Dhaka – Bangladesh on Thursday observed the historic March 7 as the country’s architect Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made clarion call for liberty on this day more than four and a half decades ago.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion by placing wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi.
She stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of respect to the memory of Bangabandhu, whose call to get prepared for the liberation war on March 7, 1971 united the entire population in the then East Pakistan to liberate the homeland.
Later, leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League party and its associate bodies paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing flower at his portrait.
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 Udyan, in the city directed the freedom-loving Bengalis 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, 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), Bangabandhu announced.
During his deliberations amid thunderous slogans and applauses, 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 Bengalis take up arms and free Bangladesh from occupation).
The forceful speech inspired people to prepare for the war, which eventually began after the Pakistani military on March 25 launched the worst genocides in history. The war continued for 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. They became united under his farsighted leadership to bravely fight for liberating the motherland.
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 Bengalis on the night of March 25, defamed as the “Operation Searchlight”.
The Pakistani occupation forces arrested Bangabandhu on the night and continued carrying out attacks on innocent people. The freedom fighters fought back with Indian help and came victorious on December 16, 1971 through the surrender of more than 90,000 Pakistani military force.