DHAKA: Nearly 400 people worldwide, including 226 Indians and 40 Pakistanis, figure in a list of eminent people to be honoured by Bangladesh for their role in its 1971 liberation. The list also contains the names of those who died during and after the struggle.
The former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev, who played key role in Bangladesh’s quest for freedom in 1971 top the list along with the Cuban leader, Mr Fidel Castro, the former Yugoslavian president, Marshal Josep Broz Tito and the Nepal’s current President, Mr Ram Baran Yadav.
Among the living Indians to be honoured with a 50 gm gold crest and honorary citizenship of Bangladesh are the former Indian prime minister, Mr I K Gujral, the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and painter M F Hussain.
The list of Indians includes Swaran Singh and Jagjivan Ram, who were the foreign and defence ministers at the time. The two top soldiers who led the joint Indo-Bangladesh forces to victory, then army chief, Field Marshal S H F J Manekshaw and the army commander in India’s eastern theatre,
Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, also find mention.
Other Indian recipients include former West Bengal chief minister, Jyoti Basu, former defence minister Krishna Menon, former Congress leader Sachindra Lal Singha, diplomats D P Dhar, P N Dhar, film maker Satyajit Ray, singer Manna Dey, artist Bishnu Dey and singer Mohammad Rafi.
Those from Pakistan are Tareq Rahman and Umar Asghar – the men who resigned from the Pakistani army – and Air Marshal Azgar Khan, human rights activists Ahmed Selim, Tahera Mazhar and advocate Zafor Malik.
The list also includes Russians, Britons, Irishmen, Australians, Dutchmen, Argentinians, Swiss, Germans, Frenchmen, Bhutanese, Japanese, Sri Lankans and Nepalese who aided the freedom struggle.