New Delhi: The "unparalleled" contribution of Tripura in the liberation war of Bangladesh is the subject of a new book.
In "Contribution of Tripura in the Liberation War of Bangladesh", Bangladeshi author and human rights activist Salam Azad recalls how the northeastern state provided support to liberation war heroes and lakhs of refugees in the form of food and shelter.
He decided to write about Tripura`s contribution after he heard the story of a poor farmer who, despite finding it difficult to make ends meet, offered food and shelter to refugees fleeing Bangladesh.
"Contribution of Tripura in the Liberation War of Bangladesh" is a continuation of Azad`s previous two books `Contribution of India in the War of Liberation of Bangladesh` and `Role of Indian people in Liberation War of Bangladesh`.
In all these books, he talks about the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers and people during the war.
He says the war cost the Indian government about Rs 7,000 crore and claimed the lives of about 3,630 Indian soldiers while about 9,856 were injured.
He was provided a scholarship by the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies for the book, published by Bookwell.
"This scholarship helped me to complete the field work, paper work and finally the manuscript," he says.
"Tripura`s role is a very important aspect in the liberation of Bangladesh. It is unparalleled. It is very important for people, especially writers, to write or document about the role of people of Tripura in the formation of Bangladesh," Azad told a news agency.
He says the people of Tripura even spared their beds and extended their educational institutions to accommodate the refugees of Bangladesh. Azad cites an amazing instance of a widow, who was a strict vegetarian not even eating onion and garlic, but cooking meat and fish for the Muslim refugees.
"She always used to cook by herself. She never touched any food cooked by other sects of her religion. But now she gave shelter to Muslim refugees and even allowed them to use her kitchen. She cooked fish and meat for the refugees," he says.
"In 1971, the population of Tripura was 15.56 lakh. But in October, the refuge population of Bangladesh stood at 13.42 lakh. In the forthcoming months, this figure increased to almost the same as that of Tripura," he says.
Besides meeting people in Tripura, Azad also relied on newspaper reports, books and journals, interviews and opinions while writing this book.
He rues that the Indian soldiers killed while fighting Pakistani forces in the 1971 war have not been given their due honour by the Bangladesh government.
"Till today, Bangladesh hasn`t recognised the sacrifice of Indian soldiers in the 1971 war. There is not even a single brick laid to commemorate the sacrifice of the Indian soldiers within the large landscape of Bangladesh. It is therefore shameful and ungrateful on the part of the 140 million people of Bangladesh. I hope that in near future, Bangladesh will strive for due acknowledgement to the Indian soldiers," he says.
Till now, he has written 49 books - short stories, fiction, non-fiction and essays except poetry. He has also authored seven books on Tagore. He is the only Bangladeshi author whose book on Tagore has been published by Visva Bharati.
He has written "Unishe" on language movement at Silchar, Assam of May 19, 1961.