The IISH has long had a special interest in Southeast Asia and
China. Now the Asia Department has decided to focus on South Asia
as well. It has just acquired several collections from Bangladesh.
Among these is a large collection of political and cultural periodicals from Professor Muntassir Mamoon (Dhaka, Bangladesh). These rare periodicals in Bengali and English - published in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh - cover the period since the 1940s.
We have also received Professor Mamoon's unique collection of political pamphlets and posters, produced mainly by students at Dhaka University in the 1970s.
Other donations were made by Kamal Pasha Chowdhury (Dhaka; political posters), Shahriar Kabir (Dhaka; political posters, maps), Prof. Mahbubar Rahman (Rajshahi; political, religious and cultural pamphlets, leaflets and posters), and Suborno Chisim (Dhaka; Mandi (Garo) leaflets and pamphlets).
An oral history project is also being undertaken by Shahriar Kabir, directed at collecting the memories of political activists from different progressive and nationalist backgrounds. These memories are preserved in the form of extensive video recordings. So far he has been able to collect such 'living memories' going back to the Chittagong Armoury Raid of the 1930s.
Some collections we were able to acquire the last few years:
- Memories of the Bangladesh Liberation War, 1971
A collection of audiotaped interviews with eight independence fighters in Gaibandha District (northern Bangladesh). The eight (Moulvi Md. Mozammel Huq, Muktijoddha Alom, Muktijoddha Joinal Abedin, Mr. Lutfor Rahman, Gonesh Proshad, Prof. Majharul Hannan and Mr. Abdul Matin Chowdhuri) relate their experiences during the Bangladesh Liberation War (or War of Independence) of March-December 1971, in which the Pakistan province of East Pakistan became the independent state of Bangladesh.
The interviews were taken by Prof. Md. Mahbubar Rahman (History Department, Rajshahi University, Bangladesh) in December 1999. Prof. Rahman donated the tapes to IISH in January 2002.
- Nepal Nag (1908-1978)
Nepal Nag was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Dhaka and founder of the trade union movement of Narayanganj. He was married to Nibedita Nag also a leading figure in the communist movement of Dhaka. Both later migrated to India.
From his wife Nibedita Nag we received the diary of Nepal Nag on his participation in the International Conference of Communist Parties in Moscow, 1960. In this conference the international communist movement was sharply divided between Moscow and Peking. The diary can be considered as a unique historical document.
- Organizing Committee Chittagong Hill Tracts Campaign
The Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh are inhabitated by several ethnic groups which are often referred to collectively as 'Jumma'; from the 1970s armed resistance to the Bangladesh government resulted in extensive militarization of the region; an international campaign, coordinated by the OCCHTC, supported the movement for Jumma self-determination.
Publications by the regional political party Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and its armed wing, the Santi Bahini (SB); reports of human right violations by the Bangladesh armed forces; documentation on Jumma refugees in India; publications by various Jumma organizations, including the Hill People's Council, the Hill Students' Council, the Hill Women's Council and the Jumma People's Network; reports by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery Society, United Nations and other international organizations; publications by Bengali settler organizations; press clippings.
Period: 1977-1996 , Size: 2 m.
- Communist Party of Bangladesh
Collection of Khondoker Shakhawat Ali consisting of photocopies of minutes of meetings of the Central Committee of the CPB; policy notes; reports; circulars; some correspondence and other documents relating to districts and branches; documents of the front organization Gono Oikko Jot (People's United Front) and documents concerning the National Awami League, the Bangladesh Krishok Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL; Bangladesh Peasant and Workers Awami League) and the Jatiyo Sramik League (National Workers' League).
Period: 1974-1987, 1989, 1991.