#bangabandhu – After the historical 7th March speech that effectively declares the independence of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 14 gave a statement to the media with 35 important directives. Tajuddin Ahmad, on behalf of Bangabandhu and Awami League, declared the 35 points instruction for conducting the affairs of the government, which appeared in major newspapers on March 15, 2016.
Regarding the result of the instructions, Banglapedia of the Asiatic Society describes that the direct control of the Pakistan government over East Pakistan was virtually ceased after the directives of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“In fact, Bangabandhu took the administrative power of Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) through the 35 directives”, renowned artiste and freedom fighter Ramendu Mujumdar wrote in his book “Bangladesh Amaar Bangladesh (Bangladesh, My Bangladesh).”
The book, a collection of selected speeches and statements of Bangabandhu, includes a separate chapter on the 35 directives, those were given to the newspapers on the eve of the planned Dhaka visit of the Pakistan president Yahiya Khan. Yahiya Khan came to Dhaka on March 15, 1971 to have discussion with Bangabandhu. Prior to his arrival in Dhaka, Tikka Khan, who was the governor and the chief martial law administrator for East Pakistan, issued a martial law order, giving 24-hour deadline for all government employees, who were getting salary from defence budget, to join immediately in their duties. The employees were also threatened that they would lose their jobs or face court martial for failing to follow the order.
The order, however, did not get any response from Bengali employees as they had been following Bangabandhu’s directives in their every steps since the 7th March speech. The subsequent 35 directives, published in different newspapers on March 15, consolidated Bangabandhu’s effective control on the then East Pakistan and on its people.
Professor Rehman Sobhan in his memoir “Untranquil Recollections: The Years of Fulfilment” wrote that Bangladesh was effectively got independence on March 5, the day when the political supremacy came to Bangabandhu’s hand. After that day, whatever Yahiya said, the people in Bangladesh saw those as armed aggression against the sovereignty of the country. On the other hand, people took the 35 directives of Bangabandhu as the must follow command to protest against the oppression of Pakistani ruler and to get freedom from their repression.
The directives were related to all major areas including administration, education, law and order, port operation, foreign trade, communication, agriculture, services, development, industries, flood control, bank and treasury, tax collection, insurance and trade and business and payment of pension for retired employees and salaries of government and semi-government staff and primary school teachers. Recalling the public response to the directives, Ramendu Mujumdar told BSS that with the 7th March speech and the following 35 directives, Bangabandhu became the de-facto president and took effective control of the entire country during the period when the military government of Pakistan had its control only inside cantonments.
Bangabandhu in his directives called for continuing indefinite shutdown, but was very cautious about maintaining law and order and keeping internal and external trade, farm and development activities and all other financial activities unhindered. He kept railways, roads and water transports, port and media and hospitals out of the purview of the non-stop nation-wide strike and advised all concerned to continue their duties.
Banks, telecommunication and postal services were also advised to operate only to provide their services to the people of the then East Pakistan. But, the people involved with power, gas and water supplies had been asked to be on duty so that people don’t suffer.