Dhaka, Bangladesh
Unconditional love

Unconditional love

In this book Mustafa Chowdhury describes the journey of the first contingent of 15 war babies that were embraced by their adoptive parents and family members as their own children when they reached their new homes in Canada back in July 1972. Products of one of the most outrageous crimes, the war babies were conceived by Bengali women who were the victims of sexual violence committed by the Pakistani military personnel during the Bengalis' struggle for independence. Having given birth and relinquished their "unwanted" babies in secret anywhere between late December 1971 and early September 1972, the distressed birthmothers disappeared in anonymity. Using rare historical records from the archives of the International Social Service, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Library and Archives Canada; as well records of the governments of Canada and Bangladesh and a variety of correspondences of provincial children's aid societies (CAS) with prospective adoptive parents through the Montreal-based Families For Children (FFC), for the first time in history, Chowdhury reconstructed the story of sexual violence and its fall out - birth, abandonment, adoption of a number of war babies in Canada along with the adoption outcome. Chowdhury touches on a volley of questions: Is there, in the minds of the adoptees, a feeling of loss from their country of birth? Or, while growing up in a multiracial family, did the adoptees fear a risk of losing a sense of how they present themselves to the world? Chowdhury examined the well-being of the war babies and their parents through the years with anecdotes of their rearing, nurturing, and becoming adults in Canada, the country they call "home" having successfully developed and negotiated their own sense of values and identities in multiracial Canada in a way that became positive and enriching. Readers would soon learn how, having no ambivalence about their identities in Canada where they came as mere infants, today they are proud of who they are. As the first ever known book on the war babies of Bangladesh, their adoption in Canada and the outcome of that adoption, this book marks a new dimension in the historical narrative of the War of Liberation of Bangladesh having filled the historical gap in the historiography of Bangladesh. A Canadian of Bangladeshi origin, Mustafa Chowdhury has graduate degrees in English Literature, Library & Information Science, and Canadian History from the University of Dhaka, University of Western Ontario and Carleton University respectively. During his lengthy career of 34 years in Canada's federal public service, he worked for a number of key federal departments and central agencies. Using his human resources management expertise in the private and public sectors, he traveled across Canada to conduct Employment Equity (EE) audits of employer organizations covered under the Federal Contractors Program. Chowdhury is the recipient of several awards for his contributions to the public service and to his profession. These include: The Vision Award in Recognition of Contributions to Employment Equity (Human Resources Development Canada); Outstanding Team Award (Treasury Board Secretariat); Certificate of Volunteer Appreciation (City of Ottawa); Volunteer Appreciation Certificate, Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign; Award of Merit for Volunteer Services, Cumberland Township Community Resource Centre; Award of Merit for Volunteer Services, Ottawa-Carleton Immigrant Services Organization.; Vocational Excellence Award, Rotary Club of Uttara. Over the years Chowdhury has written many articles on Equity, Diversity and Multiculturalism that were published in local newspapers. His first Bengali book titled '71-er Judhoshishu: Obidito Itihash was first published by Academic Press and Publishers Library, Bangladesh, in 2015. His second book on the same subject titled Picking Up the Pieces: 1971 War Babies' Odyssey from Bangladesh to Canada was published by Xlibris, Bloomington, Indiana, USA in 2015 for readers in North America and Europe. The present title Unconditional Love: Story of Adoption of 1971 War Babies is also on the same subject again published in Bangladesh by Academic Press and Publishers Library in 2016 for readers in Bangladesh. Chowdhury lives in Ottawa with his wife Afroza, also a retired federal public servant. Together, they have a son and a daughter who also live in Ottawa.

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