Liberation War fighter Lt. Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir and Musicologist Sanjida Khatun from Bangladesh awarded Padma Shree

Bangladesh Liberation War fighter Lt. Col. (Retd.) Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir and well known musicologist, Rabindra Sangeet exponent and academic Sanjida Khatun from Bangladesh have been awarded the Padma Shri for the year 2021. Padma awards are one of the highest civilian awards of the country.

The awards were announced on the eve of the Republic Day of India on Monday.

According to the official press release, 7 Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri awards have been conferred on people for their distinguished work in various fields.

Lt. Col. Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir has been awarded Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of Public Affairs. Lt. Col. Zahir is a veteran of the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. He deserted the Pakistan army and crossed over to India to fight the liberation war of Bangladesh. He organized the 2nd Artillery Force under Sector 4 in the Sylhet region.

He was given the death sentence for deserting the Pakistan army which he still carries against his name.

He has also done pioneering work in documenting the contribution of liberation war fighters of both Bangladesh and India. He is a recipient of Shwodhinta Padak, the Independence Award which is the highest civilian award of Bangladesh.

Sanjida Khatun is a renowned cultural figure of Bangladesh. She is an eminent Rabindra Sangeet exponent and musicologist. She played a prominent role in organising artists of the then East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Earlier, in 1961 she played a key role in observing the centenary of Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore despite oppression by the stringent martial law imposed by Pakistan under General Ayub. She is also the founding member of the cultural organisation Chhayanut doing pioneering work to promote dance, music and other forms of art in Bangladesh.