India-Bangladesh relations: Making Of Shonar Bangla

News: Bangladesh was the first new country to be created after World War II. Today (December 16, 2021) Bangladesh will achieve an important milestone – 50 years of independence.

Must read: Recent developments in India-Bangladesh relations-Explained, pointwise
Why did East Pakistan demanded a separate country?

Jinnah believed that religion is the most irrefutable instrument for nation-building. In erstwhile East Pakistan, he accused those who are promoting Bengali as an official language alongside Urdu as “enemies” who wanted to weaken Pakistan and enable the re-entry of East Pakistan into India.

He described Urdu as the language that had been nurtured by Muslims of the subcontinent, and is nearest to the languages used in other Islamic countries”.

Jinnah failed to grasp that East Pakistan was predominantly Muslim, but more than that, it was Bengali. East Pakistan rejected religious nationalism and demanded empowerment through fair political representation and access to the country’s resources.

About the status of India while liberating Bangladesh

At the Bangladesh liberation, India faced the following challenges, 1. Struggling with poverty and drought, 2. The economy was in an uncertain condition, 3. Armed forces were still coming to grips with an inconclusive war with Pakistan in 1965, 4. National morale was yet to recover from the defeat of the India China War in 1962.

How did India help East Pakistan?

Various arms and agencies of the government, as well as the political class, came together under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. India’s intervention in the liberation took place in stages over several months, each step timed to achieve the maximum result.

The military intervention, which began on December 3 took less than two weeks to achieve its objectives. It remains the shortest war in history.

About the achievements of Bangladesh in past 50 years

1. The country has a stable 6% economic growth rate for over a decade, 2. Steep declines in infant and child mortality, Fertility rate, etc. 3. Gender parity in access to education; and 4. A global leader in disaster risk management, 5. Second-largest garment exporting hub in the world.

Bangladesh achieved these by 1. NGO movement of Bangladesh: Under it, non-state actors organised people in the rural areas, 2. Agricultural reforms ensured farmers take advantage of markets, 3. Government initiative to grant all garment exporters exclusive access to imported inputs duty-free, 4. New industrial policy to remove “licence raj.

Read morePending Issues in India Bangladesh relations
What should India do now to boost India-Bangladesh relations?

1. Need to ensure a whole-of-government approach along with the framing of strategic objectives like it did in 1971, 2. India has to avoid communally divisive rhetoric in domestic and foreign policy also, 3. India has to fulfil its past promises to boost its relations by sharing the Teesta waters.

Read moreImproper Comments on Bangladesh will impact India Bangladesh ties

There is goodwill for India for what it did 50 years ago. So, India must safeguard this precious asset, and make it grow.

Source: This post is based on the following articles

“Idea of Bangladesh needs to be celebrated, for its social-economic successes, its relegation of religious nationalism” published in Indian Express on 16th December 2021.

“Making Of Shonar Bangla” published in TOI on 16th December 2021.

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