How the East was lost

How the East was lost- By: Naseer Memon (The News, 15th Dec 2013)
By: Naseer Memon

December dusts searing past to remind a reality that was preposterously denied for a quarter century and was recognized only after leaving an indelible trail of blood. While creation of Bangladesh entails a petrifying human catastrophe and an everlasting reference to state-perpetrated fratricide, it also trivialised a waffle narrative of Islamic-nationhood.

The episode reiterated that a multi-nation federation can only exist with socio-political justice, absence of which derides all ideological conjectures. Creation of Bangladesh reinforced the fact that Pakistan was not a creation of any Islamic ideology but was in fact a derivative of an ominous political alienation of Muslims in India. For Bengalis, Pakistan turned out to be a mere perpetuation of the same alienation. Flippant negation of their culture, abominable economic exploitation and brazen denial of their right to rule culminated into the birth of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.


Undeniably, the social fabric and political configuration of East and West Pakistan were diametrically opposite to each other. While West Pakistani politics and society was yanked by a myopic feudal oligarchy, East Pakistan inherited a much refined middle-class lead socio-political ambiance. After 1857 insurgency, Bengal became the first province under British democracy. It was the first regulation province of India under the jurisdiction of a high court. Society and politics in Bengal was erected on starkly different building blocks and it did not chime-in with the other provinces of Pakistan where British rule clamped typical colonial structures.Snobbish civil and military leadership grossly underestimated the powder keg of East Pakistan that left deep scars of embarrassment in the national history. While language and culture are central to most of the ethno-national movements, economic and political marginalisation are key triggers to stoke irreversible hatred.

Landed aristocracy that shaped today’s Pakistan was trounced in Bengal in 1950 with the introduction of “East Bengal Estate Acquisition and Tenancy Act”. It effectively routed the landlordism in Bengal by fixing individual holding at only 3.3 acres per head or 33.3 acres of land per family whichever was less. Agriculture census of 1963-64 shows that out of 6.2 million farms some 6 million were of less than 12.5 acres size and 50 per cent of them were only 2.5 acres or less.

On the contrary, West Pakistan was marked by large landholdings specially in Punjab and Sindh provinces. For example, 30 per cent of the land in Sindh in 1952 was owned by only one per cent of the owners and the average holding was above 500 acres. In Punjab, 50 per cent of the land was under the control of Zamindars. This sufficiently indicates the distinct social and political milieu of the two wings. Since West Pakistan held hegemony over the decision making, the vibrant middle class-led East Pakistan often loathed the policies manufactured and imposed by the landed aristocracy of West Pakistan.

Resource hemorrhage and discrimination in pecuniary matters against East Pakistan was the key cause of conflict. In 1948-50 when East Pakistan had a net balance of payment surplus of Rs622 million, West Pakistan had a net deficit of Rs912 million. Similarly, the foreign and inter-wing trade balance of the two wings from 1949-50 to 1957-58 shows East Pakistan having a surplus of Rs3,636 million as balance of trade with foreign countries against the net deficit of Rs3,047 million of West Pakistan on the same account. The trend remained consistent during the first and second five years plans when East Pakistan had net surplus and West Pakistan had net deficit in foreign trade and the surplus of East Pakistan was used to offset the deficit. This prompted Shaikh Mujib to demand for two separate currencies for the two wings under his popular six-point formula.

Conflict on resource sharing could have been assuaged had avaricious establishment of West Pakistan maintained a judicious balance in benefit sharing. What irked Bengalis was relentless discrimination in development opportunities. For example, GDP growth in East Pakistan during the period was 2.2 per cent against the heavily skewed 3.1 per cent of West Pakistan. During the same period per capita income in East Pakistan dwindled to -0.1 per cent against +0.8 per cent increase in the West Pakistan. Likewise during five years from 1954-55 to 1959-60, GDP growth in East Pakistan was only 1.6 per cent i.e. half of the West Pakistan’s 3.2 per cent. Per capita income in East Pakistan plummeted to -0.7 per cent against +1.2 per cent in the West Pakistan.

East Pakistan having almost 54 per cent population was also discriminated in public sector development. During the first five year plan, total revenue expenditure in East Pakistan was Rs2,540 million which was less than one third of the Rs8,980 of the West Pakistan. It was marginally jacked-up in the second five-year plan from 1960-61 to 1964-65 when East Pakistan received Rs6,254 million under public sector development programme against Rs7,696 million of the West Pakistan, yet it was still 19 per cent less.

Not only that East Pakistan was kept economically deprived and politically suppressed, it was also under represented in the state structure. Share of Bengalis in senior level civil services was also flagrantly violated. During the first five years of the country, senior cadres of several departments were completely bereft of Bengalis. There were no Bengalis on any senior positions in the Departments of Commerce, Intelligence& Statistics, Supply & Development, Petroleum, Paper & Stationery Wing, Inspection Wing, General Concession Wing, Central Engineering Authority, Coal Commissioner and Textiles.

Apart from economic exploitation, West Pakistani leadership always demeaned and demonised Bengalis. General Ayub rabidly detested Bengalis. He once vented his spleen by saying that “I am surprised by Bengali outlook. They have cut themselves off from Muslim culture through abhorrence of the Urdu language…..making themselves vulnerable to Hindu culture.” On 7th September 1967, he wrote “God has been very unkind to us in giving the sort of neighbours [India] and compatriots [Bengalis]. We could not think of a worst combination. Hindus and Bengalis…. If worst comes to the worst, we shall not hesitate to fight a relentless battle against the disruptionists in East Pakistan. Rivers of blood will flow if need be, unhappily. We will arise to save our crores of Muslims from Hindu slavery”.

Gen. Ayub was no exception in his fulmination against Bengalis. Major General Khadim Hussain Raja, the then GOC, who threatened to “raze Dhakah to the ground” if Shaikh Mujib proclaimed independence during his speech at Race Course ground on 7th March 1971, has made startling revelations about moral bankruptcy of military leadership. In his recently published book “a stranger in my own country”, he has quoted nauseating turpitude of General Niazi during a debriefing meeting. He writes “Niazi became abusive and started raving. Breaking into Urdu he said: ‘Main is haramzadi qaum ki nasal badal doon ga. Yeh mujhey kiya samjhtey hain’. He threatened that he would let his soldiers loose on their womenfolk. There was pin-drop silence at these remarks. Officers looked at each other in silence, taken aback by his vulgarity. The meeting dispersed on this unhappy note with sullen faces. The next morning, we were given sad news. A Bengali Office, Major Mushtaq, who had served under me in Jessore, went into a bathroom at the Command Headquarter and shot himself in head. He died instantaneously.”

What happened in 1971 was certainly worse, yet the worst is the unremitting obnoxious intransigence of the unfazed perpetrators. Fundamental rights are denied with same zeal, forced disappearance, dumping of corpses in the name of national interest continues with alarming madness and natural endowment of federating units are being exploited ruthlessly. Oppressed segments who demand their rights are inexorably construed as traitors. What prevails in Pakistan today can potentially repeat what happened yesterday.

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Group Colors of Sindh is created to collect the beauty of Sindh, the land with History of Civilization of thousands years and beauty of natural views, culture and traditions. Share and Add your pictures about the places and people of Sindh with Cultural colors , scenic beauty, and places of historic importance. Irrelevant and offensive material will be removed from group. Colors of Sindh - View this group's most interesting photos on Flickriver Sindh Sindh (Sindhi: سنڌ),(urdu: سندھ),(Arabic: السند) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhis. Different cultural and ethnic groups also reside in Sindh including Urdu-speaking Muslim refugees who migrated to Pakistan from India upon independence as well as the people migrated from other provinces after independence. The neighbouring regions of Sindh are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab to the north, Gujarat and Rajasthan to the southeast and east, and the Arabian Sea to the south. The main language is Sindhi. The name is derived from Sanskrit, and was known to the Assyrians (as early as the seventh century BCE) as Sinda, the Persians as Abisind, the Greeks as Sinthus, the Romans as Sindus, the Chinese as Sintow, while the Arabs dubbed it Al-Sind. Read more about Sindh Colors of Sindh Pool
  • Vicky Sindhi has added a photo to the pool: ”جنم ڀومي، شمشان ڀومي“ علي بابا جي انهن ڪهاڻين جو مجموعو آهي، جيڪي هن جي اڳ ڇپيل ڪتابن ”ڌرتيءَ ڌڪاڻا“، ”آيل ڙي اولاڻا“، ۽ ”منهنجون ڪهاڻيون“ مان ڪنهن ۾ به شامل نه آهن. اهي ڪهاڻيون هن مختلف دؤرن ۾ مختلف رسالن ۾ ڇپائي وساري ڇڏيون هيون، ۽ ڪڏهن ڪڏهن ڏاڍيءَ حسرت سان انهن جي گم ٿيڻ جو ذڪر ڪندو هو. مون انهن ڪهاڻين کي ڳولڻ ۾ ڪيترا ئي ڏينهن ۽ راتيون لڳايون آهن، پر هاڻ جڏهن اها امانت عليءَ سان پيار ڪندڙن تائين پهچي رهي آهي ته منهنجا سمورا اوجاڳا ۽ ٿڪ لهي ويا آهن. عليءَ سان گذاريل ڏينهن، محبتن، پنهنجائپ ۽ دوستيءَ جو هڪ بار هيو، جيڪو هنن ڪهاڻين ڪٺي ڪرڻ جي صورت ۾ لاهڻ جي ڪوشش ڪئي اٿم. هڪ وڏو ڪهاڻيڪار، جيڪو هاڻ هن دنيا ۾ نه رهيو آهي، ان کي ياد ڪرڻ ۽ ساڻس پيار ڪرڻ جو هن کان بهتر طريقو ته مون کي سُجهي به نٿو، ۽ اچي به نٿو! هن ڪتاب جو نالو علي بابا پاڻ ئي پنهنجي پهرئين ڪتاب “ڌرتيءَ ڌڪاڻا” جي آخر ۾ ايندڙ ڪتاب جي اشتهار طور تجويز ڪري ويو هو. سو پنهنجي شفقت جو اظهار هو ايئن به ڪري ويو، ته مون کي ڪتاب جي نئين نالي بابت سوچ ويچار ڪرڻ واري عمل کان به ڇوٽڪارو ملي ويو. ڊاڪٽر اسحاق سميجو Book No . 849 Kitab Jo Nalo : JANAM BHOOMI SHAMSHAN BHOOMI (New Stories) By : Ali Baba Research/Compilation : Dr. Ishaq Samejo First Edition © Roshni 2017 Pages : 320 Size : Demy Published By : Roshni Publication, Kandiaro,Sindh Price Rs. 350.00 Contact: 022-2780908, 0333-3782408 Address: Shah Latif Kitab Ghar, Gulzar Marhi, Ghardi Khato, Hyder Chowk, Hyderabad, Sindh اسٽاڪسٽ شاهه لطيف ڪتاب گهر، گاڏي کاتو، حيدرآباد ڀٽائي بوڪ هائوس اوريئنٽ سينٽر، حيدرآباد+ڪنگ پن بڪ شاپ، پريس ڪلب، حيدرآباد ڪامريڊ عاصم آخوند لائبريري،نسيم نگر چوڪ ، قاسم آباد +ڪامريڊ بوڪ اسٽال، ڄامشورو شير يزدان بڪ اسٽال، ڀٽ شاهه + حيدر ڪتب خانو، ڀٽ شاهه ڪاٺياواڙ اسٽور، اردو بازار، ڪراچي+لال بخش نيوز پيپر ايجنٽ، ٺٽو رابيل ڪتاب گهر، لاڙڪاڻو + رهبر بڪ اڪيڊمي، رابعه سينٽر، لاڙڪاڻو جاويد بڪ ڊيپو، لاڙڪاڻو + نيشنل بوڪ ڊيپو، بندر روڊ، لاڙڪاڻو نوراني بوڪ ڊيپو، بندر روڊ، لاڙڪاڻو+ عبدالله بڪ ڊيپو، بندر روڊ لاڙڪاڻو اشرف بوڪ اسٽال، مسجد روڊ، نوابشاهه+ عوامي بوڪ اسٽال، مسجد روڊ، نوابشاهه مڪته گلشير، لياقت مارڪيٽ، نواب شاهه+ مڪتبه حافظ اينڊ ڪمپني لياقت مارڪيٽ، نواب شاهه سليمان اينڊ برادرس، نواب شاهه + شهيد نذير عباسي ڪتاب گهر، نواب شاهه المهراڻ ڪتاب گهر، کپرو+ حافظ ڪتاب گهر، کپرو + العزيز ڪتاب گهر، عمرڪوٽ + ٿر ڪتاب گهر، مٺي ڪنگري بوڪ شاپ، اسٽيشن روڊ، ميرپور خاص +حر ڪتاب گهر،سامهون ماڊل اسڪول، ميرپور خاص المهراڻ ادبي ڪتاب گهر، الفقراء منزل، سانگهڙ سليم نيوز ايجنسي، نيو بس اسٽينڊ، دادو + جنيد بوڪ ڊيپو، دادو مراد بوڪ ڊيپو،سيوهڻ+ عبدالرزاق بوڪ اسٽال، ميهڙ+ ساحر ڪتاب گهر، کوندي ميهڙ مرچو لال بوڪ ڊيپو، بدين + رحيم بوڪ ڊيپو، بدين + سوجهرو ڪتاب گهر، بدين، مهراڻ بوڪ سينٽر سکر+ ڪتاب مرڪز فريئر روڊ، سکر + عزيز ڪتاب گهر، بئراج روڊ، سکر فيضان بوڪ ڊيپو،سکر+ بخاري ڪتاب گهر، بئراج روڊ، سکر+ مڪتبه امام العصر، گهوٽڪي سنڌ ڪتاب گهر، شڪارپور+ مولوي عبدالحئي شڪارپور تهذيب نيوز ايجنسي، خيرپور ميرس + خيرپور بڪ شاپ ،خيرپورميرس نيشنل بڪ اسٽال، پنج گلو چوڪ، خيرپور ميرس مڪتبيه عزيزيه کهڙا + سچل ڪتاب گهر، درازا ڪنول ڪتاب گهر، مورو+ حافظ ڪتاب گهر،مورو+ ظفر ڪتاب گهر،مورو ميمڻ بوڪ ڊيپو، نوشهروفيروز + قاسميه لائبريري، اسپتال روڊ، ڪنڊيارو+ سارنگ ڪتاب گهر، ڪنڊيارو