Category: History

Questioning an iconic number

david bergman

Isthe Bangladesh government’s official figure of three million a fair estimate of the number of people killed by the Pakistan military and its collaborating forces in the country’s 1971 independence war? Though over 40 years have passed since the end of the conflict, in Bangladesh, this question continues to be a sensitive one…

The Thugs of India


Lieutenant Subhani of the Bengal Native Infantry and his three traveling companions were nearing the final leg of their journey. Ordinarily the Lieutenant would have only his pair of loyal orderlies to keep him company as he traveled, but today a third man walked alongside his horse — a stranger who had joined him only that morning…

The Worst Rulers In History?


“The plain truth is, that he was a most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of blood and grease upon the History of England.” — Charles Dickens, on King Henry VIII In the grand scheme of…

The Execution of Tsar Nicholas II, 1918

Family Nicholas II

The mounting pressures of World War I, combined with years of injustice, toppled the rule of Tsar Nicholas II in March 1917. Forced to abdicate, he was replaced by a Provisional Government committed to continuing the war. Increasing losses at…

1971 death figure

This is my third of four posts looking at the Tribunal’s 3 October 2011 order charge-framing Sayedee on 20 counts of international crimes involving genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the 1971 war of independence. The first post looking at the charges against Sayedee is here. The second post looking at some legal issues discussed in the tribunal is here. The introduction to the 3 October order stated, in its historical introduction that ‘As a result’ of the actions of the Pakistan military, and the role of the collaborators, ‘3 million (thirty lacs) people were killed more than 200,000 (two lacs) woman raped, about 10 million (one crore) people deported to India as refugees and million others were internally displaced…’.