Photo war exhibition in Whitechapel marks Bangladesh’s independence

An exhibition marking the 41th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence has been launched attempting to capture elements of war such as resistance, hope, and love.

The ‘Freedom’ display was formally opened at the Idea Store Whitechapel yestersday in the presence of Abul Hasnat Sayem, son of Abul Lais Shyamal whose photographs are featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition features 15 black and white images from the Bangladesh Liberation War and also includes photos from one other photographer, Abul Lais Shyamal.

The Swadhinata Trust, a Bengali heritage group promoting Bengali history and heritage amongst young people, and working out of the London Metropolitan University, organised the exhibition as part of Bengali Heritage Month.

The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against the State of Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh.

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The war broke out in March 1971 as army units directed by West Pakistan launched a military operation in East Pakistan against Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, and armed personnel who were demanding separation of the East from West Pakistan.

Bengali military, paramilitary, and civilians formed the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army) and used guerrilla warfare tactics to fight against the West Pakistan army.

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India provided economic, military and diplomatic support to the Mukti Bahini rebels, leading West Pakistan to launch Operation Chengiz Khan, a pre-emptive attack on the western border of India which started the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

The exhibition runs until April 22.

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