Notes on Radical Meteorology

Photo : Nabil Ahmed and Anton Kats 

On November 12, 1970 at midnight Bhola Cyclone struck the coast of East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh. Originating in the Bay of Bengal, the tropical cyclone made landfall in Barisal and Khulna districts at the margins of the Ganges-Brahmaputra, the largest delta in the world. As a result an estimated 500,000 peasants died without warning. Given its low lying geography the vast flood plains of the Bengal delta is at the same time one of the most fertile regions in the world and prone to natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones and floods. However what made this cyclone unique was its timing. In 1970, East Pakistan, a province of mainly ethnic Bengalis was determinedly seeking autonomy from Pakistani army generals ruling thousands of miles away from Islamabad. This was intensified following the cyclone, as the central government was deeply incriminated in its inadequate humanitarian response to the disaster. Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971 after a bloody war for national liberation with genocide committed by the Pakistani army and its collaborators. In support of the insurgency, India made the first and only humanitarian military intervention in history in response to the genocide. Read more…