April 9: A Tri-patriate agreement was signed between Bangladesh-India-Pakistan in New delhi. Those who signed were Kamal Hossain (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh), Swaran Singh, (Minister of External Affairs, India) and Aziz Ahmed (Minister of State for Defense and Foreign Affairs, Pakistan).
September 24: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed the UN General Assembly in Bangla. Earlier the Peoploe’s Republic of Bangladesh was accorded membership of United Nations.
Henry Kissinger continues to refuse to accept Bangladesh, or provide any aid, referring to it as a “basket case” — possibly because of Mujib’s pro-socialist rhetorics and participation in the Non-Aligned Movement
A famine breaks out in 1974 which is viewed as the direct result of inefficiency and corruption by politicians and civil servants. The 1974 famine was not an isolated incident, but instead part of a long trend in declining food production in Bangladesh following its independence from Pakistan.
Possibly over a million people died in the Bangladesh famine of 1974, from July 1974 to January 1975, although the Bangladesh government claimed only 26,000 people died. (wikipedia).
In a review of Amartya Sen’s book, Development as Freedom, James North maintains this view of the famine that hit Bangladesh in 1974:
No dictator stole food from the Bangladeshi poor in 1974. The normal functioning of the economy, with property rights respected, led to their deaths.
Among the socio-political factors, Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that:
At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the US had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to ‘ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminals’.
(Here is a documentary by John Pilger which depicts the tragedy and the US politics behind this.)
Sheikh Mujib sidelines Tajuddin Ahmed, while Khondakar Mustaq Ahmed, a holdover from the Pakistani Muslim League, wins Mujib’s confidence.
In spite of the Mujib Government’s commitment to democracy and socialism, the Awami League finds itself in opposition to the growing Left movement. The Jatiya Rakshibahini, a para-military formed with mostly pro-Mujib Fredom Fighters, becomes a symbol of excessive and repressive government.