Wednesday 29 April 2015

Review of the book - Liberation Bangladesh - 1971

The process of reading and reviewing is quite a complicated issue! I feel it is a skill that I will slowly master….well, I say this because as a reviewer I read different genres of books - some I personally like while others I get drawn into as I turn each page. The most difficult part though is to look at things critically and talk about the things I like and things I don’t in a manner that appeals to the reader, as well as the writer. Phew! The last few months have been quite a roller-coaster ride and that is why I took a break from all this as I felt that things were getting into a pattern and I was getting too absorbed into it. This review is an effort to create a fresh perspective on the entire process of reading a book and talking about it….

Name of the Book - Liberation Bangladesh -1971

Edited by - Major General Dhruv C Katoch
                   Lt Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir

Published by - Bloomsbury India

Price - Rs. 499


“Liberation: 1971 is a collection of first-hand accounts by soldiers fought in the world of liberation. Published for the first time and narrated with disarming candour and honesty, the book highlights the achievements of the Armed Forces and the Mukti Bahini, as well as the heroic sacrifices of East Pakistan that together brought an end to the tyranny and genocide of the Pakistan establishment and gave birth to a new nation: Bangladesh. How can any nation not be proud of soldiers such as these? Their saga of courage, valour, suffering and pain must never be forgotten, if we are to preserve our freedom and our way of life. A compelling read for young and old alike.”

What makes the book interesting?

As you can see above, the cover is appealing and immediately draws your attention to the topics covered by the stories in the book. The book has been well-conceptualized and that is apparent from the contents page itself; since it breaks down the stories into various sections which keep the stories woven together and provide a flow from one section to the next. The sections are: Section 1 - Resistance, Section 2 - Stories from the 13 day War, Section 3 - The Paratroopers, Section 4 - Air and Naval operations and Section 5 - Surrender and after. The preface is detailed and offers an insight into the reasons behind writing this book, the terrible things that happened in the 1971 war and ends by appreciating the efforts of all the people who made the book possible. The pictures of officers and soldiers on the battlefield and the author profile at the end adds that personal touch to the book as the reader is able to see and read about the people who actually experienced this war and were responsible for creating a new nation called Bangladesh!

What I personally liked about the book -

When I began the book I was unsure about whether I wanted to read about the war and the atrocities that accompany it. Then I remembered that my mother had mentioned something about this war when we were younger and I spoke to her about it. She told me what she remembered and then I decided to read about it myself….I knew that one day I would like to tell my son and the children I teach about how difficult and painful a war can be.

The stories are interesting and provide a first-hand account of the war. It talks about how important teamwork is, how people are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country, how cruel some people can be, the conditions that accompany the war, how one has to keep moving forward despite the loss of family and friends and how important courage is. While reading the stories I have felt tears roll down my cheeks, at times I have held the book tighter feeling helpless and at others I have rejoiced when the enemy was defeated.

In the end, I would like to say that I agree with the statement made above - “A compelling read for young and old alike.” This book will make your realize that freedom comes with a price…a very expensive price!

The book is available on -


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