The nation celebrated the 49th Independence and National Day on Tuesday (Mar 26), refreshing the resolution to uphold the spirit of the War of Liberation and build a ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The day’s programmes began by heralding a 31-gun salute early in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the heroic struggle of this nation, which suffered a protracted subjugation under foreign rules from time to time till achieving their coveted Independence in 1971.
The nation paid the glowing tributes to the Liberation War martyrs and veterans at the National Mausoleum at Savar, the main venue for the celebration of the day. President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the war martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum in the morning.
After placing the wreaths, the President and the Prime Minister stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs of the Great War.
A smartly turned-out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented a state salute on the occasion while the bugles played the last post.
Ministers, PM’s advisers, parliament members, chiefs of the three services, freedom fighters, diplomats and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Later, flanked by senior leaders of the party, Bangladesh Awami League President Sheikh Hasina laid another wreath at the National Mausoleum on behalf of her party.
Families of Bir Shreshthas, war wounded freedom fighters, members of the diplomatic corps, leaders of different political parties, social, cultural and professional bodies and people from all walks of life also placed wreaths at the National Mausoleum in the morning.
On her return from the National Mausoleum, the PM paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing a wreath at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the city’s Dhanmondi road number 32. Flanked by the central leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, the president of Bangladesh Awami League, placed another wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu on behalf of her party.
Later, in the morning, the PM led the nation in singing the national anthem at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. Sheikh Hasina greeted all the freedom fighters of the country on the day. Like other occasions, the premier sent flowers, fruits and sweetmeats to the war-wounded freedom fighters and members of the martyred families at Martyred and War-wounded Freedom Fighters’ Rehabilitation Centre (Muktijoddha Tower-1) in the city as a mark of her good wishes for them.
In the afternoon, President Hamid hosted a reception at Bangabhaban on the occasion of the Independence and National Day. PM Sheikh Hasina joined the reception. Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, former President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah and Deputy Opposition Leader in the Parliament Begum Raushon Ershad also attended the reception.
Valiant freedom fighters and family members of Birshreshtha gallantry award recipients, cabinet members, advisers to the prime minister, diplomats and top civil and military officials also joined the reception.
In the afternoon, a commemorating postal stamp was released and a digital financial service – Nagath (cash) – of Bangladesh Post Office was inaugurated at Ganabhaban, the official residence of the PM.
Ruling Bangladesh Awami League and different other political parties as well as socio-cultural and professional bodies celebrated the day in a befitting manner. The national flag was hoisted atop all government and private buildings while city streets and important intersections have been decorated with national and multi-colored miniature flags and festoons.
Important buildings and establishments as well as city streets and road islands have also been illuminated with the light of red and green – the colour of the national flag.
The day was also celebrated at all divisional cities, district towns, upazila, municipality and union levels.
Programmes were organised at Bangladesh missions abroad on the occasion of the day, while the Bangladeshi expatriates celebrated the day by arranging different programmes.
Later, in the day, special prayers were offered at all mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship across the country seeking divine blessings for the eternal peace of the departed souls of Bangabandhu, four national leaders, Liberation War martyrs and other patriots who embraced martyrdom for the country.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh Shishu Academy, and other social and cultural organisations arranged discussions, cultural programmes, painting competition for children, sports competition and documentary exhibition.
Reception was accorded to freedom fighters and the members of martyred freedom fighters at city, zila and upazila levels. Arranged by the Mass Communication Department, singers rendered patriotic songs on the city streets riding on mobile vehicles and on waterways of Dhaka city traveling by water vessels.
Improved diets were served to the inmates of hospitals, jails, old homes and other public institutions to mark the day.
The day was a public holiday.
National dailies published special supplements while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, private radio stations and television channels aired special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
Every year, the Mar 26 brings the most tragic reminiscence of the history’s blackest episode that heralded a nine-month bloody ordeal from the night of Mar 25, 1971, achieving the long-cherished independence on Dec 16 the same year at the cost of a sea of blood.
In the wake of the military crackdown, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who became the undisputed leader of the then Pakistan following the massive victory of his party, Awami League, in the 1970 general elections, declared the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) wireless at 00-30 hours on Mar 26 (the night following Mar 25) in 1971 at his historic Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
The great leader also called upon the people to build up strong resistance against the Pakistani barbaric occupation forces.
The Pakistani military junta, in a bid to stop the legitimate movement of the Bangalees, arrested Bangabandhu on that night following his declaration of independence. Later, Bangabandhu was taken to the then West Pakistan where he had to spend nine months in a dark condemned cell.
Bangabandhu wrote down the declaration of independence soon after the Pakistani army cracked down on the fateful night of Mar 25, 1971. The declaration of independence was soon put on air by wireless. The declaration was first broadcast by Awami League leader MA Hannan from Kalurghat Radio Station in port city of Chittagong on Mar 26, 1971.
On Mar 27, 1971, the then Major Ziaur Rahman announced the proclamation of independence on behalf of great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from the same radio station.
The Pakistani military junta in their monstrous outburst unleashed a bloody holocaust breaking the silence of the night following Mar 25 in 1971 when they mercilessly killed hundreds of innocent sleeping Bangalees, including teachers, students, police, soldiers, pedestrians and rickshaw-pullers, here.
The nation soon launched the War of Liberation at the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the early hours of Mar 26.
Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign state on Dec 16, 1971 with the surrender of the Pakistani occupation forces, who killed three million innocent civilians, perpetrated atrocities on two lakh Bangalee women and burnt down lakhs of houses across the country during the nine-month bloody war.