The Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971 was a turning point in South Asian history, the effects of which, continue to impact the region and the diaspora today. In this discussion activists and writers discuss the different ways the 1971 war is remembered and archived in the lives of the generations that have come since. Featuring Salil Tripathi, author of The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and its Unquiet Legacy, Tahmima Anam, British Bangladeshi author of A Golden Age, The Good Muslim and The Bones of Grace, and journalist David Bergman. Chaired by Niaz Alam, journalist, writer and member of the Editorial Board of Dhaka Tribune.
Salil was born in India and lives in London. In 2015, he was elected Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International. He is an award-winning journalist and writer, and contributing editor at Mint and Caravan, both published in India. He has written for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, New Statesman, Guardian, Independent, Far Eastern Economic Review, and many others.He is currently working on a book about Gujaratis.
Tahmima is an anthropologist and author of four novels. Her debut novel, A Golden Age, won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. In 2013, she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. She is a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times and was a judge for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she was educated at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University. She lives in London with her family.
David is a journalist recently returned from London after living in Dhaka for 13 years where he wrote for a number of Bangladesh national papers as well as for the Daily Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Wire and other international media. Whilst there he set up a blog on the country’s International Crimes Tribunal which had been established in 2010 to investigate and prosecute those allegedly responsible for war crimes during the country’s 1971 independence war to account and he wrote widely on due process issues relating to the accountability process, resulting in his own prosecution for contempt of court by the Tribunal. Earlier, before moving to Bangladesh he led the research on the War Crimes Files, Channel Four’s RTS award winning documentary on international crimes allegedly committed by three members of the Jamaat-e-Islami during the 1971 war, which was broadcast in 1994.
Niaz is a member of the Editorial Board of Dhaka Tribune. For op-ed writers in Bangladesh, 1971 is an ever present and recurring topic for discussion. Niaz worked in Bangladesh as the newspaper’s Chief Editorial Writer between 2013 and 2016. He continues to write for the paper as its London Bureau Chief and is also currently Hon. Secretary of the Foreign Press Association in London.