“Sheikh Sa’ab (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) was one of the greatest speakers I have ever heard, and his speech on 7 March galvanized the people of Bangladesh to fight for their independence from the oppression of West Pakistan. Before his 7 March speech, there was only talk of autonomy, but not of liberation, freedom and independence”, said veteran British journalist Sir William Mark Tully, joining the commemorative event on historic 7 March, organised by Bangladesh High Commission, London in collaboration with SOAS South Asia Institute and Nomad Publishing, UK on Monday.
Sir Mark Tully added that, having heard speeches from regional leaders, including the one delivered by Bangabandhu in India after his release from Pakistan prison, Bangabandhu was an amazing speaker who could stand and move the crowd almost certainly, and as a true Bengali nationalist, was able to be the Father of the Nation.
Furthermore, he said Bangabandhu’s historic speech that led Bangladeshis to gain independence in 1971 continues to be an inspiration to his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to propel Bangladesh forward economically and socially.
Speaking at the occasion, eminent economist Professor Rehman Sobhan said, “The 7 March speech was not just a speech, but a landmark political moment in the history of independence of Bangladesh. From that day forward, Bangabandhu was effectively the ruler of Bangladesh.”
Professor Sobhan noted that the fact that Bangabandhu had taken over the administrative authority of East Pakistan before independence was a rare example of any post-colonial independent struggle.
As a consequence, he said that the people of Bangladesh spontaneously joined the liberation war, took up arms, and became the first generation of nation warriors, having never use gun in their lifetime.
Chaired by Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem, Lord Howell of Guildford, Professor James Manor, Emeritus Professor of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Professor Edward Simpson, Director of SOAS South Asia Institute and Max Scott, Director of Nomad Publishing, UK spoke at the high-profile panel discussion on “Bangabandhu’s life and legacy today”. Marking the day, Bangladesh High Commission, London also organised the UK release of an exclusive publication titled “Mujib: An Introduction”.
Highlighting the significance of the historic 7 March Speech, High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem said: “Bangabandhu’s 18-minute extempore historic 7 March Speech not only changed the history of Bengali nation, but the history of the world for which UNESCO conserved it as the Documentary Heritage of Mankind in its Memory of World Register for succeeding generations.”
The High Commissioner said: “Bangladesh High Commission was proud to translate the 7 March speech in Scottish, Irish and Welsh languages during the Mujib Borsho and to share the spirit and core message of the speech with millions of Irish, Scott and Welsh speaking people across the UK.”
The Envoy reaffirmed that the High Commission will continue to pass on Bangabandhu’s message of democracy, freedom and human rights among the new generation of the British-Bangladeshis.
Professor James Manor who delivered the first Bangabandhu talk at the University on London in 2018, said: “Given that Bangabandhu received intelligence about Pakistan’s plan to attack innocent Bengali civilians had he made the declaration of independence on 7 March, he made the deceleration a few weeks later saving lives of his people.”
Earlier, the Day’s programme began with the hoisting of the national flag at the chancery, followed by flower wreaths being placed at Bangabandhu’s portrait by the High Commissioner and officers of the mission. Messages issued on the occasion by the President and the Prime Minister were read out by the mission’s officers. A special dua was offered for the great language martyrs, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu and his family and all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the Great War of Liberation; and for peace and continued progress of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Officers and employees of the high commission participated in it.