The price of freedom: Raghu Rai’s invaluable perspective of 1971

Can a photo write the epic of million tear drops? How can a stolen gaze represent the bloodshed in billion hearts? A war is not a poetry, it is a contrasting prose of wrong and right, vengeance and victory. Yet, to the rest of the world, nothing can represent the impact of a war more successfully than a photograph. Photographers rush to the warzones of the world, take photos and instantly upload them online to make them available to the whole world.

This wasn’t the case in the era of films, which was not a long ago. A substantial amount of time was needed to process and publish the images and even more time to build international response through images. A role of film documenting the atrocities of war is invaluable to the victims because this reminds them the price they had to pay for freedom. Photographs are straightforward when they tell the story of the sufferings of the victims and the atrocities of the aggressors. That’s why they are invaluable evidences against war criminals and aggressor nations.

 

The war of independence against Pakistan in 1971 cost Bangladesh three million lives. Millions were raped and became refugees in the neighboring India. Yet, photographs documenting one of the largest massacre of history is strangely lacking. Even scarce is the images captured by international photographers. We keep seeing only a handful of photos of the freedom fight online now a days.

That’s why it was a great news for us when we learned that prominent Indian photographer Raghu Rai discovered a number of his ‘misplaced’ film roles depicting the ’71 war. These prints, mostly revealing the front-line of the war, are invaluable assets for a Bangladesh stepping into the 42nd year of freedom. The people who committed heinous crimes against humanity during the war are put under trial and the whole country is united right now in demanding the highest possible punishment of these criminals. In this very time these photos reinforce our determination to establish a Bangladesh free of the shameless perpetrators of 71.

 

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I have tried to collect these photographs in a gallery to preserve them. I do not hold copyright of these photos anyway, but felt the urge to share them with you.

Because we must keep in mind the price we paid for our precious.

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