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New book looks at India’s role in Bangladesh Liberation War & its ‘little-known aspect’

Published by HarperCollins India, ‘December in Dacca’ by K.S. Nair will be released on 18 April on Softcover.

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New Delhi: A deep dive into India’s exceptional role in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 is the subject of a new book ‘December in Dacca’ by K.S. Nair, who wants to shed light on an aspect of the war which has received little coverage in the country.

Published by HarperCollins India, the book will be released on 18 April on Softcover, ThePrint’s online venue to launch non-fiction books.

Hailing the 1971 India-Pakistan War as India’s “most complete military victory” after Independence, Nair, in his latest offering, argues that the war should not be known only for its success with arms but also as a “diplomatic success against odds, and in some still unappreciated but key ways, more than both”.

The book strives to be the first publication to combine military and non-military stories that took place during those crucial years.

Asserting how the success of the Bangladesh Liberation War should be “differently remembered”, Nair draws attention to the disparity in the level of respect accorded to “justifiable war” such as the Second World War, in contrast to other wars, including the war of 1971.

“The Bangladesh Liberation War should be better remembered, and I would argue, in some ways differently remembered. The Second World War is widely accepted as a justifiable war, and its young participants are deified as the greatest generation. It is always striking to me how uncritically the Second World War is remembered, particularly in the countries that were its victors — and how rarely any similar respect is accorded to other wars,” the author writes.

The book further attempts to examine the series of military coups and political assassinations that Bangladesh suffered, from 1975 till the early 1980s, which were for some time considered “a repudiation of Indian (Yes, India’s) success” in 1971.

“December in Dacca is a refreshing and intriguing melting pot of known landscapes of a near-genocide; of war and conflict as it panned out across two fronts and individual stories of valour and heroism. What makes it stand out is its examination of the 1971 war through an ethical lens, and its argument that India let go of the moral high ground rather too easily and did not carry forward the gains it accrued from the stupendous victory in its own journey of Nation-building,” wrote Air Vice-Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (Retd), President’s Chair of Excellence, National Defence College, New Delhi.

“Nair has managed to find living tissue in the corpus of a war that has been written about to death. Superbly full of many missing treasures that make it worthy of our greatest victory’s fiftieth year”, wrote journalist Shiv Aroor.

K.S. Nair is the author of two previous books — Ganesha’s Flyboys: The Indian Air Force in Congo, 1960–62 and The Forgotten Few: The Indian Air Force in World War II — and numerous articles in Indian, British, Canadian, Japanese and US publications and websites. He is a graduate of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Bangalore, and has served at senior levels in multinational and boutique firms and development agencies.

Also read: New book traces story of Parukutty Neithyaramma, the unsung female icon of Cochin kingdom


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