Bangladesh 1971

Grave of the 1971 martyrs, in front of Jagannath Hall

Awami League

An East Pakistani political party established to campaign for greater freedom from West Pakistan


Name given by Bangladeshi nationalists to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman


The majority language within East Pakistan


Urdu speaking Bengalis who originated from Bihar in 1947 to avoid the violence of Partition. Many of them were seen to be close to the ‘West Pakistani’ forces – and collaborators / supporters of their violence towards Bangladeshi nationalists. However they also faced violence from Bangladeshi nationalists who believed them to be an ‘enemy within’.


East Pakistani urdu speakers – most of whom wanted West and East Pakistan to stay unified.


A war heroine’ – the name given to women who experienced sexual assault as part of the 1971 genocide and war


Stood by and did nothing to help either the perpetrators or their victims


Helped and facilitated the genocide

East Pakistan

The name given to ‘East Bengal’, that was given to Pakistan upon Partition. Today it is called Bangladesh.


factual moments that occurred in the past.

General Yayha Khan

Leader of the West Pakistan military and organiser of Operation Searchlight.


the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group

Hindu Bengalis

A large minority of ‘East Pakistanis’ were Hindu – and faced particular discrimination from the West Pakistani ruling class. More than 60% of the Bengali refugees who fled to India were Hindus

Hindu Bengalis

A sizeable part of East Pakistan. They were targeted specifically because of their religion (and perceived disloyalty) by West Pakistani forces.


Freedom from being governed or ruled by another country


the ways in which events have been viewed and described


The new capital of Pakistan – established as the capital in 1967

Jaganath Hall

A residential building for the university in Dhaka that was the site of an infamous attack at the beginning of Operation Searchlight

Joy Bangla

a salutation, slogan, and war cry used by Bangladeshi nationlists during 1971 and after


Still is the largest city and economic city in Pakistan, It was the capital city until Islamabad took its place in 1967

Mukti Bahini

East Pakistani ‘militias’ – translated as ‘Freedom Fighters’ – who fought for independence from West Pakistan


Liberation War of 1971 in Bengali

Operation Searchlight

West Pakistani operation in East Pakistan that killed hundreds of thousands

Oral Histories

voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events.


alongside local politicians, partitioned the continent into two countries – Pakistan and India


Planned and carried out the programme of mass murder


The Razakar force was composed of mostly anti-Bangladesh and pro-Pakistan Bengalis and Urdu-speaking migrants who lived in Bangladesh at the time. Since the 1971 war, it has become a pejorative term (implying traitor) in Bangladesh due to the numerous atrocities committed by the Razakars during the War.

Rescuers and Resisters

Risked their lives to rescue victims and/or to resist the Genocide.

Rokkhi Bahini

Corrupt ‘National Security Forces’ in post 1971 Bangladesh

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

The leader of the Awami League in 1971, he became the first President of Bangladesh upon Independence


another term for the Government of a country


The official language enforced upon both East and West Pakistan upon its creation.

West Bengal

A region of India that was established upon Partition. It shares many similarities with East Bengal – which was ‘East Pakistan’ until 1971 when it became Bangladesh.

West Pakistan

Most of the power and wealth of Pakistan was concentrated here. Today it is just called Pakistan.

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