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East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh, was the eastern half of Pakistan, created from the eastern half of the Bengal region of British India in 1947. The province was known as East Bengal from 1947 to 1955.
East Bengal from 1905-1912
With the assumption of Lord Curzon to the office of Governor-General of India, British India was finally put under the charge of a man who considered himself an expert in Indian affairs. Curzon, seeing the logistical problems of adminstering such a large province, proposed to divide Bengal. Bengal, henceforth, would encompass Calcutta and the western territories, roughly comprising modern West Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. East Bengal, the new province, would roughly encompass modern Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India (then all grouped under the heading of Assam).
While Curzon claimed the action was one merely founded upon administrative principles, the growing nationalist movement, which originated with the educated elite of Calcutta and the Bengali aristocracy, took the action as an attempt to cut off Bengal's Hindu intellectual leaders (based in Calcutta) from the majority Muslim agriculturalists of the east, dividing the nationalist movement along lines of class and religion. The partition of Bengal, effected in July 1905, sparked a firestorm in the nationalist movement. The partition was revoked in 1912, but it was accompanied by slicing off the non-Bengali portions of the province -- creating separate provinces for Assam and Bihar and Orissa -- and the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.
After Independence from British Rule
After independence from british rule, East Pakistan was dominated and neglected by Pakistani government, which was dominated by Pakistan military, which mostly belonged to West Pakistan.The frequent exploitation of the majority Bengalis by the minority non-Bengalis (ie, Pakistanis) infuriated sensible people on both sides of Pakistan.The tensions peaked in 1971, following an open, non-democratic denial by Pakistani president Yahiya Khan, a military ruler, of election results that gave Awami League, majority in the parliament. The Awami League won almost all seats in 'East Pakistan', but didn't win any seat in West Pakistan. Parliament seats in 'East Pakistan' numbered more than half of total seats in Pakistan because population of 'East Pakistan' was slightly more than 'West Pakistan' (52% to 48%). Although the Awami League was in position to make government without any coalition partner but due to segregation in election result the Awami League started negotiations with 'Pakistan People Party' which won most of the seats in West Pakistan. The negotiations failed and a 'military government' canceled the results of elections in 'East Pakistan'. Under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, Bangladesh started its struggle for independence. The official onset followed one of the bloodiest genocides of recent times carried out by the Pakistan army on innocent Bengali civilians on March 25, 1971.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, being identified as a major influencer of the Bengalis, was arrested by the Pakistani Government. Ziaur Rahman, an army major then, and President of Bangladesh much later, declared the Independence of Bangladesh, on behalf of great national leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, using a makeshift radio transmitter from the Port city of Chittagong. With help of Bengali officers in the army, support of civilians and military/humanitarian aid from India, Bangladesh quickly put together Mukti Bahini ("Freedom Fighters"), an armed group formed mostly of young students, workers, farmers and other civilians. It also started Bangladesh War of Liberation. Mukti Bahini, joined by 400,000 Indian soldiers in December, faced the Pakistani army of 80,000.
Independence of Bangladesh
Following a military crackdown on Bengali civilians in the then East Pakistan on 25 March 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman declared independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 26 March 1971. This started the Bangladesh Liberation War which went on until 16 December 1971, when the Pakistani Army surrendered to the Mitro Bahini (Allied Forces of Bangladesh Forces and Indian Army).
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