I wrote about the Bangladesh Genocide couple of weeks BACK and I got a very interesting email reply to that which I am taking the liberty to quote in extracts (and anonymised):
Dear Dr. Das Gupta:
I read your article: "The forgotten Bangladeshi Genocide," written on January 12th ..... Since you are from East Bengal and know about the atrocities of 1971, I felt interested in writing to you.
I was born in Durgapur, a village of 4 miles north of the sub-divisional town of Gopalganj of Dt. Faridpur, 79 years ago. I stidied in Gopalganj where Sheikh Mujib was our school captain and a few years older to me. Born in utmost poverty and growing up with the Muslims, I know Islam and the Muslim psyche very well. I escaped death in 1946 when the Muslims massacred the Hindus of Calcutta where I went to study in the Presidency College. I graduated from Calcutta Medical college in 1953 and went back to Gopalganj to practice for a year. Mujb Bhai was in jail and I treated his father and saw Sheikh Hasina as a little girl.
I have been in the USA since 1961 and after retirement in 1990, I traveled to many countries and wrote a few books. I did a lot of work in Nadia Dt. where we built our home after being out of East Pakistan. I studied over a dozen subjects related to the human affairs in my own way and followed almost everything that happened on earth. I also noted that the universities never had any text or any teacher who knew the history of our race from the beginning of life and appearance of the human race. Historians are, in my opinion totally ignorant about history, Toyenby or Bernard Lewis or not. You raised many questions but offered no answer. I know why the Indian Hindus were always defeated and does not even like to talk about how they were tortured and why. I have Life, Time and Newswek Magazines of 1971 and followed exactly what happened in 1971 and why. During the annual meeting of the India Association of our town, I talked about the Genocide in East Pakistan but the Hindus were angry with me for disturbinbg their fun as it was a problem of East Pakistan.
You are a prolific writer and may be much younger to me and you will benefit from my book, "Our World: Our Future," and I will be happy to send you my 2 books and the 3rd one I am writing and some of my articles to you in a CD, should you like to read them. I cannot brag at the fag end of my life, but perhaps I am a rare person on earth who had the fortune and misfortune in knowing both the East and the West, utmost poverty and affluence and the TRUE history of our race, totally inconceivable to any historian.
Prof. Lewis, being a Jew did not like my book, but Prof. Kenneth Galbraith liked it very much before he passed away at age 91.
Nobody knows why we have at least 14 different language based provinces in India and why casteism is present only in India and nowhere on earth. Why there is no Bengalee Methar?
Coming from the same Homo erectus group why are the Indians smaller in size?
Why we look so different from the Punjabis and the Pathans?
You will find answers to all the questions you posed in your article from my book.
I will expect to hear from you soon.
January 31, 2008 12.30 AM
I shared this email with my sisters and one of my sisters shot off an email back (warts and all, she is a very senior technologist in the USA) to the gentleman concerned. As there is a bit of biographical information, I am capturing it here, suitably anonymised.
Respected Dr. XXX,
Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta is my baby brother (his and my fathers are brothers).
He is six years younger than me. I was born in 1961.
He forwarded your email to me. I just could not wait and take his permission before writing to you. Tears of joys started to roll down my cheeks as I read your email that I received at work!
My mother was from the same village where you went to school. She was from the same village of Mujibur Rahman.
My parents’ families came to India before and during the painful partition. Both my father and mother spoke all the time about their Shonar Bangla.
My mother’s maiden name is Basanti Sengupta. Her father was the head master in Gopal Ganj school. He was also a lawyer. His name is Satyen Sengupta. My mother was born in 1929. You may know her perhaps. Her bother is Deb Prasad, we call him Boro Mama. You perhaps know him too.
My mother used to say Sub division Gopalganj of Dt. Madaridpur not Dt. Faridpur as you wrote.)
I think I am mixed up. Perhaps she used to visit between these places. She fondly remembers her village, the river, the Daalan Baadi they lived in, Pukhur, huge trees and simple life. Many times I think about taking her there once. She says she wants to go there to see her Daalan Baadi.
My father’s name is Late Ajit Dasgupta (son of Late Shashank Mohan Dasgupta). He studied in Dhaka University. His name is there in the merit list at the University main entrance. Scientist S.N. Bose was his hostel warden. He was born in 1924. He is from Jila - Khulna and Gram - Senhati. They lived in the lane called Aam Patti, Armani Tola. Historian Ramesh Chadra Mujumdar is somehow blood related to my father.
Even though I being an Indian can’t relate every thing my parents said, but I respect them. I care about their values.
I would love to buy your books/CD although I must admit I am not passionate like my baby brother. But I do remember 1971. I was ten year old then.
I am looking forward for hearing from you. Thank you for coming in our life!
With my Pranaam and Love to you and your family.
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!