Artists from Bangladesh and India mark Vijay Diwas

The art camp provided an opportunity for painters to showcase the sacrifices of the Indian Army and the valiant Mukti Jodhas towards the birth of a nation

A mother clasping her child on her right hip, draped in a sari and standing on a bed of bones with two wings on her shoulders, the stature upright and the eyes reflecting a resolve.

An acrylic painting by Atin Basak displayed on the Vatika lawns of Fort William on Monday captured the mood of the occasion — the 50th anniversary of Vijay Diwas to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the birth of Bangladesh.

The 4X5-ft canvas was among several paintings that were on display on the lawns of Fort William, the headquarters of Indian Army’s Eastern Command, where artists from Bangladesh and India shared space to express their thoughts on the event through paintings.

The art camp — titled “1971: retrospective through an artist’s eye” — provided an opportunity for painters of the two countries to come together for the first time to showcase the contribution and sacrifices of the Indian Army and the valiant Mukti Jodhas towards the birth of a nation.

“The victory of the Indian Army and the formation of Bangladesh marked the liberation of a motherland from the clutches of Pakistan. The wings on the two shoulders of the mother in the painting represents the sense of freedom of a mother that comes with independence,” said Basak.

“The mother here represents all mothers of Bangladesh and their collective feeling of freedom at the cost of a war that resulted in several deaths. The bed of bones under her feet represents the death of the soldiers in the liberation war.”

A painting by Ahmed Shamsuddoha captures a fighter plane flying over a battleground, which has war wreckage strewn around. Ahmed Shamsuddoha, Jamal Uddin Ahmed and a few others comprise the team of painters from Bangladesh.

Subrata Gangopadhyay’s painting shows men from the army in their battle fatigues fighting a war holding on to their guns. At the far left corner is a woman with her hands up in the air and a newborn is floating in the sky.

“A mother sacrifices her son to fight war for his country and the son lays down his life so that another mother, the motherland, wins freedom. That is my idea on the canvas about the sacrifices of our men in the 1971 war,” Gangopadhyay said. 

Vijay Diwas is commemorated on December 16 in India and Bangladesh to mark Bangladesh’s liberation from Pakistan. The war also resulted in unilateral and unconditional surrender of Pakistan’s army and subsequent transformation of East Pakistan into an independent Bangladesh.

Following their defeat, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, and 93,000 troops surrendered to the Mukti Bahini and the Indian Army, led by General Jagjit Singh Aurora.

India will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vijay Diwas on December 16. The art camp was inaugurated by Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command.

It will continue till Tuesday (from 10am and 1pm).

Senior army officers said this was part of year-long celebrations that have been planned as part of Swarnim Vijay Varsh in India.

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