History library celebrates Bangladesh independence

An exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh Independence Day will be unveiled at Tower Hamlets’ history library.

The Swadhinata Trust, a Bengali heritage group, has put together images of the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 by photographers Anwar Hossain and Abul Lais Shyamal.

The exhibition at Bancroft Library entitled Freedom comprises 20 photographs and seven posters exploring the themes of struggle, hope and love.

Lead member for Culture at Tower Hamlets, Councillor Rania Khan, will officially open the exhibition next week.

Cllr Khan said: “This is a landmark exhibition tracing the birth of Bangladesh. I would urge residents to come and have a look at the thought provoking images which portray the hardships suffered by many to have secured independence and freedom that we take for granted.”

Heritage Skills trainee, Shahera Begum, at the history and archive library in Bancroft Road, has been working with the Swadhinata Trust to engage with Bengali community groups to add a further dimension to the exhibition.

She commissioned new images by photographer Yousuf Choudhury and located archive newspaper cuttings covering the reaction by the East End Bengali community to the liberation war.

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The exhibition will also feature objects such as the diary of Minhaz Uddin, one of the key activists of the Bangladesh Independence Movement, and the first definitive collection of Bangladeshi stamps designed by Biman Mullick.

The exhibition will run from August 18 until September 30. The library is open Tuesday to Thursday and fortnightly on Saturdays.