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Historic March 7 Today: Bangabandhu’s epic call for freedom

The nation is observing historic March 7, a red-letter day in the country’s history, in a befitting manner today, commemorating the epoch-making speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On this day in 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at a mammoth rally at Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) directed freedom-loving Bangalees to wage a decisive struggle against the repressive Pakistani rulers.

In his 19-minute extempore speech from 4:23pm before millions of people of then East Pakistan, Bangabandhu unequivocally said, “We shed our blood…We are ready to shed more blood. The people of the country shall be freed, Inshallah!”

“The struggle this time is a struggle for emancipation, the struggle this time is a struggle for independence,” said the great leader.

During his speech amid thunderous slogans and applause, Bangabandhu made a clarion call for the people from all walks of life to prepare for an armed struggle against tyranny, exploitation, subjugation and deprivation with whatever they had and to turn every house into a fortress.

People were overwhelmed and imbued with the spirit of Bangabandhu’s speech. The whole nation responded spontaneously with a thunderous slogan ‘Brave Bangalees take up arms, achieve independence for Bangladesh.’

The speech changed the course of the country’s history, inspiring people to prepare for the Liberation War, which began after the Pakistani military on March 25 launched an attack on unarmed Bangalees and committed genocide for the next nine months.

Soon after the Pakistan military launched the heinous attack on innocent Bangalees, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed independence of the country.

The day got more importance as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognised Bangabandhu’s speech in 2017 as part of the world’s documentary heritage.

The landmark fiery speech of Bangabandhu inspired the Bengalis to prepare for the War of Liberation in 1971.

Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech gave inspiration to the Bengali nation in their quest for freedom and energised freedom fighters for freeing the country through a nine-month war.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages recalling with gratitude the courageous and farsighted leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in materialising the nation’s journey to freedom through his March 7 speech.

The President in his message said: “Bangabandhu’s speech on 7th March is one of the most perpetual speeches in the world. How an address can awaken the whole nation, inspire them to participate in the war of liberation for independence Bangabandhu’s historic 7th March speech is its unique example.”

“The historic address of Bangabandhu on March 7 will be an eternal source of inspiration not only for us but also for freedom-loving people around the world,” he added.

The prime minister in her message said, “The world recognition of the historic 7th March speech of the Father of the Nation today is an honour and a monument of glory for the Bengali nation. I believe the ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan and Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s 7th March speech will inspire us to accelerate the progress of development.”

Different political parties, including ruling Bangladesh Awami League and socio-cultural and student and professional bodies have chalked out elaborate programmes to mark the day.

The programmes include placing of wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu and discussion.

Awami League hoisted the national and party flags atop Bangabandhu Bhaban and party offices at 6:30am and placed wreaths at Bangabandhu’s portrait on Bangabandhu Bhaban premises at Dhanmondi at 8:00am.

The party will also hold a discussion at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh at 3:00pm with presidium member engineer Mosharraf Hossain in the chair.  State-run Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television (BTV) and private TV channels are airing special programmes while national dailies brought out special supplements marking the day.