Also known as Bijoy Dibos, Bangladesh Victory Day is celebrated on December 16 every year. The occasion commemorates the victory of the Bangladesh and Indian forces over the Pakistani forces in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, during which close to three million Bangladeshi were killed, while 10 million were made refugees. Bangladesh celebrates its Independence Day on March 26, but that is when the atrocities of this war began. It finally ended nearly nine months later, on December 16. This is an important day for a few Asian countries — Kazakhstan gained independence on this day too.
History of Bangladesh Victory Day
It all started with India’s independence, back in 1947, which created the dominion of Pakistan. This meant Pakistan now had two separate regions on either side of India — West Pakistan and East Pakistan — which led to friction between the two regions. On March 26, 1971, when Bangladesh gained independence, it kickstarted the Liberation War. This genocide began with the launch of Operation Searchlight, as West Pakistan (now Pakistan) cracked down on East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
The people of Bangladesh then took it upon themselves to partake in a war to gain independence from Pakistan. This gain came at the cost of innumerable losses. Mukti Bahini, a guerrilla resistance movement comprising the Bangladeshi military and civilians, was created to fight this war. This guerrilla war lasted for a total of nine excruciating months. In November, India took part in the war, supporting Bangladesh. Shortly after, they defeated the Pakistan Army, finally ending the war on December 16, when Pakistan surrendered at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka.
One of the most historic moments was the famous Blood Telegram, written by Archer Blood, an American diplomat. The strongly worded letter protested against the atrocities committed during the war. Well, it’s worth reading for yourself, in Blood’s words: “Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backward to placate the West Pakistan-dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them. Our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankruptcy. But we have chosen not to intervene, even morally, on the grounds that the Awami conflict, in which unfortunately the overworked term genocide is applicable, is purely an internal matter of a sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed disgust. We, as professional civil servants, express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected in order to salvage our nation’s position as a moral leader of the free world.”
Bangladesh Victory Day timeline
It really sinks in for the people when the State Bank of Pakistan is renamed Bangladesh Bank.
On December 16, the constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is enacted.
The “Bangladesh Gazette” lists the recipients of nearly 700 gallantry awards on December 15.
On December 16, 27,117 volunteers gather at the National Parade Ground and hold red and green squares of cards up for six minutes, recreating the national flag of Bangladesh and taking the world record from Pakistan.
The celebration this year marks 50 years since that victorious day.
Bangladesh Victory Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate Bangladesh Victory Day?
It commemorates the ultimate victory in the Liberation War in 1971. The Pakistani Army surrendered, marking the end of nine months of atrocities for the people of Bangladesh.
Why did Bangladesh split from Pakistan?
As a united Pakistan (east and west), both the countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh had sought independence from India in 1947 owing to concerns about the security of Muslims in a Hindu-majority state. East Pakistan felt discriminated against and neglected by West Pakistan, however, and seceded.
Why did Pakistan surrender in 1971?
After overpowering the Pakistani army, the Indian Army surrounded the capital, Dhaka, and issued an ultimatum to Pakistan to surrender. Pakistan had no choice but to comply.
How to Celebrate Bangladesh Victory Day
Wear red and green
Adorned in traditional green and red dress, the people of Bangladesh hold rallies to remind themselves of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country.
Witness military parades
A military parade is held at the National Parade Square in Dhaka, with the prime minister in attendance. The army marches while the air force flies above.
Respect the Martyrs’ Memorial
The best way is to simply remember the martyrs. People walk to the National Martyrs’ Memorial, the national monument of Bangladesh, to lay flowers in the memory of martyrs.
5 Facts About The People Of Bangladesh
Independence Day Award
This annual award is bestowed upon Bangladeshi citizens on Independence Day and is given to recognize their substantial contributions across numerous fields.
The city of Dhaka is the 10th-biggest in the world and comes in fourth among the most densely populated cities in the world.
The people of Bangladesh celebrate six distinct seasons with different festivals, during summer, monsoon season, autumn, late autumn, winter, and spring.
Going with the flow
A lot of the population depends on river water for survival, and Bangladesh is home to somewhere between 230 and 400 rivers, depending on the season.
The people of Bangladesh are blessed with the longest uninterrupted natural sea beach in the world, which runs for an impressive 75 miles south of Cox’s Bazar.
Why Bangladesh Victory Day is Important
Naturally, the war became a topic of great importance in Bangladeshi culture, influencing cinema, literature, history, the media, and the arts. An unforgettable victory.
Important in India too
This day is also commemorated across India as Vijay Diwas to honor not just the Bangladeshi, but also Indian martyrs who sacrificed themselves in the war. India’s support was instrumental in Bangladesh’s victory over Pakistan.
Bangladesh may have gained independence in March, but that was just the beginning of their horror story. That ordeal ended nearly nine months later, on Victory Day. Most United Nations members were quick to recognize Bangladesh within months of its true independence.
Bangladesh Victory Day dates