DHAKA: Bangladesh today observed the anniversary of the historic 7th March speech by the founder President of the country Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered in 1971. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is fondly called as Bangabandhu by the people of Bangladesh. He struggled to gain political autonomy for then-East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and eventually became the central figure behind the 1971 War of Liberation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commemorated the occasion by laying a wreath at the portrait of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in front of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhaka this morning, reports All India Radio.
Various socio-cultural organisations, TV and radio Channels, academic institutions and political bodies are observing the day through programmes organised on this theme across the country.
On this day in 1971 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had given the call of independence from Pakistan. The day is remembered as a historic day which marked the beginning of the 9 month long war of liberation against Pakistan. It finally culminated in the creation of Bangladesh as an independent nation on 16 December 1971.
After the 7th March speech of Sheikh Mujib, Pakistani forces began a brutal phase of violence against Bangladeshis under its ‘Operations Searchlight’ which started on 25 March 1971. Sheikh Mujib was also arrested on March 26, 1971 by the Pakistani army and taken to Pakistan.
Lakhs of Bangladeshis including scholars, students and common people were killed over the next nine months till Bangladesh attained independence with active support from India.
The call by Sheikh Mujib on 7th March had followed the denial of the post of Prime Minister to him by Pakistan after Awami League had won majority in the 1970 elections held for the unified Pakistan which included Bangladesh, then called East Pakistan.
In his speech at the Suhravardy Udyan in Dhaka Sheikh Mujib declared to the huge gathering that Ebarer sangram amader muktirsangram, ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram which meant the struggle this time is for our freedom, the struggle this time is for our independence.
The country responded to his call with the slogan Bir Bangali Astra Dharo, Bangladesh Swadhin Karo calling on the Bengalis to take up arm to free the country from occupation.
In 2017, the UNESCO recognized the historic speech as part of the world’s documentary heritage.