A short speech with a long and deep meaning

A short speech with a long and deep meaning

Lord Brabazon (1910-1974), British Conservative politician, once made the remark: “I take the view, .. that if you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it”. It so happened that Bangabandhu, in his historic 7 March speech, said all he had to say in exactly 19 minutes; and he took less than one minute of Lord Brabazon’s prescribed time-slot for a perfect speech. Nevertheless, this was Bangabandhu’s finest speech under the most trying of the circumstances. This was also the most decisive speech this nation has ever heard; it decided, or to be more specific, indicated the future course of the nation at a time when such a decision/indication was critically important. This speech also marked a discernible transition in the political career of the speaker himself–– he graduated from a populist leader to a statesman. A political leader sees the present in the context of the past, but statesman, besides being aware of the pre-sent, also envisions the future for his people. We as a nation were given the right future direction by this speech at a time when we had been gripped by uncertainty as to our future. We heard what we wanted in a way that pleased us but did not provoke the adversary to immediately go for action against us. It seemed an impending disaster was averted strategically by this speech; and herein lay the master-stroke of statesmanship of the speaker.

What were the contents of the speech that had so many such messages, both apparent and underlying? The speech had two broad parts. The first part was exclusively for the Pakistani rulers; and the second as well as more meaningful one was entirely for us. As it was, the first part prefaced the second purely as a political stratagem.

As the speech was delivered against the gloomy background of a political stand-off, the first part laid out conditionalities for resolving the same. The conditionalities included inter alia trial of the killers, taking the army back to barrack and handing over power to the elected representatives, etc. It does not need any iota of imagination to suggest that Bangabandhu did not believe that these conditionalities would be met and the crisis resolved. The sole purpose of setting these conditionalities was to get across the message of sincerity on the part of Bangabandhu.

As Bangabandhu knew deep down in his heart any political accommodation with the Pakistani ruling junta was an impossibility; the course available for his people was to wrest independence through an armed struggle; and for which, his indications were aplenty. The message and indication were contained in the staccato sentence: “The struggle this time is for our liberation, the struggle this time is for independence”. The sentence immediately preceding this one had the assertion: “We shall liberate the people of Bengal, InshaAllah”. It is worth noting that the word ‘liberation’ was used twice; and ‘independence’ once; and the clearest message was that as independence was what we desired, more important was the aspiration for total liberation. Indeed, independence is a micro-concept, while liberation a macro one. The experience-hardened politician Bangabandhu appeared to have juxtaposed these words consciously and knowing full well the difference in connotation between these two words. At the time-distance of nearly four plus decades since this speech was delivered we squarely face the disturbing reality that, Bangladesh, although independent, is yet to be properly liberated from the constraints that stunt our full development as proper human beings.

The speech not only set the goal of the armed struggle for independence, the strategy for which was also clearly laid out–– it was to be a people’s war to be fought through guerilla strategy; and people were exhorted to turn their homes into fortresses where they would to ready themselves with whatever weapons they could gather. Bangabandhu, at one stage of this speech exuded confidence as he roared: “None can now keep down the people of Bengal”. Indeed, the armed struggle that ensued shortly demonstrated how the people of Bengal fought an unequal people’s war and emerged victorious. More than that, the war was fought exactly as what the speech had indicated. Again, as he shared his hunch and said: “Even if I cannot command you, be ready with whatever you have”. As it was, he had to spend the entire duration of the Liberation War in the Pakistani captivity, but his people did prove that they had the correct understanding of this message.

An opinion goes around that Bangabandhu was expected to declare independence outright on that day, but he did not. Was it so? A little in-depth reading of the core message of the speech is in order. True, it was not an outright declaration, but it was a clear indication of independence short of declaration. As an astute and experienced politician he knew that the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) was contrary to the principles of international law. Moreover, such a declaration at that time would have put us against the will of the international community. On the contrary, as things turned out, when we started the Liberation War by resisting the crackdown by the Pakistani army, code-named “Operation Searchlight”, we had the blessing of the world public opinion. Above all, an outright declaration on that day would have resulted in massacre and bloodshed on the spot thereby ending our hopes and aspirations.

It was Shakespeare who put in the mouth of Julius Caeser the dialogue: “To stir men’s blood; I only speak right on”. Yes, as Bangabandhu finished his speech and departed we the members of the audience truly felt the blood flowing in our veins had been stirred by this speech.

Author : Prof. Dr Syed Anwar Husain is the Editor of daily sun.

Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech a framework of Independence

Historic 7th March and Parents of our Nation

Political critics and senior opposition leaders described Bangabandhu’s March 7 address a very “matured statement” with some of them calling it the “framework” of independence 41 years ago.

“It was a crucial statement at a crucial moment of the nation . . . He (Bangabandhu) had given the framework of our great independence through this address,” BNP’s standing committee member, highest decision making body, and former army chief Lt. Gen. (retd) Mahbubur Rahman told BSS as approached for his analysis of the speech.

He added that the “brief” address was “appropriate” for that time as it “largely fulfilled” peoples expectation at that time and it inspired the people to join the war for independence.

Rahman described the address as an “unforgettable” speech as he recalled that he listened to it on BBC Radio as he was posted in West Pakistan at that time being an army officer.

“He (Bangabandhu) depicted the picture of disparity towards the then East Pakistan by the Pakistani rulers and called for the war of independence in his address in his own way,” said Rahman, who was stranded in Pakistan in 1971.

His comments came as BSS approached a number of opposition leaders for their impersonal views of the historic address being non-Awami Leaguers.

Talking to BSS earlier Liberation War veteran and BNP vice president retired major Hafizuddin Ahmed said Bangabandhu’s March 7 address was the “most matured statement” as several of his party colleagues and politicians of other parties echoed him in analysing the historic speech.

“As a matured leader he rightly gave the appropriate message in his address at that moment . . . he gave all the signals in appropriate manner,” Ahmed said.

He said the proclamation of independence on that day in 1971 from that public rally could have proved counterproductive portraying the Bangladesh’s armed resistance against Pakistani troops as “secessionist movement, instead of independence war”.

He also argued that the students or other such radical elements could have done many things whimsically which “he (Bangabandhu) could not do as the top leader with huge responsibilities”.

Ahmed also rejected criticisms by a section of critics who disapproved Bangabandhu’s staying home at his Dhanmandi residence on March 25 black night when he was arrested by the Pakistani troops.

BNP leader Shahjahan Siraj, who played a crucial role in organising the student movements and the Liberation War in 1971, said “the brief address of Bangabandhu on that day contained a comprehensive guideline for the freedom of Bengalis from the clutches of Pakistan”.

“It was the actual reflection of the hopes and aspirations of Bengalis in true perspective at that time,” Siraj said.

Retired colonel Oli Ahmed, currently the chief of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said “the March 7 speech was very crucial for taking the Bengali officers and soldiers to revolt against Pakistan”.

“For justified reasons, Bangabandhu could not openly call for independence in his speech, but it carried the directives for a total armed struggle . . . In line with the directives we staged the revolt at Eighth Bengal in Chittagong Cantonment under late president Ziaur Rahman,” said Ahmed, one of the founding leaders of BNP.

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Syed Rezwan Ali (Bir Protik)

Syed Rezwan Ali (Bir Protik)
Vice Charimen, ICRS (International Crime Reporters’ Society)
126/1/A, Shenpara Parbota, Mirpur-10, Dhaka-1216, Bangladesh

Syed Rezwan Ali is one out of few Bangladeshi soldiers to escape and to hijack an aircraft from Karachi, Pakistan to India in order to defect from the Pakistan Air Force and join the Liberation movement of Bangladesh in 1971. Syed Rezwan Ali, the ex-Bangladesh Air Force official who has fought against Pakistani enemy forces during the Liberation war and for his bravery and devoted participation in liberation war, he has been awarded with Bir Protik (Symbol of Bravery or Idol of Courage) is the fourth highest gallantry award in Bangladesh . Syed Rezwan Ali was in the front row of sector 8 under the direct command of Sector Commander Major Abu Osman Chowdury and Major M A Manzur.

This award was declared on 15 December 1973. A total of 426 people have received the award so far, all for their actions during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.

We are grateful to him for his extraordinary support and direct co-operation of providing stories, articles, stills & videos with authenticated liberation war materials, without those we won’t be able to create such significant project of Bangabandhu, Bangladesh & Beyond…

REFERENCE : Bangladesh Gazette Notification No. 8/25/D-1/72-1378 Dated 15th December 1973.


Md Serajul Haque

MD Serajul Haq
Famous & Popular Educator in Amboula, Paisarhat, Barisal

Mr. Serajul Haque, The valiant freedom fighter of Bangladesh is one out of few repute war hero who has fought against Pakistani forces during 1971. His contribution towards freedom of Bangladesh is known to all in Barisal Division of Bangladesh. We are grateful to him for his extraordinary support of making this remarkable project. He fought under Sector 9 with Major M A Jalil, Major MA Manzur & Major Joynal Abedin during Liberation War.

The valiant freedom fighter of Bangladesh is one out of few repute war hero who has fought against Pakistani forces during 1971. His contribution towards freedom of Bangladesh is known to all in Barisal Division of Bangladesh. We are grateful to him for his extraordinary support of making this remarkable project. He fought under Sector 9 with Major M A Jalil, Major MA Manzur & Major Joynal Abedin during Liberation War.

Gazi Hafizur Rahman LIKU

Gazi Hafizur Rahman LIKU
Assignment Officer To The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh
Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mr. Gazi Hafijur Rahman has contributed us with valuable guidance and materials of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, His father was a fellow to our father of the Nation. we have collected rare footage and stills of our Bangabandhu through him which has made a positive impact on our work towards Bangabandhu, Bangladesh & Beyond…



Quotes from Bangabandhu


“This may be my last message, from today Bangladesh is independent.
I call upon the people of Bangladesh, wherever you might be and whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangladesh and final victory is achieved.”
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

26 March 1971

The people of Bangladesh have proved to the world at large that they are a heroic nation, they know how to achieve their right and live like human beings. We have achieve our independence. So long a Bangali lives, he will not allow this independence to be lost. Bangladesh will continue to exist as an independent country in history. There is no power on earth which can keep Bangladesh under subjugation.

Those who cannot maintain law and order cannot expect to be a great nation.
Independence is not achieved with the hoisting of the flag only. Ensuring the security of people’s lives and property is also an inseparable part on independence. It is only through agriculture revolution that the country would become self-reliant in food. The farmers must see to it that not an inch of the country’s soil remains fallow and that the yield of the land is increased.

I have waged the independence movement of Bangladesh along with seven and a half crore people. So I appeal to the people to put an end to the activities of antisocial and disruptive elements. My dear brothers of armed forces, you belong to the people and people belong to you. You do not form a separate entity. All of you are sons of the soil. This is why you will have to share the happiness and sorrow of the masses and stand beside them in rebuilding the devastated country. Allah is with you.
Our defence-preparedness is not meant to attack anyone. It is for self defense only. We are not willing to interfere into other’s internal affairs. Similarly, we shall not tolerate other’s interference into our internal affairs.

The martyrs who gifted the independence of the country will never die. The souls of the martyrs will be contended only when the people of this independent country, established through the sacrifice of the martyrs, will get enough to eat and live a dignified life. Depending on borrowed resources no nation can ever expect to become self-reliant and great. I have made appeals to the world for help. I want help. But not at the cost of independence. Armed forces alone cannot defend a country. It’s people who defend a country. It is clear today that only democracy will work in future in this country.

” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman identified the war criminals and declared an amnesty for them. It is also a crime to reprieve those who have killed 30 lakh people and harassed two lakh women”

SOURCE: Rantburg

” Trial of killing of Bangabadhu (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) was already done on May 30, 1981 through the killing of Zia. For, Zia was behind the killing of Bangabandhu”

SOURCE: The New Nation

” Rather Zia himself, was beneficiary after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”

SOURCE: The New Nation

” AL is an organization which has reached to this present stage through facing waging struggles in different difficult times since its inception under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and later under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina”

SOURCE: The New Nation