Swadhinata Juddho (Bangladesh Independence War) - also known as 'Muktijuddho' (Bangladesh Liberation War) and 'Sangram' (War) - commenced on the night of 25 March 1971 when the West Pakistani Army massacred civilian in 'Operation Searchlight' in the streets of Dhaka after peace talks failed between Prime Minister-elect Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, President Yahya Khan and opposition leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. A nine-month violent warfare followed between the West Pakistani army and its collaborators, the Razakars, against the Bangladesh liberation army made up of defecting regular troops and its guerrilla warriors, the Mukti Bahini.

Victory was finally achieved on 16 December 1971 with the help of the Indian Army - but at a heavy cost. An estimated 3 million people died, over 200,000 women and girls were raped, 10 million refugees fled to neighbouring India and around 1,000 Bengali intellectuals were murdered.

Many heroes rose from all field of life amongst the 75 million population. But the real hero were - and still are - the ordinary people who sacrificed their lives to create Bangladesh with their blood.

Timeline of major events during Swadhinata Juddho of 1971:

  • (7 December 1970 - Awami League win landslide victory in National Assembly)
  • 3 January - Sheikh Mujib & co meet at Ramna Race Course and vow to implement six-point programme and 11-point charter
  • 27 January - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto arrives for 3-day talk with Sheikh Mujib
  • 13 February - President Yahya Khan announces National Assembly will meet in Dhaka on 3 March 1971
  • 15 February - Bhutto declares his party won't join Assembly until Awami League's six-point programme removed
  • 28 February - Bhutto threatens to boycott Dhaka session
  • 1 March - President Yahya Khan postpones Assembly meeting to 29 March 1971
  • 2 March - Students hoist new Bangladesh flag for the first time at Dhaka University
  • 3 March - Students declare "independence of Bangla Desh" at public meeting at Paltan Maidan, Dhaka
  • 3-7 March - 'Hartal' (national strike) imposed on East Pakistan by Awami League
  • 7 March - Sheikh Mujib's historic "Ebarer sangram" speech at Racecourse Ground (Suhrawardy Udyan), Dhaka
  • 9 March - Maulana Bashani pleads for independence at Paltan Maydan, Dhaka
  • 15 March - President Yahya arrives in Dhaka for resolution
  • 19 March - East Bengal regiments refuse to fire on fellow Bengali protesters
  • 21 March - Bhutto arrives in Dhaka for peace talks
  • 23 March - Sheikh Mujib hoist Bangladesh flag outside his Dhanmondi home on Pakistan's Independence Day
  • 25/26 March - Muktijuddho (Bangladesh Liberation War) commences at midnight of 25 March with 'Operation Searchlight' genocide
  • 26-27 March - Declaration of Independence by Sheikh Mujib & Ziaur Rahman via Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra
  • 26 March - Sheikh Mujib arrested and taken to jail in Rawalpindi, West Pakistan
  • 27 March - India's PM Indira Gandhi opens border to 10 million Bangladesh refugees
  • 10-17 April - Mujibnagar provisional government formed in Kolkata
  • 17 July - Bangladesh Army formed & country divided into 11 military sectors and assigned colonels
  • 16 August - 'Operation Jackpot' carried out by Mukti Bahini with training from Indian Army on Pakistani naval ships; Bangladesh Navy formed
  • 28 September - Bangladesh Biman Bahini (Air Force) formed
  • 3 December - India officially joins war after pre-emptive attacks by Pakistan on western borders. 'Mitro Bahini' (allied forces) of India & Bangladesh formed
  • 14 December - Massacre of Bengali intellectuals
  • 16 December - Victory Day. Pakistan surrenders, nine months war comes to an end. An estimated 3 million people died in Bangladesh.

Muktijuddho / Sangram / Swadhinata Juddho (1971) history

  1. Reason for grievances
  2. Yahya's denial of 1970's election verdict
  3. Oath of allegiance, "future Prime Minister Mujib", Larkana Conspiracy
  4. Bhutto arrives in Dhaka to negotiate a settlement
  5. Yahya postpones National Assembly, nationwide hartal
  6. Student movement intensifies, Jatiyo Potaka (Bangladesh flag) designed
  7. 'Butcher of Bengal' arrives
  8. "Ebarer sangram amader muktir sangram - ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram", West Pakistani friends
  9. Days leading up to war (Maulana Bhashani demands independence, West Pakistan prepare for war, foreign journalists whisked away, fight begins on cultural front)
  10. Last 10 days of East Pakistan (President Yahya arrives, Bhutto arrives, "Pakistan Day" becomes "Resistance Day", Awami League propose "Confederation of Pakistan", moments before massacre)
  11. Joydebpur - first mutiny of Bangladesh
  12. "We revolt!" of East Bengal Regiment (EBR)
  13. 'Operation Searchlight' commences genocide
  14. Dhaka University massacre
  15. Attack on East Pakistan Rifles (EPR), ethnic cleansing of Bengali Hindus
  16. First-ever international report on Dhaka atrocities as seen by a witness
  17. Declaration of Independence
  18. "Secessionist" accusation
  19. Upto 10 million Bengali refugees flee to India
  20. Why didn't India intervene earlier? Non-cooperation of international bodies
  21. Common man's uprising squashed
  22. West Pakistani view of "gaddar" Bengalis
  23. 'Mujibnagar Shorkar (Probashi Shorkar)' I: first government of Bangladesh
  24. 'Mujibnagar Shorkar (Probashi Shorkar)' II: momentous occasion, government-in-exile in Kolkata
  25. Bengali diplomats switch allegiance, 'Bangladesh Mission'
  26. UK mission, USA mission
  27. Bengali Ambassadors par excellence
  28. Worldwide resignation of diplomats
  29. Probashi campaign I: Hyde Park Rally
  30. Probashi campaign II: Bangladesh Action Committees
  31. Probashi campaign III: Bangladesh Women Association
  32. Probashi campaign IV: Trafalgar Square Rally
  33. Probashi campaign V: Bangladesh Information Center
  34. Probashi campaign VI: Various campaign in America, Japan and elsewhere
  35. Eleven (11) Sectors
  36. Bangladesh Sena Bahini (Defence Forces), Gono Bahini (People's Army)
  37. 'Mukti Bahini'
  38. Regional forces (Kaderia Bahini, Hemayet Bahini, etc)
  39. 'Mujib Bahini'
  40. First hospital of Bangladesh, 'Bangladesh Field Hospital' (aka Bangladesh Forces Hospital or Bangladesh Hospital), for wounded muktijuddhas
  41. Gono Juddho (People's War) I: different sort of sacrifice, 'Tahader Juddho'
  42. Gono Juddho (People's War) II: "Aale hu disham le Swadinakada" - indigenous people's contribution to the Swadhinata Juddho
  43. Gono Juddho (People's War) III: Efforts to record People's War
  44. Razakars
  45. Women's role I: "Maa bonera osro dhoro, Bangladesh mukto koro!", Bengali women - sex toys for Pakistani Army and razakars, 'Birangona'
  46. Women's role II: Women muktijuddha, 'Bangladesh Mahila Parishad'
  47. Bir Srestho
  48. Friends of Bangladesh I
  49. Friends of Bangladesh II
  50. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra
  51. Desh-premik & swadhinatar gaan (patriotic & independence songs) I
  52. Desh-premik & swadhinatar gaan (patriotic & independence songs) II
  53. Fight on the cultural front, 'Stop Genocide' film, painters' contribution
  54. First postage stamps of Bangladesh
  55. 'Swadhin Bangla Football Dal' - first football team of Bangladesh
  56. Capturing history I: photographer's role during 1971
  57. Capturing history II: International photographers, both a fighter and photographer
  58. Capturing history III: window into history
  59. Monsoon brings refugee deluge and muktijuddha regrouping, India aids Bangladesh
  60. Bangladesh Nu-bahini (Bangladesh Navy), 'Operation Jackpot'
  61. Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship negates Chinese threat
  62. Bangladesh Biman Bahini (Bangladesh Air Force or BAF)
  63. President Yahya in no mood to negotiate
  64. Indians turn to Mukti Bahini expertise to quicken campaign
  65. Indo-Pak War of 1971
  66. India and Bhutan become first two countries to recognise Bangladesh
  67. Mitro Bahini, major cities liberated by Mitro Bahini
  68. Days leading upto Victory I: forces close into Dhaka, Government House bombed
  69. Days leading upto Victory II: ceasefire, UN fail in peace treaty
  70. Massacre of Bengali intellectuals I
  71. Massacre of Bengali intellectuals II
  72. Victory
  73. Pakistani officers surrender throughout Bangladesh, President Yahya on the fall of East Pakistan
  74. Controversial absence of Colonel MAG Osmani
  75. Muktijuddhas accelerate victory
  76. Casualties
  77. Refugees return
  78. Was 3 million really killed?
  79. "3 million? No!!"
  80. "3 million? Yes!!"
  81. 3 million conclusion
  82. Bangladesh's long, unfulfilled journey in search of a Pakistani apology I
  83. Bangladesh's long, unfulfilled journey in search of a Pakistani apology II
  84. Aftermath I: West Pakistani reaction, Sheikh Mujib released
  85. Aftermath II: 90,000+ Pakistani Prisoners of War, Treaty of Simla, Tripartite Agreement (1974)
  86. Aftermath III: Hamoodur Rahman Commission
  87. Aftermath IV: 1974 Pakistan officially recognises Bangladesh, UN membership
  88. Aftermath V: Jatiyo Smriti Shoudho
  89. Aftermath VI: Days of remembrance - Swadhinata Dibosh, Bijoy Dibosh, and Mujibnagar Dibosh, Muktijuddho Jadughar
  90. Aftermath VII: Shaheed Buddhijibi Smriti Shoudho
  91. Aftermath VIII: 'Real' Muktijuddhas, bravery award
  92. Aftermath IX: Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK)
  93. Aftermath X: Archiving Liberation War photos (Drik, photography books)
  94. Aftermath XI: 'Muktir Gaan' documentary