Skip to main content

16th December

16 June 2021

16th December

16th December

16th December, A New Nation Born
9 months of darkness, horror, death and destruction
3 million sacrificed, slaughtered, pillaged and displaced
Frightened, fearless, fractured, unbroken, freedom prevailed

16th December, declaration of a new nation
Blood and motherland enshrined
Red rivers flow, red stains ingrained
A time of jubilation, sorrow, joy, sadness

16th December, ready to face the new world
Heavy, breathless, wave-like motions of pain
Turned away, mum walked the miles
One foot in the door, no more waiting, here I come!

16th December, I was born
9 months of pain, 9 months of struggle, I came fighting and kicking
Bloody and alone, she cut the cord and held me close
Two weeks in hospital, mum and daughter triumphed

16th December – a cake from Percy Ingles
For my birthday?
Bangladesh independence?
I was never quite sure…

Written by Junna Begum

Junna Begum, born and brought up in Brick Lane specialises in arts for social change. Currently, the project lead for the Trellis programme at UCL Public Arts and formerly a cultural policy lead for the Mayor of London’s cultural strategy. Junna is the project lead for Brick Lane: A Community Portrait, telling the stories of British Bangladeshis who lived and worked in the area from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.