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The 1971 Bangladesh war mired Pakistan in a brutal struggle within its own borders and against neighboring India. Backed by the Soviet Union and the United States, the players in the conflict fought over the territories of East Pakistan, which then seceded to become Bangladesh.
Through a detailed investigation of representative events on the ground, this remarkable history contextualizes the war while vividly theorizing on the nature of the conflict. As with most wars, the narrative of 1971 has largely been written by the victors. Partisan mythologies imprison the remaining actors. This book sets out to rectify this bias, reconstructing events through extensive interviews conducted over a period of four years in Bangladesh and Pakistan. It features published and unpublished recollections, sampling from official documents, tapes, photographs, video documentaries, and reports issued by the foreign media. Many interviewees speak about their experiences for the first time, introducing new, critical perspective strands into an otherwise poorly represented history. Their "contesting" memories diverge from dominant narratives in crucial ways, showing how the war's reverberations continue to play out within the region.