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National Martyrs' Monument Bangladesh

Symbol of Struggle

The National Martyrs' Monument in Bangladesh located at Savar, 35km from Dhaka, represents the valour and sacrifice of those who died in the stuggle for Bangladesh's independence. The Muslim conquerors held control of the area from the 13th century. From the 15th Century, Europeans from the countries of Portugal, Holland, France and Britain discovered the area and started to exert an economic influence over the region. The British gained political rule in 1757 by defeating the last Muslim ruler of Bengal. In 1947, the British partioned the subcontinent into India and Pakistan.

Present Bangladesh is what was the Eastern part of Pakistan. After the partition, the want for self government grew due to language, cultural and economic differences. The refusal to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages, led to the conception of the Language Movement in 1952, and was the first step towards independence. The political and economic deprivation of the Bengalees prompted Sheikh Mujib to put forward in 1966 his “Magna Carta”, six points which structured the foundation of Bangladesh's future independence and gave him the name, Father of the Nation. Elections were held in 1971 with Sheikh Mujib's party, the Awami League, winning the majority and in a position to take power. Politicians in West Pakistan viewed this develpment with trepidation and sent military forces to arrest him and quel the independence movement. After Mujib's arrest in March 1971, the Bangledesh War for Independence began with Western Pakistan forces invading the Eastern side, razing villages, raping women and murdering thousands. After nine months of fighting, the Western Pakistan forces surrendered on the 16 December 1971 with an estimated three million people killed.

The National Martyrs' Monument pays tribute to those killed in that horrible struggle. The structure reaches 150 feet and is composed of seven isoceles triangular planes, each varying in size in its height and base. The unique arrangement of the planes means that the view changes as you move around it. To reach the monument, one has to walk for some time and cross bridges that represents the struggle for independence. In front are the mass graves and the artificial lake, with a green belt around the rest of the complex.

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