www.ansarvdp.gov.bd
This is the official website of Bangladesh Ansar & VDP
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The sprout of Ansar & VDP is a resultant of huge trauma and turmoil in Indian sub continent after Second World War. It was a voluntary social force which came to being as per the demand of the geopolitical tumult as British India faced in the later part of 40s. It was raised in 1948 to rein the galloping deterioration of law and order situation in the then East Pakistan after historical partition of British India. 

Take a look at the history :

In 1947 the British left India dividing to India and Pakistan. The two countries were founded on the basis of religion, with Pakistan as an Islamic state and India as a secular one. The imposition of an official boundary on the basis of religious flavour caused a great conflict among Indo-pak natives and the boundary issues, left unresolved by the British.

Reasons for Partition

By the end of the 19th century several nationalistic movements had started in India. However, while the Indian National Congress was calling for Britain to Quit India, the Muslim League, in 1943, passed a resolution for them to Divide and Quit.

The British had followed a divide-and-rule policy in India for its partition. Even in the census they categorised people according to religion and viewed & treated them as separate from each other. They had based their knowledge of the peoples of India on the basic religious texts and the intrinsic differences they found in them instead of on the way they coexisted in the present.

Impact of partition of India and Pakistan:

The Partition of British India which created the two independent states of India and Pakistan, was followed by one of the cruelest and bloodiest migrations and ethnic cleansings in history. The religious fury and violence that it unleashed caused the deaths of some 2 million Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus. An estimated 12 to 15 million people were forcibly transferred between the two countries. At least 75,000 women were raped. The trauma incurred in the process has been profound.

As the British left India, the largest single migration in history took place: well over ten million, and perhaps as many as fifteen million, people crossed borders, and a million or more became the victims of murderous assaults. Both the Governments of India and Pakistan established commissions for the “recovery” of abducted women who numbered in several tens of thousands.

Some pictorial evidence of THE LARGEST AND BLOODIEST MIGRATION IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION :

 

Overcrowded trains leaving for Pakistan following the partition.

Over 10 million people were uprooted from their homeland and travelled on foot, bullock carts and trains to their promised new home.

"The old man is dying of exhaustion. The caravan has gone on," wrote Bourke-White.
An aged and abandoned Muslim couple and their grand children sitting by the the roadside on this arduous journey.

In a couple of months in the summer of 1947, a million people were slaughtered on both sides in the religious rioting.Here, bodies of the victims of rioting are picked up from a city street.

With the tragic legacy of an uncertain future, a young refugee sits on the walls of Purana Qila, transformed into a vast refugee camp in Delhi.

The raising of Ansar Bahini (1948) :

The above scenarios clearly reflect the political, social and economic condition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The new states were enchained with unbridled deterioration of law and order situation. To control that situation there were not sufficient law enforcing forces in the then East Pakistan. With the requirement of controlling law and order situation there arouse a vital requirement of rehabilitation of huge migrated people. In this circumstance, the necessity of organizing a voluntary social force was highly felt by the conscious citizen of East Pakistan.  

During the second World War there was ‘Home Guard’, a voluntary organization in joint Bengal. At the end of the war this organization was abolished and the provincial government organized training course for the officers of the abolished ‘Home Guard’ at the Teachers’ Training Centre of Baligonj in Calcutta with a view to construct a new organization-‘National Service Volunteer Corp’ but it did not come to light due to the division of India on 7 June, 1947 by Lord Mountbatten.

In 1947 the officers of abolished ‘Home Guard’ who lived in East Pakistan organized ‘Home Guard Samittee’ in Dhaka. Mr. Nani Gopal became president and Mr. Mozammel Haque became Secretary General of this ‘samittee’. The office of this ‘samittee’ was set up at 148 Siddiqe Bazar, Dhaka. This ‘samittee’ observed the enthusiasm among the people for social development and keeping social order stable. Then this ‘samittee’ urged the government to form a different voluntary force to maintain law and order and to run rehabilitation and reconstruction work for the new state. Mr. Mozammel Haque was a retired bureaucrat who began to communicate with high official of the government. Observing the upgrowing public urge to form a voluntary force, Mr. Mozammel and some other official of former Home Guard called on Mr. Khawja Nazimuddin, the Chief Minister of East Pakistan and expressed their positive views in favour of forming that force. During this period, India had already revived Home Guard in the West Bengal and this led the Chief Minister to be convinced and he agreed to form a voluntary force in line of former Home Guard. At that time, Mr. James Buchanan, a British Official came to Dhaka as per his own option. He was Director of Physical Education. The Chief Minister, Khawja Najimuddin was acquainted with the competence and personality of Mr. Buchanan. So he proposed Mr. Buchanan to take initiatives to form a voluntary force like former Home Guard. James Buchanan agreed with the proposal and was appointed as the founding Director of ‘Ansar Bahini’.
Mr. James Buchanan
Mr. James Buchanan
Thus the journey of ‘Ansar Bahini’ commenced in 1948. Initially the objectives of forming ‘Ansar Bahini’ were:
  1. To act as an Auxiliary force to the military force to protect the country.
  2. To help the police to maintain law and order.
  3. To participate in socio-economic development activities in the eastern portion of new state Pakistan.

Officially ‘Ansar Bahini’ came to light on 12 February in 1948. The first directorate of this Bahini was set up at Shahbagh in Dhaka near the present location of National Museum. Through the joining 27 officers of abolished Home Guard to ‘Ansar Bahini’, the organizational activities started at district level. With the help of this official, Mr. Buchanan developed a complete proposition and submitted to the government. This proposition was approved in the cabinet. Mr. F Rahman, the then Education Secretary, named this bahini as ‘Ansar Bahini’ which was
Ansar in early days of this organization
 
Ansar in early days of this organization
passed in the then Provincial Council with support of the majority in spite of the strong protest of some ‘bangali’ members for naming the bahini as Ansar. The reason of this protest was that the ‘bangali’ members preffered any suitable Bangla name for the organization instead of ‘Ansar’ which is an Arabic word. The very word ‘Ansar’ mean ‘the helping people’ having some religious flavor and it was a symbolic defiance to the language of Bangali people . The Pakistan Government imposed the Arabic name for the organization due to their dominating nature.

 

Officially ‘Ansar Bahini’ came to light on 12 February in 1948. The first directorate of this Bahini was set up at Shahbagh in Dhaka near the present location of National Museum. Through the joining 27 officers of abolished Home Guard to ‘Ansar Bahini’, the organizational activities started at district level. With the help of this official, Mr. Buchanan developed a complete proposition and submitted to the government. This proposition was approved in the cabinet. Mr. F Rahman, the then Education Secretary, named this bahini as ‘Ansar Bahini’ which was passed in the then Provincial Council with support of the majority in spite of the strong protest of some ‘bangali’ members for naming the bahini as Ansar. The reason of this protest was that the ‘bangali’ members preffered any suitable Bangla name for the organization instead of ‘Ansar’ which is an Arabic word. The very word ‘Ansar’ mean ‘the helping people’ having some religious flavor and it was a symbolic defiance to the language of Bangali people . The Pakistan Government imposed the Arabic name for the organization due to their dominating nature.

In 1948, the government of Pakistan proclaimed the ‘East Pakistan Ansar Act’ on 12th of February. This organization was formed under the then provincial home ministry of East Pakistan. In order to control this organization Nation Service Board was formed at that period and the board consisted of the Chief Secretary of the Provincial Government(President), Military Chief of East Bangal(member), Education Secretary of the Provincial Government(member), Inspector General of Police of the provincial government (member), two delegations of the provincial government (member) and Director of ‘Ansar Bahini’ (member secretary).
The ‘East Pakistan Ansar Act-1948’ and formation of ‘National Service Board’ gave a new dimension in initial journey of ‘Ansar Bahini’. Almost all the officers of former Home Guard who were from East Pakistan joined this bahini. After completing a training course at Sahbagh they were appointed as Sub Divisional Adjutant and Assistant Sub Divisional Adjutant. In 1949, District Adjutants were appointed in each district through promotion. This organization was extended down to the union levels in platoon formations. For the first time, 1000 Ansar members received rifle training at the end of the year 1948. At that time, this organization belonged to no weapon. So the rifles of Police and Pakistan Nation Guard were provided for this training.
In 1948, the first parade of ‘Ansar Bahini’ was held at Shahbag and the Chief Minister, Khaja Nazimuddin took salute in the parade. He expressed his satisfaction observing the gradual progress of this bahini. At that time citizen’s participation in this bahini was significant. 63000 Ansars received rifle training in 1949.

In 1948-49, the territory of East Bengal deemed to be vulnerable. At this circumstance, several thousands people joined in ‘Ansar Bahini’ and received necessary training at their own effort. After training the members of ‘Ansar Bahini’ were deployed in maintaining law and order.

In 1951, Mr. Ali Azgor was appointed as Director General of ‘Ansar Bahini’ when Mr. Buchanan left the country due to his age and deteriorating health. Mr. Azgor was Director General for a very sort span. Shortly he was replaced by Mr. HMS Doha. As a Director General Mr. Doha contributed a lot for the growth and progress of this organization. During his tenour ‘Ansar Bahini’ obtained 42000 rifles and the number of members enhanced upto 14,00,000.

Language movement in 1952:

Valiant Language Martyre Abdul Jabbar
Language Martyr Ansar Commander Abdul Jabbar

Jabbar, Abdul (1919-1952) martyr of language movement. Abdul Jabbar was born at village Panchua in Gafargaon thana of Mymensingh district on 26 Aswin 1326 BS (1919 AD). He had his primary education in a local pathsala, but could not continue his studies due to poverty. He left the school and was engaged in helping his father in agricultural work. Later on he became an Ansar Commander.

In 1952, Abdul Jabbar came to Dhaka (20 February) with his mother-in-law and wife for the medical treatment of his mother-in-law, a cancer patient. He got her mother-in-law admitted into the Medical College Hospital. On 21 February 1952, there was an assemblage of the students and the public at the premises of the Medical College Hostel demanding recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. Abdul Jabbar joined the rally. The police fired on the rally, and Abdul Jabbar was severely struck with a bullet. He was admitted into the Medical College Hospital where he breathed his last on the night following. In recognition of his sacrifice, Abdul Jabbar was awarded the Ekushey Padak (posthumously) in 2000 AD. [Dilruba Begum]

In 1962, Mr. Monaem Khan became the Governor of East Pakistan. He initiated the shifting of Ansar Headquarters form Shahbagh to Khilgoan in Dhaka. During this period 40 ‘Bigha’ land was purchased for this baihini to use as Ansar Training Centre. Later on this training centre went to the possession of ‘Rakkhi Bahini’ after liberation war.

Riot of 1965:

During the war between India and Pakistan in 1965 the members of ‘Ansar Bahini’ played a vital role to protect the territory of East Pakistan. When the war broke out the territory remained unprotected. At this circumstance, huge number of Ansars was deployed in boarder outposts with a very short notice.

Several villages on the Indian side were evacuated during the war and people were moved along with their cattle to safer areas.

War of liberation in 1971:

‘Ansar Bahini’ has glorious contribution in the liberation war in 1971. The members of this bahini participated in this war vigorously with their 42000  .303 rifles. According to the statement of Mr. Siddiq Salik, the Mass Communication Officer of General Niazi, “All the Ansar Rifles, held by the provincial government, were issued to them.” Thus armed Ansars get opportunity to be spread out among the people of the country and this was encouraging to the freedom loving people.

The Pakistani military rulers reacted by banning the organisation and also killed many Ansars and their officers who could not manage to escape in time. A total of 9 officers and 635 Ansars and staff reportedly sacrificed their lives for the cause of independence. Among them two were given the gallantry awards 'Bir Bikram' and 'Bir Protik'.

A team of 12 valiant Ansars presented Guard of Honour to the First Govenment of Bangladesh
Valiant Ansars of Meherpur who presented historical Guard of Honour to the first Government of Bangladesh on 17 April 1971

 12 Ansars presented guard of honour to the head of Bangladesh government in exile at Mujibnagar on 17 April 1971.

Raising of VDP:

 

In 1976, it was a unique decision of the government to raise a huge voluntary force to reconstruct law and order backbone in the rural areas. That newly raised voluntary force was Village Defence Party (VDP).

 
VDP Female
 

The significant aspect of this force is the equal participation of women to reconstruct social order and to develop socio-economic condition. The root level organization includes is one male and one female platoon in every village of Bangladesh. At union level command channel, there is one male and one female Union Leader in each Union. Total strength of VDP is about 5.6 million including both male and female members (50:50). The urban version of VDP is called the Town Defence Party or TDP.

 
TDP Female
TDP Male
There are one male and one memale TDP platoon in each ‘ward’ of every Pouroshava/Metropolitan City. The VDP and TDP members are employed in socio-economic development income generating activities and in various awareness programmes.
 

In 1995, necessary statutes were passed in the jatiya sangsad (Parliament) to accord legal coverage to the three major components of the Ansar and VDP. These are: Ansar Bahini Act (1995); Battalion Ansar Act (1995); Village Defence Party Act (1995). Under these acts the Ansar Bahini and the Battalion Ansars were declared a 'Disciplined Force' in pursuance of article 152 of the constitution. The primary duties of the Ansar Bahini are: to assist the government or any concerned authority to maintain public order and social security; to take part in any programme for socio-economic development of the country; and to assist other forces by order of the government. The duties of Ansar Battalions are: to participate in disaster management activities, and to assist other forces by the order of the government in addition to the duties entrusted under the relevant acts to the Ansar Bahini. The duties of VDPs are: to assist all sorts of welfare activities in order to develop the socio-economic condition of the country; to participate in all types of activities in order to maintain law and order and social security; and to perform any other duties assigned from time to time by the government.

 
Raising of Ansar Battalions:
In 1976, 20 Battalions of Ansar were raised in line with the Armed Police Battalions to augment the strength of the security forces. At present, there are 36 Male and 02 Female Ansar Battalions deployed all over the country. Battalion Ansars are mainly deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) for Counter Insurgency Operations (CIO) and south-western region of the country for Counter Terrorism Operations. In the regular process of evolution, members of Ansar Battalions are gradually being upgraded to the regular force of this organization. Their service is brought under Nation Pay Scale, they are getting family ration and they have got combat uniform since October 15, 2008.
 
Battalion Ansar Male
Female Battalion Ansar

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Updated on: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 15:50