Muktijuddho / Sangram / Swadhinata Juddho (1971)

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.



  1. Reason for grievances
  2. 1970 General Election I: Sheikh Mujib's Awami League vs Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's PPP
  3. 1970 General Election II: Yahya's denial of 1970's election verdict

January 1971

  1. Oath of allegiance, "future Prime Minister Mujib", Larkana Conspiracy
  2. Bhutto arrives in Dhaka to negotiate a settlement


  1. Yahya postpones National Assembly, nationwide hartal
  2. Student movement intensifies, Jatiyo Potaka (Bangladesh flag) designed, Sheikh Mujib declines President Yahya's proposed Dhaka conference of 12 party leaders
  3. 'Butcher of Bengal' arrives
  4. "Ebarer sangram amader muktir sangram - ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram"
  5. West Pakistani friends
  6. Days leading up to war (Maulana Bhashani demands independence, West Pakistan prepare for war, foreign journalists whisked away, fight begins on cultural front)
  7. Last 10 days of East Pakistan I: President Yahya arrives, Maulana Bhashani's Swadhin Purbo Bangla Dibosh, 5-member enquiry committee
  8. Last 10 days of East Pakistan II: Bhutto arrives, "Pakistan Day" becomes "Resistance Day", Awami League propose "Confederation of Pakistan", moments before massacre
  9. Joydebpur - first mutiny of Bangladesh
  10. "We revolt!" of East Bengal Regiment (EBR)
  11. 'Operation Searchlight' commences genocide
  12. Dhaka University massacre I
  13. Dhaka University massacre II: Tales of the kaloratri
  14. Dhaka University massacre III: Massacre of intellectual commences
  15. Attack on East Pakistan Rifles (EPR)
  16. Ethnic cleansing of Bengali Hindus
  17. Killing spree during 'Operation Searchlight'
  18. First-ever international report on Dhaka atrocities as seen by a witness
  19. Declaration of Independence
  20. "Secessionist" accusation
  21. Dramatic escape by Tajuddin Ahmad and Barrister Amir-ul Islam


  1. 'Understanding' achieved with Indian PM Indira Gandhi, Soviet president Nikolai Podgorny demands safety of Sheikh Mujib
  2. Upto 10 million Bengali refugees flee to India
  3. Why didn't India intervene earlier?
  4. Non-cooperation of international bodies
  5. Common man's uprising squashed
  6. West Pakistani view of "gaddar" Bengalis
  7. 'Gonoprojontontri Bangladesh Sthayi Shorkar' (aka Mujibnagar Shorkar or Probashi Shorkar) I: First government of Bangladesh
  8. 'Gonoprojontontri Bangladesh Sthayi Shorkar' (aka Mujibnagar Shorkar or Probashi Shorkar) II: Momentous occasion, government-in-exile in Kolkata
  9. Bengali diplomats switch allegiance, 'Bangladesh Mission'
  10. UK mission, USA mission
  11. Bengali Ambassadors par excellence
  12. Worldwide resignation of diplomats
  13. Probashi campaign I: Hyde Park Rally
  14. Probashi campaign II: Bangladesh Action Committees
  15. Probashi campaign III: Bangladesh Women Association
  16. Probashi campaign IV: Trafalgar Square Rally
  17. Probashi campaign V: Bangladesh Information Center
  18. Probashi campaign VI: Various campaign in America, Japan and elsewhere
  19. Eleven (11) Sectors I
  20. Eleven (11) Sectors II: Sector Commanders of Bangladesh
  21. Bangladesh Sena Bahini (Defence Forces), Gono Bahini (People's Army)
  22. 'Mukti Bahini'
  23. Regional forces (Kaderia Bahini, Hemayet Bahini, etc)
  24. 'Mujib Bahini'
  25. First hospital of Bangladesh, 'Bangladesh Field Hospital' (aka Bangladesh Forces Hospital or Bangladesh Hospital), for wounded muktijuddhas
  26. Gono Juddho (People's War) I: Different sort of sacrifice, 'Tahader Juddho'
  27. Gono Juddho (People's War) II: "Aale hu disham le Swadinakada" - indigenous people's contribution to the Swadhinata Juddho
  28. Gono Juddho (People's War) III: Efforts to record People's War
  29. Razakars
  30. Women's role I: "Maa bonera osro dhoro, Bangladesh mukto koro!", Bengali women - sex toys for Pakistani Army and razakars
  31. Women's role II: 'Birangona'
  32. Women's role III: Women muktijuddha, 'Bangladesh Mahila Parishad'
  33. Bir Srestho
  34. Friends of Bangladesh I
  35. Friends of Bangladesh II
  36. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra I
  37. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra II: Daily programme, fundraising by Indian film celebrities
  38. Desh-premik & swadhinatar gaan (patriotic & independence songs) I
  39. Desh-premik & swadhinatar gaan (patriotic & independence songs) II
  40. Fight on the cultural front, 'Stop Genocide' film, painters' contribution


  1. First postage stamps of Bangladesh
  2. 'Swadhin Bangla Football Dal' - first football team of Bangladesh
  3. Capturing history I: Photographer's role during 1971
  4. Capturing history II: International photographers, both a fighter and photographer
  5. Capturing history III: Window into history
  6. Monsoon brings refugee deluge and muktijuddha regrouping, India aids Bangladesh


  1. Bangladesh Nu-bahini (Bangladesh Navy), 'Operation Jackpot'
  2. Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship negates Chinese threat
  3. Bangladesh Biman Bahini (Bangladesh Air Force or BAF)


  1. President Yahya in no mood to negotiate
  2. Indians turn to Mukti Bahini expertise to quicken campaign


  1. Indo-Pak War of 1971
  2. India and Bhutan become first two countries to recognise Bangladesh
  3. Mitro Bahini, major cities liberated by Mitro Bahini
  4. Days leading upto Victory I: Forces close into Dhaka, Government House bombed
  5. Days leading upto Victory II: Ceasefire, UN fail in peace treaty
  6. Massacre of Bengali intellectuals I
  7. Massacre of Bengali intellectuals II
  8. Victory
  9. Pakistani officers surrender throughout Bangladesh, President Yahya on the fall of East Pakistan
  10. Controversial absence of Colonel MAG Osmani
  11. Muktijuddhas accelerate victory
  12. Casualties
  13. Refugees return
  14. Was 3 million really killed?
  15. "3 million? No!!"
  16. "3 million? Yes!!"
  17. 3 million conclusion
  18. Bangladesh's long, unfulfilled journey in search of a Pakistani apology I
  19. Bangladesh's long, unfulfilled journey in search of a Pakistani apology II: "Joh huwa soh huwa...move on", Pakistani Mir Hamid, Imran Khan and Dawn newspaper plead government for formal apology


  1. West Pakistani reaction, Sheikh Mujib released
  2. 90,000+ Pakistani Prisoners of War, Treaty of Simla, Tripartite Agreement (1974)
  3. Hamoodur Rahman Commission
  4. 1974 Pakistan officially recognises Bangladesh, UN membership
  5. Jatiyo Smriti Shoudho
  6. Days of remembrance - Swadhinata Dibosh, Bijoy Dibosh, and Mujibnagar Dibosh, Muktijuddho Jadughar
  7. Shaheed Buddhijibi Smriti Shoudho
  8. 'Real' Muktijuddhas, bravery award
  9. Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK)
  10. Archiving Liberation War photos (Drik, photography books)
  11. 'Muktir Gaan' documentary


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.