Epic that shook the world!

Tofael Ahmed
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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The world-shaking speech of March 7, 1971 is the great charter of freedom of the Bengali nation! This historic speech has crossed the national boundaries and hoisted the glorious flag of Bengalis on the international horizon. On October 30, 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the historic speech of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (World Documentary Heritage) on March 7, 1971 as part of the World Heritage List which is a source of pride and joy for the entire nation.

Today is also the golden jubilee of the historic 7th March. Fifty years ago, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman struggled all his life for this day. He spent 13 long years in a dark cell of the prison. Bangabandhu has done politics with precise goals and objectives. After the establishment of Pakistan, he set a goal that ‘one day the fate of Bengal should be in the hands of the Bengalis.’ He gradually moved forward in that direction. He laid the foundation of the nationalist movement through the great language movement. He united the people of Bengal through six points. He had been hanged as an accused in the case of 'State vs. Sheikh Mujib and others' i.e. Agartala Conspiracy Case. But he did not compromise on the question of national liberation of Bengalis; Rather embraced death. We had released him through the mass uprising of '69. Reviewing the history of the national liberation struggle, we will see that each incident is related to one incident. He founded Chhatra League with a goal. Chhatra League is the vanguard of Awami League. As a national leader, Bangabandhu used to say what he could not say without the Chhatra League. Nowadays many people say a lot, write a lot - who raised the 'flag of independent Bengal', who said 'national anthem' etc. The truth of history is that these were determined by Bangabandhu. Nothing happened without Bangabandhu's approval.

The conference started with the performance of Tagore's 'Amar Sonar Bangla ...' - later our national anthem - at the Awami League conference in March 1966. After performing this song at the beginning of the public meeting at Paltan Maidan on the last day of the conference, Bangabandhu said in his speech, 'Six-point liberation charter of the people of Bengal'. Then came the historic election of the 1970. I would like to say one thing without hesitation - if Bangabandhu had not got a single majority in the elections of '70, would we have got an independent Bangladesh? Maybe we got it, but it took a long time. Bangabandhu decided to participate in the elections of '70 with the aim of moving forward through the constitutional struggle. As a result, out of 313 seats in the National Assembly, we get 169 seats in proportion to the population. But Yahya Khan inserted the controversial two paragraphs 25 and 27 in the LFO so that Bangabandhu could not formulate a constitution on the basis of 6 points and 11 points even if he got a majority in the future. The title of Article 25 was 'Authentication of the Constitution'. So it was said, ‘The Constitution Bill, passed in the National Assembly, will be presented to the President for ratification. In this Article, if the authenticity is rejected, the position of the National Assembly will be lost. 'And the title of Article 27 was,' Amendment and interpretation of the order, etc. '; Article A said, "If any idea, interpretation or question is raised about any section of the law in this order, the decision of the President will be final and no question can be raised in any court in this regard." "It is the President, not the National Assembly, who has the final say in amending the order." The two clauses inserted in the LFO were an attempt to block the winning party in the upcoming elections. For which many said to Bangabandhu, "There is no benefit in this election."

Bangabandhu said, ‘This election of mine is not an election to go to power. This election is a referendum and I will tear this LFO to pieces immediately after the election. ”The election of Pakistan National Assembly was to be held on December 7, 1970 and the Provincial Assembly on December 17. Due to the cyclone, the coastal regions elections were held on January 17, 1971, instead of December 7. As a result, we got the opportunity to visit all over Bangladesh from Bangabandhu's presence during the election campaign. We won 167 out of 169 seats in the National Assembly and 298 seats in the Provincial Assembly, including the reserved women's seats.

The swearing in ceremony of the newly elected people's representatives was held on January 3, 1971 at Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) under the direction of Bangabandhu. At the swearing-in ceremony of that day, Bangabandhu said, the 6 points are not mine today, nor of my party. Through this election, 6 points have been converted into the property of the people. If anyone betrays it, he will be buried alive, and if I do, so will I. 'Through this oath, he elevated the six points to an uncompromising one. Many things have happened since then. The Bhutto-Yahya conspiracy had begun. During a meeting of the Awami League Parliamentary Party at Hotel Purbani on March 1, 1971 to draft the constitution on the basis of 6 points, Yahya Khan unilaterally adjourned the March 3 session of the National Assembly convened in the morning. Immediately the anger of the people blazed like fire. At the direction of Bangabandhu we went to Paltan Maidan. There I burned the flag of Pakistan and hoisted the flag of independent Bengal. Bangabandhu directed the formation of Swadhin Bangla Kendriya Chhatra Sangram Parishad consisting of Chhatra League and Dacsu. On March 3, the 'Declaration of Independence' was read in the presence of Bangabandhu. Then came the historic March 7. March 7 did not come in one day. It had come step by step. Bangabandhu declared independence through his speech on March 7. He was a prudent leader. Always being careful that he does not become an attacker. He was especially careful to get the support and recognition of the international community.

He spoke and acted cautiously so that no one could label Bangabandhu and Bangladesh as separatists. Bangamata Fazilatunnessa Mujjib is remembered here with reverence. On the night of March 6, Bangabandhu was walking on the verandah thinking about tomorrow's speech. Respected Bangamata Fazilatunnesa Mujib said fearfully, ‘What do you have to think. All your life you have done politics with a goal. You have endured imprisonment, oppression and torture. You have repeatedly gone to the gallows. I will say whatever you believe from your heart. 'Exactly Bangabandhu delivered a speech on March 7 from a believing heart. This is a world-shaking speech. No speech in the world has been uttered so many times. He gave an unwritten speech from a believing heart. He said what he believed. The enemy is ready with ammunition, machine guns, cannons, helicopters, gunships, tanks and everything. If we declare independence directly, we will jump on the unarmed people. Many people wanted to say to Bangabandhu, as if to say today, ‘Bangladesh is independent from today.’ But Bangabandhu was not persuaded by anyone. From the morning of March 7, the stream of people started coming to the racecourse ground. Then freedom was wavering in the mouths of all people. I remember an incident. On the afternoon of March 7, me and another of my favorite leaders - not to mention - the two of us went to Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu was talking with his hands on our shoulders. When our leader said to Bangabandhu, he used to call him 'Leader', 'Leader, today but without the declaration of complete independence, people will not obey.' People. I will lead them. They Will Not Lead Me. Go and do your duty. 'He said goodbye to us and went upstairs.

We left Dhanmondi at quarter to three. We reached the racecourse ground at 3:15. Bangabandhu started his speech at 3:30. Racecourse ground with the sky-scraping slogan of more than one million people. Central leaders of the Awami League, including four national leaders, Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman, were present on the occasion. Bangabandhu stood up to give a speech and looked around. He placed the glasses on the podium in front of the mouthpiece. From the depths of his heart which he believed in, for which he had fought all his life, went to the gallows, with that believing spirit, he called out to the people of Bengal, ‘ My Brothers ’. Then for 19 minutes at a stretch he recited the world-shaking epic. In his speech, he practically declared independence. Bangabandhu had two paths in front of him. One,declaring independence. Two, to give a well thought out statement without being called a separatist without taking the responsibility of breaking up Pakistan. He did both. Bangabandhu knew the situation of that day which he had told us. The army was then ready. Bombers and helicopter gunships patrol overhead. Whenever Bangabandhu said in this language, 'Bangladesh is independent from today', they will start firing. That is why Bangabandhu spoke knowing everything. He was such a prudent leader that he confronted all the conspiracies and imposed four conditions on the military ruler - withdraw the martial law, return the army to barracks, conduct a judicial inquiry into the killings that took place in a few days and hand over power to elected representatives.

By imposing these four conditions, he could not be called a separatist. The Pakistanis tried to label him a separatist. But he was vigilant and aware. On the other hand, the whole speech was about the tactics of the upcoming people's war and the declaration of independence of Bangladesh. "I do not want to be prime minister," he said. We want the rights of the people of this country. '' I want to make it clear that from today, the court-offices, court-criminal educational institutions in Bangladesh will be closed indefinitely. '' The roads are all there, if I can't order you will stop. We will kill them in food; we will kill them in water. '' He called for building forts in every house, '' he said. He said to the government employees, 'You have to obey what I say. "Until we get freedom of this country, no one will pay the rent, no tax, no tax," he said, referring to the poor, "so that the poor do not suffer, so that my people do not suffer." Every industrialist who has joined the seven-day strike will be paid by the owner of the industry. "He spoke to opposition politicians, upholding his lifelong cherished democratic values." "If anyone speaks the truth, we will accept his words, even if we are one in number, even if he is one," he told opposition politicians. "In every village, in every neighborhood, in every union, form Sangram Parishad under the leadership of Awami League in every subdivision and be ready with whatever you have. Remember, when I have given blood, I will give more blood, I will make the people of this country free, Inshallah. 'At the end of the speech, he declared independence in a thunderous voice and said,' this time the struggle is for our liberation, this time the struggle is for freedom. '

That is, the balanced speech of the leader of the majority party elected by the people with the aim of achieving national liberation as a whole. Those memories of that day floated in my mind; unprecedented scene, unimaginable. This is what people expected. One thing came to my mind again and again. How far-sighted a leader is that he always knew how to make the right decisions. I have never seen a person like him who knew what to say at any given time. I have noticed that Bangabandhu never made contradictory statements in his life. It never occurred to him to deny that statement later with a statement or to contradict each other in the statement. Because, what he believed, thought, thought it was realistic, that is what he said deliberately. And what he once said, he has done without compromise, even in the face of death. Bangabandhu spoke on that day with deep faith in his heart.

If we analyze Bangabandhu's speech on March 7, we will see that it was an unwritten speech. Speech time 19 minutes. The number of words is 1308. Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address has 272 words, less than 3 minutes of time and written. On the other hand, Martin Luther King's ‘I have a dream’ speech lasts 17 minutes, 1667 words. But no leader of the world has ever spoken in front of such a struggling 10 lakh freedom-loving unarmed people. Giving the best speech in the world, he made the people stand in a line and transformed the unarmed Bengalis into an armed nation and gave direction to the war of liberation. What a wise leader! ISI was in front of Dhaka Club on March 7. They waited-the declaration that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib had made in his declaration of independence on March 26, ‘Bangladesh is independent from today’-that they thought he would say on March 7. I have said earlier that Bangabandhu was cautious.

He said everything, but did not fall into the enemy's trap. On the contrary, he had trapped the enemy. For which the next day the ISI reported ‘clever Sheikh Mujib cleverly spoke. On the one hand, it declared independence; on the other hand, it did not call itself a separatist by imposing four conditions and did not take the responsibility of breaking up Pakistan. We had no choice but to act as silent spectators. The preparations we had made failed. 'This was the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. Through a speech he has created a democratic-state. Through a speech he has transformed the unarmed Bengali nation into an armed Bengali nation. Through this one speech, he invigorated seven and a half crore people of Bengal with the mantra of independence and declared independence by standing in the same estuary, but avoiding the responsibility of separatism.

The golden jubilee of independence started from the month of March on the eve of Bangabandhu's birth centenary. This March is the month of bloodshed. Today is the golden jubilee of March 7. We used to train our freedom fighters in Dehradun, India during the war of liberation. There we used to say to the members of Mujib's forces, 'Bangabandhu Mujib, I don't know where you are or how you are. But we will not go back to the mother's lap until we can liberate the Bengali mother by fighting in the way you have directed. 'We came back to the mother's lap after liberating our beloved motherland and Bangabandhu. The world-shaking speech of March 7 was the direction of our path in the great liberation war - which we have implemented word for word. Bangabandhu has done politics with two great goals in mind. One, independence of Bangladesh. Two, economic emancipation. On August 15, 1975, just as he was on the verge of fulfilling his first goal, he was assassinated along with his family by anti-independence conspirators. The two daughters of the Father of the Nation were saved for staying abroad. On May 17, 1981, we handed over the blood-soaked flag of the Awami League to Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of the Father of the Nation. With that fighting flag in hand, she formed the government for the fourth time with devotion and honesty and today she has made Bangladesh a role model of development by graduating it as a developing country. The day is not far away when the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be the golden Bengal, the dream of the Father of the Nation.

Author: Awami League leader; Member of Parliament; Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Commerce. [email protected]