Even in 1971, Awami League wasn’t stating it wanted independence: Srinath Raghavan

With elections approaching amidst violence, Bangladesh’s future looks uncertain. Some of this is rooted in a past marked by enduring clashes. Srinath Raghavan , senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and senior research fellow at King’s College, London, spoke with Ashish Yechury about why Bangladesh’s creation was a global affair, influences shaping this — and how even Israel apparently got involved:

Your book is called 1971: A Global History of the Crea-tion of Bangladesh — why global?

Well, the creation of Bangladesh is generally seen as a subcontinental affair; in default mode, it’s seen as the second partition. This seems to me a very narrow view. It doesn’t take into account a wider international context in which this happened and which decisively shaped the outcome. This was a global event — participants themselves thought they had to secure global support. In a sense, the struggle on the ground was matched by a struggle for global opinion. That’s central in understanding these events.

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