Explained: Why is Bangladesh building memorial for Indian heroes who sacrificed their lives in Liberation War?
The design of the monument is an embodiment of the enduring friendship between the two nations. It features a structure representing the core theme of friendship in life and death, symbolized by the rib cage's protective role, safeguarding the heart and soul.
In a significant tribute, Bangladesh is set to commemorate the anniversary of the 1971 war with India by unveiling its first-ever war memorial dedicated to Indian soldiers. This monumental gesture expresses profound gratitude to the Indian Armed Forces, whose unwavering efforts played a pivotal role in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.
The foundation stone for this momentous war memorial was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, during PM Modi's visit in March 2021.
Nestled on a sprawling 4-acre expanse in Ashuganj, near the India-Bangladesh border, the memorial site holds historical significance, as it was the backdrop for several intense battles during the war. The names of more than 1,600 martyred Indian soldiers will be etched into the memorial's walls.
The design of the monument is an embodiment of the enduring friendship between the two nations. It features a structure representing the core theme of friendship in life and death, symbolized by the rib cage's protective role, safeguarding the heart and soul. The concept further incorporates flying doves, emblematic of the peace achieved through the sacrifices of these brave soldiers, as explained by Lt Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir (Retired), a distinguished recipient of Swadhinata Padak, Bir Protik, and Padma Shri.
Other key figures involved in this noble endeavor include Asifur Rahman Bhuiyan, the principal designer of the memorial, Bangladesh's Minister for Liberation War Affairs AKM Mozammel Haque, a freedom fighter during the 1971 war, and Ishrat Jahan, Secretary of the Liberation War Ministry.
The memorial grounds are designed to provide a serene and informative experience to visitors, featuring flag-raising ceremonies in honor of the martyrs, a museum, a bookshop, a children's park, and a food court for the convenience of the public.
The concept of this memorial emerged from the vision of Lt Col Zahir, who proposed the idea to the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, emphasizing the importance of honoring the Indian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the liberation of Bangladesh.
The 1971 war was initiated in response to the mass protests in Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, against the ruling government. The situation escalated as the Pakistan military launched Operation Searchlight and carried out acts of genocide. In the face of mounting violence, India entered the conflict on December 3, 1971, in support of the people of Bangladesh. The war culminated on December 16, marked by the surrender of the Pakistan Army and the successful liberation of Bangladesh.
In India, the victory is commemorated as Vijay Diwas, signifying not only the sacrifices of the soldiers but also the profound shared history and friendship between the two neighboring nations.