Hiren Pandit: Independence has always been important to the people of Bangladesh. Because it was expected. Even after the independence of 1947, it became crucial for several reasons. The first reason is the resolve of the national question. In this rare state called Pakistan, oppression was going on the nationality of Bengalis. Those who held state power were not only non-Bengalis, they were Bengali haters. The whole system of governance was in the hands of these Bengali haters. The military, the bureaucracy, the police, the courts, and the prisons are all under them. They controlled the whole economy, including trade and commerce. Who again without them through propaganda? They wanted to keep the education system and educational institutions in their hands.
It was not possible to resolve other issues without resolving this problem of racial oppression. That is why independence was so important for the people of Bangladesh. That was the first step, the collective progress. What is the main goal? The main goal is national liberation. Race does not mean class, does not mean a special group, race is the whole people. The goal was the liberation of the people. People have seen independence from that point of view, they think that if the state is independent then they will be free. Their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education will be met. Security will come into their life. They will be able to live like human beings. People fought in this war with this dream. That is why this war is called the war of liberation and the war of independence.
Independence came once in forty-seven. The new state, the constitution, the capital, the flags, the buildings, the new people in power,and everything, the territory was found, but the hope for which the people voted for Pakistan did not fade. The liberation and freedom of the people did not come. There were hundreds of miles between the two regions of Pakistan, but because of that distance Pakistan did not break up, not because of the military, the bureaucracy, or political leaders, but because of inequality and discrimination. One part occupied all the power, left and grew and flourished, rising and carrying out racial oppression and exploitation on the other part. East Bengal was turning into a crematorium due to its oppression and exploitation. People did not want the freedom to be cremated, people wanted gardens, fruits and flowers; that is why they rejected that freedom and gradually developed the idea of the need for a new state. The claim was not clear to them at first, but the incident showed that they were not free in the old state.
Bangabandhu through his visionary leadership realized at the beginning of March 1971 that war against the Pakistanis was inevitable. Therefore, on March 7, 1971, he instructed the people of Bangladesh to plunge into the war of liberation. He said, “This time the struggle is for our freedom, this time the struggle is for our independence.” In this speech, the picture of the killing, oppression and torture of Bengalis towards Bengalis became concrete. In the face of the enemy, he instructed the Bengali nation, ‘Be ready with whatever you have.’ Inspired by this hypnotic speech of Bangabandhu, the Bengali nation started taking preparation fora liberation war with weapons.
The historic inflammatory speech of this earth-shaking thunderbolt of only 19 minutes on March 7 was a thousand years of passion, a thousand years of dreams, a reflection of a thousand years of aspirations, which was a firm promise to liberate Bengalis. Bangabandhu uttered in a radiant voice, ‘When we have given blood, we will give more blood, we will set the people of this country free, Inshaallah.’ It was the historic speech under the leadership and direction of Bangabandhu that inspired the freedom-lovingBengali nation to plunge into the armed struggle of the great liberation war against the occupying Pakistanis and it was through this speech that the future destiny of the Bengalis became clear.
Bangabandhu gave the speech in a very symbolic style. On the one hand, he told the freedom fighters to be ready for a long struggle, on the other hand, he showed a thumbs up to the Pakistani rulers. Bangabandhu was not only a wise politician, but he was also a world-class diplomat. In his speech on March 7, he expressed everything like a diplomat. He says the last 23 years are a history of deprivation. He spoke about the language movement, the elections of 1954, the military rule of 1958, the six points of 1966, the mass revolution of 1969, the elections of 1970and the deprivation of Bengalis in Pakistan at that time. Gave an unwritten speech.
The declaration of independence by Bangabandhu on 26 March is the basis of the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh. The full constitution of Bangladesh was written based on this declaration. So, the 9-month war that took place in Bangladesh in 1971 was a war to liberate our independent country from the occupying forces. All the people of an independent country who came through elections fought this war.
The country called Independent Bangladesh, which was born on March 26, 1971, is clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence or the Maternal Cell of the Constitution of Bangladesh.Bangabandhu declared independence on 26 March as the elected leader of the people of Bangladesh after the beginning of the genocide and the imposition of war on Bangladesh. He ordered everyone to fight against the aggressors. That is what all the people’s representatives accepted as a valid declaration on behalf of the people of Bangladesh through the Declaration of Independence and Bangabandhu formed the government for the declared independent country. Bangabandhu was appointed as the head of that government i.e. the President and Syed Nazrul Islam as the Vice President. The legitimate government then got all the rights regarding the country to make all the laws and all the revenue related to that declaration. In other words, the independent state which was declared on March 26, started its journey from April 10 with its constitution and legitimate government. There are only two obstacles for the state to move on. One is Several areas inside the state were then occupied by the Pakistani army. The second one is the state needs the formal recognition of another state.
Two things were urgent for this formal recognition. One is who has formed this state must prove that they are not separatists and two is the state being run by elected representatives.When it comes to recognizing another democratic new state for a democratic state, the first thing to look at is whether those who claim to have formed a new state are separatists. If they do not prove to be separatists, then they meet around 60 percent of the conditions for recognition.
If Bangabandhu had fled in this war to drive out the Pakistani aggressors in Bangladesh or had gone underground and tried to run the war like the communist revolutionaries, the military ruler of Pakistan would have had ample opportunity to prove himself as a separatist. But after his country was occupied, Bangabandhu declared independence from his residence. He called on his people to resist the aggressors and called on the world to recognize the new state.
The task of seeking this declaration and recognition was public and as an elected leader. So, when the Pakistani army arrested Bangabandhu, they arrested the elected head of government of an independent country. Bangabandhu proved that he or his party was not a separatist. In other words, with Bangabandhu being publicly arrested in this way, he alone did 60 percent of the rest of the victory that this country had to achieve after the declaration of independence. In other words, he proved to the world that he and his party are not separatists, they are fighting for the liberation of the aggressors from their land.
Just as he won 60 percent of the war by going to jail in Pakistan in 9 months of 1971, so he transformed himself like the Agartala conspiracy case while in jail; his shape is even bigger.The democratic world says the Pakistani military has no right to arrest an elected leader. Although the American president sided with Pakistan, he repeatedly obstructed his Senate in favor of Pakistan.
Everyone also said that only Bangabandhu has the right to decide about his country. Not the Pakistani military authorities. Therefore, just as Bangabandhu was everywhere in the liberation war with the rifles, mines and grenades of the freedom fighters through thunder, so the arrested leader Bangabandhu fought almost alone in the international world.
Just as any liberation war and war for independenceare through the sacrifices of the people of the country, so the freedom-loving people of the whole world stand as comrades in arms. The captive independent head of state Bangabandhu gave the freedom-loving people of the whole world the right to stand for Bangladesh that day. Prisoner Bangabandhu defeated Yahya Khan in the diplomacy of the people that day. In other words, by forming the government through constitutional politics, the Pakistani authorities lost to Bangabandhu’s diplomacy in the battle to resist the aggressors by armed means. Bangladesh became the winner and transformed into an independent nation. Many people mistakenly said that Bangabandhu was absent in the war of liberation.
However, without the support of India, Russia, and the support of the world, it would not have been possible to attain independence in 9 months. Moreover, no one can declare the independence of a country if he wants to. You have the authority to declare independence. Whoever declares, must have the support of his country and the international world. People will not support the call for independence. As the leader of the winning party in the 1970 elections, only Bangabandhu had the right to declare independence.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and a researcher.