This book of photography has been a long slow-burning project for the Swadhinata Trust, a volunteer led London based secular Bengali community group that works to promote Bengali history and heritage amongst young people. It started many years ago when we discovered the photographer Abul Lias Shyamal’s work. We decided that these photographs needed to be shared with the rest of the world, not just Bengalis but non-Bengalis.

As the 50th anniversary of the War of Independence loomed on the horizon, it seemed like the perfect moment. This year 2021 marks 50 years since Bangladesh was established as an independent nation after a traumatic war. These images give a visual context of Bangladesh’s fight for independence.  Swadhinata Trust used some of these images for Tower Hamlets Council’s programme commemorating this important anniversary through a range of opportunities to explore or discover the significance of 1971 to Tower Hamlets past and present. Swadhinata Trust was commissioned to provide unique insights into 1971.  This covers the nine-month duration of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, which we presented online with the photographer’s permission.

Now it’s time to bring a collection of his images to the attention of the rest of the world.

It’s with great pleasure that the Swadhinata Trust supports the publication of this collection of photographs taken by Abul Lais Shyamal.

6.30pm                     Mafijur Rab, nephew of Abul Lais Shyamal – Welcome & MC

6.35pm                     Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Swadhinata Trust

6.45pm                     Dr Zakir Khan, 101 Club

7.00pm                     Julie Begum, Chairperson, Swadhinata Trust

7.10pm                     Abul Lais Shyamal’s video message

7.20pm                     Q&A/contribution from floor

7.30pm                     Chief guest, Tower Hamlets Speaker, Cllr Ahbab Hussain

7.40pm                     Abu Sayem, son of Abul Lais Shyamal, Vote of thanks