LEST WE FORGET
“1971 Genocide and Torture” is an exhibition currently on at the Nalinikanta Bhattashali Gallery of the National Museum. Since its inauguration on 9 December, the event has been a success leaving a lasting impact which has already been etched in the minds of the crowd.
Primarily a showcase of images related to the events of 1971, the display focuses on the genocide, the torture and the persecution of Bengalis in hands of the Pakistani military junta. The succinct selection of the photographs and the war time memorabilia on display speaks volumes of the effort that went behind curating the event; the graphic design that utilises a simple yet effective gridline highlights a poignant narration through the photos rather than overpowering the display.
Along with the images of genocide and torture, there is a comprehensive display of numerous images of artworks by Bangladeshi artists based on the ruthless atrocity of the 1971 War – from works by S M Sultan and Quamrul Hassan to the likes of Hashem Khan, and other contemporary artists.
Also on display is a selection of war related books from the collection of Dr Muntasir Mamun and artifacts belonging to martyred intellectuals, from the collection of the Bangladesh National Museum, co-organiser of the exhibition.
1971 Genocide and Torture, an exhibit which first went on display between 17 and 20 May 2014 in Khulna – a region that was once a witness to the mass murder of innocent civilians, is possibly the first attempt to highlight the events of 1971 not merely as a victory at warfare, a saga of gallantry and courage but can also be seen as a humanitarian crisis - a genocide of three million human lives and human dignity of million others.
1971 Genocide-Torture Archive and Museum Trust, the principal organisers of the exhibition believes that more work needs to be done on the genocide of the Bengali nation and is attempting to chronicle the history of the mass killing at the killing fields spread throughout the country.
In all of human history there has been over 15000 wars that shook the human consciousness with all its viciousness. In the context of the 1971 War, the exhibition sees genocide encompassing mass murder, casualties while attempting to flee, death at refugee camps and fatality due to torture. Torture too was seen from a different perspective, not limited to sexual assault of women, but also extended to physical torture, psychological agony, oppression due to religious beliefs etc.
A picture tells a thousand words. Images from the past, images of war, images of horror – stirs up the human consciousness. What happened four decades ago has faded in many of our memories. And it is constant, stark reminders that rekindles human and humane emotions in us. For the generation which does not know, to a generation who may have forgotten, “1971 Genocide and Torture” is a timely reminder that victory comes at a price, often too high.
“1971 Genocide and Torture” is open today between 9.30am to 7:00pm.
1971 Genocide-Torture Archive and Museum Trust is always looking for information involving genocide of persecution of people during 1971. If you have any photographs, memorabilia that you feel, may enrich the archive of the Trust feel free to contact them at [email protected] and [email protected]