Some Dialogues and Letters from East Pakistan

Last couple of months ago a Photo exhibition named ‘Bangladesh 1971’ was held in a gallery called ‘Rivington Place’ which is situated in the city of London. The exhibition focused on the photographs taken at the time of the Bangladesh liberation war as well as after and before the war, thus, revealed the story of the war to the individuals of the Great Britain.

Being a staff member of the ‘Rivington Place’ I had the privilege to be a part of the exhibition as an invigilator. I had the opportunity to meet different people from different social backgrounds and, consequently, I started to share my views and listen to their views concerning the liberation war of Bangladesh as well as the current position of the independent Bangladesh. Eventually, I have realised I got hold of the treasures which are the stories behind our liberation war.

I can’t remember the exact date but I believe it was a very quiet day for the gallery and only saw a couple of people coming to see the exhibition. I forgot to mention as a part of my job I had to ask each visitor about the source through which they had discovered the exhibition. Of those curious eyes I found someone who was spending an ample of time to observe each photograph. I went to him and asked him, “Where did you get to know about the exhibition from?” and in his reply he told me, “The Guardian” (A British newspaper). I came back to my chair afterwards. I noticed him from the beginning, as soon as he caught my eyes. After he finished watching the whole exhibition, he came to me and asked, “Where are you from?” and I replied to him, Bangladesh, with a curious smile on my face. Then he asked me about the current situation of ‘East-Pakistan’. And I answered again that we do not call it ‘East-Pakistan’ but it is ‘Bangladesh’. Then he said, ’for me it is East-Pakistan because when I was there that area use to be known as East-Pakistan’. That made me more curious to get to know him and I did not drive the conversation towards an argument. I asked him, “When exactly was the time you were in East-Pakistan?” and he replied, ‘1970-1971’. He added to the conversation that, after he completed his graduation he worked there as a volunteer of a UNDP project. He also told me some small stories about 1971. He had mentioned at the beginning of our conversation that as he was a foreign diplomat and some incidents are still blurry to him. Then I requested him to document his experiences of those times. I told him that to our new generation, this war or the history of this war resembles architecture which are hundreds of years old that are struggling to stand out today with its pride as the political groups are willingly wiping out the reality. After 45 minutes of our conversation he took my e-mail address and we said, “It is really nice to meet you” to each other and thus our conversation ended. I felt that he will forget about our conversation due to his busy life and, therefore, it may be the end of my dreams to obtain a part of some documentation based on our independence war. After a few weeks, I received an e-mail from Dennis Gornall where he informed me that he has started the writing. However, this may take a few extra weeks as he has been busy with life. At last on 21/06.08, I have received my most desired e-mail titled,Extracts from letters from East Pakistan (Dacca) 1970/71”.

Extracts from letters from East Pakistan(Dacca) 1970/71

Dennis Gornall

Monday 7.12.1970 | Friday 26.03.71 | Saturday 27.03.71

Monday 29.03.71 | Wednesday 31.03.71 | Sunday 1.08.1971

After reading this feature people may conclude this as a political documentation, however, Denis ends his e-mail by the “Joy Bangla” slogan which represents his presence in those days in Bangladesh.

3 Responses to “Some Dialogues and Letters from East Pakistan”

  1. Tapu..Its was great that man meet YOU. It will be very nice…If you pressure him to write those things at last. And I will be waiting for reading that.
    It is so nice reading your writtings.

  2. Amirul Rajiv Says:

    Koustab: I will be very happy to read Dennis Gornall’s experience on 1970-71. Will also try to publish it in the daily star with your write up.
    Its nice to see your blog…keep it up dost…

  3. Amirul Rajiv Says:

    I read the write up and talked with my star editorial editor about publishing it…It will be wonderful if Dennis have any photo of that time.

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