The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis book review: ‘Bangladesh: Six Decades (1947-2007)’

Written By: herbrunbridge - Apr• 25•13

BDesh6DecadesWe here at WoWasis find the statistics to be chilling. In the Bangladesh Liberation War, an estimated 3 million people were killed, 200,000 women raped. Pakistani troops kept comfort women, many taken from universities. These women gave birth to an estimated 10,000 babies, and eventually Bangladeshi President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman suggested that he be listed as each baby’s father on the birth certificate in an effort to mitigate the shame factor in these women’s lives.

Understanding the reasons behind the war and the events leading up to it and beyond it are the objectives of Bangladesh: Six Decades (1947-2007) [2010, ISBN 978-984-8985-00-7], a nine chapter photo and text essay edited by Professor Anisuzamanan, Muhammad Zamir, and Syed Manzoorul Islam. The book is a historical overview of the country formerly known as East Bengal and East Pakistan, and is divided by time frames, covering the most historically important players, including Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Yahya Khan, Indira Gandhi, Khaleda Zia,  and Sheikh Hasina. This 184 page book is loaded with pictures, not all of them easy to look at; vultures feasting on the dead is never less than sobering. There’s a small amount of editorializing in the book, not surprising, considering that Bangladeshis today still bear the scars of the war.

The book is an important one for anyone wishing to understand the history of Bangladesh, as well as for those investigating the country’s rich school of fiction literature. Some historical background is necessary to fully understand what is happening in many of those tales. A caveat: the book sells for 2000 taka ($25 USD) in Bangladesh. It’s carried at the Omni Bookstore in the departure lounge at the airport in Dhaka. But it’s sold for $110 USD overseas, publishers’ price. That’s a big disparity. The book is worth having, so we’d recommend buying it at the airport when you leave the country.

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