacs of innocent West Pakistanis (specially Punjabis) and loyal Bengali and Bihari Pakistanis (who you morons hate). These Hoards of India were responsible for the rape.

    Pakistan Military officers fought hard. Many foreign correspondents speak well of their bravery. It is the bravery of a Muslim soldier that Indian Military got tough fight. These Pakistani Mard-e-Momin fought so hard that they had almost regained the control of East Pakistan from the dirty hands of Mukt-Bahini. When India saw this, She then started the military action which resulted in the fall of Dhaka.

    Then your Traitor Mujib showed his true colors after the formation of Bangladesh with his BAKSAL party. How he became authoritative and usurped democracy is not a secret anymore. He was going to make Bangladesh part of India that he was killed timely by the Pakistani military officers (yes those Bengalis who never gave up allegiance to Pakistan. I stand in honor for them).

    And still you called this traitor Baga-bundu?? How stupid can you guys be?

    Instead of taking the opportunity to understand the other side of the story (in order that some misunderstanding can be fought and truth is revealed), you malign Sharmila Bose (one of the few Bengali voice of reason) as Pakistani agent.

    Why? Why your small mind can not see things beyond the tunnel created for you by RAW? Can’t you guys see that Kuffars will not be happy until they subjugate Muslims? How dare you forget the mistreatment of Bengali Muslims by the Hindu majority before Partition.

    For Allah(swt) sake, don’t regurgitate what Indians want you to regurgitate. Take a step back, think outside of the box and see things from Pakistani perspective. If you were in the same shoes, you will do the same. Don’t forget the recent mutiny. just think of how you wanted to protect Bangladesh integrity when recent mutiny happened, similarly Pakistan was doing the same. Listen to what these experts are saying. Don’t put blindfolds on your eyes. There is evidences everywhere. Secrets have been declassified. Eye witness accounts are available. It is time to do a serious reprisal of our faults, shortcomings and vow not to repeat it again.

    Do the following ASAP:
    1) Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULpCroezFrY

    2) Read “RAW in Bangladesh by ZainulAbidin (an ex-Mukti Bahini member) on 1971 war.
    3) Read Blood and tears by a Pakistani writer about 1971 war.
    4) Check the website of Federation of American Scientist on 1971 war
    5) Read “East Pakistan Tragedy” by L.F. Rushbrook Williams.

  26. Bengali TOPGUN

    To Asher :

    65 million of the 75 million Bengalis in Bangladesh 1971 were Muslims. These Muslims were figthing kuffars like you, the NaPaki Army and the Jamati-e-Munafiqeens.

    These spawns of Iblis were stopped by the inheritors of the sword of Hazrat Shah Jalal, RA.

    But not liquidated with the hope that these being will see the Deen of Allah, and take up the siratul mustaquim.

    Alas, Iblis continues to keep them on the path of jahaliya, they continue to surface their faces into the path of the muslims, faces lacking the Noor of Allah.

    Their return is not disheartening, for we realise that even the Khatam-un-Nabi Mohammad s.a.w faced such kuffars, so for us to face you is nothing, it continues to give us the opportunity to fight in the way of Allah and slay and be slayed.

    May Allah grant you hidayat before the sword of Hazrat Shah Jalal befalls you.

  27. Asher

    To all those worshippers of Bengali Idol,

    Don’t forget you are a Muslim FIRST. Your allegiance is to ALLAH (swt) not to any “Shah Jalal”. I haven’t even heard of his name.

    It is NOT smart to REGURGITATE what you have been fed. You should analyze things impartially from the bottom of your heart. In Pakistan, many have done the retrospection and many believe that Bengalis were wronged. To this day, we have blamed Pakistan Army UNTIL some brave men and women came out with the other side of the picture. Agartalah Conspiracy had exposed the designs of Mujib and India. He was arrested (just like any sovereign nation would arrest the defectors) and should have been IMMEDIATELY hanged but unfortunately, our STUPID politicians didn’t realize India’s game and this Traitor was released who did the very thing which he was arrested for. That he announced the formation of Bangladesh while still in Pakistan and as a Pakistani Citizen. I call it the BLATANT FORM of defection.

    It is simply logical how can the KUFFARS be your friend. KUFFARS can be friends of each other and not to any Muslim. The benefits that they have given you superficially is just a joke. In return of that, they have taken your freedom.

    Knowing very well when and why RAW was formed, knowing that they hired Moosad’s assistance to disintegrate Pakistan and knowing the DECLASSIFIED information, I REJECT the myth of Pakistan Army’s rape. I am 100% convinced it is based on propaganda, misinterpretation of events, lying and DECEPTION of RAW and “Mir Jaafars” of Pakistan. (I also include West Pakistani corrupt politicians and feudal hoards along with Bengali REBELS).

    Throughout the Pakistan Movement, Congress and Fanatic Hindus incessantly worked on either stopping Pakistan movement or disintegrating Pakistan right after her inception. Historical records are available that depict the struggle between Pro and Anti Pakistan groups. India supported Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (a Pathan congress member), GM Syed (A Sindhi Congress member), Mujiburahman (May Allah(swt) award him STRICTEST punishment in his grave), Unionist Party members, some Renegade Baluchi leaders etc. RAW continued to support them. They were successful to an extent. We lost Kashmir, Junagarh, Hyderabad, Assam etc. We lost Khan Liaqat Ali Khan. After that Punjabi fuedal lords (who were loyal to British, Hindus etc) took over and then they fucked every thing up. They made wrong decisions and neglected many Pakistanis. No proper system was established. There was poverty everywhere. BUT that is NO excuse of disintegrating Pakistan. We should have, as a Nation, stood up against all the oppression and mismanagement. Why we didn’t rise as a PAKISTNI NATION? Why did we choose Bengali Nationalism over Muslim Unity? I wished this hadn’t happened. It all started with the language issue when Jinnah made Urdu the national language of Pakistan. How DARE you traitors reject that? You guys are the FIRST one to sow the seed of racism/provincialism in Pakistan. After that we got divided into Punjabis,Sindhis, Pathans and then Mohajirs. I am EXTREMELY angry while I am writing this.

    Now you tell me all those Bengali-loving Bengalis, why you don’t make any language issue when you immigrate to foreign lands. There is NO movement in UK or USA against ENGLISH. There you accept English as an offical language and are satisfied with Bengali being a secondary langauge.

    Allah’s (swt) WOE to ALL those who subscribed to this Idols and prefer the friendship of Kuffars over Muslims. You will gain nothing but “Zillat” (as it known in Urdu)

  28. Asher

    I wish you had realized this that we, together as a nation, could have conquered the Muslim belt of India between West and East Pakistan and up to Assam. We would have then become one big contiguous nation. We could have gotten WHOLE of Bengal.

    It is still NOT too late. We can still join again but, maybe, as a confederation, union or mutually-cooperative block (like European union).

    But first, we need to uncover all the facts hidden under years of deception. Please, Please and Please don’t hate those who subscribe to a different view than yours. Listen to what they have to say. Think about it and have the guts to admit the faults. How sure are you that it wasn’t Indian Army who committed the rape. Don’t forget why military had to be called. DON’T FORGET THIS IMPORTANT EVENT. If you think about it deeply many myths will be nullified. It was Mukti Bahini Hoards that started GENOCIDE of non-bengalis. They killed many, many, many INNOCENT Pakistanis which included (Punjabis, Pakistan-loving Bengalis, Bhiharis and other nationalities). These murderers were RUTHLESS. How can you say that THEY DIDN’T RAPE anyone? Those accounts have been CONVENIENTLY, either deleted or IGNORED. The number of killing was huge. I don’t know how much. When these traitors went overboard THEN Pak Army was called. They did what they SHOULD have done. KILL ALL THOSE BASTARD murderers who were responsible for all the FITNAH which resulted in so many innocent deaths.

    I want you people to think logically. Keep all these facts in mind before you malign Pakistan or her Army. You can not get away with your crimes. If you are so vocal about Pak Army’s alleged persecution, then why CONVENIENTLY ignore the Mukti-Bahini persecution. They killed a huge number.

    I pray to Allah(swt) to let Muslims see thier enemies and be united under Islam.

  29. Asher

    To Bengali Topgun,

    You may call Pakistanis iblis but it is Pakistan who Allah(swt) rewarded with an Atomic Bomb. It is Pakistan Army (which you might call Napaak) that IS the protector of Muslims all over the World. It is our Paak Pakistan Army which has protected UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan etc against Israel while you DEFECTORS “made husk while the sunshine” with your Kuffar Hindu friends.

    You haven’t gained ANYTHING. You are still IMPOVERISHED and still face flood every years. You aren’t able to do ZILCH about it but you had the audacity to blame West Pakistan for your ills.

    Now where is all the revenue that you claim you used to have? Now you got 100% of all of your revenues but you still are pathetically poor. You are worse than Pakistan. I see a lot of Bangladeshis working in Pakistan. You guys have so much poverty that you take lower wages in UAE and other foreign countries. Where is all the prosperity that Mujib promised you?

    Think about it. Ponder over these facts. You played yourself into the hands of enemies of Islam. “They” used you as a pawn against their imperialistic objective. They not only took revenge of Islamic rule (Indira Gandhi’s said that) but also disintegrated an otherwise strong nation. You still have the same problems as you had before 1971. They only thing you have is just Bangla-language.

    Go ahead eat,sleep, drink, and wear your Bangla language or better yet, sing “Vand-e-Mataram”. Your culture and language is sooo Hinduish. At least, Punjabis, Pathans, Sindhis, Baluchis switched to Arabic Script. While you guys stand proud of your Sanskirit origin knowing full well how Hindu Bengalis persecuted Muslims Bengalis before partition.

    May Allah(swt) open your eyes and you stop seeing life through your Bengali-nationalistic glasses.

  30. Asher

    I STAND in HONOR for those Pakistanis who laid their lives to protect the honor and integration of Pakistan. I stand in honor to those Pakistanis who rejected Bangladeshi nationality. These LOVERS of Pakistan chose destitution over surrender.

    I cry for them and pray to Allah(swt) to give them a place in Pakistan. These are our sons and daughters who Pakistan need to own. Unfortunately, the seed of racism that you bengalis have sown in Pakistan is soooo deep rooted in Pakistan, that no one is allowing these Biharis to return because they fear that it will increase the population of Muhajirs.

    You guys are partially responsible for their plight on two counts: First sowing the seed of provincialism and Second, disintegrating Pakistan.

    Hasbunallaho Wa Naimalwakeel

  31. Bengaliboy

    Asher, we are analyzing everything from the bottom of our heart. There are enough evidence that Pakistan did the genocide.

    Check out the newspapers from all over the world:

    http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?page_id=12

    Check out the eyewitness accounts:

    http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?page_id=14

    There are thousands of evidences. We compare with evidence not with your fables, that you are fed with. For which you have no evidence.

    Bangladeshis will never bow to India. There goes another of your fables. Your army was responsible for the death of millions of people of Bangladesh. You army did all those rapes for which we have evidence. And don’t worry pretty soon there will be an International war crime trial where all the lies of Pakistan will be exposed with evidence.

    Look what Allah has rewarded you for all your double standards. You claim yourselves to be Muslims but endorse killing on Muslim innocent Bengalis.

    Now see in what state your country is in, Suicide bombs almost each day. Muslims kill Muslims in Mosques. And you want us to be reunited? We are happy being poor.

    Well you can be happy with you double standard, your atom bomb. You speak ill of our culture. That shows from what drains you have crawled and how hypocrite as a Muslim you are.

    What we have gained is independence from nut-heads like you. Now leave us alone.

  32. Rizwan

    Wow!

    All this hate on Pakistan!

    As a 2nd generation Brit born well after this war (Punjabi origin if it matters), I would like to see Muslims get on. We live so near to each other yet are so far apart!
    Our eenemies, it would seem, have succeeded in dividing us. I am not sure that this website is going to help any reconciliation. Wrongs should be righted. But look at the ridiculous attitudes on here – from downright hatred to doing takfeer of Pakistanis! Any Muslim raped or murdered should be a brother or sister to us, regardless of racial origin. Crimes should not be an excuse to propagate more crime and further ethnic division. If people belive in Islam then they should stand up for what they believe in and work towards finding and implementing Islamic solutions. Not secular nationalism.

  33. Mustafa Khalil

    Pakistan is on the brink of dismemberment once again. It is in Asia’s interest that Pakistan stay united. An unstable Pakistan would be a nightmare for Asia. This could become another North Korea or Somalia. Pakistan would have disintegrated long time back if the US and China had not poured billions into its gasping soul. Pakistan has tarnished the image of Islam. In the name of Islam it is killing its own people and exporting terrorism abroad. The US has rightfully deployed troops in Afghanistan to root out pseudo-Islamic terrorism originating from Pakistan.This is not Islam but outright maddening killing spree! I am sure there will be more frequent and devastating drone attacks to raze to the ground terrorist hideouts inside Pakistan trained by killers in the Pakistani Army who have maligned peaceful Islam in the eyes of the Westerners. Pakistan harbors fugitive assassins from other countries. It sends killers to other nations to kill innocent civilians. This must stop. Otherwise their killing missions in foreign lands will continue.

    Pakistan is such an ungrateful nation that it chose to raise its ugly head against its own ally who helped her in 1971 and gave her the most modern fighter aircrafts to defend herself against India. I won’t mind if the US decides to denuclearize Pakistan one night with one of the most ferocious air assault in history. China must stop supplying this failed state nuclear weapons. Only then these infidels would stop exporting terrorists abroad in the name of protecting Islam. Pakistani interference in Afghanistan has bred savage cannibals who must be exterminated to defend Islam straying from the path of righteousness.

  34. RGeorge-India

    I’m so surprised that a person would try to deny the extent of rape purely on the basis of the number of men enrolled in the perpetrating military. Each man could have raped several different women day or night for several months, amounting to several thousands of women. Saddam Hussain employed men specifically with the title of ‘violator of women’ to rape hundreds of helpless Kurdish women in his death camps. Rape is a deliberate strategy of war, it destroys families, it is used to ‘breed out’ a certain race, it is a weapon of hate. Sharmila Bose needs to apologize for her insult to Bangladeshi women.

  35. Rommel

    But what is fault of those 1 million non- Bangali innocent men, women and children who were butchered by rebel Bangalies and Hindus. Did they deny them the right to Sheikh Mujeeb ur Rehman to sit at throne of Priemership. What was their fault? I am sure and 100% sure that the innocent blood will speak and speak loud in the whole world. Those who are responsible for that carnage had seen and will see the doom’s day.

    THE INNOCENT BLOOD WILL SPEAK ONE DAY AGAINST EVERY BODY

    THE GAME WILL THEN BE OVER.

  36. gotya

    Sarmila Bose is a fake figure created by ISI to save Pakistan from humiliation.Can you post the photo of this great Sarmila ? Was she borne or even present when brave Punjabi sunny muslim army soldiers were raping Bengali girls ?Pakistani soldiers were spoted and seen by Indian soldiers in their bunkers with women completely naked under them.Their officers were also busy, not in fighting but womanising in their bunkers.”Sending to Bangladesh” was a term used by punjabis for Bingos i.e.Bengalis for executing them.No hindus were spared by Harami sunni muslim Punjabis.USA must drop an atom bomb on this worthless Pakistanis.They are curse for Earth.Does Islam teach this to humans ?

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