Editor’s note

Many words are written every year in remembrance of the spirit of ’71. For all our essays, reports and opinion pieces on the legacy of the Liberation War, a certain texture of the history is nevertheless lost amidst the grand political narratives being crafted.

‘FOR YOUR SAKE, O FREEDOM’ 1971 and Bangladeshi poetry

Bangladeshi poetry has always been sensitive to socio-political issues and public themes. In discussing the poetic response to the Liberation War, therefore, it is useful to start with the broad historical background, move on to the literary tradition, and then consider the poetry itself.

You said

Notun Bazar was burning, burning! /Shops, stores, woodpiles/ Piled up iron, timber, mosques and temples/ Notun Bazar was burning, burning!

A fugitive

It was noontime when I arrived home the sun was shining bright

Smell of corpse in the air

I smell corpses rotting in the air to this day

Poetry, my useless weapon

As bird flocks take wing at the rattle of Sten guns


In west Texas, oil froths luxurious from hard ground while across Bangladesh, bayoneted women stain pond water blossom.