Thursday, 2 December, 2021
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Bangladesh’s liberation was inevitable, not the partition of 1947

Says ex-NU VC

Bangladesh’s liberation was inevitable, not the partition of 1947

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Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Professorial Fellow at Germany’s Heidelberg University and former vice-chancellor of National University Professor Dr Harun-or-Rashid said it was not scientific to set up any new country solely based on religion.

He said, “Although religious division was shown as a predominant cause for the partition of 1947, absence of political compromise was at the heart of the division. Muhammad Ali Jinnah had agreed to adopt a cabinet mission plan by keeping India undivided. It proves that creation of Pakistan was not his final word.”

“But British colonial policy of divide and rule, coupled with Congress leaders’ lack of farsightedness and uncompromising behaviour are mainly responsible for partition of India in 1947,” he added.

The noted political scientist came up with the remark recently while speaking at a seminar titled “Was the partition of 1947 inevitable?” at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University in Germany recently.

Dr Harun-or-Rashid further said, “Had the Muslims of Bengal not taken part in Muslim League’s Pakistan movement, the partition of 1947 would not have happened. Bengali Muslims were not motivated by religion or communalism. They were mainly concerned about freeing themselves from torture and exploitation of Hindu Zamindars, and achieving political and economic emancipation”

He said, “A section of Muslim League leaders including Bangabandhu had a completely different expectation than what happened in 1947. They were harbouring a dream of establishing an independent country in the north-eastern region (present location of Bangladesh) of India in accordance with the Lahore Resolution of 1940. When that didn’t happen in 1947, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman spearheaded the liberation movement for 23 years, leading to the independence of Bangladesh.”

Thus Dr Harun-or-Rashid concludes that the division of India was not inevitable. “It happened because of colonial rulers and political leaders’ lack of farsightedness. However, what was inevitable was the liberation of Bangladesh.”

The seminar was presided over by Rahul Mukherji, professor and head of the Department of Political Science and executive director of the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg University, where about 30 political scientists and researchers were present from a number of countries including India and Pakistan.