The historic March 7, a memorable day in the history of Bangalees’ long arduous freedom struggle, will be observed on Saturday in a befitting manner.
This year the observance of the day will be more significant as the nation is getting ready to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 17.
The landmark fiery speech of Bangabandhu inspired the Bangalees to prepare for the War of Liberation.
The war began 18 days later, when the Pakistan Army launched “Operation Searchlight” against unarmed Bangalee civilians, intellectuals, students, politicians, and armed personnel.
On October 30 in 2017, the UNESCO recognised the historic speech as part of the world’s documentary heritage.
It has been included in the Memory of the World International Register, a list of world’s important documentary heritage maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
On March 7, Bangabandhu in his historic speech at a mammoth rally in the then ‘Race Course Maidan’, now Suhrawardy Udyan, in the city directed the freedom-loving Bangalees for waging a decisive struggle against the Pakistan occupation forces.
In the 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 roaring 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 vigorous speech inspired people of all walks of life 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.
The tantalizing speech literally had a mesmerizing and sparkling effect on the entire population of this soil 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 from all walks of life 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.
To mark the day, different socio-cultural and political organizations, student and professional bodies have drawn up elaborate programmes including laying wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu and holding discussions and rallies.
The ruling Awami League has also drawn up different programmes to observe the day.
The party will hoist national and party flags atop the Bangabandhu Bhaban and party offices and place wreaths at Bangabandhu’s portrait on the Bangabandhu Bhaban premises at Dhanmondi in the morning tomorrow.
A discussion will be arranged at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) auditorium at 3.30pm on the day.
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the discussion while party leaders and distinguished personalities will address it.
The Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television as well as private television channels and radio stations will air special programmes while national dailies will bring out special supplements marking the auspicious occasion.