Friday, September 30, 2011



Bangladesh came into existence as a fallout of the 1971 Indo-Pak war. I was at that time working on the construction of Haldia Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation located in the state of West Bengal. The armistice between the two sides took place on 16th December 1971. This article was written within 7-10 days of the armistice, for our house journal " Haldia Refinery News ". It was published in its January 1972 issue. It is a kind of calm stock-taking amid scenes of euphoria.


Joi Bangla ! Joi Hind ! Joy everywhere ! Except in the hearts of Yahya and his hai-hais.

(Gen. Yahya Khan was the Pakistani dictator then.)

Bangladesh is free and friendly. India and Indira can inhale freely. A sense of euphoria prevails all over which is quite natural.

Whether we succeed or fail; when a job is done, it is time to take a stock of the situation. When we fail, we ourselves may not be in a fit state of mind to analyse the causes of our failure. In any case, others would be too glad to do it for us. However in case of success, it is necessary for us to do so as an exercise in learning for the future. Why did we succeed ? We succeeded because :-

(a) We did not react to the events of 25th March in a huff.

(On that day, Pakistan ordered a military crackdown on the agitators for democracy in the then existing East Pakistan. Mr. Mujibur Rehman, the President of National Awami party had been elected and his party had the majority in the Pakistani Paliament. This was acceptable neither to the military nor the political establishment of West Pakistan who had till then been dominating the scene and had almost been treating East Pakistan as a colony. Simultaneously with the military action, Mr. Mujibur Rehman was arrested. He was then in the national capital located in West Pakistan for talks prior to the formation of the government. In view of the majority enjoyed by him, he was expected to become the Prime Minister of the whole of Pakistan. East Pakistan declared its secession from Pakistan and formation of a new country called Bangladesh. This is, in short, what happened on that fateful day. The military action resulted in an exodus of nearly a million refugees into the neighbouring states of India, a major chunk staying in refugee camps in the state of W. Bengal.)

(b) We fully realised our position vis-a-vis the Super-Powers (USA and USSR) and the international community at large.

(c) We created a proper climate in the country for taking a decisive action without allowing any undue pressures to develop. Such pressures could have forced the government into doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.

(This had happened in the 1962 India-China showdown where we lost heavily).

(d) We created an international climate by means of publicity media and personal visits.

(e) We reinforced our flanks and built up a bulwark in the rear by entering into a peace treaty with one Super Power (USSR) and offering a hand of friendship to another Super Power (USA).

(f) We mobilised our defence forces and defence production.

(g) We planned our armed action in detail, in case of an attack.

(h) We showed utmost restraint, allowing the enemy to take a wrong step.

( They did this, as expected of the immature military hotheads then ruling Pakistan, by bombing our airfields facing West Pakistan.)

(i) When the time came, all the preparations made earlier, worked like clockwork. The valour of our armed forces and the Mukti Bahini (an irregular force of the nascent Bangladesh) and (most importantly), the massive support of the common people of Bangladesh gave us a magnificient victory.

As in this case, so also in our case, let us not react in a huff. Let us think over and chalk out a line of action, taking realities into account. Let us act in a determined, co-ordinated and tenacious way. Then, there is no reason why our Haldia Refinery cannot be built in time.