• Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Preserving the memory of our struggle for liberation

  • Published at 11:58 pm March 25th, 2021
Liberation War Museum
Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Walking through the passages of the Liberation War Museum, one can experience the sufferings and sacrifices made by the people during the Liberation War and get valuable insights into the birth of Bangladesh

When walking from Sher-E-Bangla Nagar to the Liberation War Museum, visitors are welcomed with illustrations adorning the 200-metre road on the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.

As soon as one reaches the entrance, one is greeted with an eternal flame surrounded by water, symbolizing the undying spirit of the 1971 Liberation War.

A fighter jet hanging near the entry corridor as well as sculptures of four national leaders along with that of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the middle are seen near the entry corridor.

A walk through the passages of the four magnificent galleries of the museum takes one back to the pages of history, to experience the pain, uncertainty, sufferings, sacrifices made during the Liberation War and to perceive the birth of a new country — Bangladesh.

The museum, established as a means to keep alive memories of the Liberation War and keep its spirit high, was previously housed in a two-storey colonial building with displays in six galleries. Later, a modern structure with an area of about 20,000sqm was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 16, 2017.

Walking through the galleries

The museum has four galleries which display images of our long struggle to establish our identity as a sovereign nation.

The journey starts with Gallery One (Our Heritage, Our Struggle), which displays scores of historic documents, newspapers and photographs.

A memorial to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the four national leaders at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka | Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

From archaeological symbols from the time when Bangali culture emerged to historical accounts from the works of the rulers of Bengal, including the Mughals, the Nawabs, the British and the Pakistanis, are shown there.

The second gallery, named “Our Rights, Our Struggle”, depicts the course of our Liberation War.

The museum creates a distinct ambiance through the dark room in the gallery — and one cannot but feel that one is revisiting the atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistani military.

The role of Bangabandhu, the nation’s founding father, and images of his meetings with eminent leaders are also featured in the gallery.

Meanwhile, Gallery Three (Our Battles, Our Friends) recalls the roles played by our national and international friends in support of our struggle for independence.

The tour ends with the portrayal of the surrender of the Pakistani forces and the start of our journey as an independent nation in Gallery Four, aptly styled “Our Victory, Our Values”.

Collection

The museum has over 25,000 memorabilia in its collection, including rare photographs, documents, coverage of the struggle in both electronic and print media and materials used by freedom fighters and martyrs of the Liberation War, according to museum Curator Amena Khatun.

There is also a library on the first floor of the facility, established to encourage and help with research activities.

“The library has over 8,000 books to help researchers. We have also documented national and international news clips and newspapers of that time,” said Dr Rezina Begum, librarian of the museum library.

Sara Zaker, trustee and member-secretary of the museum, said the museum had arranged a yearlong program to mark the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and observed the 25th anniversary of the museum on Monday.

“We want to organize a virtual tour by which we can visually represent real-life stories and narratives on Liberation War-related matters. I plan to digitally document the materials at our disposal and present it to the younger generation,” she said.

The Liberation War Museum was inaugurated on March 22, 1996, in the capital’s Segunbagicha with the objective of making new generations aware of the true spirit and aspirations of the nation’s struggle for independence.

The museum has had more than 887,723 visitors from its inception and till March 20, 2021, according to its website.

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