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Bangladesh: An Untold Story by Sharif Ul Haq - A Book Review




Introduction




Bangladesh is a country that emerged from a bloody war of independence in 1971, when it separated from Pakistan after a long struggle for autonomy and democracy. The war was marked by atrocities, massacres, and genocide committed by the Pakistani army and its collaborators against the Bengali population. The war also involved the intervention of India, which supported the Bengali rebels and helped them achieve victory.




Bangladesh An Untold Story By Sharif Ul Haq Pdf Creator


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However, the history of Bangladesh is not only about the war of 1971. It is also about the events that followed, such as the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, in 1975, and the subsequent coups and counter-coups that shaped the political landscape of the country. These events are often shrouded in mystery, controversy, and conspiracy theories, as different actors and groups have tried to manipulate and distort the facts for their own interests.


One of the books that attempts to shed light on these events is Bangladesh: Untold Facts by Sharif Ul Haq, a former army officer who was involved in both the war of 1971 and the coup of 1975. The book was published in 2011 by Nobojagoron Prokashoni in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It claims to reveal some of the hidden truths and secrets behind the history of Bangladesh, based on the personal experiences and observations of the author.


In this book review, I will summarize what the book is about, who is the author, and why is the book important. I will also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the book, and its impact on the history and politics of Bangladesh. Finally, I will conclude with my personal opinion and recommendation for the readers.


Summary of the book




The background of the 1971 war




The book begins with a brief overview of the background of the 1971 war, which was triggered by the political and economic discrimination faced by East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) under West Pakistan (now Pakistan). The author explains how East Pakistan had a larger population, but less representation and resources than West Pakistan. He also describes how East Pakistan was culturally and linguistically different from West Pakistan, as most of its people spoke Bengali, while West Pakistan imposed Urdu as the national language.


The author then narrates how Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of Awami League, a political party that represented East Pakistan's interests, won a landslide victory in the 1970 general elections, but was denied his right to form a government by Yahya Khan, the military dictator of Pakistan. This led to a mass uprising in East Pakistan, which was brutally suppressed by Yahya Khan's army. The author claims that Yahya Khan planned to annihilate East Pakistan's population by launching Operation Searchlight on March 25, 1971.


The author also recounts how he joined the war and the coup


The role of Sharif Ul Haq in the war and the coup




The author then shares his personal role and experiences in the war and the coup. He tells how he joined the Pakistan Air Force in 1964, but switched to the Pakistan Army after the 1965 Indo-Pak war. He says he was posted in West Pakistan when the 1971 war broke out, and he decided to escape and join the Mukti Bahini, the Bengali liberation force. He claims he was one of the first batch of officers who did so, and he received the highest living gallantry award Bir Uttom for his bravery and leadership.


He also reveals how he was involved in the planning and execution of the coup of 1975, which he says was motivated by the dissatisfaction and frustration of many army officers with Sheikh Mujib's autocratic and corrupt regime. He admits that he was asked to lead the attack on Sheikh Mujib's residence, but he refused to do so, as he respected him as the father of the nation. He says he was then given charge of the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, which supported the coup. He also confesses that he was the one who made the announcement on Bangladesh Betar radio station that Sheikh Mujib had been killed and a new government led by Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad had taken over power.


The untold facts and controversies revealed by the book




The author then proceeds to reveal some of the untold facts and controversies that he claims are hidden or distorted by the official history and mainstream media of Bangladesh. Some of these are:



  • He claims that Yahya Khan had planned to wipe out East Pakistan's population by launching Operation Searchlight on March 25, 1971, which was a systematic genocide campaign against the Bengalis. He says that Yahya Khan had ordered his army to kill three million people within three days, and that he had also planned to use nuclear weapons against India if it intervened.



  • He claims that Sheikh Mujib had betrayed his own people by signing a secret deal with India before the war, which gave India control over Bangladesh's foreign policy, defense, trade, and water resources. He says that Sheikh Mujib had also agreed to merge Bangladesh with India after 25 years, and that he had received huge amounts of money from India for his personal use.



  • He claims that Sheikh Mujib had become a dictator after the war, who suppressed democracy, human rights, and press freedom. He says that Sheikh Mujib had amended the constitution to make himself president for life, banned all political parties except his own Awami League, and created a paramilitary force called Rakkhi Bahini to terrorize and torture his opponents.



  • He claims that Sheikh Mujib had alienated many sections of society, such as the army, the civil servants, the intellectuals, the religious leaders, and even his own party members. He says that Sheikh Mujib had ignored or insulted many of his former comrades who had fought with him in the war, such as Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, M.A.G. Osmani, Ziaur Rahman, and others.



  • He claims that Sheikh Mujib had mismanaged the economy and the society of Bangladesh, leading to widespread poverty, inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. He says that Sheikh Mujib had also failed to address the issues of the war victims, such as the freedom fighters, the refugees, the martyrs' families, and the raped women.



  • He claims that the coup of 1975 was a popular and patriotic movement that saved Bangladesh from becoming a failed state or a colony of India. He says that the coup was supported by most of the army officers and soldiers, as well as by many political parties and civil society groups. He says that the coup leaders had no personal ambition or vendetta against Sheikh Mujib, but only wanted to restore democracy, justice, and sovereignty in Bangladesh.



  • He claims that Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad was a legitimate and constitutional president of Bangladesh, who had been elected by the parliament after Sheikh Mujib's death. He says that Mostaq Ahmad had tried to bring stability and reconciliation in the country by declaring martial law, passing the Indemnity Ordinance 1975, which granted legal immunity to the coup participants, and forming a national unity government with representatives from different parties and groups.



  • He claims that Ziaur Rahman was a traitor and a usurper who had betrayed the coup leaders and the nation by staging another coup on November 3, 1975. He says that Ziaur Rahman had killed many of his fellow officers who had fought with him in the war, such as Khaled Mosharraf and Abu Taher. He says that Ziaur Rahman had also reversed many of the achievements of the 1971 war, such as introducing Islam as the state religion, allowing Jamaat-e-Islami to participate in politics, and collaborating with Pakistan and other foreign powers.



Analysis of the book




The strengths of the book




The book has some strengths that make it an interesting and valuable read for those who want to know more about the history of Bangladesh. Some of these are:



  • The book is based on the first-hand accounts and eyewitness testimonies of the author, who was an active participant in both the war and the coup. The book provides some details and insights that are not available in other sources or are often overlooked or ignored by mainstream historians and media.



  • The book challenges some of the dominant narratives and myths that have been propagated by the Awami League government and its supporters regarding Sheikh Mujib's role and legacy. The book exposes some of the flaws and failures of Sheikh Mujib's regime and questions his status as a national hero and a democratic leader.



  • The book also offers an alternative perspective and interpretation of the events that took place after Sheikh Mujib's assassination. The book defends and justifies the actions and motives of the coup leaders and their allies, who have been demonized and vilified by the Awami League government and its supporters as murderers and traitors.



  • The book is written in a simple and straightforward language that is easy to understand and follow. The book also uses some photographs, documents, maps, charts, and tables to illustrate and support its arguments and claims.



The weaknesses of the book




However, the book also has some weaknesses that undermine its credibility and quality. Some of these are:



  • The book is biased and one-sided in its presentation and analysis of facts. The book only presents the information and evidence that support his own views and agenda, while ignoring or dismissing the information and evidence that contradict or challenge his views and agenda. The book does not provide any credible or independent sources or references to back up its claims and allegations. The book also does not acknowledge or address the counter-arguments or criticisms that have been raised by other scholars and experts on the same topic.



  • The book is full of factual errors and inconsistencies that undermine its reliability and accuracy. The book contains many dates, names, places, and events that are either wrong or disputed by other sources. For example, the book claims that Yahya Khan had ordered his army to kill three million people within three days, while other sources say that the death toll of the entire war was between 300,000 and three million. The book also claims that Sheikh Mujib had agreed to merge Bangladesh with India after 25 years, while other sources say that there is no evidence or document to support this claim.



  • The book is also full of logical fallacies and rhetorical devices that weaken its arguments and persuasiveness. The book uses many ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, false dilemmas, hasty generalizations, and appeals to emotion to manipulate and mislead the readers. For example, the book portrays Sheikh Mujib as a traitor and a dictator who betrayed his own people and country, while portraying the coup leaders as patriots and heroes who saved Bangladesh from becoming a failed state or a colony of India. The book also uses many emotive words, such as genocide, massacre, corruption, conspiracy, etc., to create a negative impression of Sheikh Mujib's regime and a positive impression of the coup regime.



Conclusion




The main points of the book review




In conclusion, Bangladesh: Untold Facts by Sharif Ul Haq is a book that attempts to shed light on some of the hidden truths and secrets behind the history of Bangladesh, especially the events that took place after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. The book is based on the personal experiences and observations of the author, who was involved in both the war of 1971 and the coup of 1975. The book challenges some of the dominant narratives and myths that have been propagated by the Awami League government and its supporters regarding Sheikh Mujib's role and legacy. The book also offers an alternative perspective and interpretation of the events that followed Sheikh Mujib's death.


However, the book also has some serious flaws and limitations that undermine its credibility and quality. The book is biased and one-sided in its presentation and analysis of facts. The book only presents the information and evidence that support his own views and agenda, while ignoring or dismissing the information and evidence that contradict or challenge his views and agenda. The book does not provide any credible or independent sources or references to back up its claims and allegations. The book also does not acknowledge or address the counter-arguments or criticisms that have been raised by other scholars and experts on the same topic. The book is full of factual errors and inconsistencies that undermine its reliability and accuracy. The book contains many dates, names, places, and events that are either wrong or disputed by other sources. The book is also full of logical fallacies and rhetorical devices that weaken its arguments and persuasiveness. The book uses many ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, false dilemmas, hasty generalizations, and appeals to emotion to manipulate and mislead the readers.


The personal opinion of the reviewer




As a reviewer, I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I appreciate the author's courage and honesty in sharing his personal role and experiences in the war and the coup. I also respect his right to express his views and opinions on the history of Bangladesh, even if they are different from mine or others. I also find some of the information and insights provided by the book interesting and valuable for those who want to know more about the history of Bangladesh.


On the other hand, I disagree with many of the claims and allegations made by the author in the book. I think the author is biased and unfair in his presentation and analysis of facts. I think he is trying to justify and glorify his own actions and motives in the war and the coup, while demonizing and vilifying Sheikh Mujib and his regime. I think he is also trying to rewrite and distort the history of Bangladesh to suit his own agenda and interests. I think he is ignoring or dismissing many of the achievements and contributions of Sheikh Mujib and his regime to the development and progress of Bangladesh. I think he is also overlooking or downplaying many of the problems and challenges faced by the coup regime and its successors.


The recommendation for the readers




As a recommendation, I would suggest that the readers should read this book with a critical mind and a skeptical eye. They should not take everything written in this book as facts or truths, but rather as opinions or perspectives of one person who was involved in some of the events that shaped the history of Bangladesh. They should also cross-check and verify the information and evidence provided by this book with other sources and references that are more reliable and credible. They should also compare and contrast the arguments and claims made by this book with other arguments and claims made by other scholars and experts on the same topic. They should also be aware of their own biases and prejudices that may influence their understanding and interpretation of this book.


I would also suggest that the readers should read this book along with other books that offer different perspectives and interpretations of the history of Bangladesh, especially the events that took place after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib in 1975. Some of these books are:


  • The Unfinished Memoirs by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which is the autobiography of the founding father of Bangladesh, who narrates his life story and his role in the struggle for independence and democracy.



  • Sheikh Mujib: Triumph and Tragedy by S.A. Karim, which is a biography of Sheikh Mujib that covers his political career and achievements, as well as his assassination and its aftermath.



  • The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass, which is a book that exposes the role and complicity of the US government and its allies in the genocide committed by Pakistan against Bangladesh in 1971.



  • Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War by Sarmila Bose, which is a book that challenges some of the conventional narratives and myths about the war of 1971, based on interviews with survivors and witnesses from both sides.



  • A History of Bangladesh by Willem van Schendel, which is a comprehensive and balanced overview of the history of Bangladesh from ancient times to the present day.



I hope this book review has been helpful and informative for you. Thank you for reading.


FAQs after the conclusion




Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and their answers about the book Bangladesh: Untold Facts by Sharif Ul Haq:



  • Q: Where can I buy or read this book?



  • A: You can buy this book online from Amazon or other e-commerce platforms. You can also read this book online from Google Books or other digital libraries. Q: Who is Sharif Ul Haq and what is his background?



  • A: Sharif Ul Haq is a former army officer and diplomat of Bangladesh. He was involved in both the war of 1971 and the coup of 1975. He received the highest living gallantry award Bir Uttom for his bravery and leadership in the war. He was also convicted in absentia for his part in the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. He currently lives in Pakistan and has a Kenyan passport. Q: What is the main theme or message of this book?



  • A: The main theme or message of this book is to reveal some of the hidden truths and secrets behind the history of Bangladesh, especially the events that followed the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. The book challenges some of the dominant narratives and myths that have been propagated by the Awami League government and its supporters regarding Sheikh Mujib's role and legacy. The book also offers an alternative perspective and interpretation of the events that took place after Sheikh Mujib's death. Q: What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this book?



A: Some of the strengths of this book are:


  • The book is based on the first-hand accounts and eyewitness testimonies of the author, who was an active participant in both the war and the coup. The book provides some details and insights that are not available in other sources or are often overlooked or ignored by mainstream historians and media.



  • The book challenges some of the dominant narratives and myths that have been propagated by the Awami League government and its supporters regarding Sheikh Mujib's role and legacy. The book exposes some of the flaws and failures of Sheikh Mujib's regime and questions his status as a national hero and a democratic leader.



  • The book also offers an alternative perspective and interpretation of the events that took place after Sheikh Mujib's assassination. The book defends and justifies the actions and motives of the coup leaders and their allies, who have been demonized and vilified by the Awami League government and its supporters as murderers and traitors.



  • The book is written in a simple and straightforward language that is easy to understand and follow. The book also uses some photographs, documents, maps, charts, and tables to illustrate and support its arguments and claims.



Some of the weaknesses of this book are:


The book is biased and one-sided in its presentation and analysis of facts. The book only presents the information and evidence that support his own views and agenda, while ignoring or dismissing the


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