Victory Day is celebrated every 16 December in Bangladesh to mark the anniversary of the surrender of Pakistan’s armed forces in Bangladesh at the end of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
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The union with Pakistan only came about as a result of the partition of British India into Muslim and Hindu “zones” in 1947 – India becoming one nation and Pakistan another. However, West Pakistan (modern Pakistan) was separated by hundreds of miles from East Pakistan (Bangladesh), which made for a most unnatural union.
Later, Pakistan began to refuse equal status to the Bengali language and otherwise ignite resentment in Bangladesh. Finally, in 1971, a revolt broke out as Bengalis demanded self-rule. Pakistan, however, fought back.
Aided by India, and by the logistical difficulty of holding onto a land so geographically separated from their homeland, Pakistan was finally defeated. The Pakistani General Amir Niazi finally surrendered to Allied General Jagjit Aurora on 16 December at the Ramna Race Course in downtown Dhaka. The crowds gathered to witness the event cheered wildly. Within only a few months’ time, most other nations of the world had recognised Bangladesh’s hard-won independence.