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Leadership, Organization, Strategies and Tactics of the Bangla Desh Movement Author(s): M.

Rashiduzzaman Reviewed work(s): Source: Asian Survey, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Mar., 1972), pp. 185-200 Published by: University of California Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2642872 . Accessed: 26/11/2011 06:13
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LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, STRATEGIES AND TACTICS OF THE BANGLADESH MOVEMENT / M. Rashiduzzaman

lowingthe PakistaniArmy'ssuppression the independence of movement after March25, 1971,has attracted At worldattention. theinitialstageof thecivilfighting, of publicattention focused thethousands civilians was on reported killedand theseveralmillionrefugees to who,according foreign pressreports, to India.' No one reallyknowsthecorrect fled figure about theseas strict censorship prevailedover newsfromPakistan.Therewere stories atrocities massexecutions of and published overtheworld. the all At laterstage, however, world the pressbeganto focusmoreon themisery and suffering -the of hugenumber refugees of who had been seeking in shelter India. The refugee issue also contributed themounting to tension between IndiaandPakistan, eventually leadingto a warbetween twocountries the in December 1971. The PakistaniGovernment since March 25 built up an elaborate had scenario justifying military actionin East Bengal and presenting steps its ,asmoderate and restrained.2 has laid theblame almostentirely the It on AwamiLeague leader,SheikhMujiburRahman,forhis allegedintransiand gence complicity a plottosplitthecountry. also blamedtheAwami in It League"extremists" killing for manynon-Bengali residents East Bengal in sincethedisturbances started March1. Within hoursof themilitary on 72 action, PakistaniGovernment 'the announced that'thesituation had been brought under control lifewas "fastreturning normal." and to Reality, however, different. was Independent sourcesofinformation notsupport did the claims thePakistani of Government.
'Thereis no accurate count therefugees actually to India.According of who fled to Indian claims and unofficial estimates published theforeign in press, abouttenmillion persons in sought March 1971.An official refuge Indiaafter 25, account thePakistan of Government in published Dawn,September 1971,however, 2, claimsthata totalof 2,002,623 persons their left homes during "unsettled conditions." August, 1971.
of 'Government Pakistan, White Paper on the Crisis of East Pakistan, Islamabad, 185

]Ihe armed conflict which erupted East Bengal(East Pakistan) in fol-

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For all practical tookthepattern guerrilla of the purposes, civilstrife warfare.After military the crackdown ordered President was by Yahya Khan, the Awami League declaredcomplete for independence East Bengal on March26, callingitBanglaDesh overa clandestine radio.Therewas a large of defection Bengalisin thearmy, bordermilitiaand police whoweremobilizedintoa "liberation army"called theBangla Desh MuktiBahini.Although resistance fadedin Dacca within couple of days after a March25, extensive fighting reported was and some of theborderareas were outside, "liberated" theinsurgents by untilthePakistanArmydrovethemout. Although SheikhMujibur Rahmanwas arrested the PakistanArmyon by March26, some of his lieutenants to India and formed Bangla Desh fled a government exile.Scores of AwamiLeague leaderswerereportedly in in exileorwent underground working theindependence for movement. Student leaders also wentunderground mobilizedsupportfor the liberation and forces and resistance againstthe PakistanArmy.Severalintellectuals also in exileformed organizations extend to support thecause of insurgency. to All insurgent movements clandestine obviousreasonsand, thereare for it fore, was difficult geta fullviewofthearmedstruggle independence to for in East Bengal.The purpose thispaperis to throw of somelighton theleadership and organization theliberation of forces East Pakistan.It is also in intended hereto analyzethereported goals,strategies tacticsof theinand surgents EastPakistan. in
LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONOF THE INSURGENT MOVEMENT

Effective leadership themostimportant is inputof any insurgent movement. Thereis, however, yardstick no withwhichto measure character the of thatleadership. topleaderis expected developa politico-military The to doctrine guidethejuniorofficers rankand filein their to and activities. He must function botha political as and military leader.3It is often convenient to have a charismatic typeof leaderat thetopwho can inspire confidence and enthusiasm others. in Fromthisviewpoint, wouldhave beenideal for it theBengaliliberation forces have had a leaderof SheikhMujiburRahto man'sstature thetop.Although was proclaimed be thePresident at he to of theBanglaDesh government exile,theentire in movement appearedto lack much dynamism hisabsence. in It willbe interesting examine natureof leadership to the whichemerged sincetheoutbreak insurgency March.For thesake of our discussion, of in wemayclassify present the leadership under twobroadcategories-political or civilianand military. thetop of thepoliticalor civilianleadership, At there was theBangla Desh Government exile (see Table 1). As Sheikh in MujiburRahmanwas underPakistanGovernment's custody, Syed Nazrul Islamwas theacting President thegovernment exile.Buttherealforce of in in 'the BanglaDesh exilegovernment TajuddinAhmed, PrimeMinwas its
BlueprintofRevolution, Illinois,1970.

'Andrew Scott, Insurgency, ChapelHill, 1970,p. 52. Also Raymond Momboisse, M.

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ister.A lifelong AwamiLeaguer,he was alwaysratedas the number two man in theparty SheikhMujiburRahman.Withonlyone exception, after all members theBangla Desh Cabinetwerelawyers of including Tajuddin Ahmed(see Table 1). A soft-spoken, scholarly calmpersonality, and Tajuddin Ahmed was reported have turned to hawkish earlyMarch 1971 and in theyoungradicalsof theAwamiLeague ralliedbehindhim whileSheikh MujiburRahman was stillnegotiating theconference at tablewith President YahyaKhan. THE PATTERN OF LEADERSHIP OF THE BANGLADESH MOVEMENT TABLE 1 BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT EXILE IN Position VicePresident (Acting President)Bangla DeshGovt.
in exile.

Political Background Awami Leaguer

Age 49-51

Education University graduate

Occupational Background Lawyer

Prime Minister ofBangla DeshGovt. in exile. Foreign-Minister Bangla of DeshGovt. in exile. Home Minister ofBangla DeshGovt. in exile. Minister of BanglaDesh Govt. in exile. of C-in-C Desh Bangla Liberation Army.

Awami Leaguer Awami Leaguer Awami Leaguer Awami Leaguer Awami Leaguer

45-47

University graduate University graduate University graduate

Lawyer

52-53

Lawyer

44-45

Lawyer

58-60

University Retired miligraduate official tary & lawyer University Retired miligraduate official tary

58-60

Source:Newspaper AwamiLeague and Bangla Desh publications. Reports, here (Ageshown is approximate.)

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The real weakness thegovernment exilewas itsleaders'inability of in to understand logistical and other To military operations. meetthisreal need, a thegovernment of officer thePakistan coopted Col. Osmani, retired Army and also a member theNationalAssembly of in elected December 1970, as the Commander Chiefof theBangla Desh Liberation in Army.His main was function to maintain liasonwithdifferent commanders thefieldand in to coordinate military the efforts. appearsthattherewas a divisionof It work between Osmaniand others theCabinet. Col. in The newspaper reports thatTajuddin and others indicated werebusymaking speeches, contacting peopleand mobilizing international support whileCol. Osmanilookedafter military actions. theorganizational In activities theBanglaDesh Governof there ment, werethree other principal supportive groups-theAwami League elites exileor underground, intellectuals in the activeabroadand thestudent leadersoperative exile or underground. in It has beenpossibleto gather somedata on thebackground theseperof TABLE 2 AWAMILEAGUE ELITE LEADERSHIP IN BANGLADESH MOVEMENT* (32) Position AL1MNA2 AL Supporter AL MPA8 20 4 8 Education University graduate 29 1 Notknown Traditional Islamic 1 Education Highschool level 1 Occupation Teaching Business Medicine Lawyer Party work Journalist Notknown 4 8 3 9 3 2 3

Political Background AL Member 15 AL Student Leader 14 AL District Leader 3 Age Notknown 20-30 31-40 41-50 2 2 17 11

Source: Newspaper reports, AwamiLeague and Bangla Desh publications. 1. AL-AwamiLeague. 2. MNA-Member National of Assembly (December 1970election). 3. MPA-Memberof Provincial 1970election). Assembly (December *It is also probable a largenumber Awami that of as elected MNAs Leaguers orMPAswhoarenotincluded thistablebutwereoutlawed thePakistan in by Government wereactivein exile or underground. (totalof 273 disqualified)

M. RASHIDUZZAMAN

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sonnel (see Tables 1-3).4 While the Bangla Desh Cabinetwas entirely dominated lawyers, Awami by the Leagueelites operating exileand underin groundrepresented different professional groups(Table 2). It is also obvious from Table 2 thattheseleaderswereyounger thanthe members of theBangla Desh Government. Another significant aspectis thatnearly half ofthem wereformer leadersofthepro-Awami League student organization -the East Pakistan Students League (EPSL) .5 Theiractivities included also themobilization support India and influencing international of in the environment. Some of themwerereported have been insideEast Bengal to working underground amongthepeople.Severalof them weretriedby the martial court thePakistan law of Army and sentenced absentia. in TABLE 3 INTELLECTUAL AND STUDENT LEADERS OF THE BANGLADESH MOVEMENT Position 2 Vice-Chancellor Professor 11 Journalist 2 Underground Student Organizer 10 Political Background Liberal Academic 2 AL' Sympathizer and Adviser 10 Pro-Islamic Pak Nationalist I 1 Pro-leftist EPSL2 Leader I 1 EP._U3 Leader Age 20-30 41-50
51-60 31.40

Education PhD (UK) 3 Barrister (UK) 1 PhD (US & Canada) .5 3 M.A. Graduate 9 Graduate Student 2 Underraduate Student2 Occupation Professor HighCourt Justice Journalist LawStudent Student 12 1 2 6 4

10
4 4

1. AL-AwamiLeague 2. EPSL-East Pakistan Student League 3. EPSU-East Pakistan Student Union


in from various reports, 'The datacovered Tables1 -3 weretaken newspaper Awami and from published New York and Leaguepublications, theBanglaDesh Newsletter of The exact number AwamiLeague elitesin exile or underground Chicago. could notbe determined. gathered As from different sources, number the variedfrom about 100to300. ,See Table 3.

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Another groupof activesupporters theBangla Desh movement of were the intellectuals who fledto India, the UnitedKingdom,and the United Statesafter March25 (see Table 3). Thosewhowerebased in India formed a Liberation CouncilofBanglaDesh Intellectuals campaigned their for who cause and keptthemselves touchwithacademicorganizations.6 leader in Its was Dr. A. R. Mullick, Vice-Chancellor Chittagong of University. Another activeorganizer theintellectuals Dr. MazharulIslam,a Professor of was of Bengaliliterature RajshahiUniversity, was known a sympathizer in who as oftheAwami Leagueand a closeaide to itsleader, Sheikh MujiburRahman. Some oftheBengalischolars whofled theUnited to Kingdom and theUnited Statesalso organized similar support groups amongforeigners. A. Justice S. Choudhury, of theformer one Vice-Chancellors East Pakistan, in was appointedthe rovingambassadorof the Bangla Desh government abroad.7 The student front theAwamiLeague-East PakistanStudents' of League (EPSL) appearedto be activein themovement. thetop leadersof the All organization either exileor underground. ofthestudent were in Most leaders activein the insurgent actionswere fromthe EPSL (see Table 3). They also appeared be therealtargets thePakistani to of Government. Special The Summary Military CourtNo. 1, Dacca, sentenced of theEPSL leaders five to 14 yearsof rigorous imprisonment confiscation their and of in property absentia.8 of theseleaderswereaccusedof havingadvocated All secession. AbdurRab, theVice-President Dacca University of Students' Union and a leaderoftheEPSL, had beenan advocateofstrong against military line the government did not seriously and support idea of theAwamiLeague's the participation the1970 elections in underall therestrictions imposed the by Legal Framework Orderannounced President by YahyaKhan as thegeneral guideline thefuture for constitutional order.9 It appearsthatthepoliticalleadership, theBangla Desh movement of residedpredominantly theright in wingAwamiLeague whichwon ail overwhelming victory theelections December1970. The leftist in of partiesin East Pakistan, particularly Communist the Partyand thepro-Moscow wing oftheNationalAwamiParty, reportedly supported formation a nathe of tionalliberation front carryon the struggle to againstPakistanitroops) but theAwamiLeague leadership not indicateany definite did interest in theformation sucha front."How longtheAwamiLeague can retain of its
'The Statesman, July9, 1971. 7It was also reported thata group of government officers fledto India afterMarch who 1971 had been workingin close cooperationwith the other major groups supporting the Bangla Desh movement There was no accurate figurefor such officers but the Martial Law authorities asked 13 and 44 Bengali officers the Centraland provincial of Civil Service,respectively, appear beforethe military to courts (Dawn, Sept. 2 and Sept. 4, 1971). Presumably, theseofficers were among thosewho fledto India. 8PakistanObserver, June29, 1971. 9See M. Rashiduzzaman, DynamicsofRegionalismin East Pakistan,a paper presented at the Columbia University NationalSeminaron Pakistan,April 1971. "0TheTimes ofIndia, June27, 1971. "'Ibid.

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The real handicapsof theinsurgent forces were: insufficient shortarms, age ofammunition, inadequate and transportation pooror non-existent communication. largest The of weapons theresistance army werethree-inch mortarsand a fewheavygunscaptured from PakistanArmy. the Most of the volunteers lackedadequatetraining. Another handicap real was theshortage of officers. oftheofficers theEPR and EBR werenon-Bengalis. Most of The Bengaliofficers joined theliberation who movement werefairly youngand junior.The highest ranking Bengaliofficers reported be engagedin the to battle wereMajors and therestwereeither Captains Lieutenants nonor or commissioned officers. The real disadvantage amongtheBengaliinsurgent leadersoperating in
"BanglaDesh,a weekly news bulletin, Washington, 17,1971. Sept. "3See Martin also Woollacott, "BanglaDesh'sOdd Bedfellows," Guardian The (weekly),Sept. 1971. 25,
"The Christian Science Monitor, June28, 1971.

personnel.'4

control overthemovement remains be seen. But so far,thepartyhigh to command retained all-Awami the its League character although leftist forces reportedly fought the alongside Awami Therewas a report League guerrillas. thattheleadersrepresenting leftwingpartiesagreedto join withthe the AwamiLeaguersin theconsultative committee coordinating for insurgent activities.'2 is indeeddifficult see howthefundamental It to conideological flicts within liberation the movement be resolved such superficial can by means.13 The underlying weakness theliberation of forcesappearedto be the absenceofgrassrootorganizations a capableofsustaining prolonged guerrilla warfare. The onlyorganization thiskindreported be knownwas the of to AwamiLeague Sangram Parishad whichoperated Its underground. leaders weremainly students, AwamiLeague volunteers often and local sympathetic It influentials. is not yetknownhow theircadreswere organized and the structure actually operated. resistance The network thevillages in couldnot, however, have sustained itselfwithout sizeablepeasantparticipation. Evithe dently, Awami Leaguedid nothaveanypeasant organization as that such organized theleftist by National AwamiParty(NAP). Either they have will to start building their own peasantbase or enterintoan alliancewiththe NAP tobuildup a rural network. As an insurgency a politioo-military is it phenomenon, cannotsurvive by political leadership alone.It musthave mento fight bothconventional and guerrilla warfare. The information availableabouttheMukti Bahiniis still but thatthecrucialcomponents theBengalLibinadequate, it is known of eration were: (a) theEastPakistan Army Rifles(EPR), (b) theEast Bengal Regiment (EBR), and (c) thepolicemen Ansarswhowereobjectively and estimated about15,000fighting whentheinsurgency at men started late in March, 1971.The Pakistan Government, claimed that combined however, the fighting strength the "secessionists" of amounted about 180,000 armed to

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different sectors thelackofadequatecommunication, was which was indicativeofpoorcoordination bad planning theentire and This was in operation. oneofthefactors which tothefailure theinsurgents theinitial led at of stage ofthestruggle. CaptainGyasuddin who Choudhury, led theBengaliLiberationArmy Rajshahisector earlyApril 1971,complained thepress in in to that there hardly coordination was any between different ofthefighting units men.15 was reported theoperating It that guerrilla unitsdid notreceive any direct orders onlyreported their but on actions a runner headquarters by to nearoracrosstheIndianborder.'6 It is also doubtful whether political the leadersat thetopwerein regular contactwiththe fighting commanders. Col. Osmani senta requestto the Bengaliresidents abroadto raisefunds procuring for transmitters powerful to improve communication linksbetweenthe leaders and the liberation forces.'7 The onlyimportant communication system availableto theinsurgents the"FreeBanglaDesh Radio" which was couldbe usedonlyforpropaganda purposes notforplanning and military operations. theabsenceof In soundcommunication systems, serious frictions werelikely arisebetween to thepolitical leadersand military commanders, owing mutual to lack oftrust andfaith. The only deterrent theassertion an independent to of position themiliby tarycommanders appearedto be theirdependence the AwamiLeague on leadersforthenecessary logistic and international support. was also beIt lievedthat Indiacouldexercise leverage channeling by support onlythrough thepolitical highcommand based on Indiansoil. Since noneofthemilitary leadersexceptColonelOsmanihad any politicalfollowing, wouldhave it taken them considerable a amount timebefore of anyone of-them wouldhe abletogainsucha stature.
GOALS, STRATEGIES ANDTACTICS

After initial the declaration independence theclandestine of over radioon March26, 1971,thefirst publicexposition an independent sovereign of and BanglaDeshcameon April17, 1971 from TajuddinAhmed, PrimeMinthe isterof the Bangla Desh government exile. He said veryemphatically, in ". . . Pakistanis dead and murdered GeneralYahya-and independent by Bangla Desh is a reality sustained theindestructible and courageof by will 75 million Bengalis whoare dailynurturing roots this the of newnationhood with their blood.No poweron earth unmake newnation can this and sooner or laterbothbig and smallpowers willhave to acceptit intotheworldfraternity."'8
"The New Age, April25,1971. "The Wall Street Journal, July27, 1971. "InterviewswithBangla Desh activists New York. in "8NewYork Times, March 29, 1971. See the statement issued by Tajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister of Bangla Desh, on April 17, 1971, circulated by the Bangla Desh Defence League, Chicago.

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TajuddinAhmed's thattheBengaliswere speechreallytried establish to constrained declare completeindependence East Pakistanby the to for "treacheries" "brutalities" and committed President by Yahya Khan and his "military coterie's" unwillingness acceptthepeople'sverdict expressed to as through 1970 election. also mentioned "genocide"committed the He the by thePakistan Army against Bengalicivilians sinceMarch25, totally alienatingthepeopleagainst concept livingtogether one nationand one the of as country. Whiletheformal objective theBangla Desh government exile of in was independence East Pakistan, informal unannounced for its and objectivewas theacquisition political of powerby theAwamiLeague whichhad beenoutlawed President by YahyaKhan. Those whoare acquainted withevents East Pakistancan verywellrein capitulate stages escalation theAwamiLeague'sgoalsand strategies. the of of The grounds insurgency of started earlyin March 1971 as a protest movement when President YahyaKhanpostponed Constituent the meetAssembly ingon March1.19 To theBengalis, thismovewas seenas a conspiracy and they strongly protested againstit. Hawks amongtheAwamiLeaguersand thestudent activists begantotalkofindependence Sheikh and MujiburRahmanpromised makea dramatic to announcement a massrallyon March7. at Whilethe demandsof themilitants werereaching pointof no return, the SheikhMujiburRahmanannounced fourpre-conditions attending for the future NationalAssembly-endof martial of law,withdrawal troops the to barracks, inquiry intokillings during curfew time, and transfer powerto of theelected representatives thepeople.20 of This appearedto be an attempt by theAwamiLeague leaderto offset militant the cries forcomplete independence. Whilethemilitary crackdown came on March25, all thesemoderateefforts "washedawayby blood" and thecategorical were demandfor complete independence emerged. For analytical purposes, have triedto use a modelof the insurgents' we goals,strategic aims and tactics whichcouldby no meansbe exhaustive at this stage.During first weeksofthearmed the two conflict, was difficult it to ascertain strategic the aims and tactics theliberation of forces. appeared It toube uncoordinated in an amateurish an fight manner. initial The resistance, as reported theWestern in press, was withbamboosticks and a handful of shotguns old rifles. and OutsideDacca, theBengalissurrounded cantonthe ments triedto bottle Pakistani and up soldiers. Therewas no clearcut idea aboutthe strategic aims of improving military the capabilities and more meaningful of publicsupport. use The defecting Bengalisoldiers who provided mainmilitary the ingredients theinsurgency of werestillwithout any senseofdirection. common One method usedto improve military the ability
20Peggy Durdin, "The Political Tidal Wave that Struck East Pakistan,"

"See the textofPresidentYahya Khan's announcement March 1, 1971. on

York Times Magazine, May 2, 1971, p. 92. See also, Government Pakistan, White of Paper on the Crisis in East Pakistan, op. cit., p. 15 and Government the Peoples Reof publicof Bangla Desh, WhyBangla Desh, 1971.

The New

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tacticwas Another was to snatchthearmsof thepoliceand bordermilitia. them touse a largenumber peopleagainst of army and battalions to overrun after heavycasualties. This tacticof usingthe "humanwave" againstthe Pakistan Army oflimited was valueonly. Once thefutility "roving of a battle against rebels"fighting conventional and a well-equipped regular becameclear,theBengalisoldiers army began Aroundthemiddleof April to retreat thevillagesand acrosstheborder. to of the 1971,With regrouping thosefighting theflow refugees of men, fleeing the of to India and theformation an exile government, insurgency entered that Bengaliliberation a newstage. September the By forces 1971 it appeared had notonlydefined their ultimate aims goal butalso therelevant strategic and tacticalobjectives.2' have alreadydiscussed ultimate We the goal and thepossiblevariablesunderit. On the strength the insurgent activities of thusfar,three broad strategic aims could be identified: to utilizethe (a) the and (c) influence internathe situation, people, (b) improve military tional environment. on war Thesuccessofa guerrilla depends largely theintelligent utilization forces. the ofthepeopleagainstthecounter-insurgent Undoubtedly, Awami League was confident publicsupport East Pakistanas demonstrated of in in the 1970 elections. But public supportand meaningful utilization the of Awami The between insurgent the are population notthesamething. relation Leaguersand thepeople in 1971 could not be thesame as between those seeking votesin December 1970 and themasses.The peoplewerefrightened bythecounter-insurgent Pakistani armed forces whoutilized "terror tactics" againstthe civilians.In orderto utilizethe people against'thePakistani counterinsurgent forces, Bengaliinsurgents the used thefollowing tactics: (a) publicizedthe liberation movement, built the organization, (b) (c) alienated people againstthePakistanauthorities the veryidea of the and one Pakistan,(d) boycotted offices, mills and factories, (e) enlistedthe participation students theliberation of in movement, (f) organized and selective terror against those whocooperated with authorities. the The "Free BanglaDesh" radiowas theonlyimportant medium propaof ganda available to the Bengaliliberation forces.Since its operation was clandestine thesignals and to wereknown be weak,itseffectivenesspubliin the cizing liberation movement remained limited. theAwamiLeague had As beenoutlawed, organizational its activities went underground. According to reports thepress, Pakistani in the Army tookstringent stepsto rootout the AwamiLeague in East Bengal.The underground AwamiLeague Sangram Parishad continued mobilizepublic support favorof themovement. to in Occasionalleaflets, posters evensmallmeetings and callinguponthepeople
There had been reportsof increasingguerrillaactivitieswhich were no longer improvisedand showed signs of organizational leadership.Far Eastern Economic Review, Sept. 9, 1971, and Bangla Desh Radio Commentary, Sept. 29, 1971. Also Bangla Desh Radio Broadcasts,September-October, 1971.

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to helpthecause oftheliberation was movement thepattern publicity.22 of The focalpointofinsurgent committed was theatrocities propaganda by thePakistani in Army order turn peopleagainst Pakistani the to the GovernThent. all practical For purposes, PakistanArmywas described an the as occupation forceperpetuating colonial rule. The real tacticalobjective a was to translate "Bengali nationalism" the people into supportive the of action. Bothpassiveas wellas active was support theinsurgents required: for passivesupport providing in and information, concealment care, supplies, of hiding ammuniiton, organizing and active as support volunteers, technical experts saboteurs. and Such supportive actions insurgents the sought mostly in ruralareas.Theirmain emphasis theurbanareas was theboycott in of schools, colleges, universities, offices, and factories. mills A tug-of-war between PakistanArmy the and theBengaliinsurgents developed both as sideswanted utilize population completely to the for different purposes. WhilethePakistaniGovernment triedto restore normallifeby the asking officials laborers resume and to work, insurgents their normal the appealedto and intimidated peopleintostaying the awayfrom their places ofwork. Schools, factories offices bombed several and were at placesin order tointimidate people.Insurgents the circulated warnings individual to officers and factory managers threatening graveconsequences they if triedto open their offices factories. and Two maintargets thisrespect in weregovernment offices theindustrial and establishments. WhiletheAwamiLeague was outlawed military and operations continued againstthe liberation forces, group of Bengali politicians-hitherto a in oblivion-and some individuals fromamongthe non.Benpredominantly galis settled East Bengal,emerged supporters Pakistan'snational in as of integrity collaborators the PakistaniArmy. and of ITheinsurgents reacted sharply thisbyassassinating to someofthe"quislings." The leadingpurpose of the"selective terror" was to discourage people from collaborating with theArmy. Some of thesecollaborators wereeasilyidentifiable. They were principally members "peacecommittees" Razakars (armedvolunthe of and teers)formed civiliansunderdirectives by from Pakistani the Army, pre. sumably surveillance information for and abouttheinsurgents. others The were oldMuslim the Leaguers theright and wingIslamists whowereinclined tosupport Army. definite the No figure couldbe obtained aboutthenumber ofcollaborators actually but killed, piecemeal reports indicate thatthenumberwas from3-4,000.Many operating collaborators potential or ones received stern warnings mendtheir to ways.23 objective to demoralize The was thecollaborators to inducethem desistfrom and to future actions. As a concession thepressure homeand abroad againstthemilitary to at "In order to stop the Bangla Desh propaganda, the Pakistan Armykept printing pressesand duplicating machinesunderstrictsurveillance. I"One typicalexample of terror tacticswas to send a sternwarningand burial clothes to the:operating potentialcollaborator(it is customary or thata dead Muslimis covered bywhiteclothesat his burial).

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actionsof GeneralTikka Khan, the Government Pakistanappointed of a civilian 1, Dr. governor, A. R. Malik,forEast Pakistanon September 1971, whoquicklyinstalled ten-member a cabinetforthe province. Presumably, this was an interim arrangement the civilian administration the of for province until by-elections couldbe heldfortheseatsoftheAwamiLeague members disqualified theGovernment. reactions thisnew move by The to of theGovernment quick. On behalfof theBangla Desh leaders,the were newcivilian administration East Pakistan of was described a "Cabinetof as the quislings."The insurgents severewarnings the new ministers sent to and one ofthem was injuredwhenhis car was bombed. The military of capacity theinsurgents normally was directed a number to oftargets instead concentrating anysingle of on objective. Theymadesimultaneous efforts improve to their ownmilitary and capacity to denyresources to the counter-insurgents. thefirst weeksafter military For few the crackdownof thePakistanArmy, Bengaliarmedpersonnel the who defected to theliberation movement werenoteffective becauseofthelack ofleadership and equipment. They gave up conventional warfareagainstthe Pakistan Army and dispersed onlyto regroup. themoreimportant But military objectivewas to enlistand trainnewrecruits. was reported about 300 It that centers operated East andWest in recruiting Bengal.24 Therewerereports ambushes the PakistanArmyand the foreign of of pressnoteda steady flow injuredsoldiers of the from borderand outlying postsofthecountry Dacca City.Buttheoutstanding to successoftheinsurgents thealmost was totaldisruption communication of insideEast Pakistan. Fairlyreliable reports beenreceived had thattherailway trains wereunable to operate beyond to 50 milesfrom 30 Dacca Cityas therailway tracks and werebadlydisrupted. same situation bridges The withrespect to prevailed motorways connecting principal the and towns ports East Pakistan. in There werealso reports shipsbeing sabotaged.Duringthe monsoonmonths, of the Pakistanarmedforceswere substantially bogged down in the urban areas, although theydemonstrated some capabilitiesin using improvised meansofcommunication as country such boatsand evenbullock carts. TheBanglaDeshliberation forces couldnotdepend on solely thearmsand ammunition from PakistaniArmy, captured the and it was an open secret that reallogistic the of support theBengrali was insurgents provided India. by India also provided rebelswiththenecessary the sanctuaries bases for and The operations. Bengali political leaders, teachers students exilemade and in effort winthediplomatic wellas material to every as support India and of other countries. In orderto influence international the environment, main effort the of theBangla Desh Government to obtaindiplomatic was recognition. Tajuddin Ahmed,thePrimeMinister the Bangla Desh Government exile of in
24Bangla Desh Newsletter, July 1, 1971. It was reportedthat India trained armed guerrillasin 30 different centersin orderto carryout an offensive East Pakistan. The in Times,London,June2, 1971.

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appealed: "It is, therefore, theinterests politics muchas humanity in of as forthebig powers puttheir to fullpressure General on Yahya to cage his killersand bringthemback to WestPakistan.... We now appeal to the of nations theworld recognition assistance, for and bothmaterial moral, and in ourstruggle nationhood."25 of thefirst for One stepsto influence inthe ternational opinion was totakeoverthePakistani mission Calin diplomatic cutta. Chief, Bengali,declared Its a allegiance thegovernment Bangla to of Desh in exile and converted into the first it diplomatic missionof "Free BanglaDesh." SeveralBengalidiplomats postedin India,Europeand North Americaalso defected theBangla Desh movement, to whichattracted the attention theinternational of press.2'3 September By 1971,Bangla Desh Missionswere set up in NorthAmerica, England,and severalotherpartsof Europe. Another advantageous tacticwas to gain favorable publicity abroad and damage prestige Yahya's government. was achieved the of This with relative ease as theinternational presswas alreadyinclined support Bengalis to the who had long-standing well-known and grievances against the Pakistani Government theeconomic for disparity and otherkindsof injustices suffered East Pakistan. by Whenthemilitary crackdown -wasordered the by central government March 1971 the worldpress almostspontaneously in turned againstthe Pakistanigovernment. reports The published newsin paperslikeThe New YorkTimes,The London Times,and The Washington Post tended be verycritical thePakistaniArmyand strongly to of recommendedthe withdrawal economicand military to Yahya's governof aid ment. In orderto rousetheconscience theworld, international of the pressfocusedon theatrocities committed the PakistanArmyon civilians, by par. ticularly the during first weeksof theinsurgency. thelaterstage,it few At was thesuffering theseveral of million refugees India which in gainedwide publicity. While the PakistaniArmywas claimingto have restored order throughout province, guerrillas the the weresuccessfully knocking power out supplies blowing communication and up links, gaining publicity abroadand disproving theseclaims.To gain publicity abroad,theinsurgents used also "selective terror" against certain foreign nationals. Thecontribution a relatively of small Bengalipopulation North in America andGreat Britain keeping themorale theresistance also remarkin up of was able.Theyorganized protests appealedto thegovernments theirreand of spective countries domicileforthe redress Bengali grievances. of of They gathered theirmeagerresources send moneyand othermaterialsas a to token their of support. Theyalso supported expenses theBangla Desh the of
2"TajuddinAhmed's statement, cit. Also Subash C. Kashyap, (ed.), Bangla Desh: op. Background and Perspectives,New Delhi, 1971, pp. 56-60. Also Bangla Desh Radio Broadcasts. 26Itwas reportedthat 95 Bengali diplomatsabroad declared theirsupportof Bangla Desh government exile. Bangla Desh, a weeklynews bulletin, in Washington, September 17, 1971.

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emissaries who had been touring different partsof the worldin orderto gather international support themovement. for As the insurgency of warfare the clearlytook the pattern guerrilla in India and Pakistanfollowing phetensions between of context growing a fromEast Bengal,the international nomenalrushof refugees community The governments the United began takingthematter more seriously. of and theSovietUnion appealedto Pakistanto make States,GreatBritain, in political accommodations theelected with representatives theEast Wing, President tind bothPakistanand India wereaskedto use restraint. Yahya Khan,in his June 1971 statement, and a 28, promised constitution restorationofcivilian rulewithin next the The three four to months. AwamiLeague wouldcontinue be bannedas a politicalorganization, to however, although individual AwamiLeaguelegislators werenot"guilty" "subversive" who of and "criminal" actionswouldbe allowedto retaintheir legislative seats.27 The Awami League described these proposals utterly as negative. Qamruzzaman,theHome Minister theBangla Desh government exile,sharply of in retorted saying:"The self-imposed by dictator Pakistandoes not repreof sentBangla Desh, nor has he any right talk of any politicalsettlement to with peopleofBanglaDesh. His threat declaretheseatsoftheAwami the to League members theNationalAssembly vacantwas ridiculous. ... of as The peopleofBangla Desh willneveraccepta constitution from foreign a source."28 orderto demonstrate In theirrejectionof Yahya Khan's proposals,theinsurgents stepped theiractivities Dacca, Chittagong also up in and Comilla. The spokesmen theIndianGovernment denounced for also the Pakistan Government's proposals absolutely as inadequate.
SOME CONCLUSIONS

and earlysummer 1971,it was widely of Duringthespring in speculated theIndianpressthattheonlypathopento theGovernment India was a of with a in -war, a viewto capturing pieceofterritory East Pakistan where the exiledBanglaDesh Government couldbe established, it giving a de jure and de facto status.29 Pakistani The Government however, had, replied saying by thatitwoulddeclarea totalwaragainst India ifanysuchattempt made. was BothIndia andPakistan also said that sucha warthey in wouldnotbe alone, that implying Russia and Chinawouldbe supporting twocountries, the respectively.30 "7Seefull textof PresidentYahya Khan's address on June 28, 1971,Pakistan Affairs, Special Issue, June30, 1971. Later,the government announcedthat88 of the 116 Awami League membersof the National Assemblyand 94 of 288 Awami Leaguers in the East Pakistanlegislatureelected in December 1970 would be allowed to retaintheirseats and therestweredisqualified unless theycleared themselves specificchargesagainst them. of Morning News,Aug. 20, 1971. '.8TheSikha, the weeklynews bulletinpublishedby the Bangla Desh Defence League, New York,July15, 1971. "'The Times,London,July13, 1971. "0OnAugust 9, 1971,India signed a friendship withSoviet Russia, presumably treaty to consolidateherpositionagainstPakistan. New York Times,August10, 1971.

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Others that expected thecontinued guerrilla wouldeventuallyinsurgency compelthePakistan to from East Bengalunderinternal Army withdraw as wellas international economic It for pressures. wouldbe difficult WestPakis-tanto sustain majorwareffort EastBengalfora longperiod.Therewasa in also speculation thatthe crippledeconomy would evoke social unrestin WestPakistanand thatwouldmeana muchgreater on pressure theArmy as it wouldhave to keeppeace in bothwingsof thecountry, separated by morethan1000 milesof foreign hostileterritory. and internaMeanwhile, tionalpressureon the military government would also mount.Economic sanctions againstthemilitary junta by the aid-giving countries wouldalso increaseunderpressure public opinion,whichhad been rousedby the of newsof atrocities committed upontheBengalicivilians. Underthecircumstances, economic constraints would intensify render and further military operations theEastunbearable. in It was evident from events the thattheArmy was not prepared make to to concessions theAwamiLeague as a political party. Nor was themilitary inclined makeanysubstantial to concession power thepoliticians. of to There have emerged constitution might a civilianruleto thosepolitical conceding elements wouldacceptPakistanas one political who entity, themilitary but 'cover" wouldhavecontinued order curbtheseparatists. in to It was also believed that a prolonged in insurgency, wouldpass leadership from handsoftheAwamiLeagueintothehandsofradicalelements. the The Awami Leagueleaders, was argued, it werepredominantly middle classprofessionals who werenot capable of leading an armedstruggle. Theirdependence India might on also have discredited them East Bengalbecause in they wouldhavebeendepicted toolsofIndia in itsallegedeffort absorb as to East Pakistan.The younger elements theinsurgent of leaderswouldnever have been content witha Bangla Desh freedfromWestPakistanonlyto becomedependent India. In all probability, on therefore, prolonged a insurgency wouldlikely havepassedintothehands ofmoredynamic leftists, though whether a pro-Moscow pro-Peking of or variety remained uncertain. Thecontext theBanglaDesh movement of changed qualitatively whenthe war between India and Pakistanin December1971 emerged the final as arbiter theliberation in struggle East Bengal.It was clearthat prestige of the oftheBanglaDeshMukti Bahinisuffered decisively becauseofthespectacularmilitary victory India armedforces. of Also as a result this,theBenof gali liberation movement transformed an international was into conflict between India and Pakistan. The support theRussiansfortheemergence of of BanglaDesh as a prospective client stateof India antagonized Chinese, the andthefuture thenascent of state maybe deeplytroubled a clandestine by Sino-Soviet conflict. Having returned BanglaDesh,Sheikh to MujiburRahman constrained felt to seeka speedywithdrawal India troops, it was unlikely Indian of for the armywould endearitselffor long to the people of Bangla Desh. Moreover,SheikhMujibur Rahmanwould not like to be seen as an "Indian

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stooge"forthismight givegrounds boththepro-Chinese leftists well as to as thepro-Pakistan on rightwingers whichto buildopposition againsthim. It is believed that there a considerable is of among proportion radicalforces theBengaliguerrillas had beenarmedand trained India sinceApril who in 1971 and whowouldnotsurrender theirarmsat thecall of AwamiLeague leaders.Although rightists in disarray, capacity certain the are the of fanatigroups cannotbe discounted limited in insurrections comand ,calMusllim riots mnunal against Hindus(and secular the Muslims)in thenameof Islam. The problems SheikhMujiburRahmanfaceswillindeedbe formidable.

Columbia University, and is currently VisitingSenior Fellow, SouthernAsian Institute, New York City.

of M. RASHIDUZZAMAN an Associate Dacca University, is Professor Political Science,