Dhaka – Bangladesh is set to observe the Historic March 7 Tuesday as the country’s architect Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made clarion call for liberty more than four and a half decades ago.
Different political and socio-cultural organization chalked out elaborate programme to observe the day in a fitting manner across Bangladesh.
On this day in 1971, Mujibur Rahman in his historic speech at a mammoth rally in the then Race Course Ground, now Suhrawardy Uddyan, in the city directed the freedom-loving Bangalees for waging a decisive struggle against the Pakistan occupation forces.
In his 19-minute extempore speech from 4.23 pm before millions of people of former East Pakistan, Bangabandhu in unequivocal term said, “We spilled our blood…we are ready to shed more blood, the people of the country shall be freed, Inshallah!”
“Ebarer sangram amader muktir sangram, ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram” (The struggle this time is for our emancipation, the struggle this time is for our independence), the great leader and the greatest Bangalee of all times went on to add.
During his deliberations amid thunderous slogans and applause, he also made a fervent appeal to the people from all walks of life to take preparations for armed struggle against the tyranny, exploitation, subjugation and deprivation by Pakistani military junta with whatever they possessed and transforming every house into a fortress.
The people were overwhelmed and imbued with the spirit of Bangabandhu’s unparalleled speech of independence regarded only as comparable to the Gettysburg Speech of slain US President Abraham Lincoln.
The whole nation responded spontaneously to Bangabandhu’s call with thunderous slogan “Bir Bangalee Astra Dharo, Bangladesh Swadhin Karo” (Brave Bangalees take up arms and free Bangladesh from occupation).
The forceful speech inspired people to prepare for the war, which eventually began after the Pakistani regime on March 25 launched on the unarmed Bangalees the worst genocides in history for the next nine months.
Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech has been selected as one of the most rousing and inspirational wartime speeches in the last 2,500 years. The dynamic speech had changed the course of the country’s history.
His tantalizing speech literally had a mesmerizing and sparkling effect on the entire population in the eastern part of Pakistan and they became united under his capable and farsighted leadership to bravely fight for liberating the motherland from the clutches of the Pakistani occupation forces.
Although people irrespective of political and religious beliefs were united for the cause and began to take all out preparations for a bloody war, they waited till the crackdown of the Pakistani occupation forces on the sleeping Bangalees on the night of March 25, defamed as the “Operation Searchlight”.
As soon as the Pakistani occupation forces started genocide Bangabandhu declared independence of the motherland instructing the people to put up strong resistance and fight against them till the liberation is achieved.
At the instruction of Bangabandhu, the brave nation fought successfully the nine-month-old war of liberation and ultimately liberated Bangladesh from the clutches of the Pakistani occupation forces on December 16, 1971 with the assistance of the allied Indian forces.
According to political analysts, the 7th March speech of Bangabandhu was not only a call for the Bangalee nation to fight for freedom, it was rather a direction for all nations.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivered separate messages on the occasion of the day.
Hamid said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s March 7 historic speech of 1971 was the fervent call for the freedom of the people of this country.
“I recalled with utmost respect the Father of the Nation on this historical day,” the president said, adding that the immense courage, strong leadership and right directions of Bangabandu led the nation to achieve the Independence of Bangladesh.
He said the speech at the Race Course Maidan would be an endless source of inspiration for generations.
Hasina in her message said the 7th March speech is an unforgettable day in the thousand-year history of Bangalee nation.
In the speech, Bangabandhu called for the freedom of the country and gave the nation the roadmap for achieving the independence of Bangladesh.
Hasina said sensing an inevitable war Bangabandhu also advised the nation to get prepared for the war of independence with whatever they have in their hands.
Referring to the 7th March speech of Bangabandhu included in world famous book “We Shall Fight on the Beaches: The Speeches That Inspired History” by of Jacob F Field, the premier said that the magnificent speech was the inspiration of our freedom struggle.
She said that her government has also been continuing the development efforts of the country with the spirit of the war of independence.
Hasina urged the people to take a resolution on the historic day for forging greater unity once again for the development of the country and making Bangladesh a prosperous country free from hunger.
Different socio-cultural and political organizations, student and professional bodies have taken up programmes including laying wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu and holding discussions and rallies marking the historic occasion.
Ruling Awami League party will hoist national and party flags atop the Bangabandhu Bhaban and party offices and place wreaths at Sheikh Mujib’s portrait on Bangabandhu Bhaban premises at the capital’s Dhanmondi in the morning.
The party and its associated bodies will organize rallies highlighting the significance of the day in all wards, unions, pourasabhas, upazilas and districts when the Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech would be played in loud speaker.
Party general secretary and Minister for Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader asked all committees of the party and its associated bodies throughout the country to observe the day in a befitting manner.
Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private television channels and radio stations will air special programmes while national dailies will bring out special supplements marking day.