New Delhi: The names of Debdulal Bandyopadhyay and Nilima Sanyal may not ring
a bell with today's generation, but they were hugely popular in
India and the then East Pakistan during 1971 with thousands tuning
in to listen to them on AIR for the latest developments in the
runup to the war of liberation that led to birth of Bangladesh.
As the news updates on AIR are a part of Bangladesh's treasured
history, Dhaka has requested New Delhi for the tapes of the
newsreaders whose every syllable was heard with rapt attention
during the nine-month war in which India played a crucial role.
"Akashvani (AIR) played a major role in the liberation war. The
names of Debdulal Bandyopadhyay and Nilima Sanyal were familiar
and popular in every Bangla household. I have requested if AIR has
the records of their news reading, they should give us copies. We
will preserve them in digitized format in our archives as a
tribute," Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasanul
Haq Inu told IANS in an interview here.
The archival records of AIR would show "how India stood by
Bangladesh during the war", said Inu, who has discussed the issue
with his Indian counterpart Manish Tewari and with Jawhar Sircar,
chief of national broadcaster Prasar Bharti.
"The records would show how Indira Gandhi spoke in the Lok Sabha
in favour of Bangladesh, how she spoke to Russia and other
countries.. All those who spoke in favour of Bangladesh, sang
songs, gave slogans, we want their contribution in digitized
format for our archives," said Inu.
Another proposal to etch in memory the liberation war is a major
film or a television series, in which the role played by Indira
Gandhi and Bangladesh's mentor, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, would be
brought to life as well as that of others, said Inu, who was here
on a visit.
"One crore people (from then East Pakistan) took refuge in India..
how India looked after them, the role of the Mukti Bahini
(Liberation Army)., the role of women, the role of Indian
soldiers.. One mega feature film or a serial on the liberation
war, not just for Bangladesh but for the whole of India. This
would help show the contribution of even a soldier from Kerala or
Kashmir to the war," said Inu.
Both sides have agreed to consider a joint collaboration for
producing the film, he said.
"A panel of experts from both countries will need to research on
the subject. We will need cooperation of different government
departments of both countries," he added.
The proposal from Inu, who heads the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal which
is part of the Sheikh Hasina-led government, comes at a time when
Bangladesh is honouring those who majorly contributed to the war
of independence. The Shahbag movement also epitomises the strong
sentiment of Bangla nationalism among the people.
Taking Bengali cohesion another step forward, Inu has proposed
tapping the market of "35 crore" Bengalis in the world though
"There are 35 crore Bangalis - 16 crore in Bangladesh, 10 crore in
West Bengal and the rest scattered in Tripura, Bihar and other
states and across the world. We would target the Bangla audience
through films on entertainment, cultural and social issues," he
Filmmakers should tap this huge market, in the way of Marathi and
Hindi films, with films of happiness and sadness, he added.
State-owned television channels in both countries - Doordarshan
and Bangladesh TV also known as BTV - are also to ink an MoU to
telecast each others content. A documentary television serial on
Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore is being worked on by both
India has already made 13 episodes, while Bangladesh is making six
episodes, which would be ready in June.
According to Inu, India has requested that the documentaries be
simultaneously telecast on DD and BTV.
While Indian TV serials, especially the saas-bahu soaps, are very
popular in Bangladesh, the high downlinking fees charged by India
is keeping away Bangladesh telecasters from showing them on their
Inu has suggested that SAARC countries be allowed special
concession in downlinking fees which would lower the costs.
(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at email@example.com