Mukti Bahini: Bangladesh Forces in the Liberation War 1971
v.1.0 April 28, 2002

Ravi Rikhye


This information is taken from the unpublished official history of the 1971 War, posted for a short time on the Times of India website, and preserved and given to us by Mr. Jagan Pillarsetti.  Relevant chapters of the document can be found at

Editor’s Note

Bengali is a finely nuanced language; further, the Bengalis (or Bangalis as many prefer) are both proud and touchy about their language. I have done my best to render exact  translations of force names. To those who find my “best” inadequate, I tender an advance apology: Punjabis cannot reasonably be expected to get these things precisely right. Corrections are always welcome.

The term “Bahini” means battalion, but battalion is not to be taken in the traditional sense. It implies a fighting force or an army, not a tactical unit. Thus:

-         Mukti Bahini: Freedom battalion, force, or army

-         Niyomito Bahini: Regular Bahini

-         Swadhin Bangla: Free Bengal

-         Gano Bahini: People’s Bahini

Higher Command

Col. Osmani, Commander Mukti Bahini, HQ in Indian territory

Lt. Col. M.A. Rab, Chief of Staff, HQ in Bangladesh/East Pakistan

Group Captain A.K. Khandker, HQ in Calcutta, India

Organization Mukti Bahini

Consisting of the Niyomito Bahini (the regular Bangladesh Army) and the Gano Bahini (the people’s forces or irregulars).

Niyomito Bahini

-         Swadhin Bangla Regiment

-         Mukti Fauj (Fauj is a word common through North India and means army)

Gano Bahini

-         Suicide Squad

-         Bichhu (Scorpion) Squad

-         Toofan Bahini (storm troops)

Raising Dates of Units

On mutinying, the East Bengal Regiment of the Pakistan Army was disbanded. The officers and men who managed to escape to India became the nucleus of the Mukti Bahani’s regular forces, and units were reraised in India.

1st, 3rd, and 8th East Bengal Regiment: June 1971, at Tura, Meghalaya

2nd and 4th East Bengal Regiment: June 1971, in Tripura

9th, 10th, and 11th East Bengal Regiment: September 1971

[Please do let us know if you know why the numbers 5th, 6th, and 7th were not used.]

No. 1 (Mujib) Field Battery: raised August 1971 with 4 X 3.7” mountain howitzers

No. 2 Field Battery: raised October 1971 with 6 X 105mm Italian mountain howitzers

No. 3 Field Battery: raised November 1971 with equipment as above

Order of Battle, end November 1971

K Force (or K brigade) OC Major Khaled Musharraq

-         10th East Bengal Regiment

-         11th East Bengal Regiment

-         No. 3 Field Battery

S Force (or S Brigade) OC Major Shafiullah

-         2nd East Bengal Regiment

-         4th East Bengal Regiment

-         9th East Bengal Regiment

-         No. 1 Field Battery

Z Force (or Z Brigade) OC Major Ziaur Rahman

-         1st East Bengal Regiment

-         3rd East Bengal Regiment

-         8th East Bengal Regiment

-         No. 2 Field Battery

Navy: 550 strength, mostly commandos

Air Force:

-         2 helicopters

-         1 Otter DHC-3

-         1 Dakota DC-3

Sector Forces:

- 45 companies of 200 men each, Mukti Fauj

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All content © 2003 Ravi Rikhye. Reproduction in any form prohibited without express permission.