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The origins of Bangladesh and Pakistan’s 1968

East Pakistan, 1969

East Pakistan, 1969

Part two, telling the story of the war itself, is here.


Bangladesh’s Genesis and the Turbulent Landscape of Pakistan in 1968


The intricate tapestry of South Asian history weaves together the origins of Bangladesh, intimately entwined with the upheavals in Pakistan during the tumultuous year of 1968. This era marked a pivotal juncture, where political, economic, and cultural forces converged to shape the destiny of the Bengali-speaking population.

Historical Context of Bangladesh:

Understanding the birth of Bangladesh requires delving into the aftermath of British India’s partition in 1947. The creation of Pakistan saw Bengal divided, with the eastern part becoming East Pakistan. Despite this unification, East and West Pakistan remained distinct in language, culture, and economics.

Linguistic Struggles:

The imposition of Urdu as the official language ignited resentment among the Bengali-speaking majority in the east, leading to the 1952 Language Movement. This resistance foreshadowed the linguistic and cultural tensions that played a crucial role in the events preceding Bangladesh’s independence.

Economic Disparities:

The economic disparities between East and West Pakistan exacerbated the divide. Despite its higher population, East Pakistan received disproportionately fewer resources and development funds, intensifying discontent and fueling demands for autonomy.

Political Awakening of 1968:

The year 1968 proved to be a turning point in Pakistan’s political landscape. A wave of protests, known as the “Agitation of 1968,” swept the nation, with students, intellectuals, and workers demanding political reforms and an end to economic disparities. This movement laid the groundwork for Bangladesh’s eventual independence.

Political Leadership and Autonomy:

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s charismatic leadership spearheaded the call for autonomy in East Pakistan. The Six-Point Movement, proposed in 1966, sought greater autonomy in economic, political, and military matters. The central government’s resistance fueled tensions, culminating in the 1971 Liberation War and the birth of Bangladesh.


The genesis of Bangladesh is deeply rooted in the historical struggles of a people yearning for linguistic, cultural, and economic justice. The events of 1968 in Pakistan were a crucial catalyst, shaping the path toward Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. Understanding these historical intricacies unveils the complex narrative of South Asian history and the relentless pursuit of self-determination.


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