The courageous Pakistan army stand on the eastern front —Sarmila Bose

The author Sarmila Bose is the niece of Subhas Chandra Bose or Netaji of Indian National Army fame who fought against the British supporting the Japanese. He is considered as a great hero in Bengal and India.

There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971.But the answers don’t lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds in defence of the national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nation dishonours itself. My introduction to international politics was 1971, as a schoolgirl in Calcutta.

Many images from that year are still etched in my mind, but the culminating one was the photo on Ramna racecourse of two men sitting at a table — the smart, turbaned Sikh, ‘our’ war-hero, Jagjit Singh Aurora, and the largeman in a beret, A A K Niazi, commander of the other side, signing the instrument of surrender.

Nearly a generation later, a chance interview for the BBC with Lt Gen.Aurora took me back to 1971. The interview was not about 1971, but about injustices suffered by Sikhs at the hands of the state General Aurora had served.

I thought he was a bigger hero for what he had to say then. That view was reinforced as I read — with incredulity — the disparaging remarks by other Indian officers about him, and each other, in their books. If this is what happened to the winning commander, I wondered what had happened to the other man in the photo. The result was a revelation. It turns out that General Niazi has been my ‘enemy’ since the Second World War.

As Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army fought on the Burma front in 1943-45 in their quest for India’s freedom, Niazi was fighting on the other side, for the British Indian Army, under the overall command of General (later Field Marshal) William Joseph Slim. Slim and his 14th Army halted the advance of the INA and the Japanese at the Imphal campaign and turned the course of the war.

In the process of inflicting military defeat upon my ancestor, Niazi’s performance was so exceptional that the British awarded him an on-the-spot Military Cross for action on the Assam-Burma front in June 1944.

On another occasion they wanted to award a DSO, but he was too junior, so a Mention in Despatches was recorded. In the original record of his MC signed by his commanding officers all the way up to Slim, which I obtained from the British Ministry of Defence, the British commanders describe Niazi’s gallantry in detail: “He organized the attack with such skill that his leading platoon succeeded in achieving complete surprise over the enemy.” They speak of how he personally led his men, the ‘great skill and coolness’ under fire with which he changed tactics with changing circumstances, created diversionary attacks, extricated his wounded, defeated the enemy and withdrew his men by section, remaining personally at the rear in every case.

The British honoured Niazi for “personal leadership, bravery and complete disregard for his own personal safety.” On 15 December 1944 the Viceroy Lord Wavell flew to Imphal and in the presence of Lord Mountbatten knighted Slim and his corps commanders Stopford, Scoones and Christison. Only two ‘Indian’ officers were chosen to be decorated by the Viceroy at that ceremony — ‘Tiger’ Niazi was one of them. In 1971 Niazi was a highly decorated Pakistani general, twice receiving theHilal-e-Jurat.

He was sent to East Pakistan in April 1971 — part of a sorry tradition in South Asia of political rulers attempting to find military solutions to political problems. By then Tikka Khan had already launched the crackdown of 25 March for which he has been known to Bengalis as the ‘butcher of Bengal ’ ever since. The population of East Bengal was completely hostile and Pakistan condemned around the world.

Authoritative scholarly analyses of 1971 are rare. The best work is Richard Sisson and Leo Rose’s War and Secession. Robert Jackson, fellow of All Soul’s College, Oxford, wrote an account shortly after the events. Most of the principal participants did not write about it, a notable exception being Gen. Niazi’s recent memoirs (1998). Some Indian officers have written books of uneven quality — they make for an embarrassing read for what the Indians have to say about one another.

However, a consistent picture emerges from the more objective accounts of the war. Sisson and Rose describe how India started assisting Bengali rebels since April, but “the Muktib Bahini had not been able to prevent the Pakistani armyfrom regaining control over all the major urban centers on the East Pakistani-Indian border and even establishing a tenuous authority in
most of the rural areas.”

From July to October there was direct involvement of Indian military personnel. “…mid-October to 20 November… Indian
artillery was used much more extensively in support …and Indian military forces, including tanks and  air power on a few occasions, were also used…Indian units were withdrawn to Indian territory once their objectives had been brought under the control of the Mukti Bahini — though at times this was only for short periods, as, to the irritation of the Indians, the Mukti Bahini forces rarely held their ground when the Pakistani army launched a counterattack.” Clearly, the Pakistani army regained East Pakistan for their masters in

Islamabad by April-May, creating an opportunity for a political settlement, and held off both Bengali guerrillas and their Indian supporters till November, buying more time — time and opportunity that Pakistan ’s rulers and politicians failed to utilise.

Contrary to Indian reports, full-scale war between India and Pakistan started in East Bengal on 21 November, making it a four-week war rather than a ‘lightning campaign’. Sisson and Rose state bluntly: “After the night of 21 November…Indian forces did not withdraw. From 21 to 25 November several Indian army divisions…launched simultaneous military actions on all of the key border regions of East Pakistan , and from all directions, with both armored and air support.” Indian officers like Sukhwant Singh and Lachhman Singh write quite openly in their books about India invading East Pakistani territory inNovember,which they knew was ‘an act of war’. None of the outside scholars expected the Eastern garrison to withstand a full Indian invasion.

On the contrary, Pakistan ’s longstanding strategy was “the defense of the east is in the west”. Jackson writes, “Pakistani
forces had largely withdrawn from scattered border-protection duties into cleverly fortified defensive positions at the major centres inside thefrontiers, where they held all the major ‘place names’ against Mukti Bahini attacks, and blocked the routes of entry from India…”

Sisson and Rose point out the incongruity of Islamabad tolerating India’s invasion of East Pakistani territory in November. On 30 November Niazi received a message from General Hamid stating,

“The whole nation is proud of you and you have their full support.” The same day Islamabad decided to launch an attack in the West on 2 December, later postponed to 3 December, after a two-week wait,but did not inform the Eastern command about it. According to Jackson,the Western offensive was frustrated by 10 December.Though futile, the Western offensive allowed India to openly invade the East,with overwhelming advantages. “ …despite all these advantages, the war did not go as smoothly and easily for the Indian army…”, but Sisson andRose come to the balanced judgment that “The Pakistanis fought hard and well;

the Indian army won an impressive victory.” Even Indian officers concede the personal bravery of Niazi and the spirited fight put up by the Pakistanis in the East. That the troops fought so well against such overwhelming odds is a credit both to them,and to their commanders, for an army does not fight well in the absence of good leadership.

However, as Jackson put it, “… India ’s success was inevitable from the momentthe general war broke out — unless diplomatic intervention couldfrustrate it.” As is well known, Pakistan failed to secure military or diplomatic intervention.Sisson and Rose also say, “The outcome of the conflict on the eastern front after 6 December was not in doubt, as the Indian military had all the
advantages.” On 14 December Niazi received the following message fromYahya Khan: “You have fought a heroic battle against  overwhelming odds. The nation is proud of you …

You have now reached a stage where further resistance is no longer humanly possible nor will it serve any useful purpose…

You should now take all necessary measures to stop the fighting and preserve the lives of armed forces personnel, all those from West Pakistan and all loyal elements…”Sisson and Rose naturally describe this message as “implying that the armed forces in East Pakistan should surrender”.
No matter how traumatic the outcome of 1971 for Pakistan , the Eastern command did not create the conflict, nor were they responsible for the failure of the political and diplomatic process. Sent to do the dirty work of the political manoeuvrers, the fighting men seem to have performed remarkably wellagainst overwhelming odds. It is shocking therefore to discover that they were not received with honour by their nation on their return. Their commander, Niazi, appears to have been singled out, along with one aide, to be punished arbitrarily with dismissal and denial of pension, without being given the basic right to defend himself through a court-martial, which he asked for. The commission set up allegedly to examine what had happened in 1971 was too flawed in its terms of reference and report to have any international credibility.

However, even its recommendations of holding public trials and court-martials were ignored. There is much for Pakistan to come to
terms with what happened in 1971. But the answers don’t lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds indefence of the national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nationdishonours itself.

Sarmila Bose is Assistant Editor, Ananda Bazar Patrika, India & Visiting Scholar, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington
University

64 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

64 responses to “The courageous Pakistan army stand on the eastern front —Sarmila Bose

  1. amar

    Sarmila bose has no word about the rapes etc. committed by the “brave” pak soldiers to “improve” her bengali race. Nothing about the mass-killing of bengali intellectuals by the eastern pak army, instead she writes: “…the Eastern command did not create the conflict…”

    The eastern pak soldiers fought bravely in order to escape accountability for the crimes done by them.

    When a criminal is cornered by the police then he can put up a hell of a lot of “bravery”. And you do know why he does it, why he has to.

  2. libertarian

    Sarmila Bose is whoring her tenuous connection to Subhash Chandra Bose to promote her tenuous non-peer-reviewed thesis. Not clear why else her account creates this hoopla – she’s just an undistinguished troll without the famous connection.

  3. So far we have heard the official Indian view point on events of 1971 as Western journalists were barred from reporting by Pakistan (which did them more harm than good as Indian got a chance to report events which suited it – the same way Allies did in WW-II).

    This analysis by the writer gives another insight to the readers. May be one day more material is available through such independent writers to complete the incomplete jigsaw puzzle.
    For my Indian friends commenting above, let us not comment on the data provided by Indian sources or by the West, which was orchasterated by the offical Indian media reporting. Let us viw events with open mind and let us not take such writings as an excuse for Pakistan bashing.

    (I know my comments will lead to yet another discussion as it did on aprevious post.)

  4. Watty

    @libertarian

    Sarmila Bose’s account of 1971 does come across as being credible based on the references she cites. If my recollection is correct India at that time also justified crossing the international border to solve the problem of a vast numbers of East Bengali refugees that were fleeing to India for safety. Pakistan’s attack on the western front seems to have been a massive blunder since it facilitated India to finish the job in the east.

    Despite all the huff and puff image the Pakistani Army projects it has very little to show in terms of achievement for the Pakistani nation other than an unbroken record of failed strategic thinking.

    Pakistan continues to pay a heavy price for its Punjabi dominated Army’s obsessive aversion to India.

  5. Hayyer

    Gen. Niazi may have been a brave Captain, but his behaviour as documented by the Hamood ur Rahman Commission is at variance with the article above.

  6. nourdu

    Another empty headed Bengali psuedo intellectual who wants to get some limelight where none exists. Anyone who has gone to Calcutta can swear that every Bengali sees themselves nothing less than the Rabindranath Tagore and Amartya Sen. I see so many of them everyday that it is nauseating to even hear the mention of them. It is no wonder West Bengal is one of the worst governed and poorest states of India. No one to work there, they just want to talk the whole day but without doing anything useful.

  7. no-communal

    @nourdu

    If you can see beyond the knowledge of wikipedia variety, W.B. still is the third largest economy in our country.

    While this is no place for Indian inter state squabbling, let me ask you, how many farmers’ suicides, riots, and Rs. 3000 crore scams in your area lately?

  8. Straight-Talk

    Except in PTH nobody knows who is this lady, not even in her country India. Even Raza Rumi required an introduction and to illustrate her connection to substantiate her claim.

    Now for an army, I want to say that soldiers comes from your own society and what happened in society also affects him. Soldiers are like common man with family, which comprises father, mother, wife and children including his own young daughters . He also fears to his wife as every other married men. His wife keeps track on his daily routine and activities more than that of his organization.

    Now tell me, how a person who never raises his head to look around the girls, out of the blue moon, goes one day and shows his caliber of biological superiority and performs the heroic act of mass rapes. Even your dear part can not help in that act. I’m asking you a married men, how many of you if permitted will go and rape a girl. It is not so easy as told, whether a Pakistani soldiers in Bangladesh or an Indian soldier in Kashmir.

    Now days there is a concept called total war, and in this war the vilification of opposite and demoralizing the soldiers are one of strategy. So don’t give much credibility of what other says.

    A soldier fears to his boss so much that he can not dare to deny his orders and when that order comes he goes to battle ground shows the exemplary courage against all odds amid ear blasting sounds of bombs and bullets, splattering dead bodies of his colleagues, killing, fighting, a total mayhem around him and eventually either he wins the battle or martyred in the field. All above things he can do with ease and comfort but not a rape of girl.

    And at the last, a soldier is taught in training, how to fight with an enemy, not how to fight with a lady in the bed. So please not blame a poor, under paid, 10th pass soldier of South Asia. He only follows the order of his superior, a superior (officers) deeply westernized and anglicized, party going, merry making, overly paid, possessing immense power with absolutely no responsibility. In south Asia the English culture still entrenched among officers class

    Common soldiers generally comes from a poor back ground with back breaking responsibility of extended family who have a high hopes from him, can he be made responsible for the acts of his bosses, even they, the bosses follow the orders of their superior or civilian government of that day.

  9. no-communal

    While it’s not clear why the soldiers are vilified in Pakistan, the following is a documented fact: Just 2 days before the eastern command was due to surrender, they picked up more than 200 of East Pakistan’s intellectuals and summarily executed them. Was this part of the battle plan ?

    I recently came across a 1971 laudatory article on Yahya Khan in the Time magazine. About East Pakistan it says, “…the Bengalis, whom he (Yahya Khan) reportedly calls macchar —Urdu for mosquitoes…”. So much for political settlement before the war.

  10. no-communal

    By the way, turns out Sarmila Bose is a grand daughter of one Nirad C. Chaudhury (from mother’s side). Seems like she is following this illustrious predecessor, not the other one.

  11. Puzzled Indian

    This is an interesting article to read, written by an academic with credentials. The title of the article is a courageous stand by a courageous commanding officer.

    I was able to glean the following information from it:

    1. General Arora was badly treated by India but let us not talk about it

    2. I am Netaji’s descendant and General Niazi fought against the INA in WWII as a young officer

    3. Gen. Niazi was brave and decorated as a young officer
    4. Richard Sisson and Leo Rose (and Gen. Niazi too) wrote credible accounts of the 1971 War but Indian accounts are an embarrassment to read

    5. War started on Nov 21st and not on Dec 3rd. hence the defense of Dacca took a lot longer (Here the Indian accounts are credible to read)

    6. The Pakistanis army in the West that failed General Niazi

    7. Yahya Khan was proud of General Niazi

    8. No actual major defensive battles took place (or I don’t want to talk about it) but General Niazi fought bravely and surrendered even more bravely.

    9. India’s victory was no big deal.

    10. General Niazi was not to blame for anything

    11. Pakistan has not honored General Niazi enough

    Am I missing something?

  12. Girish

    A rare Pakistani eyewitness accounts to the events leading up to Dec 16, 1971 is the book “Witness to Surrender” by Siddiq Salik. It was originally written in Urdu, but its English translation is widely available. It is hardly a non-partisan account – Salik was a Pakistan Army officer himself and served in Niazi’s office. However, it is still a pretty detached account, written largely during his incarceration in India as a prisoner of war, with the wisdom that comes with hindsight.

    The book documents how the events of 1971 were full of blunders – acts of commission and acts of omission that led to one of the worst genocides since the second World War. It was the first instance since Nazi Germany where an official Government attempted complete ethnic cleansing of an entire community – the Hindus were blamed for the separatism of the Bengalis and hence a decision was taken that East Pakistan had to be completely cleansed of Hindus in order to wrest back control over the minds of the Bengalis. This was achieved in practice as well – almost every single Hindu in the East was a refugee if he/she had not been killed. There was an orchestrated use of rape as a means to terrorize and subjugate the population. Intellectuals – Hindus and Muslims alike – were again seen as a corrupting influence that had to be eliminated or driven out of the country. Defenceless civilians of all communities, who were thought to have allegiance to the Awami League or worse still the Mukti Bahini were killed without trial.

    Yes, many Pakistani soldiers fought during the war bravely. Many Indian writers, including senior generals leading the war have written about the gallantry of individual soldiers on the Pakistani side. However, as a force, the Pakistani army can hardly be credited with bravery in 1971. An army that committed genocide and ethnic cleansing on a monumental scale can hardly be considered brave. Perhaps people lower down the ranks were just following orders (though a brave soldier would disobey orders to rape a woman). But the institution as a whole demonstrated cowardice, hatred and a complete absence of humanity.

    One other point to note is that 1971 marked a turning point in the history of the Pakistan Army. Until then, while it had occasionally invoked Islamist causes and had been racist (e.g. the one Muslim equals ten Hindus theory of Ayub Khan in 1965), it was in 1971 that it started overtly allying with Islamist organizations, such as the Al Badr and Al Shams and Jamaat e Islami in East Pakistan. Funnily enough, this alliance happened at a time when the officers of the Pakistan army were still the whisky swilling, womanizing kind they had been since independence. But it did not take long for this alliance of convenience to become the centerpiece of Pakistan Army policy. Pakistan and the world are still paying the price for this alliance.

  13. no-communal

    @Puzzled Indian

    No, you are not missing anything as far as this article is concerned. However, Ms. Bose has said before, following the glorious footsteps of grandfather N. C. Chaudhury, that the allegations of mass killing and other casualties inflicted on the Bangladeshis are largely false.

    This article is just a part of that disingenuous contrarian grand narrative in the guise of an intellectual argument.

  14. Just to clarify: this article was sent via email by a regular reader. There is no hidden motive to establish anything here. Just to have an alternative view posted for discussion. Of course, the comments show that many of you are intrigued by the piece.
    Some of the friends here esp from India (or of Indian origin) should desist from the opportunity to indulge in the easy, lazy game of Pakistan bashing.
    Thanks

  15. Bade Miyan

    “Sarmila Bose is a grand daughter of one Nirad C. Chaudhury (from mother’s side). Seems like she is following this illustrious predecessor, not the other one.”

    NC,
    Touche! You don’t let an opportunity slip by, do you? Btw, I am half way through “The Autobiography…”. The book has its merits, but it’s quite scattered.

  16. gandhi

    Pakistan is Anglo creation and Sarmila is a good catch, since she is supposed to be Netaji’s niece whom they killed or did not allow him to come back to India.

    Whom are Anglos fooling when they had close to 2Million Indian British army to stop massacres of innocent Hindu & Sikhs in Punjab and Bengal. They will use sold out Sarmilas to keep Islamiyat alive in Bangladesh so that it does not merge with India. Wake up O oppressed and enslaved sub-continentals.!

  17. Hayyer

    non-communal:
    She is SC Bose’s niece and NC Chaudhuri’s grand daughter- Grave defects of character are they not? Is that all you are left to argue with? It reminds me of the wolf and the lamb drinking water downstream.

  18. Samachar

    The author of the CHUP! – Changing Up Pakistan blog writes:

    “5. Sarmila Bose was a former professor of mine, and believe me I know how tilted her work was first hand. Don’t you dare quote her to me.”

  19. no-communal

    CM
    “Touche! You don’t let an opportunity slip by, do you? Btw, I am half way through “The Autobiography…”. The book has its merits, but it’s quite scattered.”

    The problem is these scholars take a contrarian view for name and fame. Some other well-meaning folks, like Mr. Puniyani, largely bluff their readers. Good natured as it is, this does not help anybody. The comments should not be seen as vilifying Pakistan. It was one act of the army, not Pakistanis themselves, at a desperate time of breaking apart. It’s like discussing Abu Ghraib. Pakistanis and Indians are very similar people. Our bigots are no better than their bigots.

  20. no-communal

    Hayyer

    She is not Bose’s niece. She is the daughter of Sisir Bose, who was Subhas Bose’s nephew.

  21. Puzzled Indian

    Mr. Hayyer has a point; the author’s antecedents are irrelevant here though her article seems very weak.

    I commented only because I found it interesting that someone labeled an academic chose to write an article by first mentioning her own famous relative and then an opinionated piece with very little in the way of evidence.

    I have read her mention elsewhere that the PA could not have raped as many women in BD in 1971 because there were only 35000 soldiers in BD then. Didn’t an army of some 90,000 surrender then? Is there another explanation for this discrepancy?

    Also, does anyone have any figures for the total number of fighting men involved on each side in the Eastern sector?

  22. Girish

    Not all 90,000 were soldiers.

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  24. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    Oh yeah Puniyani! He is widely quoted by Jawed Naqvi..

  25. razu rumi

    get real, are we to beleive that the million of refugees who came to india, and many who are still in india, came over picnic?

    thousands of unmarried girls gave birth to childre who were sent to west for adoption, mother thressa charity was one of the NGO hellping this little girls, are we to beleive the children were born of virgin women,

    i would advise u to go to bamgaldesh and meet the people npw and tell them the paki army were displined and acted like gentlement
    i would not bet a dime on ur life

    u are actully insulting the scores of women raped ny calling them a liar, and million of men killed

    pls read an accout of a pakistni journalist send to cover the war, and who later went to the west, he was the one who published the atrocities of the pak army his name was if i remmember correctly anthony mascrenhas, a christian guy, just google and u will find it

    and regarding bose he was no great , admit he had courage, but he hardly achived anything, baghat singh achived more he put the fear of god in the english, as they realised what could happen if indians too to terrorism

    even the german did not take bose seriously when he asked them to invade and over throw the broitish in india,with his INA army

    pls ivestigate before u publish such articles

    thanks

  26. no-communal

    You should really work on spelling before starting your own blog.

  27. its the typing on the keyboard, always punch the wrong key, as not used to typing,
    and its late here so a bit dopey too

  28. Junaid

    @Rich

    I fully agree with you. That fact that Mr Niazi was a very brave soldier does not justify the rapes and murders committed by his soldiers who were under his command.

    Publishing this article is very similar to publishing articles praising Taliban who at least are not involved in rapes.

  29. Rashid Aurakzai

    Does bravery entails scruples?

    Niazi; Tolstoy’s Rasputin?

  30. Ayyaz Mallick

    Sarmila Bose is an expert on South Asian affairs in the Department of Politics at Oxford. She has carried out extensive research on each and every claim of human rights abuse by the Pakistan Army during the 1971 saga and her book detailing her controversial (and alternative) findings is coming out soon.

    Knowing her personally, I have to say that allegations accusing her of using her uncle’s name to gain popularity/undue attention or being a pseudo-intellectual are totally false. Sarmila is a very serious intellectual and a totally unpretentious lady who commands enormous respect among her peers at Oxford. I would request the readers to please desist from such unwise labelling.

  31. @Ayyaz Mallick [November 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm]

    I was astonished to read your comment. It is misleading and tendentious to say the least. If you have been following this lady’s work, she makes statements and declares as settled fact all kinds of surmise and conjecture. This is typical of her style. Most of these are unsupported; there is only a flimsy effort at substantiation. As a result, again, in a manner that has become her typical response, under any kind of questioning or peer review, she retreats at a rapid pace. This is for the occasion; the same surmises and conjectures are promptly repeated at the nearest opportunity that arises next.

    Various remarks have been made about her antecedents. These are in poor taste, as Hayyer has already pointed out. However, it is difficult to blame those quick to bring in the personal element because they are slow in their analytical abilities for the simple reason that the lady herself has traded on her second-generation connection to Netaji in quite blatant ways.

    Between your misplaced chivalry and the boorish ignorance of Straight-Talk [November 17, 2010 at 8:49 pm], who says “Except in PTH nobody knows who is this lady, not even in her country India. Even Raza Rumi required an introduction and to illustrate her connection to substantiate her claim….”, she has been left with ample room for manoeuvre.

    The fact is that she is well-known in academic circles, and is what is known as a one-trick pony, the trick in question being a startling, revisionist view of the Pakistan Army’s role and of the numbers of dead and raped in East Pakistan in the period under question. The rest of her work is risible.

    As for the facts, it is well known in Pakistan that all Indians, and doubly so Hindu Indians are mendacious and sinister conspirators with only one end in mind – the destruction, first, of Pakistan, thereafter, of the entire culture formed around a noble religion that is unfairly vilified around the world by those who should know better. For such Pakistani friends, my advice is to ask a Bangladeshi; preferably one who was alive in those days of terror and darkness. Forget what these Indian schmucks say; go to the source. And after such an enquiry, those who are observant may pray for forgiveness: a lifetime of prayer is too little. I have no suggestions for those who, like myself, are agnostic.

    I am very sad, deeply distressed, in fact, that PTH printed this garbage.

  32. no-communal

    Thank you, Vajra, for the timely intervention. Hayyer Sb. has already expressed his opinion. I was earnestly waiting for yours.

    Nowadays people can provide all sorts of “evidence”. It’s not difficult to dig up “evidence” that the Earth is flat, or humans never landed on the Moon. That’s what Ms. Bose seems to be doing with an earnestness resembling that of a self-important peacock.

  33. Sardar KHAN

    Vajra,
    If you feel so bad about the praise of Pakistani Army in East Pakistan,why don’t you read the article with open eyes and mind to get the actual theme of the article?Why don’t you talk to the Beharies and Bengalis who came to Pakistan to escape the torture and killings by the mukti bahani in East Pakistan.See the killings,rape and butchery is commited by the ocupying Terrorist army of your so called democrate country (india)?
    Or you are the same indians,who are blinded by the propagand of External & Internal ministries dash out to your so called free press(who are prohibited to tell the truth)?
    Truth will prevail in the end.Indians have never accepted the Freedom of Pakistan from the hindu samraj.Remember this for ever “We rather die than living as slaves of hindu samraj.”

  34. amar

    to sardar khan

    You have not escaped any imperialism. hindus never tried any samraj. it is the muslims who are doing it and you are the slave under them now.

    In the hindu muslim conflict the hindu is the defender and the muslim the agent and quisling of the alien invaders.
    mukti bahini too only retaliated against what the west pakistanis and biharis had started against the bangalis.

    Pakistan’s freedom comes only after the alien arabic religion is reduced.

  35. androidguy

    @Sardar Khan “We rather die than living as slaves of hindu samraj”,

    You people are dying, day in and day out anyway. So keep dying. If “accepting freedom of Pakistan from hindu samraj” is to give up Kashmir in a platter, and let bengalis get raped by your wheat-eating army, then sorry, no can do! We Indians accept Pakistan as a country, and we wish it to be prosperous and AT PEACE WITH ITSELF AND THE WORLD. Vajpayee said so at Minar-i-Pakistan, Manmohan Singh said so a few days back. Enough said, now go stew in your madrassa and grow your beard longer.

  36. Chote Miyan

    Thanks, Vajra.

  37. MilesToGo

    Why doesn’t Pakistan re-unite with Bangladesh?

  38. Probyn

    @ vajra..

    Not wanting to challenge your over all view here and without defending the indefensible; unspeakable atrocities by mukti’s does merit quick mention..

    @ chote mian/amar/android/ general RSS crowd

    this used to be a nice place before you showed up..
    Chap at the door knew your name, members gave you a nod as you came in, food was good, watching some of the older crowd duke it out over a game of chess with a young prodigy was always good, bearer knew what to get you, marker knew your tennis timings on Tuesday…. Get the picture I assume?
    Why f**k it up? Why take a piss at the gates…
    There are obviously more of you than there are of us so why f**kin bother? What is there to gain? You should be secure knowing that no one listens to us…
    Unless, and this just came to me,
    you lot are scared shitless that someone might Start listening to us and thus stop listening to you..
    Don’t answer the question: truth is you guys are just scared that’s all. I don’t feel so bad anymore. I can explain you lot away now🙂
    poor things…. I guess it’s okay to go a little bat shit insane when fear is hunting you like an idiot hunts embaressment.
    As you were chaps…as you were…

    ( lal khan: the usual please)

  39. @Sardar KHAN [November 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm]

    Vajra,
    If you feel so bad about the praise of Pakistani Army in East Pakistan,why don’t you read the article with open eyes and mind to get the actual theme of the article?

    I have no doubt that elements and units of the Pakistan Army fought bravely and well, and that individual officers behaved with dignity and honour. As a student of military history and an ardent admirer of one brilliant analyst in particular, who happens to be of Pakistani origin, I am well aware of the brilliant defensive action fought by 205 Brigade under Brigadier (later Major General) Tajammul Hussain Mallik, against .

    Sadly, you have read my comment with your Indian filter on and operational. My comment was in response to the earlier one by Ayyaz Mallick, which exaggerated and distorted the academic role and standing of the author; the first four paragraphs, it may have accidentally escaped your notice, were in fact solely about this mistaken representation, not about either the article or the Pakistan Army.

    For the rest of your comment, there were authenticated reports of excesses committed during the conflict and after the conflict by the guerrilla army of the Bangladeshis, as a result of which elements of the Pakistan Army were taken into protection in numerous places. Brigadier Mallik himself was captured, tortured and finally handed over in very bad shape to the Indian Army, and received medical treatment there. It is noteworthy that except for hysterical idiots like Zaid Hamid, there have been no claims of unsoldierly behaviour on the part of the Indian Army by anybody.

    Since you are apparently concerned with the reputation and performance of the Pakistan Army, the following excerpt may be edifying:

    Lastly a piece of advice – Pakistan Army should learn from the ‘adverse remarks’ passed a few years back by Ex-Chief of Indian Army General Joshi, while giving a TV interview, it should wind up all its welfare projects like bakery and vegetable shops, let this aspect be looked after (presently poorly managed) CSD shops. Extricate all its combat manpower committed on such unprofessional venture – ‘GOLF COURSES’ are very much inclusive, ruthlessly curb the VVIP/VIP legacy of General Zia and go in for a real austerity drive.

    The author is Col. G. H. Niaz, PA (ret.), writing in the Pakistan Defence Journal.

    It is not possible to comment in any sensible or rational way on your last sentence. Presumably seeking a sensible or rational response was never a particularly important objective.

  40. androidguy

    Probyn, kindly desist from clubbing me with that insufferable amar or the RSS crowd…I have a scar down my right arm fighting with the Shiv Sena goondas….and if the place aint to your liking anymore, hey you can always leave….its not exactly Hotel California, is it?

    Also,what is there to listen to you? YLH, Raza Rumi, Tilsim, PMA, Vajra, Hayyer et al they have something to say…all you do is get personal, and comment about how ill-bred I am! If you bring something constructive to the debate, I atleast will listen.

  41. Corrigendum:

    “…the brilliant defensive action fought by 205 Brigade under Brigadier (later Major General) Tajammul Hussain Mallik, against…” 202 Brigade and other elements of the Indian Army 20th Mtn. Div.

    @Probyn

    Et tu, Brute?

    I was talking about the poison peddled by Tokyo Rose, aka Sarmila Bose, not about the Pakistan Army. All of us know what happened to soldiers or airmen who fell into the hands of the Mukti Bahini. Take Tajammal Hussain Mallik himself; two arms broken, head fractured, before being handed over to an Indian Army field hospital.

    It was a horrible war. We have to go back to the Spanish guerrilla campaign against Napoleon’s Marshals to find a similar example.

    That was not the point I was making; the point was that Sarmila Bose peddles a particular line, her speciality, which is a coin with two sides. One side is that actually, there was nothing like a massacre in East Pakistan; the other side is that actually, there were no rapes – not really – in East Pakistan.

    Try this on a Bangladeshi and see what happens. I suggest you give yourself a reasonable lead over the chap, and a flat, smooth exit track. Getting some people to hold him down would be useful.

    And while you’re at it, make mine a pink gin, please.

  42. Probyn

    @vajra

    sir I wouldn’t try this on a Bangladeshi without aknowledging all that needs to be.
    However I would also like an aknowledgment of the raping and pillaging done by the mukti’s that’s all. I know quite a few non combatants who fared terribly.
    It didn’t mean anything deeper. If I am made head if state tomorrow id render an apology for our conduct. For our own sakes. I would then expect one from the other side as well. It may
    not come but id expect it because it us what id do.

  43. Probyn

    @android

    I wouldn’t be clubbing you in with the other vermin
    if I didn’t catch you talking similarly. There are plenty others who have the same
    opinion. We have spoken of it and yes, you are clubbed in with them.

    And while this is no hotel California; Ive been lurking around here before you I believe. So why should I leave?
    As for the ill bred part: well where I come from
    you’d definitely be qualified as such.

    The other contributors that you have mentioned are the ones I come here to read. My own input has dropped quite a bit due to personal commitments. However it is another thing that to get up and take a piss at you lot is simply something else…

    I’m all about the simple pleasures in
    life…

  44. Sa'ad Abbasi

    Subhash Chandra Bose is not only respected in India and Bengal, he is equally respected by Pakistanis who know him. Two of the highest ranking INA officers and Netaji’s confidants; Shah Nawaz Khan and A. Z Kayani came from Potohar where their name is still revered!

  45. androidguy

    @Probyn, pray, tell me what have I wrote that you find so objectionable to cast me with the vermins….

  46. Toxic Pus

    @Vajra

    Why this self-exile from PakDef.

    This article has been posted at PakDef in History section, and there is a debate going on (if you can call it a debate). You might want to take peek.

    Btw, you are missed there.

  47. @Probyn

    Your 4:01 post. Right on the nail. I’d do exactly the same too, and I’d be confident of getting a warm response back. East Bengalis are like that; shove them, they shove back, reach out to them with warmth and affection, and they’ll die for you.

    @Toxic Pus

    I’ve been spoilt by PTH and ATP. These are my kinds of people, people whom I could invite home or to my club without a second thought. There are some of a serious and sober nature whom I would not dare to invite to a club, but would certainly ask home to meet some of my friends who have greater moral standing than I do. By and large, people with whom I could well disagree, amiably and cordially, I over my mug of draught, they over their chosen potion, with no intention to kill each other. Above all, they are quite incredibly fair, considering the ghastly history of relations between our countries.

    Except for sparkling water (I forget his exact nick, but he often quotes PTH and Yasser in particular), and the young lady of liberal views, whom the Zaid Hamid clones keep hounding in a pack, there’s nobody like that among the moderators or so-called think tank at PDF that I’d like to know. They are closer than they think to the creatures from the black lagoon at Bharat Rakshak, except that the technical standards and quality of information at Bharat Rakshak are far superior. Fatman not counted in the incompetents, of course, nor the sprinkling of genuine faujis who exist there, who clearly know what they are talking about. Otherwise their rabid bias shows up in every post. I feel sorry for the Indians who go there and get insulted in season and out of season for their pains, and are treated so openly like vermin. However, I do miss my Chinese friends, who are so calm and rational.

    Does that answer your question, at least in part?

  48. no-communal

    Ms. Sarmila Bose shamefully invokes Subhash Chandra Bose quite a few times in her analysis, not only just this one, but in her entire disgraceful effort of denying the terrible pain and loss the Bangladeshis suffered in 1971. As an indian Bengali who has deep emotional connection to both Subhash Bose and the Bangladeshis, let me make it quite clear that Sarmila Bose is NOT the niece of Subhas Bose as the introduction to this article claims. She is the daughter of Bose’s nephew Sisir Bose; in other words, is connected from her father’s side to this great, albeit misguided, hero of our freedom struggle.

    As a leading luminary of the late Bengal renaissance, whose brother at one point contemplated a sovereign Bengal, Subhash Bose would probably have been the first person to condemn the terrible atrocities inflicted on the Bangladeshis.

    Many others have sullied Bose’s name. Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam, for example, considers him a hero.

  49. @no-communal

    Toxic Pus has referred to a debate on this same article going on at PDF. You might like to take a look at it. The posts by Abir and Pagla Dashu are outstanding, especially the later posts; the posts by Agnostic Muslim should explain why I don’t go there very often any more.

    It is intriguing that very often, Ms. Bose is cited as an historian, and a member of the Bose family of which Subhas Bose was a prominent son. Now if I stand up and report my findings to a crowd of reporters, or to one reporter, and my name happens to be Ghosh, no reporter bothers to ask, “Any relation to Aurobindo?” It isn’t natural. So it makes me wonder why each and every reporter who mentioned that she belongs to the Bose family got it in their mind to mention this fact.

    It is also intriguing that this article should suddenly start flying through the ether in all directions, but mainly in the direction of Pakistani blogs. And so close together. The management of this blog reports [Raza Rumi November 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm] Just to clarify: this article was sent via email by a regular reader. Perhaps that person, like I, looks in on both blogs. Perhaps he was the recipient along with many others, and the mailing was done by yet somebody else. Just strange that this should happen in such close synchronicity.

  50. no-communal

    @Vajra

    At times we Indians can be obnoxious. But we are also self-correcting. This is not to say we are any different from Pakistanis as human beings. However, the last 60 years of almost continuous democracy has given us this quality. Just look at the posts of Chote Miyan and Android when they came hard on amar.

    Although we may have our grievances, many of us are genuinely interested in PTH. This is mainly because, and this is a result of our total ignorance, we didn’t know that such Pakistanis existed. We knew about Ahmed Quraishi, Zaid Hamid, and the lot, but we didn’t know YLH or Raza Rumi lived in the same land. This is the only reason why most of us come, hang around, and engage in some verbal sparring, because with these folks such squabbling, in some abstract sense, is even meaningful. Now we are being brushed off from even PTH. I can only imagine what will happen in PDF. So I will respectfully decline the offer to hang around that website.

    Those who are brushing Indians off from such sites as PTH may consider this: one pair of Indian and Pakistani in a verbal battle, no matter how heated, can only mean two less die-hard opponents to peace.

  51. no-communal

    opponents of peace

  52. Tilsim

    Iss Karavan Serai may sub mahman hain..Amar bhai bhi kyun nahin.

    Agar woh thora ahista bolayn aur mithaas key saath to unn ki nawazish aur hamari khush naseebi.

    Jaam, apna jadu sab par karti hai jo iss Karavan kay paasban hain.

  53. amar

    Why do muslims like to talk of a hindu samraj or imperialism? Far more, it was the muslims who did it. Are the muslims trying to distract from their own bad past? Just take a look at an atlas of history. How has islam advanced territorially from Madinah through wars and aggressions till today. How many non-muslim areas have been made almost devoid of non-muslims in the past 1400 years? The territorial and demographic aggression by islam against non-islam is going on even today.

    So making false or anti-factual accusations is what muslim children learn form their earliest age. Teaching lies to innocent impressionable children, that is called child molestation.

  54. amar

    Truth is always >mithaas<, even when incisive or harshly spoken. May be your tongue-buds need a new program, a new software.

    But in a society where indoctrination and submission and conformity in the name of a god or some supposedly holy book have become an oppressive obsession, an opprobrium, an obtuse opinion-compulsion and ordeal – truth has little chance except (may be!) after a catastrophe.

  55. no-communal

    Tilsim

    You are an exemplary kind hearted religious Pakistani that almost no average Indian knows about. But I wasn’t sure you lived in Pakistan.

  56. Tilsim

    Amar, we are not despondent at all. You will save us. Except I always that the truth was >karwa<.

  57. Tilsim

    @ no-communal

    These physical, mental and tribal barriers that define our identity and divide us are just that, barriers. We easily forget an identity based on common values and our shared humanity. We keep on stressing our differences (however well or poorly grounded our arguments are) but notice how little time we spend on trying to fathom our commonality. That’s what I think Vajra is referring to when he says that he would rather be here than somewhere else.

  58. amar

    to tilsim

    Truth is not >karwa<. Our democracies and even economies have grown to thrive on lies. We vote for politicians who tell "sweet" lies. The coating may be sweet. If we grow up finding truth as sweet then things will be better. But some religions and ideologies tolerate no doubts, criticism, questions, "apostasies".

  59. Hayyer

    no-communal:

    What opinion have I expressed, on this thread, that you seek Vajra’s opinion on?
    I offered two comments. One at the start concerned Niazi. The other was about the deficit in Sarmila Bose’s genetic inheritance, as alleged.

    During my year at Oxford I came across an academically inclined lady from Bengal, sister to a brilliant IAS officer of West Bengal, and aunt to a colleague, of whom I had previous knowledge as having wowed the University with her own brilliance. The very first encounter was sufficient to preclude further contact.
    Academics of any sort must stand by their work, not by their inheritance.

  60. no-communal

    Hayyer Sb,

    You misunderstood me (again :-)). What I meant by “Hayyer Sb. has already expressed his opinion” was that you already disagreed with Ms. Bose’s article. People from West Bengal have a special connection to 1971. In that sense I referred to you and Vajra together.

  61. no-communal

    But it was my mistake. I didn’t make myself clear.

  62. Tilsim

    I have a great aunt who is now in her 80s. She and her husband fled Calcutta for their lives to Dhaka at partition. Leaving wealth, memories, music and friends behind. Then, although they were Bengalis, found themselves on the wrong side of Mujib ur Rahman and had to flee again. Remarkably and due to their generational friendships across the border, between the retreating Pakistani army and the advancing Indian one, they managed to escape to India and then eventually made it to safety in Pakistan. They had lost everything and had to start again. Each time they relied on their own humour, good spirit and generosity to find a way forward with the help of the numerous well wishers of every community. Eventually they went back to Bangladesh.

    Great atrocities are committed in conflicts. The main effort should be to prevent conflict.

  63. M.Akhtaruzzaman

    Thank you Tilsim for your last line.To err is human but it is great sin to deny the truth.If you(All ) read the book ”The Story of My Struggle ” Written by Maj.Gen.(Retd)Tajammal Hussain Malik ,You should understand what had happened in former E.P now Bangladesh.In 1971, I was five years old , I hardly remember and heard from my Father that 23 Muslim religious people including my uncle was killed by Pakistan Army in our small village .Is it false ? or exaggerate ? No we are not Liar like A.M.Yahya khan,Gul Hassan Khan ,Akbar Khan,Tikka Khan etc. etc. and Z.A.B.We also Salute Tajammal.H.Malik,Shahebzada Yaqub Ali Khan,Zafar Masud and many others.

  64. the pakistnis dont understand human rights and what the duty of a govt is, and so they are suffering aging, and reapting the same mistae agindn in balouchistan, NWFO, the tribal area ect

    the pakis say the mukthi bahani started the killing ect ect, but it should be understood that at that tiome this organisation was consodered as a terrorist organisation, by pakistan, so if terrorist were killing them and urdu speaker hpow was it ok for a govt intitution like the pak army to kill ordinary east pakistnis
    and rape their women, no country does this to their own people, unless they do not consider their own,
    and in that case the mukthi bahani were no longer terrorist but freedon fighters

    the pak army was the most criminal organossation in the world and tikka khan was a womaniser everybody on dhaka knew that

    sarmila bose is a fraud