At the mammoth rally at the Race Course ground on March 7, 1971, Sheikh Mujib called on the freedom-loving Bangalees to fight back against the oppressive Pakistani regime.
The nation is set to observe the historic March 7 today in a befitting manner commemorating the landmark speech by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which was touted as indirect declaration of the country’s independence in 1971.
President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in separate messages on the eve of the day, paid rich tributes to the greatest Bangalee of all times Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
They recalled that Bangabandhu in his historic March 7 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 Pakistani occupation forces.
“Ebarer sangram amader muktir sangram, ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram [The struggle this time is a struggle for emancipation, the struggle this time is a struggle for independence]”, Bangabandhu had declared in a thunderous voice at the rally.
“Turn every house into a fortress, resist the enemy with everything you have … Having mastered the lesson of sacrifice, we shall give more blood. God willing [Inshallah], we shall free the people of this land,” Bangabandhu also said in his speech.
The speech inspired the Bengalees to prepare for a war of independence.
The Liberation War began 18 days later, when the Pakistan Army launched “Operation Searchlight” against unarmed Bangalee civilians, intellectuals, students, politicians, and armed personnel.
On Oct 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).
To mark the day, different socio-cultural and political organizations, student and professional bodies have chalked out elaborate programmes including laying wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu and holding discussions and rallies.
The ruling Bangladesh Awami League has also drawn up different programmes to observe the day, local media reports said.
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 today.
A discussion will be arranged at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) auditorium at 3 p.m. today. Bangladesh Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the discussion while party leaders and distinguished personalities will address it.
Department of Films and Publications will screen a documentary film on the 7th March speech followed by a discussion at 10 a.m. today on the premises of the department.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud will attend it as the chief guest. Awami League and associated bodies will also organize rallies highlighting the significance of the day in all wards, unions, pourasabhas, upazilas and districts as the Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech would be played with loud speaker.
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.