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Bangladesh Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud has lauded Sahitya Akademi Award-winning Indian author Rita Chowdhury’s new book which encapsulates the essence of the 1971 Liberation War, saying many people of his country will learn a lot about India’s significant role in it from the novel.

At an event here, Mahmud, who was presented the first volume of a special Bengali edition of the trilogy “Neverland – Zero Hour”, said documenting Bangladesh’s liberation war is an unparalleled contribution to and the novel will be a vital historical document.

The minister also recalled his personal experiences during the liberation war and said many people of Bangladesh are unaware of India’s efforts during the war and the new generation will learn a lot from the novel.

The war broke after the sudden crackdown on the midnight of March 25, 1971, in erstwhile East Pakistan by Pakistani troops and ended on December 16. The same year Pakistan conceded defeat and unconditionally surrendered in Dhaka to the allied forces comprising freedom fighters and Indian soldiers. “Neverland – Zero Hour”, originally published in Assamese last year, delves into several lesser known facts of the war, which not only reshaped global geography but also forced millions to flee their nation.

Reverberations of the war persist even after five decades. In “Zero Hour”, Chowdhury discovers a metaphorical ‘Neverland’. Speaking at the event on April 20, Chowdhury, a former chairperson of the National Book Trust, India, said she was present in Bangladesh when it was not independent and she witnessed all the moments during the independence of this country.

“The novel, with numerous mysteries, hidden truths, and a different aspect to everyday life, is filled with my feelings on every page. Every strand in the book tells a unique tale of longing, flexibility, and emancipation,” she added. Talking about the book, Bangladesh freedom fighter Habibul Rahman said, “This is the first time a foreigner has written such a book on the War of Liberation.”