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Dhaka Tribune

How world media featured Bangladesh’s victory

The news of Bangladesh's victory was published in the media of India, Pakistan and the UK along with 22 daily and weekly newspapers of the United States

Update : 06 Mar 2024, 02:36 AM

1971 Liberation War, the dream of seven crore Bengalis, the struggle for the survival of the people of this delta.

After a long nine-month war, the Bengalis gained independence on December 16, 1971. With the surrender of the Pakistan army on this day, the long two decades-plus of rule, exploitation and deprivation by Pakistan in Bangladesh came to an end. The Bengali nation was liberated from the clutches of oppression.

But how did news of that victory come to us? How overwhelmed were the people by the news of the victory in the Liberation War after the surrender of the Pakistan army? How did one celebrate that moment of victory? - These were basically the news reports of the newspapers of that time.

The news of Bangladesh's victory was published in the media of India, Pakistan and the UK along with 22 daily and weekly newspapers of the United States. Newspapers published the news of the historic victory of the Bengalis in various contexts, which can also be called a testament to the historic victory of Bangladesh.

“Pakistan has surrendered to Bangladesh,” Indian English-language daily The Liberation Times wrote in its headline.

The Tribune wrote in its headline, “Bangladesh freed.” In the standfirst, under the headline, it wrote, “Unconditional surrender by Pak troops.”

Free Press Journal headlined “Bangladesh liberated, unconditional surrender by Pak troops in Dacca.”

The Kolkata-based Daily Jugantor report was titled “Enemy-free Bangladesh” (Rahumukta Bangladesh).

The news of the glorious victory of Bangladesh appeared in at least 22 newspapers and magazines of the US, one of the key allies of Pakistan during the Liberation War. 

The headline of The Statesman was “The war is over.” 

A Time magazine cover on 1971 Liberation War  CourtesyFocusing on the role of Indian troops in the Liberation War, The Evening Post headlined “After 12 days of Indian attack now Dacca surrenders.”

The headline of the Wisconsin-based Kenosha News on December 17, 1971, was “There is one Bangladesh now.”

Another newspaper, the Brownwood Bulletin in Texas, published the headline, “Bangladesh is a reality.”

Tennessee’s Kingsport Times-News published a story titled “Bangladesh: Own new state.”

The Daily Herald of Tennessee, the Casper Star-Tribune from Wyoming, the Santa Maria Times from California, the Port Angeles Evening News from Washington, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper Fort Worth Star-Telegram from Texas, all of these regional media published the news. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper of Pennsylvania, published a total of seven stories on Bangladesh’s victory, including the first page and almost the entire inside page.

The headline in The Salt Lake Tribune was “Indians enter Dacca, extend the truce to West.”

The US’s leading newspaper, The New York Times, published the news of the surrender of the Pakistani army in this way: “Dacca captured: Guns quit in Bengal area, but the war goes on at the western front.”

The US daily The Manhattan Mercury had a lead story in its December 16 issue, “Bangladesh is Born.” 

Another US newspaper, The Post-Crescent, headlined, “The war in East Pakistan is over.”

On December 17, 1971, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial about the birth of Bangladesh.

The New York-based international daily published the editorial, which was critical about the birth of the nation, expressing its huge frustration and of course, with a prediction about the “dim future” of Bangladesh, titled “Bengal's Dim Future…”

Meanwhile, despite the surrender of the Pakistani forces on December 16, Pakistan’s leading daily Dawn had the lead in its December 16 issue, “The situation is critical.”

On December 17, its lead news featured “War till victory,” with another headline on the front page saying, “Fighting ends in East wing. PAF hits in West.”

On December 18, it made the headline, “Yahya's ceasefire declaration.”

Multidimensional news of the Liberation War was published in newspapers of different countries of the world.

At that time important issues came up in the pages of newspapers - release of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman imprisoned in Pakistan, return of the Indian army from Bangladesh to its homeland, the trial of genocide-torture and other crimes against humanity, rebuilding Bangladesh in the spirit of Liberation War, rebuilding the country etc.

These issues were featured in the newspapers of December 17 and the days that followed.

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