The contested history of one of Bangladesh’s worst wartime massacres

Blood-in-the-water_caravan-magazine_november-2014_01Salil Tripathi at Caravan:

IN THE WINTER OF 2012, when I drove along Jessore Road, it was a weather-beaten two-lane road with waterlogged fields on either side, the landscape occasionally interrupted by a few shops—a mechanical works, a petrol pump, or a tea stall. Jessore Road connects south-western Bangladesh to Kolkata, in West Bengal. During the war of 1971, it was one of the lifelines that connected refugees from East Pakistan, fleeing war and massacre, to India. Of those fateful eight months, as the world slowly realised that a massacre was underway in East Pakistan and sympathy and support began to trickle in from the West, the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg wrote in his lyrical anthem ‘September on Jessore Road’:

Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless alone

Millions of souls nineteen seventy one
homeless on Jessore road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan

more here.