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UCL Bangla Society event Reflections on 1971

Ansar Ahmed Ullah:

An event titled ‘Reflections on 1971’ was held on 4 December at the University College London (UCL) organised by the UCL Bangla Society to coincide with the month of Victory of Bangladesh.

The event was held in Chadwick Building G08, UCL that included a documentary film screening of ‘Birth Pangs of a Nation’ and a photo exhibition curated by the Drik Picture Library and the Swadhinata Trust. A panel based discussion with LSE’s Dr David Lewis, Drik’s CEO Saiful Islam & Rini Reka followed by a Q&A was chaired by Nazifa Ullah of UCL Bangla Society.

Saiful Islam CEO of Drik Bangladesh and Drik-Bengal Muslin gave a brief snapshot of Bangladesh’s contemporary history using images of Drik while Rini Reka spoke about her own experience of displacement during the war and finally taking refuge in neighbouring India & working in the refugee camps. Professor David Lewis of social policy and development of London School of Economics (LSE) brought the discussion to present day and Bangladesh’s position in the world today. He praised Bangladesh for moving forward despite being a war torn country in 1971. He said Bangladesh was doing well in terms of its economy and other social factors including health and education.

Nazifa Ullah, President of UCL Bangla Society said that 1971 marks the bloody birth of Bangladesh, and the end of the genocide endured by the people. The roots of 1971 can be traced back to the partition of India in 1947, the Bengali language movement, through to the 9 months of war and 3 million martyrs that liberated the country. She added, ‘The impacts of this period are still felt within regional, national and international spheres, and leave much to be discussed.’