The Bangladesh Liberation War was a conflict between East and West Pakistan that took place in 1971. The war was fought for nine months, from March 26, 1971, until December 16, 1971, and resulted in the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh.
The roots of the conflict lay in the political and economic marginalisation of East Pakistan by West Pakistan, as well as in the cultural and linguistic differences between the two regions. In the 1970 elections, the Awami League, a party based in East Pakistan, won a landslide victory but was denied the right to form a government by the ruling military junta in West Pakistan. This sparked widespread protests and civil disobedience in East Pakistan, which was met with brutal military repression.
The conflict escalated into a full-scale war in March 1971, when the Pakistani military launched a crackdown on the Bengali population of East Pakistan. This led to a mass exodus of refugees into neighbouring India, which provided support to the Bengali independence movement. India intervened in the conflict in December 1971, with a large-scale military offensive that led to the surrender of the Pakistani army and the creation of Bangladesh.
The war resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe, with an estimated 3 million people killed and tens of thousands of women raped by the Pakistani army. The conflict also had long-lasting political and economic consequences for the region, including strained relations between India and Pakistan and the ongoing tensions between Bengalis and non-Bengalis in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Liberation War is considered a significant event in South Asian history, marking the emergence of a new nation and the struggle for self-determination.
"The Homecoming" is a story about an unnamed lieutenant who returns home after fighting in the Bangladesh Liberation War. Although he has survived the war, his experiences have left him deeply scarred and he struggles to readjust to civilian life. He is haunted by memories of the war, including the sight of countless dead bodies and the starvation he witnessed at a relief station. These experiences have changed him, and he finds it difficult to relate to the shallow and hypocritical people around him. His participation in the war has caused him to question what is normal and abnormal, real and unreal. The story is notable for its emotional detachment and the fact that none of the characters are named.