A Nation Rises
Editorial, Hindusthan Standard April 19, 1971
The obscure village of Vaidyanathtala in Kushtia earned abiding fame on Saturday when renamed as Mujibnagar it witnessed the formal advent of a new nation on this sub-continent. The infant state which was a little over three weeks old on the seventeenth of April rose on March 26 out of the grave Yahya Khan had dug for Pakistan in this part of the sub-continent. Flesh and blood were added to its dry bones on April 12 when the formation of the Government of the baby state was announced. And now with the swearing in of that Cabinet, headed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who is directing its affairs from the safety of a secret hide-out, the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Bangladesh has sprung to life. A dream has thus come true, and assumed concrete shape much to the dismay of the military junta ruling the roost in Islamabad and its see-no-evil allies.
The birth of the world's youngest nation was proclaimed in broad daylight in full view of observers from home and abroad. Bangla Desh has now all the elements of statehood and it would be clear breach of the tenets of international law not to give it its legitimate due. What West Pakistan wants to keep alive is a legal fiction which had long perished in the boiling cauldron of history. By siding with Islamabad in its pathetic bid to turn an illusion into reality through butchery and savagery on a scale that would put to shame all mass murderers from Zhenghis Khan to Adolf Hitler world's capitals are needlessly prolonging the agony of Bangla Desh. Whatever Yahya Khan may do he cannot turn back the tide of history, which has swept away the unity of Pakistan for all time to come. Those who will lend support to him will be guilty of a grave crime against humanity.
The hesitation of the democratic nations to accept an accomplished fact is bewildering. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his colleagues are no usurpers. They are all elected representatives of the people who were chosen through a poll of fairness of which Yahya Khan at least cannot doubt. Everything would have been peaceful in Bangla Desh had Pakistan's President gracefully accepted the electoral verdict and allowed the Awami League to form the government. Independence has been thrust on the Bengalis who cannot be blamed for what is happening in their homeland. Democratic justice demands that their inalienable right to self-rule be conceded by all peaceable and unprejudiced nations and the Mujib regime which has been formally installed in office be accorded recognition. That will stop the savage carnage in Bangla Desh and uphold the cause of justice and fair play. The firm hold of the Awami League on Bangla Desh has never been in doubt and to withhold recognition any longer will be to condemn to painful death lakhs of innocent people.
The Editorial was published in the Hindusthan Standard on April 19, 1971.