Rakshanda Jalil and Debjani Sengupta (Eds.), Bangladesh: Writings on 1971, Across Borders

Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterBook Review
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
26(1) 127 –130, 2022
© 2022 Jadavpur University
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DOI: 10.1177/09735984221098513
Book Review
Rakshanda Jalil and Debjani Sengupta (Eds.), Bangladesh:
Writings on 1971, Across Borders. Hyderabad: Orient
Blackswan Private Limited. 2022, pp. 276., `875.00 (paperback).
ISBN 978-93-5442-212-6.
In the wake of Bangladesh’s 50th anniversary of Independence, the book
Bangladesh: Writings on 1971, Across Borders edited by Rakshanda
Jalil and Debjani Sengupta, may be regarded as a thoughtful tribute that
incisively captures the nation’s immensurable toil for acquiring
Independence. The book is an anthology of ‘memory texts’—essays,
fictions, and poems—written by some prolific literary figures from
Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. It pinpoints some of the most hard-
hitting ironies and contradictions that history had in offer at the birth of
the new nation—Bangladesh in 1971. By recounting the madness and
the mayhem of the bloody turmoil, through some of the most acerbic
real-life stories, by those who experienced it first-hand, or those who
attempted to enter the great tragedy by way of empathy and imagination,
the writers left it for the readers to make sense of the caustic history of
the birth of a nation.
The introductions briskly map the socio-historical context of the
Liberation War of 1971 and, while doing so, foregrounds some of the
innate dilemmas that continually rocked people’s mind who experienced
the cataclysmic and irrevocable upheaval. For the supporters of either
side, it was a real challenge to decide whether the Two-Nation Theory
was wrong to begin with? Whether Jinnah’s announcement of One-
Nation, One-People, One-Language was fatally flawed from its very
inception? Whether countries break up only through conspiracy theories,
or was there not a groundswell of popular opinion to propel a people’s

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