Unseen '71 by Amanul Haq | The Daily Star
05:26 PM, December 12, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:44 AM, December 15, 2017


Unseen '71 by Amanul Haq

Jomi, Shoheed, Shadhinota, Klanto pa ma-shishu, Sadapaira… (land, martyr, independence, mother and child tired of walking, white pigeon...) Handwritten on the front of yellowish envelope. Loads of surprises inside. It has been many years since he carefully saved those negatives!

This is a different Amanul Haq. For those who knew the romantic, patriotic poet of the camera from his Amar Desh Chitramala, this must come as a surprise. The camera became his rifle. Had he ever thought that he would play the same role again in 1971, while he was taking photos of Rafiq, the first martyr of the Language Movement?

We were mesmerised to see the strips of transparent films. So many years! Nature didn't spare them. Torn, fungus infected but protected with love and affection. Notes on the envelope reveal how a photographer turned into a freedom fighter.

As a part of Drik's ongoing archiving of the 1971 photographs, we have recently acquired this legendary photographer's collection with the help of his family. We have collected negatives, slides and prints from numerous sources. We were surprised to discover many unseen and unpublished photographs on the Liberation War of Bangladesh. A hidden treasure for four decades!

Vast concourse of people on the occasion of the historical speech by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at Racecourse, now known as Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka, March 7, 1971
Chief of the Joy Bangla Bahini Kamrul Alam Khan Khasru taking away the collaborators, December 1971
An armed freedom fighter amidst a mustard field in Bangladesh
A group of surrendered Pakistani soldiers, December 1971
Freedom fighters gather in the Dhaka stadium to surrender arms to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, 1972.
Women protesting in Dhaka demanding independence, 1971.
Joy Bangla, Banglar Joy, Victory of Bangladesh, 1971 ca

Drik is now curating a historic exhibition with his collection. An exhibition that will reveal untold stories, make your heart heavy and also show the joy and pride of the commoners. The exhibition is scheduled at Bangladesh National Museum in March 2018. This will be Amanul Haq's tribute to the country's 48th anniversary of independence.

ASM Rezaur Rahman is the Curator at Drik.

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