Sarmila Bose's book on the 1971 Bangladesh War - Dead Reckoning - has triggered a heated debate about the myths and realities of the conflict that had engulfed East Pakistan, West Pakistan and India.
Dr. Bose, a former political journalist, is currently a senior research fellow at Oxford.
My book is not about India's involvement. However, we haven't heard the stories of the Indians who were involved in covert operations in Bangladesh that year. It would be fascinating if these participants would publish or speak about their activities -- we would all learn a lot about the realities of the war if they did.
While working on the book, did you expect the severe backlash it received from some reviewers and historians?
Have you traveled to Bangladesh after the book was released? How has the Bangladesh government reacted to the book?
Do you think the backlash from some quarters against your book is severe because you are a Bengali Hindu who is perceived as siding with Muslim non-Bengali Pakistani forces?
This issue is not in the book. I discussed the issue of rape in a separate article some years ago, examining some of the articles or purported documentation of rape, so that the public may be more aware of how weak most of it is, how they do not support the claims that are popularly made, and how much more work is needed to establish its true nature and extent.
This allegation is baseless and a misrepresentation of my book. There are credible witnesses from both sides, including many moving testimonies from Bangladeshis whose stories I recount in my book.
First published in Rediff.com, India, August 1, 2011