Understanding Bangladesh’s War of Liberation: A Discussion on Sarmila Bose’s ‘Dead Reckoning’

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of E​PW.



Can there be a “factual” discussion of Bangladesh’s Liberation War?


Naeem Mohaiemen’s article, “Flying Blind: Waiting for a Real Reckoning on 1971” is a sharp review of Dead Reckoning, Sarmila Bose’s novel on the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Mohaiemen censures Bose for a biased approach when researching for this book, arguing that Bose attempts to downplay the nature of violence by giving uncritical weightage to accounts from the Pakistani side.


Bose responds to these claims, countering that the charge of bias stems from Mohaiemen’s lack of understanding of her research methodology, and also from his false accusations. Mohaiemen responds to this, reasserting that Bose’s methodology is partisan and inherently flawed.   


A few other works that are broadly related to the discussion:

  1. The Politics of Independence in Bangladesh, David Ludden, 2011
  2. Bangladesh War of Independence: A Moral Issue, Mokerrom Hossain, 2009
  3. War Crimes, Justice and the Politics of Memory, Bina D’Costa, 2013

Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at edit@epw.in with the subject line—"Reporting history, or rewriting the past?"


Curated by Kieran Lobo [kieran@epw.in]

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