It is only correct for a blog focussing on Bangladesh to talk about Pakistan today. On 25 March in 1971 the Pakistani generals gave the orders to start massacring bengali people under an operation code named “Search Light.” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence from Pakistan on the 26th. And even as the blood fest got underway, Pakistanis did not realise the significance of what they were doing. And indeed to this day, there is confusion and denial in the minds of Pakistanis about what happened today thirty five years ago. So this is my own little effort to re-jig memories. Today, Bangladesh’s independence day, should be remembered by Pakistanis as their greatest democratic interlude. This day more than half the Pakistani “nation” voted with its feet and said no to the nonsense of nationhood based simply on religion. Bangladeshis said no to a totalizing vision, to totalitarianism and oppression, and they said yes to democracy and freedom. They split from Pakistan and made nonsense of the two-nation theory. It was I guess the single most democratic event Pakistan has ever witnessed in all its years of existence.

Of course history takes strange turns: The military remain ascendant in Pakistan (will history never impart any lessons??). Those who defeated them - Bangladeshi veterans of that struggle - are neglected. Some of those who collaborated with the Pakistani army are enjoying state power in Bangladesh. And of course certain ideals held aloft on that independence day, not so many years ago, are almost forgotten.